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JFK New 31L Photo

Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:05 am

While it has been a while now since the image was uploaded here, it is today that I actually had a chance to review some of my images (an embarrassing 37) to be exact. I was surprised to see my Runway, 31 L image, had some 77K hits plus. There were also some questions as to how and why the image was taken. So with my apologies after all this time for not answering...I'll provide some answers. I was approached by the airport shortly prior to the official opening of the runway to get a photo with Jet Blue, Delta and American in the same shot involving the new runway and or taxiway holding areas. It was to be an image that would be given to the three major carriers that had cooperated with the Port Authority by modifying their schedules and operations so that the runway would be completed on time. In fact, it was actually completed ahead of schedule. Unheard of in New york!
After sketching several ideas on paper the only shot I could envision was this one. While several others may have worked, other factors had to be considered. Obviously weather, schedules of the carriers push backs and the cooperation of the three carriers for this. All three aircraft were scheduled revenue flights fully loaded with PAX. I spent the weekend before laying out model aircraft on my living room floor with a faux scaled runway taped out. I used my Nikon P7000 to simulate my D300's that I would use and record various shots for aircraft placement. I was only going to get one chance at this layout. As you can see the Delta 757's angle is not consistent with the others but it would have to do. Below me were about 40 or so personnel from the airlines, ad agencies, Port Authority and so on. The result was the layout evident in the photo. The whole idea of the plan was that these being revenue flights obviously the passengers would not be open to any delays. It was designed to only take 10 minutes to marshal the aircraft into position once all were on station. It would take another 10 minutes to capture all I needed to capture. All went as planned with exception of their arrival on station. This may have been Americans first "on time arrival!". They were first, Jet Blue arrived second, finally Delta. Their respective marchalers were in their positions and myself in mine. I asked for a hilo but wasn't happening so a 100 foot boom truck got me up about 60 feet with 2 cameras and three lenses.
The weather was forecast for Rain!...That morning we did not even have final confirmation from everyone involved till 1 hour before the shot was scheduled even though we had about a week and a half to secure all. I passed out a copy of the aircraft layout to about 8 individuals involved including the airline reps so we all knew how this would work.
So that is in short the story of the shot. These were in fact three fully loaded aircraft, these were the first to actually depart off the brand new concrete runway. The next day was the official opening of the runway and its kick off to "return to service". This particular shoot was the most fun I have had behind a camera in a long time. I do apologize for taking so long to answer some of the questions some viewers had about the shot...g
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RE: JFK New 31L Photo

Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:02 am

Great thread, Jerry. And an awesome shot, of course!

Very enlightening to see the planning and coordination that had to go into this. I am shocked they were fully loaded revenue flights. I would have expected empty planes towed to the runway to avoid fuel use and to allow it to be done while the aircraft were on turn between flights.

This is one of your shots I admire most.

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RE: JFK New 31L Photo

Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:27 pm

As someone who grew up watching the planes landing on this runway from my backyard, I followed the story in the news with great interest and was also amazed that they finished ahead of schedule. And to have no planes landing behind my house for weeks on end was very wierd, the quiet seemed unnerving for a guy who loves the roar of jet engines!

Great picture, and great story. Maybe we'll meet when Shuttle Enterprise lands on this same runway(fingers crossed) in 2 weeks.

William/LensJet Images
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RE: JFK New 31L Photo

Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:43 pm

To be honest,...I'm shocked any of them agreed to this, given laws, rules etc, especially in New York...but they asked me to come up with something...that was "my something".

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
This is one of your shots I admire most.

Thanks for the kind words...!

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 2):
Maybe we'll meet when Shuttle Enterprise lands on this same runway(fingers crossed) in 2 weeks.

I'm already on the list!...See Ya...g
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RE: JFK New 31L Photo

Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:54 pm

That's a terrific photo, Jerry, and I can appreciate all the planning that went into pulling it off.
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