Monday, May 23, 2016

Plane Watching at O'Hare Airport

Like I said, I decided to head over to O'Hare Airport in order to do some planewatching.  I did some research on places where I could go planewatching but some of those places were tougher to find that I thought they would be.  I did however find a cell phone lot near one of the runways and that wasn't too bad.  I will definitely want to go back now that I've seen the lay of the land and can figure out how to get to the better spot.
 American Airlines was formed from a number of smaller airlines in 1930 as American Airways.  In 1934, it was acquired by E.L. Cord and renamed to American Airlines.  He hired C.R. Smith to run the company.  Smith worked with Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3.  In 1936, American Airlines became the first airline to operate the DC-3.  Because of it's size, American Airlines became the first airline to become profitable without US Mail service.
After the war, American acquired American Export Airlines and renamed it to American Overseas Airways to service Europe.  This was sold to Pan Am in 1950.  In 1959, American would transform its fleet to jets.  In 1962, American introduced the first electronic booking service named Sabre which was developed by IBM.  It built a terminal at Idlewild Airport (which would eventually become John F. Kennedy Airport).  At one time, it was the largest American Airline and the second largest in the world (after Aeroflot).
In 1979, they moved their headquarters from New York to Dallas-Fort Worth.  In 1981, they changed to a hub-and-spoke system with hubs in Dallas and Chicago.  Like many of the other airlines, they went on a buying spree (including TWA).  One of the planes used to crash into the World Trade Center was an American Airlines plane.  In 2013, they merged with US Airways.
 One of the main reasons I wanted to go to O'Hare was to see some airlines that I wouldn't normally see at Detroit Metro.  Aer Lingus is one of them.    Aer Lingus was founded in 1936 and uses the callsign Shamrock (hmm I wonder why).  It is the national carrier of Ireland.
 United Airlines was founded in 1926 as Varney Airlines by Walter Varney who would also find Varney Speed Lines (which would later become Continental).  Like many of the early airlines, it would also fly contract mail for the US Postal Service.  In 1927, William Boeing founded his own airline and started to buy other airlines.  In 1929, this was merged with Pratt and Whitney to become the United Aircraft and Transport Company.
In 1933, United would operated the Boeing 247, which was the first all metal airliner.  In 1934, the company was split into United Aircraft, Boeing Airplane Company and United Airlines.  In 1954, United Airlines would become the first airline to purchase flight simulators.
Like many of the other airlines, there were employee and bankruptcy troubles.  In 2010, they would merge with Continental keeping the United name but the Continental Livery.
 O'Hare was constructed in 1942-3 as a place to build C-54 Transport planes.  It was close to the rail lines and workforce of Chicago.  With the ending of its contract in 1945, Douglas pulled out and the airfield became known as Orchard Field (hence the origin of it's ORD callsign).  In 1949, it was named in honor of Butch O'Hare who was a medal of honor recipient and Naval Aviator.  He was the son of the accountant who helped put Capone behind bars.  It kept the ORD callsign being one of three airports whose designation has no relation to a nearby city or name.  For a while it was the world's busiest airport, until that designation was taken over by Atlanta.  O'Hare reclaimed the title in 2014.  And judging by the number of planes I saw, I'm not surprised.
 Like I said, I was in a cell phone parking lot.  It was next to one of the runways that was mostly used by smaller planes.  I had great views of those planes.  This 737 was pulling away.
 The larger airplanes were taking off from the next runway over.  While it was fairly close, I had to use my zoom lens.  However, I think I found a better spot for next time.  It will give me a better view of this runway.    This is a United 767 which was on it's way to Heathrow.  This plane either goes there or Sao Paulo.
 Because I don't get enough Delta at Metro.
 Avianca was founded as the national carrier of Colombia in 1919.  It is an acronym for the Spanish for Airways of the American Continent. 
 Another airline I don't get enough of.
 KLM stands for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij which is Dutch for Royal Dutch Airlines.  It was founded in 1919 and is the oldest airline still operating under it's original name.  It is the flag carrier of the Netherlands.  This plane took off near me but I wasn't quick enough to get the cool shot.
 Air Canada was founded in 1937 and is the flag carrier of Canada.  It flies to 182 destinations worldwide.  It was proceeded by Trans-Canada Airlines.
 This is a Boeing 777 and is one of the airplanes I was hoping to see.  I've flown on one and  I don't think Delta operates many of them (choosing the A330 instead).  The plane was first flown in 1994 and was developed with much input from the airlines.  It was Boeing's first fly-by-wire airliner and also the first airliner to be developed entirely with CAD.
China Southern Airlines was founded in 1988 after the Chinese government decided to split it's airline into many different airlines. 
 Another 777 operated by Cathay Pacific.  This is the flag carrier of Hong Kong and was founded in 1946. 
 Another United 737.
 And an Airbus 320.
 Cargolux was founded in 1970 in Luxembourg.  It is Europe's largest all cargo airline.  I think this is pretty cool livery.
 A 737 operated by Alaska Air.
 Another 767 operated by United.
And I ended the day just about as I began it with a CRJ operated by United.

I'll have to admit this was a pretty cool experience and was made cooler by the fact I had my airport scanner with me.  It was nice to have narration with my watching.  Like I said, I will have to go back and find the better spots.  I think I'm pretty much guaranteed to see planes.

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