Post by Scott on Dec 14, 2015 0:20:45 GMT -8
Like most of you, I'm generally interested in all forms of transportation. So on occasion I'll take the kids out around the airport to watch the airplanes landing and taking off. I've only ever been on one round trip flight on WestJet, so I'm not a seasoned airplane traveller by any means. But it's fun to watch all the things going on at the airport. YVR has some pretty good observation spots:
Inside the airport there's the Public Observation Area in the pre-security area of the Domestic terminal.
At the west end of the north runway, there are a few places you can pull over, and also Iona Park where you can walk out over the sewage outfall (4 km). Made it to the end once!
At the east end of the north runway, there are a few places you can pull over with your car, although it's pretty rough and I don't think it's encouraged by the airport. This is about as close as you can get to landing airplanes though, and is sometimes quite busy with airplane watchers.
Along the south runway, you can drive out along Inglis Drive, along the river past the float plane terminal as far as the Coast Guard hovercraft base. From there you get a good side view of the south runway and some of the airport operations. You can also watch the float planes coming and going, and if you're lucky as we were once, an alarm ringing at the Coast Guard base and the hovercraft starting up and heading out on the water.
At the east end of the south runway is Flight Path Park, which is an excellent location for watching the airport operations and airplanes landing and taking off. You also get a good view from there of the Helijet operations. Kids like the park because there are mini-runways to run along, and a map of the world to climb over.
So from time to time we visit these places. But I was wondering what factors determine which runway is used? I find it hard to predict which side is going to be busier. Often both runways are used, sometimes one side for landing and the other for take off.
Also, there's another runway, that I never really noticed being used a lot until this week during the days with heavy winds. While I was out at UBC several times during the week, I noticed airplanes approaching the airport for landing in a north to south direction, flying over UBC towards the airport. Was this because of the winds? Or just regular YVR maintenance or something, and I just haven't noticed it before?
PS. You also get a good view of planes landing from the 4th floor of the Vancouver Transit Centre, but unfortunately there's no public access. - John H:)