Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Landing in London City (Blitz style)

My previous post was about boarding the wrong plane; now I'll write a bit about landing in London City. If you recall another post, you will realize how much I hate Heathrow. So I decided to go to a different airport. There was a cheap flight to London City, so it was pretty convenient.
As you might know, London City is on the east side of the city (you can see it in the introduction to Eastenders). If you come from Dublin, (that's from the northwest) and landing on Runway 10, you have to go around London (quite sensible, I hasten to add). You reach the south of the city (I could see the the Big Ben, the Parliament and the London Eye from the right side of the plane). Then it turns north and as your get next to the 100 radial, it makes a sharp turn east to start the final approach; that happens almost over the Tower Bridge, so you get a wonderful view of the towers. Then, you fly over Canary Wharf (really low by now), clearing the buildings by not so much and finally over some old mills. At that time, you are almost over the runway, so the plane must go down. Fast. I have never seen such a high vertical speed ever or at least, since I was flying single engine planes. At the last second the pilot stopped the descent, and we had a soft touchdown. Even though I enjoyed the view, I can't say it was an uneventful flight.
As the record goes, this airport features a 5.5 degrees glidslope descent (normal is 3); here are some nice flight simulator images, even though they don't give a fair impression to the steep descent.

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