A Boeing 747 at Eelde!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in Blog | Leave a comment

After the runway extension program at Groningen Airport Eelde was completed in 2013, widebodies were suddenly a possibility. However, due to reasons we weren’t able to properly receive them yet. Recently that all changed and earlier this week we received our first Boeing 747 for a full stop!

Some months ago, we were finally able to receive widebodies and we quickly started spreading the word in order to make operators aware of this. Not long after, we learned that there was indeed a very interested party. There was radio silence for a while but a few weeks ago, rumors started surfacing that Atlas Air was interested in operating a Boeing 747 into Eelde. Details were still a bit uncertain, but as the weeks progressed, more became known and the realization sank in that this was actually happening! Preparations from our end were set in progress and last Tuesday was to be the day.

I had an early shift and was able to track the flight from pretty much the moment it departed in the USA. Traffic at the airport was otherwise fairly quiet and weather was quite poor and gloomy with some occasional drizzle/rain. The aircraft ran a bit behind schedule, which was alright for me as that gave me time to hand over my shift and prep my gear and vehicle. In the days before, I scouted my locations and made plans A and B, so nothing would be left to chance.

As the aircraft was on approach, I was alongside the runway, standing on top of the flatbed end of my vehicle. I happily snapped away as the aircraft touched down, rolled out and taxied back past us. Afterwards, I drove back to the apron to have a close up look at this big beast and take a couple more photos.

With a turnaround time of a few hours, I had also arranged to go up in the Cessna 150 of a local flying school for some aerial photos. Weather still wasn’t great and it made for quite a bumpy ride, taking photos was a challenge. After orbiting over the airport for some 15-20 minutes, we landed again and I switched over to a ground vehicle to photograph the departure.

The aircraft was already close to starting up and I made my way to one of the holding points near the runway. Turned out this was the best location, as the aircraft rotated at my favorite shooting angle. Since it was empty, it only needed roughly 1600m (my estimate) of runway and the climb rate was definitely positive. That thing went up like a rocket!

All in all a great and most of all historic day for the airport and I’m happy to have been there to witness and capture it. It definitely makes me long for more though, as the next day the apron felt very empty without that 747. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 5 years for the next one!

A selection of my photos below:


And if you would like to see video footage as well, check out this great one (in 4K) by Mylos:

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