We caught up with the winners of our 2016 Vote Me Airside competition after their tour on 23 September to check out their favourite photos and moments from the day. The 5 winners were selected after over 300 entries, 7,000 votes and a tough judging process.
Tariq Mayet: “The whole day was very, very special”
“The whole day was very, very special. It is hard to narrow it down to just one part, but if I had to, then I would say that the trip to the top of the ATC Tower was a particular privilege! The perspective one gets of the airport and the views of all the aircraft movements from the tower are just amazing and distinctly unique. And to know that we were in the company of the best air traffic controllers in the world was special.”
“The Airbus A350 aircraft was my favourite of the day. We got to see Finnair (One World livery) and Ethiopian variants. The American Boeing 777-300ER was awesome as well, we got to view the cabin and cockpit as well as walk around the aircraft. The feeling you get standing next to the GE90 engine is ecstatic.
“Everything that we learned about the ATC operations was new information and most interesting. Furthermore, it was interesting to hear about the Heathrow expansion plans to create the next generation of airport which will truly be architecturally as well as technologically advanced.”
“My favourite aircraft without a doubt is the Boeing 747. It is an absolutely iconic aircraft and distinguishable from any angle, so seeing the BA 747-400 up close was a real thrill.”
Wael Al-Qutub: “It was a dream come true”
“My favorite and best part of the day was going up the Air Traffic Control Tower, it was fantastic for us #Avgeeks to have the chance to take pictures and videos from such a rare vantage point. It was a dream come true to see the amazing variety of airlines and aircraft from a “birds eye view” [the balcony]!
“It was also great to see my favorite aircraft, the Qantas Airbus A380, as it was being towed from the remote stands and dropped off to the gates so the passengers could board.”
“I would recommend all avgeeks entering next year’s Vote Me Airside competition to get as many votes as possible, from family and friends. I’d also suggest posting on social media regularly!”
Imran Aslam: “Going forward, it will certainly change my thinking the next time that I board an aircraft”
We were blessed with great weather on the day and the view from atop the Control Tower balcony was just breathtaking. Besides the aircraft movements, I was able to see Windsor Castle, The Shard and The London Eye.”
“I was in awe looking down upon aircraft such as the Boeing 747 as well as Airbus A380 whilst they were taxiing below me. It felt rather surreal as to date I would always look up to them when photographing. ”
“As a passenger we rarely think about or get the chance to see what it takes to get us to our destination. The Vote Me Airside day certainly gave me a great understanding of the complexity and behind the scenes consolidated effort that is needed to keep Heathrow running smoothly. Going forward, it will certainly change my thinking the next time I board an aircraft!”
“My favourite aircraft is the Boeing 777-300/777W. So you can only imagine the excitement which I had to contain on realising that we were going to get an up close and personal tour of the American Airlines 77W. I shall never forget standing next to the mighty GE90 engine and feeling so small. I am thankful to AA for allowing us to visit the cockpit as well as seeing the crew rest area. I shall never see the 77W again in the same way, thanks to this amazing tour.”
Guss A: “I was surprised to also find out those who worked at Heathrow were as passionate about aviation as us spotters”
“By far my favourite part of the day was visiting the control tower, which I had wanted to visit for a number of years. I loved standing in the tower balcony and seeing all the various aircraft from a completely different angle and perspective. The staff in the tower were very flexible with us, allowing us more time to spend photographing the planes.”
“It was fascinating to find out that many of the employees who work at Heathrow do not only see it as their job, but an important part of their lives. Many of them were very passionate about Heathrow and were very excited as to what its future holds i.e. with the potential for expansion.”
“I was surprised to find out those who worked at Heathrow were as passionate about aviation as us spotters, for example our bus driver had already obtained his PPL while our tour guide Joe was in the process of becoming a pilot and would fly in his spare time. We were lucky to be able to ask them questions throughout the day and learn from their vast experience.”
“The aircraft I enjoyed seeing the most that day was the A350. We were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the new Ethiopian A350 and were also lucky enough to catch the Finnair Oneworld A350 from the tower balcony. Both have been difficult to catch in the past due to their awkward arrival times, so seeing them both on the day was definitely amazing.”
Akbarali Mastan: “The Rosenbauer Panther fire trucks demonstration was quite a show”
“As an aviation enthusiast, I was ‘On Top of the World’ with the visit up the Control Tower. The view of so many aircraft movements from above, especially the elegant Boeing 747 taxiing right below us while we were there, was absolutely stunning . It was great to meet Ady Dolan who explained briefly about runway operations and provided a summary of events occurred that morning.”
“The time we spent with Fire & Rescue Department was completely new to me where they walked us around facilities including the communication room. The Rosenbauer Panther fire trucks demonstration was quite a show… the water canon, speed, design, technology was noteworthy.”
“The Airbus A350 aircraft was my favourite of the day. We got to see Finnair (One World livery) and Ethiopian variants. The American Boeing 777-300ER was awesome as well, we got to view the cabin and cockpit as well as walk around the aircraft. The feeling you get standing next to the GE90 engine is ecstatic.”
Footage from YouTuber Dantorp Aviation
We had another special guest along on the day – Daniel Goz, the creator and owner of youTube channel Dantorp Aviation! The day coincided with Dan reaching 50,000 subscribers on youTube so he made this video to commemorate the day!