Spectacular pics as #Votemeairside Heathrow tour winners go airside

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 14th August 2015

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Our #Votemeairside competition winners got their chance to go airside at Heathrow last Friday (7 August 2015) for a money-can’t-buy experience at the UK’s busiest airport. We’ve got more on the day and some of the spectacular shots taken on the day by the winners here. Enjoy!

The day began with a trip up the Heathrow Airport Air Traffic Control Tower for our guest Graeme, Andrew, Reshma, Carolyn, Anna and Henry thanks to our good friends at NATS!

Air Traffic Controller Ady Dolan, one of the stars of BBC Airport Live and well known on Twitter, gave the group an insight into how ATC’s manage movements around Heathrow.

While up there our guests got to take photos from the balcony of the tower with the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 (9V-SKI) new, and striking, commemorative 50th anniversary livery a fan favourite!

Photography from around the tarmac…

After making the descent down the tower and a quick stop in T5 for lunch, our guests headed out to Stand 595 to watch a Qantas A380 taxi onto it.

Carolyn Royds took this great “Tower wink” shot on the day. Source: Carolyn Royds

Unfortunately, due to operational timings we were unable to get our guests onto the A380 but instead we were able to take the group to the new Airside Operations building by eastern end of the Northern Runway.

From the top of the new building our guests were treated to a spectacular view of aircraft landing on the runway (27R) while getting a chance to chat to one of our Senior Airfield Officers, Dan Riggs.

The next and final stop was on the grass right next to the runway for close up pictures of the aircraft touching down with the day ending with the successful photographing of an aviation enthusiasts favourite – the Kuwait Airways’ Boeing 747-400 arriving from Kuwait City (flight KU103).

What did our guests have to say about the day:

  • Graeme: “I honestly can’t believe that we were asked where we wanted to go on the airfield to take photographs! I absolutely loved being in the vicinity of the touchdown zones with the planes coming in from all over the world. Even on the roof of the new Airside Safety / Ops building.Spending time in the tower was just fantastic. THAT view! I have to confess that I am not one for heights so the viewing platform didn’t get quite the trampling with my feet that it did with others, but it was good to get some time to talk to Ady Dolan to ask my geek related runway hold and taxiway questions.I loved seeing the aircraft that won me the competition (G-VFAB) on the stands in Terminal 3.”

Our guests on the day Graeme, Andrew, Reshma, Henry, Anna and Carolyn with NATS Ady Dolan and Nadine in the back row, up on the tower.

  • Reshma: “I think it’s great Heathrow gave the opportunity to enthusiasts to come down and see how the job is actually done. As a member of the aviation industry myself, I think it is important that prizes like this are given away, to allow young people to physically see the type of jobs available in an airport and to turn that dream job into a reality. I hope to see more competition prizes like this, it will help people understand the need for a Heathrow expansion!I asked several people including, an Air Traffic Controller and Senior Safety Staff how they got their jobs and what advice they’d give to others wanting to join airport operations. It seems that motivation is the key, many came from various different backgrounds and education levels but all shared a true passion for Heathrow and the aviation industry.”

Reshma was pretty thrilled to be up the tower as proven by this shot!

  • Anna: “My favourite part of the day was standing beside the runway and take pictures of landing planes! It had been my dream for a long time and I had told myself that dreams are a not impossible to achieve!I have seen many airport and aeroplane programs and both myself and my partner are “geeks” on this topic so much of what we saw on the day I had seen on TV or pictures before, but nothing can compare to listening and seeing it all live!”
  • Andrew: “My favourite part of the day was the ATC tower visit and especially the photography opportunities from the balcony! I was really surprised at the huge network of airside tunnels at the airport as I knew there wer some but not to the extent and length of what we saw and drove through!Thanks again to Heathrow for the opportunity it will for sure go down as one of my very best #AvGeek days ever.”

Our Airside Safety Vehicle’s “Follow Me” sign was a hit with our guests and their social media accounts. Andrew made the most of the opportunity to grab a pic with it.

  • Carolyn: “I had the BEST time on Friday. It was a fantastic experience! Great bunch of geeks and the staff were all brilliant with us – Nadine and Ady at the tower, Daniel and Colin (I think) from airside safety and of course the Heathrow communications staff. The competition was a great idea and the prize, well it really was something that money-can’t-buy. For an AvGeek like me it was a dream come true. Just two years ago, when BBC Airport Live was on, I jokingly tweeted that I would sell a kidney to go up the ATC tower. I’m happy to say I still have both my kidneys.”

Carolyn got this great pic looking out over part of T3 with some Virgin Atlantic aircraft and a Emirates A380 visible in the background.

  • Henry: “My favourite part of the day was going up the Control Tower. We were advised not to look down but the opportunity was too good to miss. We got a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the airport and could see every airline tail on the ground, a legal requirement.I learnt about how efficient the Air Traffic Controllers are with juggling the amount of aircraft taking off and landing into Heathrow Airport every day. I also learnt how aircraft are grouped together according to their wake category to minimise delays.The favourite aircraft I saw on the day was the British Airways Boeing 777-300ER. I enjoy seeing that aircraft when I am planespotting as it has the world’s largest and most powerful jet engines.It would be great for more opportunities like this to happen. There was an amazing variety of aircraft on display with colourful liveries.”

Henry could barely contain his excitement on the day, but in a (rare) calm moment our other guest Anna managed to get this shot up the tower of him.

Unfortunately, one of our winners Lewis Steeper was unable to attend on the day which is why we invited Andrew and Henry who finished in 6th and 7th place respectively. Their votes were so close that we negotiated with our air side team to bring an additional guest.

A big thank you to all who entered the #Votemeairside competition, and future opportunities for AvGeeks…

Thank you from all of us in the Heathrow Social team to the over 330 people that entered the competition! We love seeing all your great pics of Heathrow so keep sharing them with us on Twitter (@heathrowairport) and Instagram (@heathrow_airport).

We’ll be looking to create more competitions and opportunities in the future.

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 14th August 2015