For those with an unbounded imagination, there may be no measurable definition of perfection. While these individuals may never be able to accept the idea of a truly perfect day, they will doubtless be able to list the essential elements required irrespective of the rigid limitations of time. While I can say that I’ve yet to experience a truly perfect day, many memorable days have involved a trip to the airport.
I can remember many summer days when my father and I would pack up the car with our “AvGeek” essentials and head south to Vancouver for a day at the airport. With the experience enhanced by the photos from our digital camera, the comfort provided by a pair of folding chairs, our picnic lunch (occasionally purchased from Safeway) and an accompanying dialogue provided by the HF radio, our highlight of the day, Cathay Pacific’s 747 departure to Hong Kong, could be fully appreciated.
Alas. While time provides fundamental structure to our modern society, the dynamic nature of time restricts the natural human nature of staticity. Despite our best efforts, one physically cannot remain in a stationary state of mind. As I grew older, it seemed to become harder to find time for a trip to the airport; eventually, the summer jobs I took, and my decision to attend the University of Calgary, would restrict my time at YVR. Sadly, for Cathay Pacific and many other carriers, time would eventually catch up with the Queen of the Skies. When it came time for Cathay Pacific’s final 747 departure from Vancouver in 2014, I couldn’t help but think of all the picnics and day trips I had shared with my father over the years. These memories had accumulated over time all coming together to occupy a singular moment in my lifetime.
As I turned off Russ Baker Way it was clear to see that YVR was expecting a greater number of people than the inaugural 2017 event. The YVR “Flight Crew” had set up a marquee where people could sit, enjoy a Donair Kebab, and watch the aircraft arriving on runway 26L. Leading up to last year’s inaugural picnic, I didn’t know what to expect. With my smaller, and slightly inferior, Nikon Camera I wasn’t entirely sure I belonged. However, after meeting Chris Richards from YVR’s Social Media Team, Howard Slutsken, and many other Vancouver “AvGeeks” I soon felt at home: I immediately I knew I’d have to come back every year.
Within minutes of parking the car, I found myself among friends; Howard, Chris, and Jeremy Lindgren (Click Here for a Link to J’s Page). After catching up with Jeremy, who I hadn’t seen for a few years, I dropped by the YVR “Flight Crew” team to thank them for once again sponsoring the “Plane Spotters” Picnic. I had thoroughly enjoyed the event in 2017, and while the new location offered limited views of the departing aircraft, we were still able to capture some great shots of YVR’s diverse selection of aircraft.
Before heading over to the North runway to capture the Lufthansa A350, I started chatting with Yannick Van Der Ben (A member of the Spotters Club in Maastricht). We quickly became friends, and I offered to drive Yannick over to the North runway for the Lufthansa Arrival. It was fun to be able to talk about our shared passion for aviation and compare the benefits of our respective camera’s. As you’ll see from his Instagram page, Yannick’s camera is a little bit better than mine (Click Here)
In my opinion, YVR’s “Plane Spotters” picnic was always intended to be more than a mere gathering for photographers. The Picnic has become a true community event where you can meet new people, enjoy time with your family, and make connections with like-minded individuals.
I don’t know what Special arrival will be featured next year (it might be hard to surpass British Airways’ A-380 and Lufthansa’s A-350), however, I will be sure to attend again in 2019 and for many years down the road.
P.S. They have some pretty good swag!