Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spirit's Maiden Flight from Latrobe

Today, I headed out to the airport where Spirit Airlines touched down to begin its inaugural flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. 

We awoke to a surprising dusting of snow on the sidewalks; a befitting day for a flight destined to the Sunshine State. They had planned the festivities to begin at 11:00 am at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
As I drove the road that paralleled the airport, I saw the brightly-painted Airbus A319 parked on the tarmac in front of the terminal building. It was, I must say, a sight to behold.

Once again, we will see scheduled arrivals and departures of an airline at our fine airport. I parked and walked to the terminal building. The wind was brisk but I was definitely dressed warmly because it was my plan to get out on the deck to take pictures. The winds were 15 gusting to 25. Brrrrr. I know it was cold; even ole Arnie was frozen solid.

As I was taking pictures, I happened to look up and realized there were people in the community room above me. They were invited to a gathering for this flight and seemed content to watch from the warmth of the room... wimps.  A few of those inside waved at me. I guess they figured I was a little loony standing in the cold taking pictures.

 Those who know me would have probably confirmed that description.

The ground crew was getting the plane boarded and ready for departure. They pulled the portable walk way from the plane, grabbed the wheel chalks and they readied the tug. As they repositioned the plane for taxi, the pilots started the engines.

The plane held 134 passengers and I'm sure they were anxious to get to their destination. The airplane taxied to Runway 23 and took the runway.

The engines spooled up and the plane headed down the runway. As it gained speed, it blasted the snow off the runway leaving a blizzard-like cloud behind the tail. It lifted off and disappeared into the mini snow shower off the end of the runway.

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