21 April 2013

Spotting In Phoenix And Southwest Adventures

I went on a trip in March to Phoenix to catch some Spring Training baseball.  While in Phoenix, I found a great place to do some spotting - Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe.

This picture was taken from Hayden Butte, a small mountain next to ASU's Sun Devil Stadium.  Just half way up the trail, you can see PHX and downtown Phoenix.  The ASU campus in Tempe is located to the east and slightly south of PHX's 2 7-25 runways.  The building in the lower right corner is the headquarters of U.S. Airways.

Once at the top, Hayden Butte is a great place to spot aircraft landing (or taking off depending on the winds) to both sides of PHX.  The US A320 in the picture is landing on the north side of PHX (that's the best zoom on my camera).  Aircraft landing on the south side fly much closer to the mountain.

You don't have to hike up Hayden Butte to watch the aircraft fly by.  You can sit in the shade at the light rail station or Sun Devil Stadium and watch aircraft pass overhead, which I ended up doing as the trail is rather steep and it was a hot day. 

After watching a couple of spring training games, my next stop was Las Vegas. My flight on Southwest was uneventful until we were about to land.  I had a window seat and just as we were passing over the piano keys, the engines spooled up and we started climbing again.  I just experienced my first go-around!  Once we leveled off, the pilots explained that the aircraft that landed before us did not exit the runway in time for us to land.

The night before I was to leave LAS, I got another surprise from Southwest.  My non-stop flight to SJC was cancelled.  My only other option to get to SJC in time for my Hawaiian flight to HNL was fly to BUR and change planes.  It was nice to be able to board and deplane using stairs and walking across the ramp, something I haven't done since I last flew to KOA in 2002.  Luckily, the flights were lightly loaded and I was able to make it to my flight in SJC about 10 minutes before boarding started.

No comments: