Thursday, February 7, 2013

When Being an #Avgeek Makes a Full Circle

Urbandictionary.com
I was up skiing at Northstar yesterday when I heard a large jet roaring overhead. Of course I had to look. It was a beautiful, crisp, bluebird day, and I could easily tell from the contrail that it was a 4-engine aircraft- 747 or A380. "I wonder if that's..."

Yesterday's FlightAware for United 900
Sure enough it was United flight 900 on it's way from San Francisco to Frankfurt. Have you ever seen a plane flying over and wondered where it was headed? Well, there's an app for that. It's called FlightAware (If you're an #avgeek too you may have already heard of it)  and it's awesome! In addition to being able to track flights by flight number, tail number or route, there's a "Nearby" feature, that will bring up a map with all the planes on IFR flight plans in the sky above you. Yesterday I was just lucky enough to have my phone on me.

Of Course I Tweeted About It!
I normally don't like to mess around with my iPhone while I ski- I figure part of the draw of being outdoors is escaping digital distractions (like twitter). It just so happened that yesterday I was also working on earning one of the harder EpicMix badges at Northstar (25k), so I wanted to have a way to confirm that all of my lift check-ins were counted properly. On groomer days when the off-piste snow is kind of crappy (meaning I'm not leaving the trail to go through the icy trees), that's how I keep myself entertained. I guess my obsession with conquering EpicMix kind of makes me a #skigeek too, if there is such a thing.

Anyway...I'd just rode Backside Express and I'm standing on top of the mountain when a big plane flies overhead. I get distracted (which I often do when planes fly over) and out comes the iPhone from the ski jacket. I then use FlightAware to confirm my guess that it's United 900. It turns out I've actually been on that flight before! In fact, I even blogged about it here...and I took a picture (below)...which is another #avgeek activity I typically do for my other photoblog ThirtySixThousand.com

United Flight 900 SFO-FRA in 2009
So it was in that moment that being an #Avgeek (and a #skigeek) came full circle. In 2009, I clearly remember looking out of the plane window as we flew over Tahoe and thinking about all the people down there skiing that beautiful day. Yesterday while I was skiing, I couldn't help but think about all the people up in that plane on their way to Frankfurt while remembering what it was like to be there.

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