Airbus A380 Pilot Contacts Photographer Who Shot Plane High Above Boston

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Written by: Mark Garfinkel
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[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark Garfinkel is a world renowned photographer, not just in aviation, but in the news media as well. Mark is a pioneer when it comes to long range digital photography, and the below story is a great example of an AvGeek’s “full circle” photgoraphy experience. Be sure to follow Mark on Twitter at @PictureBoston, and visit his website, -PD]

It is said that inside every aviation enthusiast is a little child. If that’s true then it must also be true that this “child” writer feels how a kid must feel on Christmas morning.

Shortly after 4pm yesterday, while I was browsing the internet, I noticed on the website that one of the largest planes in the world, the Airbus A380 passenger jet, was 7 miles high (38,000ft) over the Portsmouth, N.H. area. The British Airways jet was traveling south, and radar showed the trip was from London to Miami. This is a normal everyday occurrence over Boston, as hundreds and hundreds of flights exit and enter the east coast in this fashion.

The light was nice and the contrails that these planes produce were large and pluming. I setup a tripod in my driveway in Winthrop, M.A. and used a Canon EOS 1DX and a Canon 800mm lens with a 1.4 extender. I waited and at 4:13pm the jet showed itself to be over the North Shore of Boston. I took a few photos and was going to pack up when I noticed a smaller passenger plane, a Southwest 737, from BWI-Portland, M.E. heading toward the British Airways jet at 28,000ft, or 10,000ft below it. They “crossed” over Franklin, M.A., roughly 30 miles away from me.

I posted the photos on twitter, with the flight numbers, BA209 and SWA3733. These photos got a good response but when I checked twitter a few minutes before bed last night, there was one twitter message that piqued my interest and gave me a big smile. One of the three crew members that was piloting the massive plane tweeted the following messages, below, after he landed in Miami. Also, please continue to scroll down to see my photos, below. If it is said that aviation brings the world together, and Twitter makes the world smaller, then it must also be said that good old-fashioned manners and friendliness make the world a better place.




Other images from the set:



About the Author

Mark Garfinkel



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  • Jim Pease

    That is just too cool!

  • medicated_bobblehead

    $20k in gear + mad skills!

  • mfwright

    So amazing it looks unreal. Makes it tempting for me to try the same though I don’t have the $$$ cameras and the skills but it’d be fun to do (but appears to cloudy this weekend). I remember few weeks ago while walking out of a store, the sun angle was just right on a contrail way up there, it prompted me to take a closer look with binoculars, but no tripod it was hard to keep on sight.