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Vancouver International Airport

January 23, 2012

Airports are interesting places to visit, however most airports designs are functionally planned for the efficient arrival and departure of air travelers, and never for the casual visitor to “see” the magnificent flying machines.

I am always mystified and amazed to see these marvelous wonder machines take off and soar into the sky.  I am also intrigued and interested in the preparation rules that the plane goes through after landing and before departure.

With military precision the ground crews swarm over the airplane with their equipment, removing the passenger’s baggage, refueling the tanks, uploading cargo and new passenger’s baggage and finally conducting a routine exterior safety check.

My sketch tries to capture such activities while waiting to board Air Canada flight 07 at the Vancouver International Airport on the 15th January 2010, a flight bound for Toronto, Ontario.

  1. errolson permalink

    Great sketch! I’m the same; I’m always taking photos of the airport infrastructure and support systems. Endlessly fascinating. A good thing too, since I spend way more than my fair share of time hanging out at airports!

    • Airport terminals that I have experienced and which interest me architecturally over the years are: Chicago O’Hare United Airlines Terminal, Munich Airport Terminal, both by Helmut Jahn; Lyon Airport by Santiago Calatrava; JFK Trans World Airlines by Eero Saarinen; Kansai Airport terminal by Richard Rogers; and of course Hong Kong International Airport Terminal One by Norman Foster. I thought that Paul Andreu’s Terminal 2 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is somewhat disturbing with the ceiling tension trusses that appear like “darts” flushing down into the huge linear lobbies. I was not surprised at the collapse of Terminal 2 in 2004. Somehow the concrete roof structure seemed like “magic” to me when I first experienced it.

      The next time I visit an interesting Terminal building I will be sure to sketch the interior of the building rather than just planes!

  2. errolson permalink

    Favorite airport design?

    • I have done a few sketches of planes while waiting at in-transit lounges but only at Lyon (France) Airport did I sketch the interior of the building. However I do think of the plane sketches I have done to date, yes, the Vancouver plane sketch is my favorite.

    • You mean I don’t have to pay for expert advice like this anymore?!

      • Errol Hugh permalink

        I enjoy talking about my sketching exploits. It stimulates my sketching rhetoric and keeps my mind busy.

  3. Errol Hugh permalink

    Whenever I am waiting at an intransit port I try to sketch the plane I am waiting to board.

    • Yours is a point of view where real intelligence shines through.

      • Errol Hugh permalink

        Thanks for your comments Joyelle, Sketching and writing goes hand-in-hand when you have passion in what you try to do.

    • I’m not easily impressed but you’ve done it with that posting.

      • Errol Hugh permalink

        Jazlyn, next time you are waiting to board your flight, try recording your observations and you will be pleasantly surprised later when you review your observations months or years later!

  4. Daphne Yee Man permalink

    Flight and flying machines amaze many. I am awed by human ingenuity in the invention of beautiful airplanes that defy gravity.

    Although transiting can be a bore, you actually made use of the layover time to do this sketch on a scene which could have been so easily dismissed.

    I like the interweaving between the sequences of drawing and word description born out of keen observation. Can you tell me why you started with the little cargo truck before the main subject (airplane)?

    • Sketching always enhances one’s observations, and usually a sketch can magically makes a mundane composition interesting and “lively”. Earlier in my Blog I talk about “framed view” and this concept relates to the choice of the extent of your images that you intend to include in your sketch; the perspective displacements of the objects in the sketch; and the station point from which the composition of the sketch will radiate. These are the factors that influence the makeup of my on-site sketches.

      I was interested in the activities of the ground crew as they tended to their tasks while I was keenly observing what they were doing and the sequence in which they performed their mandatory duties; something similar to the gasoline station attendant when you pull-up your car to purchase petrol. Of course attending to an aircraft is far more complex and certainly not routine since the ground crew’s servicing is more essential and demanding.

      When I first looked at the view that I was about to sketch, I saw the cargo truck that was uploading the galley essentials as the central focus of the composition, from which the plane on the right and the cargo trains on the left radiated out to complete the sketch. Notice that the top of the cargo truck is almost at the horizon line and that it is sketched as a one point perspective. This strategy highlighted the 3D projection of the plane’s fuselage as it shoot away from the cargo truck.

      • Four score and seven minutes ago, I read a sweet article. Lol thanks

    • Gee whiz, and I thought this would be hard to find out.

  5. Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of putting it!

  6. This post has helped me think things through.

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