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Helsinki International Airport

January 26, 2012

Leafing through my sketchbooks I discovered I made sketches of air planes at several International Airports including; Vancouver (1973), Alaska (1995), Lyon (France 2003), Narita (Japan 2004), Vancouver (2010), Hong Kong (2010 and 2011) and more recently Helsinki (June 2011). However the sketches at Lyon and Alaska did not include planes. I recall while seated in the transit lounge at Alaska airport I could not see the planes, so I ended up sketching the control tower! At the Lyon airport I was travelling with the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and I was too fascinated with Santiago Calatrava’s airport building and instead of sketching a plane I did a sketch of the interior of the building and the taxi stand!

On the journey to Berlin on the 5th June 2011, Finnair made the stop-over at Helsinki International Airport, and while waiting to board flight AY911 it was my chance to sketch yet another flying machine.

The Helsinki Airport is the main international airport of not only the Helsinki metropolitan region but the whole of Finland.  The terminal building is quaint and restrained a reflection of European Modernist Architectural style and interestingly, I could see the planes from the departure lounge!

The lounge next to the gate that would lead to flight AY911 was very busy and not knowing how much time I would have to do the sketch, I quickly made this sketch to capture the essence of the activity. The aircraft tow truck was still at the fore of the plane when I started the sketch, and the baggage trucks were moving in to unload the baggage, while the gangplank was already in place. This photo was taken as I was about to board the flight.

  1. Thanks to Gerard Benet, (Oldenburg, Germany): Every time I am at an airport I check my waiting time and then the possibility of sketching planes, but airports are interesting places and one is easily distracted looking at other things!

  2. sketchingdiary permalink

    Nice to travel with your hobby !

  3. fairoza permalink

    How long did it take you to sketch this Errol?

    • Time goes by quickly while waiting to change planes at an in-transit stopover. Also you never know when the ground crew will announce boarding. Usually if I can see the plane from the in-transit lounge I know that soon after the baggage are loaded the call will be soon after. However it is difficult to estimate how much time I will have to do my sketch, which also depends on the size of the sketch I am contemplating. At the Helsinki Airport my sketch book was a mere 5 inches square and so there would not be too much details; and you can see that this is reflected in the finished sketch. The trick is to plan beforehand the extent of the composition and work towards getting it done as quickly as possible. Sketching the tow-vehicle, the cockpit, the left wing and engine, the rear fuselage, the gangplank, and then horizon and tarmac perhaps took about 15 minutes. And just as I am about to take the photo of the view, shades and shadows were added.

  4. Richard permalink

    You also did a sketch at Hong Kong International Airport while we were waiting to board a flight to Shanghai, November 2010! I was there.

    • Errol Hugh permalink

      That post was done on the 23 March 2011. We were waiting to board a Dragon Air flight at Chek Lap Kok Hong Kong’s International Airport, bound for Shanghai.

  5. I’m grateful you made the post. It’s cleared the air for me.

  6. I thought finding this would be so arduous but it’s a breeze!

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