Circling Overhead

Coming in to Luxembourg, the pilot said that the airport was queueing incoming flights because of dense fog; we spent 30 minutes orbiting the airport then did a “failed approach” landing attempt, circled some more and finally landed.

I agreed with the pilot’s decision to fail the approach – the fog was really thick and very low; usually as you descend you break through to a clear layer but this time there was no clear layer, it was pea soup all the way down.

The fog layer was very thin – you could see a few things sticking up through it, and it was fun to speculate what was causing various ripples in the upper surface. The plumes above look just like the plumes over coal-fired power-plants back home. But that may be Cattenom nuclear power plant, not a coal plant. [wik] The scale of clouds and vapor-plumes is notoriously easy to confuse.

This one is a bit harder to see because of the scale. Our eye/brain gestalt makes objects like this against a white surface stand out very clearly but the camera doesn’t process data that way:

See what I mean about the clouds being low? Windmills are not that tall. We did several laps past the windmills and the first couple times by I thought “wow there are a lot of windmills here” until I realized we were making a big gentle circle.


  1. rq says

    I think the lowest cloud cover (not fog, mind) I’ve experienced shocked me because it was clouds clouds clouds clouds clouds and then we came out maybe a couple of tree heights above the ground? Basically that last descent that goes just over the highway, the airport fence and the bit of grass right before the runway. I was quite impressed.
    This kind of fog, though – I’m glad you got down safely!

  2. Jazzlet says

    I love that second picture, although for less than a second I though I was seeing seagulls or pelicans or some other big white bird.

    It’s bright sun and relatively warm here, rather pleasant.

  3. Dunc says

    I pretty sure that the one and only time I ever landed at LAX, I spent the entire descent wondering when we were going to break through the cloud, until the wheels hit the deck. Also, wondering why the cloud was yellow…

  4. komarov says

    Those figures in the first one look like a tall person leading a small camel.

    It’s a dinosaur on a leash out for walkies with the abominable snowman.

    Or perhaps I need to recalibrate my brain some time.

  5. ridana says

    I think those are the gremlins that tear the metal sheeting off the airplane wings. I’m glad the plane landed safely before they made it over to it.

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