Kent Wien's Trip Report

Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

For more recent posts, go to my site

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Looking for more trip reports? I've moved here...

I've noticed a lot of hits to this page which hasn't been updated much in the past few years since I've moved over to Gadling where I post the Cockpit Chronicles and Plane Answers columns.

If you're just looking for my videos and photos, the best place for that is at

Join me over there!


Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm still abuzz about that London arrival

"Descend to 1-3-0."

"Descend to 1-2-0."

I found myself listening to London Control while admiring one of the all-time greatest views I've ever seen.

"Slow to 220 knots. Fly heading 1-7-0."

As we banked to the right, I looked over my right shoulder at the London eye, a blue ferris wheel that stands out among the amber lights struggling for relevance against the sunrise.

No one should be up this early. Most of London is still asleep, and even if they were awake, they wouldn't be seeing the view we were witnessing. The lights of the city, the bridges crossing the Thames river and the sunrise that blankets the buildings with more light after every turn of our holding pattern makes me pause for a moment to realize just why this job is the most visually rewarding of any occupation.

As we turned to the right one more time, I began to ponder whether an astronaut would actually prefer the variety of these spectacular sights that a mere 'low-level' pilot can see.

A 777 ahead of us was still dark enough to cover the city lights. Even Mike, the captain with close to 40 years in the air, was taken by the scene. "That's just incredible" he said as the airliner banked to the right and peeled away from us, just 1,000 feet below.

I had to resist the temptation to pull out my camera. I had taken some photos earlier, at 12,000 feet, above the 10,000 foot floor where we can't allow a camera to distract us during the more critical 'sterile period' of our arrival into Heathrow.

So often I wish I could simply upload to Flickr the five most interesting things my eye sees on a flight. I have to try to capture whatever I can and post them here on Flickr.

It was a couple of well timed views like this that inspired me to post a picture from every flight with a small caption on a blog years ago. Then I'd write more. And then more. Finally leading to the Cockpit Chronicles blog.

It'd be so much easier if you guys could just sit in the cockpit jumpseat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The most amazing sight I've ever seen while flying...

I'll probably get around to blogging about this in Cockpit Chronicles next month, but I wanted to share this with you here first.

Not many pilots (myself included) have ever seen Noctilucent clouds before. But what started out looking like Northern Lights turned out to be these Noctilucent clouds which reach an altitude of 300,000 feet.

Read about them here:

I have video to go along with this picture. It's great to hear the other pilots asking about these clouds on the North Atlantic air-to-air frequency. Judging by the comments, it was obvious that most of us had never run across these before.

This photo is almost exactly how it looked to us. I had to use a slow shutter with a high ISO to capture it on Monday night, July 21st, 2008.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just look at all this work that needs to be done...

I know I've slowed down on posting here lately. But I'm still posting to Gadling, Flickr and YouTube like crazy.

So, unless I have something specific to say that I can't say over at Cockpit Chronicles or Plane Answers at Gadling, I probably won't be posting much more to this blog.

Take a look at those sites if you haven't seen them yet!

Cockpit Chronicles and Plane Answers
Kent's Flickr Page
Kent's YouTube Page
Kent's Twitter

I'll still check the comments here, so feel free to get in touch with me that way if you'd like.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Plane Answers: Is "Free Flight" the answer to ATC delays?

Map Display
Originally uploaded by Fly For Fun
I know a lot has been written lately about airport delays, I have also read something about "Free Flying." With TCAS is ATC obsolete? Should ATC be more focused on ground operations, to get planes in the air? I know from most recent articles the ATC system is operating on antiquated systems and in need of a massive overhaul. I am interested to hear your opinion, is "Free Flying" in our future?

Read my take on Justin's question in the latest Plane Answers.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cockpit Chronicles: Our easiest trip: the two-day San Juan

One leg down and one leg back the next day. It doesn't get nicer than this!

We came upon a cell that needed to be dealt with (yeah, as in GO AROUND-not vaporize) and yet we still managed to arrive in San Juan 30 minutes early. 

It was great to visit with Captain Hank and hang out near the beach in San Juan. Just the ticket for my Paris marathon of trips coming up. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cockpit Chronicles: Bombed in Paris

The danger in this Chronicles title is the possible association with drinking the night away in Paris. Trust me, that's not what happened. Read all about my first Paris trip of the season here.

There's more Paris to come this summer, since I managed to get a whole month of it for June! I'm going to try to find something different for each trip. Let's see how that works, given the very expensive Euro/Dollar exchange rate.

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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