Thursday 15th July-Monday 19th July 2004

After the short 'stag weekend' trip of last month, a longer, more relaxing visit was made last weekend, allowing more time to get out on the bikes once again, and report on those good photographic spots that are easily accessible around the perimeter of Palma Airport. Our base again was the Hotel Alexandra in C'an Pastilla, which is without doubt *the* hotel for the best overall views.

Palma offers many good possiblities for the photographer, although these are dependant heavily on the runway in use, and most notably during the mid-summer months, on the position of the sun, meaning that at certain times of the day (primarily 1200L-1600L when the sun is shining down the runways) photography has to be suspended ... siesta time !. Two other spots are also available and these have been covered well in previous Palma trip portfolios.

NB. Think I should point out, as is always the case with these portfolios, that the selection of airlines/aircraft shown below is not necessarily the best aircraft photographed on the trip - I shoot normal film too, and will always take slides first when the conditions are perfect enough to result in first-rate slides. I shot 10 rolls over the weekend !!

The 'mound of earth' alongside 24L/06R
The most well known Palma spot, famous more than anything else for photographs of aircraft 'rolling out' on landing on 24L. The 06 Runways were used more during this visit than any of my previous times at Palma, so the 'mound' offered a new perspective on the Friday morning, with departures going off on 06R. Unfortunately most departures of Boeing 737/Airbus A320/Boeing 757 size roll just a little too far for great rotation shots however, and in mid-summer the sun begins to get a little too high by around mid-day. Many more military aircraft were seen than on previous trips, thought to be in connection with an upcoming royal visit/holiday.
24L approach 1600-1800L
Just further down the main road from the 'mound', lies a roundabout under the final approach to 24L. Heading west away from the picturesque town of Sant Jordi, is an area where close approach shots are possible, once the sun has started to move around, after about 1600L. Power lines and windmills (!) get in the way slightly however, so opportunities for truly perfect approach shots are somewhat limited here.
06L arrivals 1800-2000L
When the 06s are in operation, 06L is used for landings (although for the first time ever I witnessed a Boeing 737 land over the large bank of earth under the final approach to 06R on this trip !), and offers a similar location, although in my opinion better with a much less 'busy' foreground, to roll-out shots on 24L from the 'mound'. Obviously the best time for the light is the last few hours of good sun, as with the departure shots from 24L covered in previous portfolios. The herd of goats offered a very pleasant and calming distraction from the landing Boeings/Airbus' etc.
06L approach 0900-1200L
Walk west from C'an Pastilla towards Palma City, and you get to a recently landscaped 'recreation area' under the approach to runway 06L. As with other spots where you are south of the runway centrelines, this is best for the sun until about 1200L.
24L approach 1800-2000L
A little further down the road from the roundabout under the runway 24L approach from the spot described above is a track alongside a fence heading north-east. Being a little further away from the centreline it gives a better perspective on traffic on short finals, and is perfect in the last few hours of good sun, with the whole of the fuselage side being lit. This time co-incides with one of the day's Air Berlin inbound 'waves', which currently consist of about 12-15 almost consecutive arrivals, as well as being one of the busiest times for arrivals during the day. New Spanish carrier Vueling have just started operations into Palma, but currently only have arrivals in daylight on Saturday and Sunday evenings (2000L), a daily flight also arriving at approx. 2330L.
The sun goes down on another wonderful weekend in C'an Pastilla
The view from the best balcony in C'an Pastilla, as the sun sets on another superb weekend ....
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