Saturday, 3 March 2012

Nairobi to London 2012, Air Photos

Ragged mountain range on the east bank of Nile River 
We took EgyptAir from Nairobi to London with a change of airplanes in Cairo. The flight left Nairobi at nearly 5 am and the sky was still dark and we couldn't see anything on the ground. It took a long time to cool start the GPS, and I was glad that finally it worked. We start to see the featureless desert when we were near Khartoum. Gradually, the view became clearer as we flew close to the Nile River near Dongola. As we continued to fly north, the view of the river was then blocked by a rugged mountain range on the east bank of the river near Ambigol West. We saw the large inlet on the west bank of Lake Nasser south of Naj Kibdi, and then flew across the lake near Abu Simbil.

Agriculture activity in the desert
As we continued northward, we flew over a large feature on the ground about 5 km east of Toshka Lake. It was a series of many large circular, half a km in diameter, running in north-south direction. It appeared to be agricultural land development in the desert. Large multi-stories housing complexes started to appear in the desert as we were closer to Cairo. They looked like the discarded toys in a sand box. It must be hard to live in that environment.

Cairo has a large and modern airport. I wondered if it was trying to be a major hub for the area. When the aircraft was taxing on the tarmac, I saw a dust storm was blowing at the edge of the airport. It must be a serious hazard for the jet engines with all the fine dust. We only had a short time for changing airplane, and by the time we boarded, most passengers were already in. The GPS stopped to work normally when we were near Cairo, and didn't work at all after leaving Cairo. I started to take photo of the airplane position broadcasted in the flight information. This helped me to locate the locations where I took my photos.

White caps in the Mediterranean Sea
There were full of white caps in the Mediterranean Sea indicating the sea condition was very bad. We flew over the island of Crete south-west of Sitia. There were some clouds and I couldn't see the ground clearly. The conditions didn't improve much after we were over Greek, but I did see most of the high mountains on the western Greek were covered with snow.

Kepi i Rodonit in Romania
We flew over the land and entered the air space of Adriatic Sea south of Kepi i Rodonit, a cap on a peninsula in Romania. And we continued flying north along the east coast of the sea. The mountain ranges were all covered with snow. We passed the coast of Romania, Montenegro and Croatia. And on the study of the flight path, I came to know that the territory of the almost land-locked Bosnia and Herzegovina was extended to the coast of Adriatic Sea by a tiny neck of land, 24.5 km wide, at Neum. This narrow piece of land severed the southern part of the mainland coastal area of Croatia into two parts. The view along the coast of Croatia was particularly pretty with its many island chains and beaches.

Rhine River valley
We flew over Venice but I didn't see the city due to the cloud cover. The snow covered Alps was under us, and I was surprised that the land north of the mountains was bared of any snow. Soon we saw the Rhine River valley as the river entered Lake Constance at far distant north. The flight path was 50 km south of the lake, and soon we were over Lake Walen and saw the high and steep cliff on the north bank of the lake. And we saw the small town of Waseen on its western end and the Linth Canal connecting Lake Walen and Lake Zurich.

 Gösgen nuclear power plant at Däniken
We could see clearly Zurich at the norther tip of the lake. And the steam puffing out from the Gösgen Nuclear Power Plant at Däniken 50 km west of Zurich made it very easy to find from an airplane. There was very little snow on the ground. The flight path took us close to Basel, and we could see the city and its surrounding very clearly. Unfortunately, the view further west was completely blocked by the heavy cloud cover. and it started to clear out when we flew over the English Channel.

Dungeness nuclear power plant
We flew over west of the barren Dungeness Point, and saw another nuclear power plant right next to the southern beach of the point. and further inland on the flight path, there was a wind farm with 26 wind power generator turning. The cloud cover increased as we approached London, and the only feature I saw was the street clouds formation.

We left London at 14:30 and my seat was on the port side facing the bright winter sun. And my seat was at the trailing edge of the wing and prevent me to have any good view from the small aircraft window for the remaining part of the journey.

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