The Business End
(Oakland, 2007. Image copyright Hamish Reid; click on the image above for larger version).
This is one of those images that could be (about) almost anything: a brochure-ready illustration for a business jet manufacturer or executive jetshare setup; an image for a lifestyle advertisement (oozing that thrusting expensive arrogance so essential to sucking in the insecure); a typical piece of "pilot porn" for the glossy flying mags (all those sleek shiny surfaces and hidden controls)
. Well, all that unless you notice the obvious: no one would let those orange intake covers (let alone those vulgar traffic cones on the ground) intrude on a serious staged photo or illustration, and for real
advertising / lifestyle images, a crew of helpers would have sprayed water all over the ramp for that shiny dark reflective effect. And it would probably have been taken early in a soft diffuse pre-dawn light, with a few reflectors and off-stage or interior lights for effect, rather than in the harsh light of a mid-September Northern Californian afternoon.
All of which is kind of the point for me: I saw this as I was refueling a light twin-engined airplane on the ramp at Oakland airport (KOAK) near where I live, and reflexively thought "how the other half live
" (something I think a lot when I see the shiny fleet of business jets parked in front of the Kaiser FBO
there). But I looked again and did a doubletake: the cartoonish orange ears, the little flecks of very similar orange around the feet of this and the other planes, the studied serious monochrome of the Kaiser fleet, the smooth geometries
a Photolalia image, for sure.
(The context here is that I'm actually — and rather improbably — a pilot
; I fly airplanes (not yet for a living, and certainly not planes like this) out of Oakland airport (KOAK), and I'm around airplanes a lot, both on the ground and in the air; they're a very familiar part of my life. I have a ramp pass at Oakland airport (it's a high security area, so you have to go through background checks, etc., just to be able to walk onto the tarmac unescorted), and I often get to see (and hear — the noise can be indescribable) close-up the sorts of aircraft ranging from large freighters and charter jets through smaller business jets and turboprops to small single-engine Cessnas (and so on) that most people only see from a distance or from tightly-controlled vantage points in terminals or inside the planes themselves).