View from the Window Seat
Cathay Pacific flight CX521 (Tokyo to Hong Kong), and Airbus A340, shown in flight above Japan, taken from Northwest Flight 69 (Detroit to Kansai) flying at 40,000ft
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Cathay Pacific CX521
20 minutes out of Tokyo, on its way to Hong Kong
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45 minutes before our arrival at Kansai International on our 13+ hour fight to Japan, my GPS unit told me that we were passing by Mt. Fuji. It was supposed to be 30 miles away, straight out the window on the right-hand side of the plane (port? starboard? I dunno, I speak English and use “right” and “left”. I also use “get off the plane” rather than “deplane”).

We were flying at seven and a half miles up (about 40,000 ft), and so if the weather had cooperated, the view of a 30-mile-away Mt. Fuji would have been a glorious. It's under the clouds somewhere in the picture above, but all I saw was a Cathay Pacific flight that we were overtaking at a rapid pace.

Cathay Pacific flight CX521 (Tokyo to Hong Kong), and Airbus A340, shown in flight above Japan, taken from Northwest Flight 69 (Detroit to Kansai) flying at 40,000ft
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm (cropped) — 1/350 sec, f/10, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Airbus A340

Just based on the time, location, and direction, I'm guessing that it's Cathay Pacific flight 521 (Tokyo to Hong Kong), which, according to the Cathay Pacific schedule, uses an Airbus A330. UPDATE: but it's not an A330, as Shyam points out, it's a four-engine Airbus A340.

I would have rather seen Mt. Fuji, but it was sort of neat to see another plane like that. I've made the trans-Pacific flight 70+ times, and it's remarkably rare to see another plane like this.

Cathay Pacific flight CX521 (Tokyo to Hong Kong), and Airbus A340, shown in flight above Japan, taken from Northwest Flight 69 (Detroit to Kansai) flying at 40,000ft
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/500 sec, f/10, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
It's a Big World

I wonder whether anyone on that plane saw us? Took a picture? Is blogging about it today?

Here's the quintessential “shot from the plane window” showing the engines of our plane (a Boeing 747-400 of some form or other, I believe), taken over the North Pacific Ocean about 250 miles south of the eastern-most tip of Russia, as we plodded on toward Japan at 512mph...


Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm — 1/250 sec, f/13, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos

It really was that blue.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Nice shot of the other plane! It is an Airbus A340 though, the A330 has only 2 engines in total, the A340 has 4 and that certainly is an A340.

Thanks, I’ve updated the post.

BTW, are you allowed to use GPS devices on board planes? Did the crew have any objections?

A GPS is a one-way receiver of electromagnetic energy, just like a camera. Many models (mine included) are specifically designed for use in flight, with glideslope readings and other features for pilots. They’re perfectly fine to use, although some airlines restrict their use during the first/last 10 minutes of flight, simply because it’s easier to restrict all electronic devices than to have the flight crew vet 400 passengers’ stuff on a case-by-case basis. I don’t like the restriction, but I can’t say that I blame them. —Jeffrey

— comment by Shyam Mani on September 10th, 2008 at 5:49pm JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Wow!! Those are some incredible shots! That has givien me some inspiration to take some pictures like that when I fly to Ottawa this summer!! Great shots!!

— comment by Brittany on February 1st, 2009 at 7:49am JST (8 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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