[KLGA] – An Aerial View of Flushing While on the Whitestone Climb

[KLGA]: An Aerial View of Flushing While on the Whitestone Climb

This is a neat video, fun to watch and less than four-minutes long … you may want to play it again. Plus, it helps to illustrate the problems NextGen is creating in residential communities, such as 400-year-old Flushing, on the west end of Long Island.

20150507cpy.. portion of LGA4 DEP showing various climbs [KLGA]

The Whitestone Climb was created decades ago to abate noise on Runway 13 departures. Pilots turn right to a 180 heading, then begin a left turn to a 040 heading once they reach a distance of 2.5-miles (see the arc marked ‘LGA 2.5DME’). This routing minimizes overflight of residential lands.

It appears that in September 2012, a passenger recorded the view out a left window of their commercial flight, while taking off from LaGuardia and doing a Whitestone Climb. At about two minutes, the video has a splice; the final minute-plus appears to be video shot from a small personal airplane.

The views are nice, and the music really fits (at least from this writer’s narrow west coast perspective!). But the video also subtly points out that an important aspect of air travel is the show outside – the bonus aerial sightseeing tour that passengers can enjoy with air travel. Or at least it used to be, before NextGen.

Airlines should be proud to share these views, which promote communities while also sparing residents the excessive noise impacts under more direct departure routes. And, circling around Flushing on a sunny day has got to be a visual thrill for most of the passengers, residents and visitors alike.

The Whitestone Climb, Frame-by-Frame

Below is a series of seven screen-captures pointing out some of the landmarks and discussing the Whitestone Climb. At the bottom, a pair of maps are added to help illustrate the full geographic context of Flushing and LaGuardia.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time0.19

At time 0:19, near the departure end of Runway 13, starting a right turn to heading 180. The view is to the north-northeast and includes two bridges: Whitestone just left of center photo, and Throgs Neck near the right edge.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time0.34

At time 0:34, while finishing the right departure turn. The view is now northeast. The large highway is the Whitestone Expressway. The bright blue wall on the left is New York Times Plaza.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time0.45

At time 0:45, the flight is heading south over Citi Field and into the Flushing Meadows park area. The white buildings on the left are Sky View Center, with downtown Flushing behind. Roosevelt Avenue is to the north of Sky View Center; the Long Island Rail line is to the south.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time0.55

At time 0:55, the flight has been heading 180 and climbing and has now reached the ‘2.5DME’ fix southeast of LaGuardia. A left turn is started to a new heading, 040. On the right half of the photo, the long band of fields and trees marks the Kissena Corridor Park.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time1.19

At time 1:19, the view is now looking northwest, toward downtown Flushing in the upper left corner of the photo. The busy Long Island Expressway is along the bottom left half of the photo. The large diagonal road is Main Street, to downtown Flushing. On the right edge of the photo are numerous ballfields and Kissena Lake, in a generally forested area. Note the flight has now climbed high enough to substantially reduce the noise impact.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time1.39

At time 1:39, the view is looking west-northwest. The ballfields in Kissena Corridor Park are at bottom center, with downtown Flushing beyond. Note that nearly every block is residential, grading from single homes to highrise apartments near the core of downtown Flushing, at Main and Roosevelt.

20120913.. 'Flight Over Flushing', (KLGA Whitestone Climb at approx. 5PM), screencap at time1.50

At time 1:50, the view is nearly due west. The departure end of LaGuardia’s Runway 13 is visible on the top edge, just right of center. The Whitestone route is clearly visible in this photo: the right turn over the water, the southbound climb over non-residential Flushing Meadows corridor, then the long left turn while climbing over the Long Island Expressway. The noise mitigation benefits are substantial.

New York City and vicinity (two airports: KLGA top center, KJFK bottom right)

20150506scp.. KLGA east to Fort Totten , Flushing area (street map from Bing)

Flushing and vicinity (click on image for satellite view of Flushing in a new window)

Recent Posts

Pine Island Glacier: the latest example of rapidly melting polar ice that will eventually flood major airports

Ecowatch published an informative article about a huge iceberg, roughly 115 square miles, that has calved off of the Pine Island Glacier. The article cites an interesting series of posts by Stef Lhermitte discussing a large new iceberg, designated B-46, which is rapidly disintegrating as it drifts toward the Pacific Ocean.

The series of posts includes a GIF slideshow showing annual sea-ice extent at the Pine Island Glacier. Here is a scrollable PDF showing a series of screencaps taken from the GIF slideshow, with images at roughly a 5-year interval from 1975 to 2018 (depending on what years had available images). The sea ice extent for each year is indicated by a color-coded thick line; over time, this line progresses upward, exposing more of the seawater below. In the background of all images, the satellite image appears to be current, as taken on 10/30/2018.

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

Overall, this series of images shows a pronounced decline in sea-ice coverage. Within the images, you will also notice that there were a few years, ending in 2013, where sea-ice cover was expanding. Since 2013, the melting/calving has been precipitous. Bear in mind, the polar regions are in total darkness for months each year, and it may take years for new meltwater to mix with the seawater below. Thus, massive ice melting may cause an easily frozen freshwater lens to sit atop the seawater. This will create an illusion of expanding sea-ice extent for a few winters. But, eventually, once the excessive freshwater becomes mixed, or as ambient air temperatures continue to increase, the expanded ice that peaked in 2013 will become just a distant memory.

Putting this in a Geographic Context

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia, describing this specific glacier:

Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is a large ice stream, and the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica, responsible for about 25% of Antarctica’s ice loss.[3] The glacier ice streams flow west-northwest along the south side of the Hudson Mountains into Pine Island Bay, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. It was mapped by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) from surveys and United States Navy (USN) air photos, 1960–66, and named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) in association with Pine Island Bay.[1][4]

The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10% of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.[5] Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier Basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the sea than any other ice drainage basin in the world and this has increased due to recent acceleration of the ice stream.

Here are a pair of images, showing Pine Island Glacier’s location on Antarctica, and showing the seas that surround Antarctica, connecting it to the extreme southern oceans.

What Does this Suggest for Our Global Future, and for Aviation?

The rate of calving in recent years is disturbing, and reflects a harsh reality: if our ever-expanding over-consumption of fossil fuels is not reined in, and we continue to see 2- or 3- ppm annual increases in average atmospheric CO2 concentrations (see Keeling Curve), we can expect collapse of these polar glaciers and large-scale sea-rise. Hundreds of the busiest airports across the globe will become underwater. Homes for more than a billion people will also become uninhabitable, under sea-rise. Displaced people will need to find new homes, and that situation will result in global conflict and likely massive human depopulation.

Would it not be a good idea to immediately impose policies that strongly disincentivize excessive and arbitrary use of aviation?

A Closing Image: Accelerated Melting is Likely

Below is a different perspective, rotated, but showing the recession of the glacier (roughly from left to right) and how it compares to actual shorelines beneath. The areas of ice over water are designated as the ‘northern ice shelf’ and ‘southern ice shelf’. Over land, colors appear to show ice flow rates using a spectrum, with red being fast, yellow being moderate, and blue being slow. A major concern among scientists who study polar ice loss and related sea-level rise is that loss of sea-ice eventually removes an important ‘plug’ that holds back glacial ice over land; kind of like eroding the footing out from under a bridge pier. In other words, in this example, the fear is that once the Pine Island Glacier recedes beyond the base of the SW tributary and the southern ice shelf is nearly gone, ice flow from the SW tributary will rapidly accelerate, which in turn will rapidly accelerate global sea-level rise.

It would seem to be very foolish, to continue to ignore this evidence.

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