It was Friday afternoon, at about 3:30 PM. I was bored and stressed after a school day full of standardized tests, and being treated like a lab rat. I got home, pulled my camera out, and went to PHL to see what I could snag at the airport. On my way, I stopped at my favorite hoagie place to grab something to eat while spotting.
After clicking away at a couple of American A321s, I noticed an unusual dry spell of traffic. This just so happened to be the day that I forgot my scanner at home. I took the opportunity to eat my hoagie. Yum, turkey and peppered ham. As soon as I bit in, I saw a Dash-8 on final to 27L. It wasn't just any ordinary US Airways Express -100. It looked fairly longer than a -100. I thought it was a -300, which are stationed out of Charlotte, but still make the occasional pilgrimage to PHL. Once it got closer, I realized that it didn't sound like a -300.
It sounded like a weak -400. Popping out of the trees, I noticed it was a United -400. An equipment sub for the usual ERJ-135s out of Washington-Dulles, I figured. It was still worth photographing. Zooming in, I noticed that the one prop was feathered and motionless.
"Oh my f***ing god, his engine is out." I exclaimed to everybody that I was with.
Now I'm no stranger to seeing Dash-8s moving around with engines out. US Airways Dash-8 pilots usually taxied with power from only one engine. But this guy wasn't taxiing. He was on final approach into Runway 27L!
I snapped as many pictures as I could with my T5, before the aircraft disappeared into my shade tree. Once it reappeared, I just sat there expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. The Dash-8 had a very smooth approach, and I'm assuming he had a great landing. Because, a great approach is the lead-up to a fantastic landing.
I rushed over to the UPS employee parking lot to try and get a vantage of the plane with the equipment around it. No luck! He stopped short of the parking lot, thankfully. That was a testament to how his landing was.
I figured that I should go to where I get 9L departure shots from. I was able to get a vantage point of it. It had a couple of local and airport fire trucks around it. Chopper 3, 6, 10, and 29 were soon on the scene to get air-to-ground shots of the plane.
Soon enough, the airport started using 27R for arrivals and departures. News vans were swarming over. A couple asking me for pictures.
That night, I submitted pictures to all 4 local news stations. The picture got featured on the nightly newscast of one, but all 3 others rejected it.
It wasn't for a month until I saw my picture on a news website, for an anti-airport editorial. I didn't give them any permission to use it in that purpose, so I sent a DMCA notice.
Within a few hours, the picture was deleted.
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