23 March 2007


We've had a lot of jets (OK, turbine-engined aircraft, which may not exactly be jets, but sound like it) flying around here during the last week. There was a big tennis tournament on the weekend, which brought in a lot of bizjets to Bermuda Dunes (UDD), with arrivals starting on Thursday and building up all day Friday. Then out everyone went on Sunday afternoon and Monday. You know, I don't know who is in those airplanes, players or spectators. I'd expect players to show up a bit earlier, to play a few games and get familiar with the courts. Also, I don't think there are that many tennis players who make enough money to fly around in bizjets. Sure, the big stars do, but there are a lot more non-stars than stars. So I figure it's mostly spectators flying in and out.

We'd had a week or so of unseasonably hot weather, which laid former-President George H. W. Bush low during a round of golf; it was in the 90's that day. We even set all-time records for highs for the day and month on a couple of days. It was over 100° at least two days. We were running the air conditioner and grousing about how hot it was until this weekend, when it cooled down. Then we had clouds overhead and it's been in the 70's and low 80's. It even sprinkled twice for a total of about fifteen minutes.

But to get back to jets, this shift in the weather was accompanied by a shift in the wind. When I went to check the mail on Wednesday I looked up and saw an airplane I knew wasn't going to be landing at UDD, on that short little runway. This was a big airplane that was going into Palm Springs (PSP). The controllers at the airport must not have been using the usual runway because of the change in wind direction, which meant that the approach and departure pattern changed, too. The PSP traffic is still flying over us and it's still cool and a bit cloudy.

Now when I hear a bigger jet fly overhead (they do sound different, maybe because of the high bypass ratio engines) I don't need to worry that there's going to be an airplane overrunning the UDD runway and ending up on I-10. Not that I ever really thought it was likely to happen, but it did cross my mind more than once.

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