The Jumbo Double in Warsaw


Jumbo Jet, the world’s most beautiful (subjectively) and second largest (objectively) passenger aircraft does not operate regular routes to WAW (Warsaw) – the biggest airplane visiting the Chopin airport very often remains the glorious Mcdonnell Douglas MD-11F. Yesterday, we could welcome two Boeings 747-400 owned by Israeli El Al which brought to Warsaw Jewish students to participate in the annual “March of the Living” in order to remember the Holocaust mainly by visiting the German Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

Praying for some blue

The first Jumbo departing Toronto was expected in Warsaw about 7 am which forced me to get up two hours prior to the arrival. According to each and every weather forecast, that morning was supposed to be frosty but sunny with absolutely clear sky, especially after sunrise. Unfortunately, it was just the opposite with awful gray clouds and virtually no sunshine at all. Chasing the sun was the main challenge that day as some blue sky appeared finally about noon. Taking mostly white painted aircraft against white sky does not produce gorgeous pictures. That’s why I did not post any photo from this landing and will think the next time twice before I leave my bed about 5 am just for spotting ;-).

Angle matters

As the weather got a little bit better until 9 am, you may see below a picture of the second Jumbo which departed NY. I was strongly focused on taking a picture exactly from the angle as shown below revealing the details of landing configuration like flaps and slots and presenting the aircraft’s silhouette in a very dynamic manner, somehow overdone by purpose as I used a wide-angle lens for a large object from near (aircraft reg. 4X-ELD, first flown in 1999).

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELD)[exif show="shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso"]

Her Majesty on the Roll

The pictures presented below were taken while the first Jumbo (reg. 4X-ELC, first flown in 1995) was taxiing to depart the 11-29 runway. This was the case because the longer runway 33-15 had been in maintenance in April. Exceptionally, all aircraft taxiing to threshold of runway 11 had to roll on taxiway Charlie, so we were able to watch the 747 getting closer and closer in straight face to face, absolutely unique view. Pure experience of the plane’s majesty. Even the frosty wind on the spotting hill could not spoil it.

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELC)[exif id=”2461″ show=”shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso”]

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELC)[exif id=”2460″ show=”shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso”]

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELC)[exif id=”2464″ show=”shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso”]

Taking the Taking-off

The last two photos were shot on Warsaw airport’s visitor terrace which offers a glorious view and some limitations for spotting. It faces southwards which implies rather moderate light conditions during most time of the day, especially at noon while the last B747 was taking off. Another obstacle are glass panes which produce reflex and needs some cleaning both in- and outside.

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELD)[exif id=”2475″ show=”shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso”]

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet by El Al (reg. 4X-ELD)[exif id=”2464″ show=”shutter,aperture,focal_length,iso”]


“The Double Jumbo” event was also a sentimental experience to me as I met a Boeing 474 for the very first time exactly one year ago when an El Al Jumbo arrived in Warsaw for the same reason as this time. However, it was not love at first sight – the more pictures of planes I took the more I realized that my spotter’s heart belongs to the unbeatable “Humpy” ;-).

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