flightpath

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This is the sketchbook for the Flightpath print. Gerry's always wanted to do a print of the planes taking off from one of the London airports. On a cold day in February 2012 Charlotta and Gerry drove out to Hounslow to find the perfect spot outside Heathrow.

They stumbled across this house, with an amazing American car parked outside. The opportunity was too good to let slip and they spent a couple of hours on the pavement opposite the house taking photos of the planes taking off from Heathrow.

It's difficult to explain the noise and the smell of jet fuel to someone who wasn't there. It's even more difficult to imagine what it would be like to live in a house so close to one of the world's busiest airports.

Here you'll be able to see how those initial photographs became the final print and find out some facts about planes, airports and London Heathrow.

A busy airport

On a clear day about 44 planes an hour land at Heathrow. It is the third busiest airport in the world and handles more international passengers than any other airport. It is also the busiest airport in Europe when it comes to passenger traffic.

This doesn't come as a surprise if you stand outside the airport. The planes come and go like clockwork. One after the other, with only a few minutes between them. In a couple of hours Gerry took photos of more planes than he could fit into the print!

Heathrow airport lies about 14 miles west of central London. It can take you a couple of hours to get there in bad traffic. Or just 15 minutes on the Heathrow Express from Paddington.

The airport has two parallel east-west runways and four passenger terminals. A third runway is currently being discussed, but is not a popular option for the people who live around the airport and are already tired of the noise.





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A small airfield close to a village

Heathrow airport started in 1929 as a small airfield southeast of the hamlet of Heathrow (there was once a Heathrow Farm where Terminal 1 is now). Development to turn it into a bigger airport started in 1944 with the aim of serving military aircraft heading to the far east. But when the airport was almost finished the second world war had ended. Construction continued and Heathrow was changed into a civil airport.

There are small villages dotted around the airport. If it wasn't for the noise and the smell of jet fuel you could easily think they could be any sleepy village on the English countryside.

The airport hasn't always looked the way it does today. In the 1950s, Heathrow had six runways, arranged in three pairs at different angles in the shape of a hexagram with the permanent passenger terminal in the centre and the older terminal along the north edge of the field. The airport had to change to its current layout as the required length for runways has grown

Many airlines at Heathrow

Heathrow Airport is used by over 90 airlines flying to 170 destinations worldwide. The airport serves around 70 million passengers every year. About 7 percent of them are bound for UK destinations. Almost four percent of the passengers in 2011 were travelling between Heathrow and JFP/Newark airports in New York.

Our illustration

Here you've been able to see the design process for the Flightpath print. 27 different photos went into making this print. As with the other illustrations Gerry starts out with taking several photos that are traced on a computer to make the final print.

Flightpath is available as a the t-shirt in white, grey and black. As a sweatshirt in grey and black and as a limited edition signed and numbered screen print (coming soon!).

Plane spotting at Heathrow

There are several good locations to spot planes around Heathrow airport. One of the more well known ones is Myrtle Avenue, just south of the airport.

But remember the planes take off and land according to different routes depending on weather, wind and time of day. It's worth checking if your chosen spot is going to be a rewarding one before heading out (instead of driving around trying to figure out where the planes are coming from like Gerry and Charlotta – although that can be fun too).

The Flightpath photos were taken just outside the village of Stanwell, which is also on the south side of the airport.