10 May 2012


Back in the late 80's and through the 90's I was a regular traveller between Sydney and London.In June 1989 I was on one of the first flights of the then newly introduced Singapore Airlines 747 400 flying from London to Singapore over Russian airspace when the captain came for a walk through the cabin and had a chat with me and he invited me upto the flight deck something which would never happen nowadays and may never happen again in my lifetime thanks to 911.
I took my Leica M6 and a 28mm lens and a cassette of Kodak Ektapress 1600 colour negative film and grabbed a few photos whilst I was there .I would have liked the shot to have had much greater depth of field but as I only had available the very low flight deck lights I focussed just on the control panel and opened the lens up to f2.8 and exposed it at 1/10th of a sec hand held as I braced myself against the cockpit door .That's the captain on the left .
The flight crew were pretty edgy about flying through Russian airspace -a route which had only just started--this was still the cold war era-because as they explained that some of the air traffic controllers did not speak English and some were perhaps asleep on the job as they could not be roused- it was the middle of the night.Back in 1983 the Russians had shot down a Korean Airlines 747 which had accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace The grand circle route took us up over Sweden and Finland and then right down over Russia and into Singapore.
I had the film push processed to ISO 3200 when I was back in Sydney.It is very grainy but stands as a unique photo of a sadly departed era.

1 comment:

  1. the captain looks quite relaxed. If he's tense, he's concealing it well