After photographer Cy Kuckenbacker saw the above photo posted over at the PetaPixel blog—a composite shot of a day's worth of airplane takeoffs at a single airport—he set out to recreate the effect on video. So you get what we have here today: 5 hours of planes taking off from San Diego, a mid-sized international airport, condensed into 30 seconds.
The result snared a Vimeo Staff Pick and viral status, and it's pretty incredible to watch. It also seems to be part of a popular YouTube subgenre that reexamines the lumbering passenger jet and the nature of air travel in general. Typically, when we engage these 747s, we're inside them. Or we're annoyed when they drone overhead. Or we see them in films, when they're about to crash, or there are snakes on them.
But this new crop of made-for-meming plane video footage casts air travel in a new light; more graceful, more grandeur. It's global air travel as ballet. Here, for instance, is another entrant to the genre—a time lapse of planes approaching Heathrow, and wobbling their way down the descent. This one was made by Martin of Cargospotter, and it got its day in the sun after Boing Boing helped share it around.
And, from the same filmographer, here's a set of HD shots of cross-wind plane landings at Dusseldorf airport in Germany.
We may never look at air travel the same way again.