A weekend trip to MSP on American Trans Air

I moved to SW Michigan last month, and I knew I made a bad choice even before I left San Diego. I love southern California, and I didn’t realize the severity of my decision to move away until I was at the airport getting on a plane that would take me to Michigan. It was right then and there I made a promise to myself that this move to Michigan would be considered temporary, and that I would make every effort to return to San Diego as soon as I could. But for the short term, I am going to be stuck in Michigan.

The nearest airport to my new home in St Joseph is South Bend Regional Airport (SBN), which is located 30 minutes to the south. As a guy who likes big aircraft and busy airports, SBN doesn’t interest me in the least. Therefore, I personally declare O’Hare (ORD) in Chicago as my new home airport, even though it takes nearly 2 hours to drive there – if there isn’t any traffic. I really miss SAN!

Turboprob View

I’m was still pretty much burned out on aviation photography when I arrived last month. I had just spent the last four months on a huge aviation photography binge that pretty much left me feeling spent and disinterested in the hobby. Besides, my new job was keeping me quite busy so there was no time for pictures anyway.

But then September 11th happened, and the aviation aspect of that day reignited my interest in commercial aviation. That was a huge day for the airline industry, and it changed things drastically – security is being increased tenfold everywhere, and I was even starting to think that I would never be allowed to take a picture of an airplane again. Really – the paranoia was that severe days after the attack. Nonetheless, my interest had been reignited, though I am cautious about going to the airport to take pictures. One thing was certain though – I know my days of terminal crawling are over. From that day forward, the US made it a requirement that only ticked passengers would be allowed into the gate areas. Since I am (was) an indoor shooter, that meant that I have to learn new techniques and take my hobby outside. Or, I could shoot pictures during my travels. Such is the case with this set of pictures.

One month after September 11th, I flew from SBN to MSP (via MDW) on American Trans Air to visit family for the weekend. It was my first time ever on American Trans Air (ATA), as well as my first time transiting through MDW. I was very much looking forward to the trip! I was also very curious to see how airport security had changed in the last month. I knew that I wanted to take pictures the entire way, but I was very careful to be discreet about it, as there was still quite a strong feeling of paranoia in the air that was eerie to say the least. Luckily, I didn’t run into any issues.

737-800 Engine and Wing

There were only three keepers from this trip: the first one is an in-flight window shot from the Chicago Express Saab 340 (N305CE) that took me from SBN to MDW. The second is a nose shot from the ground of an ATA 757-200 (N519AT) while parked at the gate at MDW, and the final one is another in-flight window view of the wing and engine of the 737-800 (N307TZ) that took me from MDW to MSP.

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