Watching Airplanes

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That familiar rumble resonating through the clouds above can only signal one object. A creature familiar to modern travels and children’s imagination: an airplane.

The invention that continues to defy physics and beliefs of those in its presence is the one mechanical device that allows humans to go from place to place on the wings of a metal bird. The specimen of a plane takes all of the senses to a maximum; you may first hear the plane in the sky above, only to look to the heavens to see the magnificence of its size and grandeur, to conclude with the smell of jet fuel burning through your nostrils in abundant amounts. The one true sense truthfully denied is that of touch.

Although we may not be able to touch a plane in its greatest scenes, there is a place where you can come so close to this immaculate contradiction you can go along for each ride right next to an enormous commercial plane. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, this place is called Founder’s Plaza. Founder’s Plaza is located on the north end of the airport and, “spans an area of 6 acres,” (of the monstrous 22,000 acre span of the entire airport itself) (Founder’s Plaza). The park includes an observation area, picnic area, telescopes, aviation history deck, and (most interestingly) a radio expressing the broadcast tower commands of the entire airport (Founder’s Plaza). This park allows the most intimate, interactive experience for people ranging from aviation fans to curious children. The location of the Plaza on the airport grounds are what allow for such an exhilarating experience; being on the north end of the runways, you are given the privilege of being at virtually the closest viewing point of planes landing or taking off right above your head.

The magic of flying in a plane has come to be a redundant, uneventful circumstance for most adults it seems. The beauty and awe of witnessing a plane muster the strength to pull up its heavy wings and give all faith to the wind is a less storied matter though. Founder’s Plaza holds a history all to it’s own. Originally being opened to the public in 1995, the park was first located on the south end of the airport (but was moved in order to allow the continuance of taxiway construction). Every aspect of its construction is dedicated to the magnetism of aviation, the most symbolic being the monument standing in accordance with the structure of an airplane and the airport itself.

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It is considered the,” premiere aviation viewing area,” in the region of north Texas due to its tedious affection in detail of all things aerial (Capps). Over its lifetime, the Plaza has been put to use for the dedication of historical events; such as the use of its grounds in 2001 on the day after the tragic events of September 11. The memorial presented at the Plaza that day commemorated the loss of those in the event of mourning, allowing those who gave their lives in the same planes that Founder’s Plaza is dedicated to showcase in their glory a chance to be remembered in beauty and not pain. The Plaza is not only a historical showcase but an imaginative one as well.

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Founder’s Plaza has come to hold a good reputation in the idea of spreading knowledge through experience. The proponents that compose the park are all directed toward allowing the visitor to feel and understand what they are viewing. The distance from the runway that the planes take flight from and land on is close enough so as the person viewing can feel the rush of exhaust coming from the plane overhead, but the tower radio broadcasting the control commands right next to the observation deck adds real time motion to the planes power. You are allowed into the detailed, highly important factor of planes: who controls them. As you see a plane approaching the taxiway, you can follow the instructions of conversation between the pilot and the tower commands all the way through the take off. The crackle and rustling of those in a tower far away, commanding hundreds of planes at a time through the maze of air traffic and allowing those on the plane to have a safe and comfortable landing. As you listen and follow the planes in the clouds reach and scrape the ground with a screech, the Plaza has telescopes for the use of getting a more optically sound look at the workings on the landing deck as well. Next to the telescopes, placed sporadically amongst the grassy hill below the deck, are the statues of children frolicking with winds amongst the jets themselves. The statues themselves represent the many dreams of those who visit the park; to fly and soar at the heights of manmade birds.

To visit Founder’s Plaza at the enormous DFW International Airport is an experience all its own.

278, 372. That is the number of flights viewed from the Plaza in the time span of a year. The park is open from the early morning until after the sunset. Over 200,000 planes taking off or landing in a year; each one of them carrying lovers, friends, and strangers on the highway in the sky, with each take off you can let your dreams fly from your heart into the heavens and with each landing you can bring home a hopeful intention. A place of history, knowledge, imagination, and dreams: Founder’s Plaza.

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Capps, Ken. “DFW International Airport Announces September 17 Grand Reopening of Founders Plaza – with Parade and all American Cookout.” Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 1. 2008. Print.

“Founder’s Plaza.” 2013 2013.Web. <http://www.dfwairport.com/founders/index.php>.

Pearson, Ken. “Founder’s Plaza DFW Airport.”Web. <http://www.flickriver.com/groups/founders_plaza_dfw_airport/pool/interesting/>.

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