Melbourne, April 2020.
Bustling city streets fall eerily silent and a city of 5 million people is locked down almost overnight. We are suddenly thrust into a world of quarantine, social distancing, masks and hand sanitiser.
My pilot Andrew calls Melbourne ATC to discuss our flight plan. With borders closed and air travel down by over 90% they have spent the last few weeks directing the Tetris like storage of hundreds of grounded airliners. It's a rare event so they are very helpful in coordinating unprecedented airsoace access for us to capture 360 degree photography of Melbourne Airport and City of Melbourne.
Melbourne From Above
It's a beautiful calm evening as we lift off the helipad and climb up and over the city. The city below is not as it once was. It is peak hour on a Friday yet parklands are empty, streets and bridges vacant of traffic and a not a sole to be seen on the Yarra. This is a city and state doing its part to stop the spread of COVID19 in the opening stages of a pandemic.
Melbourne Airport - Dusk
After photographing a series of locations from Albert Park to Melbourne CBD we made our way towards Melbourne Airport, but not before pausing high above Melbourne University. The grounds were empty.
A short pitstop on the tarmac at Essendon Airport allowed me to configure the gear for low light photography whilst Andrew called Melbourne ATC. With the sun dropping below the horizon the turbine engine powered back to life and we were skids up once more, heading for the lights of Melbourne airport. It really is a beautiful yet surreal sight.
ATC were able to get us into the airspace without delay. Flying up and over the main terminal building revealed an airport in lockdown. Qantas, Virgin, Tiger, Jetstar and a few regional aircraft all neatly lined up on the tarmac patiently waiting for cross border travel to begin again.
It is peak hour on a Friday yet parklands are empty, streets and bridges vacant of traffic and a not a sole to be seen on the Yarra. This is a city and state doing its part to stop the spread of COVID19 in the opening stages of a pandemic..