During my last visit to Dubai I was looking for a special attraction to spice up the holidays, preferably one with an aviation touch. Obviously, in a city that offers everything one dares to imagine (and a lot more), even this wasn’t too much to ask. It didn’t take long until I stumbled upon a tiny airline called Seawings and booked a flightseeing tour over the Gulf metropolis. What better way to introduce my girlfriend to the fascinating world of seaplanes than combining it with a unique view of Dubai. Costly, yes – but a very worthwhile investment. Come along for a ride!

Seawings operates three Cessna C208 Caravans which are based at two locations in Dubai (and are apparently in the process of branching out to Abu Dhabi as well). As we arrive at their Dubai Creek base, two airframes are already waiting for their next flights. Before boarding we are invited to watch a safety demonstration video – and you get a GPS track of our flight instead :-)

We then quickly hop aboard aptly named A6-SEA, the pilot starts up the PT-6 turbine engine, and after darting over the waters of Dubai Creek we’re airborne pretty fast. During climbout we are presented with a good view of the jumble of dhows and merchant ships that frame Dubai Creek…

…as well as some of the well-known, slightly older, business and hotel buildings further downstream. 

After having reached our cruising altitude of 1’500ft (which is below the tip of Burj Khalifa!) we dash south along the shore, with the arterial and skyscraper-framed Sheikh Zayed Road accompanying us on the left.

Our first major attraction on the way: The iconic Burj al Arab together with the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Wild Wadi Waterpark. What a marvellous sight from above!

...

...

...

We continue further south until we meet the next assortment of skyscrapers, better known as Dubai Marina. Well-trained eyes can also spot a runway here – the one used by Skydive Dubai. Yes, this city is brimming with aviation-related treats! 

...

Once again, the flight provides a unique photo opportunity that truly lets you appreciate the enormous scale of things here. Looking down at the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina is a fantastic feeling!

...

Turning around back north over some residential areas which definitely remind me of the US (especially Florida). 

...

We follow the coast back to the north until we reach Palm Jumeirah, another of these gigantic creations that Dubai is so famous for. Looking at the beaches next to the ‘stem’ of the palm tree you can also see some palaces of the Rulers’ families – another thing usually not seen on ground-based tours. 

On the tip of the palm resides The Atlantis hotel, an icon in its own right.

Time for the wide-angle lens as we are cruising along the palm and meet company traffic!

...

No time for a break now! We head a bit further out to sea where we soon make contact with this heap of tiny islands here, which of course form part of another of Dubai's ambitious projects: The World. 

So far (2017), only two of them are in use – but it sure does look beautiful and veeeery exclusive! Apparently this one here is owned by Michael Schumacher.

The whole rest of the world is still empty though and awaiting, well, settlers :-) 

Returning to slightly more populated areas, here’s Downtown Dubai along Business Bay, dominated by the Burj Khalifa. 

...

...

8 lanes per direction, plus a Metro making up Dubai's main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road - and still it suffers from traffic jams each rush hour. Sheer madness!

The newly built Dubai Canal

Returning to the north and catching a last glimpse of (part of) Dubai’s impressive skyline!

We position ourselves for an approach to the water runway on Dubai Creek while passing Dubai’s newest attraction, The Frame, followed by the Grand Hyatt hotel and finally the E11 motorway (with the terminal of Dubai International Airport in the background). 

 

Back at Seawings’ striking base at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club! 

Thanks A6-SEA for the wonderful ride, it was fantastic (and my better half liked it, too!)

Sistership A6-SEB departs for her next ride shortly afterwards. And me, I’m definitely envious of the lucky ones on board! 

On a sidenote: Photography on these flights can be a bit challenging, especially on the frequent occasions where Dubai's air presents itself affected by haze or sand. Use a polarizer filter to bring out slightly stronger colours (and get rid of some window reflections) and shoot in RAW to retain more editing possibilities later on. Going on early/late flights is always worth a thought, as the low sun brings out contours a bit better. However, as a downside, backlit conditions are also more pronounced in that case, and some sights may therefore be virtually unphotographable. Which is why I opted for a flight around noon, with the consequence of most photos looking a bit bland.  


Copyright © 2018 planepics.org. All Rights Reserved.
[Login]