Come fly with me
Dutch air traffic control and Dutch radio station Yorin FM have organized a remarkable welcome for U2 today. As the group entered Dutch airspace (in two separate aircraft), they were greeted and interviewed by an air traffic controller. On U2’s approach to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, hundreds of fans prepared a sunny surprise. And all this was broadcast live from the control tower at Schiphol by Dutch radio station Yorin. Here’s an hour-to-hour report.
9:00 – as I arrive at the office and switch on the radio, I hear that the broadcast from ‘my’ control tower is already well underway. Even though I’m not a controller myself, I feel a sense of pride that my company is actually bringing U2 to Holland today. I get an e-mail from one of my controller colleagues, saying that the band is expected to arrive at around 14:00. On the radio, the DJs are spinning U2 most of the time- fortunately, my roommate is kind of a U2 fan too.
11:00 – another e-mail, the band is expected at 17:00, and they’re coming in two separate aircraft. Bono is travelling in the ‘Vertigo 2005’, the band’s jet, coming from Nice. Edge and Larry travel from Dublin. Oh well, I guess it will be another regular day in the office then.
14:00 – some more news: the Dutch U2 fanclub has gathered at the beach with hundreds of fans; they’re going to form a welcome text. I hope they don’t get too sunburnt, they still have to wait for a couple of hours! On the radio, an air traffic controller explains how they are going to line up the two aircraft so that they can fly low over the beach.
17:00 – excitement is growing, apparently Edge’s and Larry’s plane can enter Dutch airspace any minute…on the radio, they have set up a direct connection with the ATC frequency, so as soon as the airplane calls, we’ll hear them. Just when one of the DJs mentions how exciting this all is, the pilot of Edge + Larry’s aircraft starts talking: ‘Amsterdam Radar, LarryEdge, currently at…descending flight level 250’…they’re coming! And really cool, they’ve given the aircraft callsign ‘LarryEdge’
After this, a lot of information is exchanged between the controller and the aircraft. Meanwhile the DJ has started New Year’s Day, but, because the ATC channel is still open, you can actually hear both the music and the talking. I don’t know why, but somehow, this give me goosebumps. Larry and Edge cannot speak from the plane, because there are not enough headsets. I guess we have to wait for Bono’s plane to arrive then.