Dresden Airport arch does it for InterSky as Munich Airport celebrates near-unassailable lead

The anna.aero “Arch of Triumph” pays tribute firefighters at Munich Airport

Leading 2014 with a massive 38.9 out of 40: The anna.aero “Arch of Triumph” pays tribute to airport firefighter talent and is received here at Munich Airport by just four of its dedicated team of over 200 who ensure your safety every time you fly: Alexander Ludwig; Ralf Mayer; Reinhold Senftl; and Markus Ecker.

It’s been a very strange week in the Fire Truck Water Arch (FTWA) world. We had 11 arches submitted to the anna.aero “Arch of Triumph” judges, but for some curious reason most were “Big boy, Little boy” style arches (where one is noticeably smaller than the other). Being scientists we carefully checked all the horoscopes, but couldn’t see any reason for the collective decision of the world’s airport firefighters to produce weirdly deformed arches. At one point we thought we were heading for the lowest winning score of the year – and then in came a beauty from a beautiful city Dresden – “Florence on the Elbe.” So a German airport wins for the second week running, although Munich’s table-leading 38.9 last week looks very safe, despite there being seven months of the year to run.

24 April United Airlines Houston Intercontinental to Munich Munich (MUC)

38.9

1 February Qatar Airways Cargo Doha to Dubai Al Maktoum Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC)

37.4

14 April LinksAir Doncaster Sheffield to Isle of Man Doncaster Sheffield (DSA)

35.6

3 March bmi regional Newcastle to Brussels Newcastle (NCL)

31.5

19 December SWISS Geneva to Belgrade Belgrade (BEG)

30.5

4 March Turkish Airlines Istanbul Atatürk to Rotterdam Rotterdam (RTM)

29.4

18 January Peach Aviation Osaka Kansai to Kaohsiung Kaohsiung (KHH)

29.0

17 February AirEuropa Madrid to Almería Almería (LEI)

28.2

22 February Far Eastern Air Transport Taichung to Kinmen Kinmen (KNH)

27.7

5 May InterSky Zurich to Dresden Dresden (DRS)

27.1

InterSky Zurich to Dresden 5 May

InterSky Zurich to Dresden 5 May

Spot the plane: The InterSky Q300 looks more like a Shorts 360 in this thick “Elbe mist.”

Judge’s comments: This kind of FTWA is called a “Roman Cross” – however there’s another home-grown style called “Dresden China” which the fire department may have considered too intricate and delicate for this assignment. But hey – who cares? This is a good effort, it won’t get the highest marks in the world because the InterSky Q300 looks more like a Shorts 360 in this thick “Elbe mist.” But it’s good enough to win this week!!!

Marc: 6.2; Paul: 7.5; Ralph: 6.4; Vlad: 7.0.

Qatar Airways Doha to Larnaca 29 April

Late snow in Larnaca causes white out just at the critical moment

Unseasonally late snow in Larnaca causes white out just at the critical moment.

Judge’s comments: It appears to be snowing hard in Larnaca, something which is not impossible, but previously unheard of this far into the summer season. But a sudden blizzard is the only possible explanation for why the second fire truck seems to have suffered this white-out. Sadly, we don’t make allowances for freak weather conditions.

Marc: 4.7; Paul: 5.2; Ralph: 4.0; Vlad: 5.0.

Aurora Airlines Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Tokyo Narita 1 May

Aurora Airlines Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Tokyo Narita 1 May

A far more significant route than the arch which greeted it.

Judge’s comments: This is a highly significant, previously unserved route from a city which was part of Japan until 1946. As is often the case, significant investment in the extraction of oil and gas deposits are radically changing the economic meaning of this very Far East Russian city. In contrast, having said all that, the FTWA welcome is underwhelming.

Marc: 4.9; Paul: 5.0; Ralph: 3.5; Vlad: 5.2.

Jazeera Airways Kuwait City to Istanbul Ataturk 2 May

Jazeera Airways Kuwait City to Istanbul

The judges’ complaint this week is that most of the FTWAs were “Big boy, Little boy” style — where one arch is noticeably smaller than the other. Can you see our point here??

Judge’s comments: Much as we admire Turkish Airlines, it’s a breath of fresh air when we see other carriers launch services to Istanbul. But this FTWArch is anything but fresh. In fact, it’s visibly jaded and fading. In this competition you get marks for “placement” — show us it’s Istanbul, show us it’s Jazeera Airways.  And you get marks for skill — this is OK, but only OK.

Marc: 5.2; Paul: 5.5; Ralph: 5.5; Vlad: 6.4.

Korean Air Seoul Incheon to Houston Intercontinental 2 May

Korean Air Seoul Incheon to Houston Intercontinental 2 May

Irish poet WB Yeats said: “Things fall apart the centre cannot hold.” You gotta have a middle bit, or it’s not an arch.

Judge’s comments: Avoiding all cliché about “Houston” and “problem” there does seem to be a distinct lacking of “middle bit” in this FTWA. But it’s a verrrrrry important route, and we take our hats off to all the parties involved and at least one judge is exceptionally biased to Houston and Texas for personal reasons. Try and guess who.

Marc: 4.5; Paul: 6.0; Ralph: 4.3; Vlad: 4.8.

Norwegian Bergen to New York JFK 2 May

Norwegian Bergen to New York JFK

Same sky, same psychological drama.

Judge’s comments: Well this is definitely the Bergen end of the route and not Manhattan! This is a brilliantly moody, psychological, Edvard Munch of an image, in fact the sky looks very similar to that of his most famous work (inset). Indeed one of our judges claims to have personally met the Bergen fire chief and reckons he would probably be screaming at the FTWA’s unmatching “Big boy, Little boy” arches, although over-harshly scored by some judges capable of a lot less talent.

Marc: 4.8; Paul: 6.0; Ralph: 5.0; Vlad: 5.6.

Iberia Madrid to Tarbes Lourdes 3 May

Iberia links Lourdes to Madrid hub

Holy water: only a miracle could see Tarbes Lourdes arch win

Judge’s comments: This FTWA fails to distract us from nice view of the Pyrenees in the background and the presence of much larger aircraft, testament to the importance of this resort which absorbs five million (!!!!) pilgrims and tourists every season. But only a miracle could see this arch win.

Marc: 5.0; Paul: 6.2; Ralph: 6.0; Vlad: 6.1.

Lufthansa Frankfurt to Montpellier 3 May

Lufthansa Frankfurt to Montpellier

Er, “Big boy, Little boy”…no wait, it’s a “Kiev” — and why is that rainbow emerging from the truck’s rear end?? We’re just so confused!!!

Judge’s comments: It’s all coming together — not quite. Obvious lack of symmetry here in a style of FTWA known as the “Kiev” because the effect is similar in style to the effect of sticking a fork into the famous breaded chicken breast filled with hot garlic butter. Delicious, but not the sort of thing you expect imported on the menu in this Mediterranean French city. We’re not sure why the truck on the right seems to have a rainbow emerging from its rear end; basically there’s just too many influences going on.

Marc: 5.3; Paul: 5.5; Ralph: 5.5; Vlad: 6.6.

Estonian Air Växjö to Amsterdam 4 May

Estonian Air Växjö to Amsterdam 4 May

Plenty of Dutch drama in this shot.

Judge’s comments: The tenders are up nice and close for this FTWA, which we love, however points have been lost for a lack of airport branding being visible, poor connection on the water jets and some slight ‘Tobleroning’.

Marc: 7.1; Paul: 6.9; Ralph: 5.8; Vlad: 6.2.

Air China Beijing to Vienna 5 May

The home advantage: Vienna uses made-in-Austria Rosenbauer trucks to seal this week’s win.

The home advantage: Vienna uses made-in-Austria Rosenbauer trucks to seal this week’s win.

Judge’s comments: There’s probably a law in Austria which says airports can only use made-in-Linz Rosenbauer fire trucks — certainly finding any other manufacturer is an absolute impossibility. But, let’s face it, these Rosenbauer  8X8 Panthers are the Rolls-Royce of the ARFF world, and would be an enormously comforting prospect should one ever need the assistance of VIE fire department for real. Indeed, while this competition is bit of fun, it also shows what skill our valiant airport firefighters are capable of.

Marc: 5.4; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 5.0; Vlad: 6.7.

Edelweiss Air Zurich to Las Vegas 5 May

Edelweiss Air Zurich to Las Vegas 5 May

Arriving Las Vegas: It’s not half good; and also not half there.

Judge’s comments: It’s a very nice half an arch, and the judges more than agree, so it’s half points.

Marc: 3.5; Paul: 5.0; Ralph: 4.8; Vlad: 4.2.


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