North America nets its first Arch of Triumph of 2017

With the inclusion of the 2017 Arch of Triumph leader board for the first time, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of this year’s entries so far. The average winning score of the six airports which have claimed weekly glory this year is just over 30. Compare this to the first six winners of 2016 (33.7), 2015 (28.7) and 2014 (27.3), and that result is not so shabby. This year’s winning average may well have been higher if there had been more entrants in 2017. So far, the judges have received a miserly 12 FTWAs, the lowest result of the four full years of competition (the 2013 competition ran from September-December only). 2015 leads the way with 23 FTWAs received in the first six weeks of competition, slightly ahead of 2016 and 2014, which both garnered 20. On this basis, there is still work to do in 2017 to get this year’s battle up to speed. Keep Monitoring!!

Date Route FTWA Airport Score
16-Feb United Airlines San Francisco to Tampa Tampa (TPA) 37.4
05-Feb Qatar Airways Doha to Auckland Auckland (AKL) 35.6
10-Feb Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 35.4
30-Jan Philippine Airlines Clark to Cebu Cebu (CEB) 30.1
12-Jan Blue Air Bucharest to Tel Aviv Tel Aviv (TLV) 25.6
05-Jan Alaska Airlines Los Angeles to Havana Havana (HAV) 16.0

United Airlines San Francisco to Tampa 16 February

Arch of Triumph

Initial perceptions of this fine-looking FTWA can be deceiving…

Judges’ comments: Straight off the bat – this is a damn fine FTWA, and a worthy winner this week and for its early #1 spot on the 2017 competition leader board. However, what is needed here is the expert eye. Yes, the water jets do meet over the aircraft fuselage, but there is a lack of complete symmetry, as the left-hand one is noticeably longer than the right-hand one. Also, the meeting of the water jets lacks complete crispness, as the right-hand one is suffering from what is known in this game as ‘firefighter’s droop’ (which should not be confused with brewer’s droop), albeit slightly. But it is these subtle factors that separate a really good FTWA from a truly great one… 

Jonny: 8.5; Marc: 9.4; Paul: 9.8; Ralph: 9.7.

American Airlines Phoenix to Bullhead City 16 February

Arch of Triumph

There’s been a balls-up on this FTWA in Bullhead City…

Judges’ comments: With all due respect to our friends and colleagues at Bullhead City, Arizona, this new Phoenix daily service is the airport’s only scheduled route at the moment…so practice for this type of event is not a regular occurrence to say the least. For a start, someone needed to tell the photographer the best place to stand…maybe they will do better when the airport gets its second route and second Arch of Triumph entry…

Jonny: 4.3; Marc: 5.5; Paul: 4.8; Ralph: 4.9.

Volaris Costa Rica San Jose to San Salvador 20 February

Arch of Triumph

I bet every other turnaround will not have as many staff on hand to unload the aircraft…

Judges’ comments: We can count 25 apron staff present for the arrival of the Volaris Costa Rica service from San Jose. I bet the next flight on this route has no more than a handful of people present to get the aircraft turned around in 30 minutes. Did all of those 25 people put their cameras away after engine shut down and climb into the hold and start chucking bags…nooooooooo…I bet they ran off to Starbucks to post their latest video and pictures onto social media…while the real work of a turnaround was getting done…

Jonny: 6.4; Marc: 6.3; Paul: 6.5; Ralph: 5.7.


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