Airport ramps are worlds unto themselves.
Also known as aprons, and often incorrectly referred to as tarmacs, the paved areas around an airport terminal are home to vehicles ranging from golf carts to the largest aircraft on the planet.
Hundreds of workers—and sometimes more than 1,000—could be present on a ramp at any given time depending on the size of the airport, and they could work for any one of dozens of organizations: airlines, service partners, law enforcement, the airport itself and more.
There are road markings, signage and rules vastly different from those used on public roadways as well as a constant conversation on radio between drivers, workers, the air traffic control tower and the airport’s operations team.
People who work and drive on the ramp undergo extensive training before they’re allowed to operate in that area, and untrained visitors must be escorted and follow instructions closely when they’re allowed to enter.
And like most unique ecosystems, the ramp offers incredible sights.
Bailey Noel, one of PIT’s airport ambassadors, nailed the timing on this shot of a Breeze A220-300 taxiing as a Delta Embraer E175 takes off from Runway 28 Right just behind it.
But it’s not always about movement. Sometimes beauty can be found in the stillness on the ramp as well, like in this shot from American Airlines agent Rod McLaughlin of an AA 737 MAX 8 at dawn.
Thanks, Bailey and Rod!
Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.
An American Airlines 737 MAX 8 sits parked at the gate during a beautiful sunset at PIT. (Photo submitted by Rod McLaughlin)