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If you’re an AvGeek like me, you’re probably quick to (over) analyze photos or videos featuring an airport or an airline. It never fails. If I see an airline, airplane, or an airport featured in pop culture or media, I always want to know more about the image or clip. What aircraft are featured in the image? What airline is that? Have I flown into that airport before? Those are just a few of the questions that come to mind when air travel blends with pop culture or media.
For example, earlier today, a popular rapper, Quality Control, released a new single. While it’s not one of my favorite hip-hop songs on the charts, the album cover caught my eye. The album cover for Quality Control’s new single, Baby, features an airport terminal with aircraft occupying the terminal’s gates. So, being the AvGeek I am, I paused the song and began to dissect the album cover.
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Before I provide my analysis of the album cover, feel free to take a moment to try and identify the airport, the terminal, and the aircraft in the image. While at first glance the image may appear photoshopped or computer-generated, I can assure you it’s a real photo taken at a rather popular airport. Here’s the album cover:
The aircraft on the album cover have been photoshopped to conceal any branding. Additionally, the artist created some rather unique liveries, added a helicopter landing pad, and added the “QC” logo. Again, though the liveries might make you think the image is fake, it’s real.
So, what airport is it? What aircraft are featured in the image and what airlines operate those aircraft?
Dissecting The Album Cover
The airport featured on the album cover is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). For me, the terminal layout was a dead giveaway. Many of the terminals at LAX were originally built in the 1960s and 70s. Though the terminals were expanded and modernized over the past few years, the original design is still quite obvious.
Guessing the terminal featured in the image is a little more challenging. Most terminals at LAX look quite similar, especially the terminals on the south side of the airport.
Hint: To help identify the terminal, take a moment and look at each aircraft parked at the terminal. Go through each aircraft individually. The aircraft parked at the terminal should help frequent flyers and die-hard AvGeeks identify the terminal.
The dead giveaway, at least for this AvGeek, is the Bombardier Q400 parked at the gate. The Q400 is only operated by a handful of airlines with only four major North American airlines operating the turbo-prop. Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, United, and WestJet are the four carriers with Q400s in their fleet. If you’re familiar with the airlines that serve LAX, this should be the dead giveaway.
The Q400 in the image belongs to Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines operates out of Terminal 6 at LAX. The image pre-dates the massive terminal shuffle, however, Alaska Airlines remains a major tenant at Terminal 6 even post-shuffle.
So, it’s Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport. That’s about as far as most AvGeeks will probably get. The aircraft in the edited photo is edited in such a way that identifying the airlines is nearly impossible. However, some of the more serious AvGeeks out there can probably identify the various types of aircraft parked at Terminal 6.
Before I reveal what aircraft are parker at Terminal 6 in this image, take one more second and analyze the photo. Any luck? There’s at least one Q400 in the photo. Additionally, there’s a nice mix of both Boeing and Airbus airliners at T6 in the photo.
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The Aircraft and Airlines Featured on The Album Cover
Do You Ever Do This?
While my analysis of this album cover is excessive, to say the least, I’m curious as to whether or not any other AvGeeks like to dive into images or videos like this? Have you ever watched a movie in which an airliner is featured in a shot only to pause the frame to identify the airliner? I’m curious as to what movies, photos, or other forms of media readers have analyzed. How far have you gone to find out more about an image or video featuring an airliner or airport?
If you’re curious as to what the original unedited image looks like, you can find the image on Getty Images. There are a few glaring oddities between the album cover and the original photo. For example, you’re not seeing double, the album cover does feature a few added aircraft and parts of the terminal were completely removed.
Featured image by Quality Control Music, Original image by Chris Sattlberger via Getty Images