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Thread: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

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    a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Hello.
    There is a picture of an airport lounge. It shows people doing different things. Behind the large window, in the far background, a plane is taking off and it is already in the air.
    I wonder how I can describe the action of the plane.

    1. The plane is departing from the airport.
    2. The plane is taking off from the airport.
    3. The plane is flying away from the airport.

    I think I can say #2 and #3. What about #1? Isn't departing connected with a timetable only?
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    I think "taking off" is best. We don't normally include "from the airport," but it's not ungrammatical.

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    I think that you probably could use 'departing', though 'taking off' is more accurate a description. As for (3), I think the aircraft is too close to the tarmac for a felicitous use of 'flying away' - I'd give a few more minutes, before using that. (Cross-posted)

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by cyberpedant View Post
    I think "taking off" is best. We don't normally include "from the airport," but it's not ungrammatical.
    Actually this is a picture of an airport lounge, so "from the airport" is not necessary.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by Beryl from Northallerton View Post
    I think that you probably could use 'departing', though 'taking off' is more accurate a description. As for (3), I think the aircraft is too close to the tarmac for a felicitous use of 'flying away' - I'd give a few more minutes, before using that. (Cross-posted)
    Actually, this picture resembles the original better. I guess I could use sentence #3 now.
    It is good to know that I could also use sentence #1.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    I can't access your latest picture (post#5) . Do you have another?

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by Beryl from Northallerton View Post
    I can't access your latest picture (post#5) . Do you have another?
    Yes. Here. There are two aircraft. I think the one in the top right corner is the most suitable for sentence #3.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    I agree. If you can make the plane disappear behind (say) a Dollar bill, held in your hand with your arm outstretched, then it's safe to say the plane is flying away (provided it's leaving).

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by Beryl from Northallerton View Post
    I think that you probably could use 'departing', though 'taking off' is more accurate a description. As for (3), I think the aircraft is too close to the tarmac for a felicitous use of 'flying away' - I'd give a few more minutes, before using that. (Cross-posted)
    This is another case of a conflict between imprecise general English, such as Beryl uses, and the technical language used by those intimately involved in something.

    Strictly speaking, a passenger flight consists of five stages (not counting taxiing on the airport), i.e. takeoff, departure, en-route, approach and landing.

    The takeoff phase is completed when the wheels leave the ground. The departure phase is whatever the pilot does until a course to the destination is established. The en-route phase is what the aircraft does between airports until entering he approach phase, i.e. the particular pattern or route followed in prepartion for a landing on the designated runway. The landing occurs when the wheels touch the ground. (Aerophiles never, ever, use the accursed "coming in for a landing," which is a Hollywood anachronism, rather than part of the aviation lexicon.)

    Now that I've done my nit-picking , Beryl's advice above is fine for the general public.
    "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Thank you, Beryl.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by sdgraham View Post
    The departure phase is whatever the pilot does until a course to the destination is established.
    Thank you, sdgraham, for the interesting insight.
    I conclude that once a plane leaves the ground it is, technically speaking, departing.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    I have read this thread and I am curious of what sdgraham said about passengers' flights. Did I get a correct input if I say that 'take-offs', 'en-routes' are related more to aircrafts than to people (passengers, pilots, etc.) whereas 'departures' are related more to people than to aircrafts? Or it is not a valid understanding?
    Thank you,
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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by irinet View Post
    I have read this thread and I am curious of what sdgraham said about passengers' flights. Did I get a correct input if I say that 'take-offs', 'en-routes' are related more to aircrafts than to people (passengers, pilots, etc.) whereas 'departures' are related more to people than to aircrafts? Or it is not a valid understanding?
    Thank you,
    It's not that simple. All of these words exist in various contexts, including aircraft and people.

    Note, however, that human beings cannot "take off" in the sense of leaving the ground and staying aloft without being attached to some sort of contraption.

    Trains, buses, people, ships and just about anything that moves can depart from a place.

    And so on ...
    "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Actually I am interested in the use of the past continues and I typed "plane was departing" in the search box. I found a couple of interesting sentences:

    "Southwest Airlines officials say the pilot of a Las Vegas-bound flight aborted takeoff from the Denver airport after a warning light indicated a fire onboard, causing three tires to blow out as the plane stopped abruptly. ...
    The plane was departing Denver International Airport with 137 passengers and five crew members."
    Source: Southwest Airlines flight aborts takeoff, blows tires, by Ben Mutzabaug.

    Here the word "depart" was used without a preposition and was followed by the word "airport." Also the word "pilot" occurs together with the word "takeoff."

    It is also worth mentioning that the word "depart" can be followed by the preposition "for":

    "Sources on board AA flight 2421 tell us the plane was departing from Dallas when something went wrong with an engine shortly after pulling away from the gate. According to fire officials at DFW ... the cockpit filled with smoke, and the pilots quickly returned to the terminal."
    Source: ASHLEY OLSEN Smoke-Filled Cockpit Grounds Flight at DFW, by TMZ staff.

    And it can be followed by the preposition "for":

    "This picture was taken a few split seconds after the Boeing 747's nose wheel lifted off the ground as the airplane was departing for London's Heathrow Airport."
    Source: View Geocache Log, by rohrerboy.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    What's your question, wolfbm1?

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by Beryl from Northallerton View Post
    What's your question, wolfbm1?
    I just wanted to share what I found how the phrase "was departing" is used.
    Also, what is interesting, a pilot could be taking off, in a way.
    We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers. Carl Sagan

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    The plane is taking off is the proper way of handling the language. Though other phrases also kind of expresses what is said but not proper way to express it.

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnstar View Post
    The plane is taking off is the proper way of handling the language. Though other phrases also kind of expresses what is said but not proper way to express it.
    Unless one wishes to follow the technical definitions of the international aviation community.

    In other words, be careful of unilaterally declaring what is "proper."
    "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfbm1 View Post
    Also, what is interesting, a pilot could be taking off, in a way.
    There's nothng remarkable in English about "take off" to mean "performing the takeoff maneuver in an aircraft."

    Nor, for that matter, is there anything remarkable about "landing" an aircraft.
    "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Re: a plane is departing/taking off/flying away

    If you are describing flight, then "taking off" is probably preferred. But if you are describing the act of travelling, the "leaving" would be fine.

    This lyric from a John Denver song makes that very point:

    ...So kiss me and smile for me/Tell me that you'll wait for me/Hold me like you'll never let me go/Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane/ << 4 lines only >>
    Last edited by Andygc; 8th April 2013 at 1:16 PM.
    Abutebaris modo subjunctivo denuo.

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