Edit: the person asking the question rejected a request for the EXIF data in a comment. Seems to want to limit the puzzle to direct analysis of the plane.
Partial flap landing distance is dependent on the aircraft, but 4,000+ feet as the position suggests would be very reasonable. The pilot could have also intentionally landed long to expedite taxi to parking.
All that said I still have no idea if the aircraft is arriving or departing.
> So...abelensky found the series of photo this was taken from, see for yourself: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxQOwrukppp5WTlfaEFLTVNzTnc... ...it's clearly landing.
This pictogram is simple (just a few shapes), it's easy to distinguish (e.g. from the pictogram for "departure"), and it fits most people's conceptual model of a landing (plane comes down from sky to earth).
I understand that planes are pitched upward at the moment of landing, but I don't know if that's true during all stages of normal flight or not!
For a "Sarajevo Approach" the nose of the plane actually points down until the very last moment . I saw once live and it looked quite sketchy but they routinely did this routinely during the Bosnian war in order to stay out of the range of rockets for as long as possible.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNQRGOgHrZU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc6s9fopyg8
>One of the weirdest things about this is the fact that you get to see the upper side of the wing. With planes this big, this rarely happens. If you see them on the ground, you walk under and around them, always looking upwards. When you see them in flight, you obviously very rarely get to see them from any quarter other than below. Seeing the top half of the Hercules like this therefore feels inherently wrong, especially since the plane is pointing directly at the ground. Like seeing a picture of sinking ship perpendicular in the water or a crashed car upside-down with wheels still gently turning, seeing the unfamiliar upper side of the wing induces a sort of subconscious panic.
This perfectly explains what I was feeling when I was watching GP's youtube links.
The angle didn't quite look right for a takeoff though after looking at a few takeoff videos of similar airplanes it seems they mostly try for steeper takeoffs but there's a lot of variability. There are conflicting requirements, you want to get as much altitude as possible as fast as possible so you have more options if there's any problem but you also want to gain speed and your initial angle might be limited by stall speed or other factors ( http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_12/attack... ).
Even if I had 50% of being right it's always nice to be able to explain to oneself how good you are and when you get it wrong you can blame something else ;)
The plane is in the air, so I say it is landing.
There's a large corpus of images in both categories, and it's a binary classifier which keeps things simple. There are numerous image cues that people have identified such as the flap angle relative to the wings, absence of smoke from the tyres, absence of heat haze from the jet wash, wheel-spin and so on. Depending on angle you could also get the landing markers on the runway. It seems reasonable that a convnet would identify these features.
My only concern is that features like heat haze and wheel-spin might require very high resolution inputs to the net. Also it's quite hard to search explicitly for "planes taking off" as you get images from aircraft about to take off, aircraft taxiing, etc. Finally it's quite hard to find publicly available images, e.g. most photos on Aviation.net are copyrighted.
On take off, the back wheels would've been nicely aligned with the runway.
Oh well, I deduced right?.
A 747 has Kreuger flaps  between fuselage and inner engines and 'variable camber leading edge flaps' on the rest of the wing.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-lift_device
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krueger_flap
Edit: put a note in the Wikipedia article.
> On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.
By contrast, your entire comment is in violation of the same guidelines:
> Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think a story is spam or off-topic, flag it by clicking on its 'flag' link.
The full text of the guidelines can be found via the link at the bottom of the HN main page.
Therefore, this story is on HN in part because it was a promoted link on Stack Overflow this week.
Gear are retracted once a positive rate of climb has been achieved, but not that early.
I looked around on Youtube for some good examples, and this was the best I could find:
The captain keeps a hand on the throttles until V1, and then it is several seconds after takeoff that FO retracts the gear.
Isn't it a false choice? Why can't the answer be "both"? Explain in detail.
How does a plane both take off and land at the same time?
The fact that its airforce one aswell and they'd likely be practicing different techniques and training pilots.
Taking the lack of air distortion from the behind the engines, it could be because the photo is extremely grained/blurry to begin with and the flaps foiling the air to the ground rather than directly behind the engine.
My only other guess is they were practicing late landings.