Tag Archives: 787

GUEST POST: The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Is A Revolutionary Airplane – Even If You Do Not See It

28 Mar

By David Parker Brown, AirlineReporter.com

Up close is ANA’s second 787 Dreamliner (JA802A) and in the distance is their first (JA801A) sitting at Narita, Tokyo. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com.

It has been a few months since All Nippon Airways (ANA) put the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner into service and there have been mixed reviews on the aircraft’s experience.

The 787 has been heralded by many (including myself) as being a revolutionary aircraft, but it seems that only some see it as a smaller evolutionary change.

When airlines started to switch from prop aircraft to jets in the late 1950’s, it was quite obvious that the change was a revolution for airlines. Passengers could see, feel, and hear the difference: they were quieter, smoother running, and flew the route faster. How the 787 is different is not as obvious as it was from props to jets, but it doesn’t mean they are any less important.

I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to fly on the 787 Dreamer and I can see where people might not realize how different the aircraft is from current airliners. You walk on the plane and notice some fancy lighting and larger windows, but essentially it’s still just an airplane with windows and seats. And that is where the 787 fools you: the revolution comes from things that most people are not able to see.

All the windows on the 787 Dreamliner can be dimmed by the flight attendants with one button. Photo by David Parker Brown / AirlineReporter.com.

In the game of airlines, weight equals money. The more an aircraft weighs, the more it costs to fly it around the world. Most previously built airliners are produced by bolting a bunch of aluminum panels onto a heavy frame, but the 787 is constructed using mostly composite materials, which are much lighter. The savings in weight results in—you guessed it—saving money. And saving money allows them to improve their operation.

Another aspect that will probably go unnoticed is the pressurization of the cabin. Current airlines fly with a pressurization equivalent to breathing at 8,000 feet, while the Dreamliner is 6,000. The improved pressure level has been shown to reduce jetlag, making the flying experience that much better – especially on those long flights. The Dreamliner’s ventilation system also allows there to be more humidity in the cabin than other aircraft there by reducing the dryness that most passengers experience during flight.

In my opinion one of the biggest changes is the 787s ability to fly new, long distance routes that do not make economic sense using current airframes like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 767. Japan Airlines (JAL) has already announced a new route between Boston and Tokyo, ANA has announced using the Dreamliner on new flights between Seattle and San Jose to Tokyo and Continental (before the United merger) announced a flight between Houston and Auckland. These are all new routes that were not economically viable before the 787. As a result airlines will continue to offer more direct flights because of this aircraft. Passengers will not have to experience as many layovers, which can last multiple hours for international flights. The Dreamliner allows airlines to offer more point-to-point flights like never before.

At first glance, one might not realize how different the 787 Dreamliner is from current aircraft, but it will change how airlines fly their passengers and how passengers interact with the flying experience. I have no question that the Dreamliner truly is a revolution in the skies and I cannot wait for more to start flying passengers around the globe.

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

27 Feb

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

  1. Last July, I flew to Chicago O’Hare to celebrate United Airlines passenger Tom Stuker flying his 10 millionth mile. My blog post on that event is here. During the event, United CEO Jeff Smisek presented Stuker with several gifts, including a Boeing 787 model. And in his remarks congratulating Stuker, Smisek made a not-so-subtle dig at Boeing over its delay in delivering the aircraft.  And now it seems the gloves are off.  The airline filed an SEC 10-K report that noted it was seeking damages for the aircraft’s delay, reports Aviation Week.
  2. Before filing for Chapter 11 in late November, American Airlines had been working hard to cut its labor costs.  In mid-November, the carrier’s  Allied Pilots Association rejected a contract, and less than two weeks later, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection in order to cut labor costs and slash debt.  American has already announced it was cutting 13,000 jobs; now management is warning its labor groups that it “needs concessions from its labor groups in a matter of weeks, not months, in order to emerge from Chapter 11 in the near term,” reports Reuters.
  3. Back in late August 1997, I flew down to Memphis to do some articles on Express Airlines II, now known as Pinnacle Airlines.  The company, which flew as Northwest Airlink, had been privately held, but was bought by Northwest Airlines. Its headquarters had just moved from Atlanta to Memphis, and then-CEO Phil Trenary, who had been brought in to take the airline to the next level, was optimistic about the future. Fast forward to now, where the airline is teetering on the edge of a Chapter 11 filing, reports the Commercial Appeal.  “Unless we have long-term agreements in place, the best way for us to improve our financial performance and ensure a viable future for our company may still be the court-supervised Chapter 11 process I explained earlier,” wrote CEO Sean Menke in a letter to Pinnacle’s employees.
  4. I want to thank Huffington Post for this story on why we really need to keep our cell phones off in flight.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wrote in a confidential report that was leaked to ABC News “that between 2003 and 2009 errant electronic signals caused 75 incidents of “possible electronic interference” on airplanes, 40 percent of which were attributed specifically cellphones.”
  5. I’m a big fan of KLM’s efforts to incorporate social media as a way to reach out to their customers.  When I flew the carrier from Washington Dulles to Geneva in May 2010, I sent out a tweet about watching movies on the flight. The airline tweeted back a link to their movie selection and continued to check on me via Twitter until the end of my flight.  But I’m not sure about this latest initiative, which allows passengers to use Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to help select their seatmate, reports the New York Times.

Last week I wrote two posts on Pinterest – one on how I’m using the boards to show off my love of travel and one on what travel-related Pinterest members you should be following.  Since the second post, some of my favorite aviation/travel folks have joined up.  They include:

 

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

6 Feb

What a week it was! We saw the demise of another European carrier — Malev Hungarian; we saw American Airlines unveil its expected job cuts as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing; and a manufacturing issue forces Boeing to inspect its flagship 787.  So let’s go onto the news!

  1. When I worked at Delta Air Lines, we worked on initiatives designed to avoid a Chapter 11 filing. One of those was a project I spearheaded — media outreach on our effort to have Congress enact pension reform.  One of the highest cost legacy carriers faced was the pension obligations to retired workers. We wanted to stretch out our payments — kind of like refinancing a mortgage, and avoid ending those plans, which is what happened with United and US Airways in the 1990s. Those pensions were taken over by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Fast forward to last week, where NPR’s Planet Money blog posts about how PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum is urging American Airlines to look for every alternative before it decides to punt the pensions of 130,000 retirees and employees to the federal agency. According to the blog, if American does dump its pensions on PBGC, it will be the largest claim since United got rid of its pensions in 2005.
  2. Another day, another issue with the Boeing 787.  Regular readers know my favorite aircraft of all time is the 747, but the 787 has faced more than its fair share of woes. In the latest issue, “Structural stiffeners were found to be improperly joined to the composite skin in the aft sections of the aircraft, causing parts of the aircraft’s carbon fibre structure to delaminate, confirms the airframer,” reports FlightGlobal.
  3. The week before last we saw the demise of Spain’s Spanair. Last week, flag carrier Malev Hungarian, which was created in 1946, was the latest to have the plug pulled.  Regular aviation watchers knew this was only a matter of time after the European Union ruled that the troubled carrier had to pay back millions in loans given illegally between 2007 and 2010, reports Aviation International News.  And when the government refused to offer any further aid, the decision was made to stop flying, on Feb. 3.
  4. Talk about balls. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines, in protesting new Department of Transportation rules that requires transparency in fares and gives consumers 24 hours to change their mind on a ticket purchase and get a refund, according to USA Today’s Today In The Sky blog.  The ultra low-cost carrier said in a statement the “regulation requiring airlines to hold fares for 24 hours after booking without penalty comes with unintended consequences and is costing consumers millions.” So what is Spirit’s solution? Charge passengers a $2 DOT unintended consequence fee. All I can say is — really?
  5. I know it’s their job, but I have to give a BIG shout out to the reporters at the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram for their blanket coverage of the American Airlines Chapter 11 filing on its SkyTalk blog.  Last week alone reporter Andrea Ahles held a reader chat about the latest news, while the newspaper covered the announcement of the layoffs of 13,000 employees from the management and labor side and the reaction of North Texas officials and the Allied Pilots Union about the cuts. Oh — and they also covered the start of new service to Dubai by Emirates.

It was also a banner week for this blog. I had a post in CrankyFlier.com with my five picks on airports doing great things with concessions. I also had a post in the Airline Passenger Experience’s Editor’s Blog on the advent of mini airport hotels. I thank eidtors Brett Snyder and Mary Kirby, respectively, for the exposure.

 

Top Five Most Interesting Aviation Stories Of The Week

21 Nov

So I managed to finish my first week on the new job. LOVED it!!  Now, onto the week’s aviation news.

  1. Ted Reed of The Street.com wrote two interesting airline pieces last week.  In the first piece, he writes about how the lack of a deal between American Airlines and its pilots could cause the Dallas-based carrier to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the last of the legacy carriers who have avoided this fate.  In his second piece, Reed notes that Phoenix-based US Airways has two goals for 2012: cut its presence at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and upgrade its aging fleet.
  2. Plans for a supersonic business jet have been floating around for decades.  The latest player to enter the market, U.K.-based HyperMach used last week’s Dubai Air Show to tell Aviation International News that its 20-seat SonicStar will be able to fly at speeds up to Mach 4.0, allowing to fly from New York to Dubai in only 2 hours 20 minutes.
  3. Regular readers know I am  a fan — and student — of all things dealing with first and business class travel, as witnessed by the Facebook group I created: I Love Sitting In 1st/Biz Class (my Dec. 15 blog post about the group is here).  So I’m passing along Jaunted’s review of Delta Air Lines’ Economy Comfort product.  My view? I’d pay extra for the room.
  4. My 6-year-old daughter has become addicted to video Skype.  She loves chatting with her grandparents and her aunt.  So I’m betting she’d love being able to check in for her flight via Skype, which you can now do at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  5. Trust me, I am NOT a regular reader of Perez Hilton.  But I could not resist when I saw his hysterical rant about Spirit Airlines pop up on my Google Alerts.  He rambles on about all the fees charged by Spirit.  You won’t see me flying on that airline — ever — but I admire their business model.  They charge ultra low fares, but charge fees up the ying yang.  Don’t like the fees? Don’t fly the airline.

I’m a bit behind on my Airplane Geeks episodes, but I thoroughly enjoyed Episode 171, which featured former Air Force pilot Mark Jones. He had some great stories about training at Edwards AFB. At one time, my dad was deputy base commander there, and my sister worked on the flight line, so I was reliving all that when Mark was chatting.

And finally, I am a sucker for aviation/airline commercials.  When they come on, I stop and watch in rapt fascination.  Recently I saw one featuring the folks who build GE Aviation engines, where they got the chance to fly to Boeing Field Seattle to see their product hung on the 787 Dreamliner and actually fly on the 747, my favorite plane.  And yes, I got a tear in my eye as they watched the fruits of their labor in total awe.  Enjoy!

Five Interesting Aviation Stories

14 Oct

Kids, I must confess — I was so busy with this week’s National Business Aviation Association annual conference that I barely had time to keep up with the rest of the industry.  But I did manage to find five interesting stories I’d love to share with you.

  1. Back on July 9, I got to take a day trip up to United Airlines’ Chicago O’Hare hub for a party being held for Tom Stuker, who accumulated 10 million (yes, million) Mileage Plus miles (my AvWeek blog post on that is here).  One of the gifts given to Stuker was a Boeing 787 model. During his remarks at the festivities, United CEO Jeff Smisek said the 787 would be in the fleet by 2012.  He also quipped about how he had been waiting four years for the delayed plane.  And now, my Aviation Week colleague Darren Shannon writes about how another 787 production delay has caused United to cut its 787 delivery schedule from six to five of the type.
  2. Are you one of those people who use websites to manage all of your frequent flyer miles (I’m not one of them)?  if you’re using sites including AwardWallet, MileWise and GoMiles, you may be facing some trouble, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have sent “cease and desist” letters to these companies over their activities.
  3. SmarterTravel’s Ed Perkins gives us the skinny behind the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck trusted traveler program, which is quite similar to the old registered traveler programs (which were privately run).  But he also asks some very good questions about the program, including cost, locations and enrollment.
  4. My friend Sandra Gonzales, a multimedia journalist in New Orleans, shot this piece on how Louis Armstrong International Airport has become one of 8 American approved airports to fly to Cuba.
  5. As you know, the nostalgic aviation geeks had been waiting with bated breath for the new ABC-TV series “Pan Am.”  You can see my review of it in this Sept. 26 post.  Which is why I enjoyed this post from travel expert Peter Greenberg’s thoughts on the real Pan Am.

DC-3 prop in Susan Elliott's Delta social media office Photo by Benet J. Wilson

I’m still catching up on my Airplane Geek podcast episodes.  I just listened to Episode 166, featuring Delta Air Lines social media guru Susan Elliott.  It was a great episode., and you have to love a woman who has a genuine DC-3 prop and a white leather sofa in her work space!!  And I got to guest host Episode 168, with Lori Ranson, he America’s Air Transport Editor at Flightglobal. And don’t forget to read this week’s edition of Strange But True Aviation News!

I have one more week to go at Aviation Week.  And I thank you all for your kind tweets and emails.  But as a result, there will be some changes on my blog.  Mondays will now be my top stories of the previous week.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays will remain the same.  Thursdays are for Random Aviation Photos and Friday will be Strange But True Aviation News.    I hope you’ll continue to support me here!

Top Five Aviation Stories Of The Week

30 Sep

It has been a busy week for me.  I started out recovering from two journalism conventions where I had the chance to speak (and raise my aviation geek flag), and it ended with me cranking out stories for my day job.  So here are my picks for the week.

  1. I’m giving props to my Aviation Week colleagues Guy Norris and Mike Mecham, who led our team coverage of Boeing’s first 787 delivery, to Japan’s ANA.
  2. Speaking of 787s, I was at United’s Houston hub on Tuesday (a separate post is coming out about that) and I saw a mock-up of the 787  in the E Concourse.  CEO Jeff Smisek tells the Chicago Tribune that his carrier’s first 787s are coming into the fleet by the second half of next year. He couldn’t resist a dig a Boeing, noting he’s been waiting for the plane since Continental ordered it in 2004.
  3. JetBlue CEO David Barger used an appearance on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley to call the partial shutdown of FAA earlier this summer “criminal.”
  4. I was intrigued by Scott McCartney’s Wall Street Journal story on kids attaining elite status on the world’s airlines.  My daughter, 5, started flying when she was 10 days old. She was one of the youngest children to earn a Rapid Rewards ticket on Southwest Airlines.
  5. I’m a bit behind with this story (Sept. 19), but I wanted to share this Marketwatch story on what the Transportation Security Administration is doing to speed passengers through airport checkpoints.  TSA fought the registered/trusted traveler concept for so long, it fascinates me how now they’re going in that direction.

My beloved Airplane Geeks were smart enough to interview one of my favorite social media peeps, Susan Chana Elliott of Delta Air Lines, in the latest episode.   And we have the usual basket of crazy over at AvWeek’s Things With Wings blog with Strange But True Aviation News.   I’m going to watch episode two of ABC-TV’s “Pan Am” this Sunday, but three strikes and they’re out!

My Top 5 Airline Story Picks For The Week

16 Sep

It was a fast week, with a veritable aviation news smorgasbord to choose from.  But I force myself to pick only five, so here goes!

  1. It seemed like a good idea at the time:  Rep. John Mica, (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was the father of the legislation that created the Transportation Security Administration. But 10 years later, he grades the agency he created with a D-, telling Human Events that “the whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats.”
  2. It was a split order for Air France KLM, which announced plans to buy 25  Boeing 787-9s for KLM and 25  Airbus A350-900s for Air France, reports SeattlePI.  It was the first joint order for the carriers, which merged back in 2004.
  3. The Mercury News writes about how the city of San Jose has been fighting to get a direct flight to Japan from Mineta San Jose International Airport, including hosting officials from ANA and having Mayor Chuck Reed lobby for the flight during a trip to the Asian nation. The carrier plans on putting a display of its Boeing 787 seating in city hall for two days, seen as an encouraging sign.  But the airport faces stiff competition against more established Asian hubs, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  4. Talk about King Solomon’s choice! The folks running Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport faced a difficult decision after one of its higher-paid employees was arrested for a non-work-related crime: let him continue to come to work or pay him to stay home.  They chose the latter, reports the Star-Tribune, who notes the airport doesn’t have a formal policy to handle this type of issue.  What would you have done (put me down for stay home)?
  5. My airport soul sister Harriet Baskas uses her MSNBC Overhead Bin column to discuss airbags on commercial airline flights.  The airbags are used for passengers in bulkhead seats.

I was pleased as punch to guest host episode 164 of the Airplane Geeks podcast.  And the bonus? The guest was my good friend Henry Harteveldt, who just partnered with 2 other gentlemen to create the new aviation consultancy Atmosphere Research Group.  And we can’t end the week without my Strange but True Aviation News column for Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog.  Enjoy the weekend!

Guest Post: Air India Is At A Crossroads

26 Aug

Editor’s note: kids, your Aunt Benet is taking the day off.  We’re going to do a post that’s a bit different.  Our guest blogger, Steven Frischling, of the Flying With Fish blog, offers a look inside Air India, which was recently rejected for membership in the Star Alliance (the best alliance in the world, in my opinion). Despite its obvious assets, the flag carrier continues to flounder in a highly competitive global market.  Fish explains how this happened and how the carrier might be able to turn things around.  Enjoy!!

Air India is an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum with all the potential in the world … yet it keeps tripping over its own feet.

As Air India is licking its wounds of rejection by Star Alliance after a three-and-a-half year courtship, the airline has installed the former Ministry of Aviation Joint Secretary Rohit Nandan as its new Chairman & Managing Director, a step in the right direction … if Air India can go in the right direction.

It is easy to point out Air India’s flaws, there are many, and many seem nearly insurmountable, but on paper Air India has unlimited potential to be a strong and successful airline. A brief look back in Air India’s history reveals that the airline was once a world-class airline, viewed by passengers and the industry as a top-tier airline to be emulated.

Air India Lounge at JFK Airport Photo by Eugene Dimarsky via Flickr

Air India’s reputation as a highly respected airline can be traced to the roots of another airline, Singapore Airlines. Early in Singapore Airlines’ history, the now Five-Star airline turned to Air India for consultation on establishing a superior customer experience. Based on initially on Air India’s model, Singapore Airlines is now renowned for its stellar customer experience and Air India has become renowned for its inferior customer experience.

Somewhere between October 15th 1932 when Air India first took to the skies and now the airline lost its way. The airline’s problems are frequently blamed on the Government of India, however the government has been in control since August 25th 1953. It is hard to overlook it now, but it was a Government owned Air India that became the envy of all airlines around the world on June 11th 1962 when it became the first airline in the world to opera an all jet aircraft fleet.

So … forget mismanagement and labour issues, ignore the estimated daily operating losses of US$4,794,520, put aside last years US$1.75-billion fiscal losses, pretend Air India didn’t just become the first airline in history to be rejected from an alliance it was invited to join and don’t factor in the fact that the airline is bloated and woefully compartmentalized …  just for a moment focus on the future and what Air India has to offer its passengers, its employees and of course its nation.

Airline hubs follow the same motto of retail shops, Location, Location, Location and Air India’s hubs in Mumbai and Delhi are geographically situated in ideal locations to be strong global hubs for international connections, as well as handle the substantial traffic to, from and within India.  Air India competes day in and day with Gulf rivals in the UAE and Qatar, this competition isn’t only for global traffic, but passengers traveling to and from India, many of whom are from India.

If Air India can wage a campaign, back up by its staff’s actions to win back its domestic passenger base and cap its leak to directly competing airlines, the financial implications for the carrier are significant. Good customer service should be a priority, but good customer service pushed as a brand initiative to win back the lost masses, offer short- term and long-term benefits.

Air India jets at JFK Airport Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Any airline with its sights set on a global market requires a sizable fleet. While many of Air India’s direct competitors are first building their fleets, Air India already has a sizable fleet in place and existing order to significantly increase the fleet’s size.  Air India’s fleet of 99 current aircraft range from the Airbus A319s to the Boeing 777s (200LR and 300ER variants) with every potential capacity gap covered in the middle, as well as three more Boeing 777-337s joining the fleet and an additional 27 Boeing 787-837s.

The Boeing 787s are scheduled to begin joining the fleet before the end of 2011.  An advantage in Air India’s favour is the age of its fleet, averaging 9.5 years old, their fleet has a lot of life left in it before aircraft must be replaced, reducing future fleet expenses and lowering potential MRO expenses for older aircraft.

From a domestic tactical stand point Air India is better suited that its Indian rivals for moving passengers where they need to go through its 15-year-old regional airline, Air India Regional inherited from Indian Airlines during the merger if the two airlines. Air India Regional may be small, with just 11 aircraft, a mix of ATR-42s and CRJ-700s, with an additional 14 A320s joining the fleet in the near future, but unlike its domestic competitors, Air India already has its foot in the door with regional service and the ability to expand this service with a relatively low investment into the subsidiary.

Along with Air India Regional, Air India has attempted to fend off low-cost carrier competitors through Air India Express, a wholly owned subsidiary. Air India Express’ fleet of 21 Boeing 737-800s makes the airline competitive, especially if it can differentiate Air India Express from the rest of Air India, while leveraging its network and operations to feed its mainline international traffic.   Air India Express has had some difficulty separating itself from Air India, but the low-cost carrier has begun to challenge a rival low-cost carrier in the UAE, Air Arabia, by establishing an Air India Express base in Dubai.  Many Indian travelers choose UAE based airlines over Air India, so this move is a small step in the right direction for Air India as a whole company to seek to regain some of the passengers they are bleeding to competitors.

 

Air India Route Map

Lastly … what is an airline without a route network?

Air India’s route network is a significant positive factor in the airline’s potential to survive, grow and regain its place amount top-tier carriers. Air India’s current route network includes more than a dozen Gulf Region destinations and 24 international destinations on five continents, in addition to its extensive domestic route network. In addition to the airline’s current destination, Air India has extensive unused fifth freedom rights between Europe and North America and elsewhere in the world. Granted, in some instances Air India made a wise decision to reduce or eliminate its fifth freedom flights, such as its New York (JFK)London (LHR) flights, which was usually a full flight, the options to revive certain routes may prove to be lucrative to the airline.

Along with Air India’s unused fifth freedom routes, the airline posses many dormant route authority options. As Air India adds additional long haul aircraft to its fleet the flexibility to revive previously popular routes, such as from the west coast of the United States, advance Air India ahead of its domestic competitors, as well as a number of its regional competitors in terms of providing non-stop or one-stop service to destinations other are not serving directly.

Now, outside of the passenger side of things, Air India has many options, many of these options are through joint ventures. One example of Air India’s joint venture financial potential commences operations in 2013, when Air India is scheduled to open its new 50 acre MRO facility in Nagpur as a joint venture with Boeing.  With MRO outsourcing being a highly competitive and profitable business unit for other airlines, this joint venture can be very successful provided the airline’s management and the Government stays out of its business.

All Air India has to do now is the hard stuff … restructure everything about how the airline operates, build harmony among its staff, develop a single corporate brand personality and completely restructure the airline. The up side to all the hard stuff is that once Air India finds its path to success, it already has everything it needs to leave its competition in the dust.

While many see an airline on the path to ruin … I see an airline that needs to find a way to tap its unlimited potential.

Happy Flying!

-Steven Frischling

Flying With Fish

@flyingwithfish

Top Five Aviation Stories Of The Week

19 Aug

Brett Snyder, Henry Harteveldt and me at Henry's birthday party

Oh, it’s just another day in this paradise that we call aviation.  I’m honored — and pained — that my frenemy, Brett Snyder (AKA @CrankyFlier) has just named my little blog as one of his Top 10 Airline Blogs.  Brett is like the annoying little brother I never wanted.  I hope he doesn’t think I’ll start being nice to him just because he threw me some major link love!  I kid, of course.  Let’s get on with this week’s stories, shall we?

  1. My Aviation Week colleague Guy Norris wrote two good stories on the progress of Boeing’s 787:  Boeing Confirms Completion Of 787 Testing and Tests Ending For Rolls-Powered 787.
  2. It was the title on this “Today Show” travel story that got me: Airport security: You ain’t seen nothing yet.  After getting over my shudders, the story goes into what we might see in airport security 10 years after 9/11.
  3. The Overhead Bin column on MSNBC Travel shows some love to iPhone AND Android apps designed for business travelers.  I loved the trick to extend the iPhone’s battery life, a persistent problem for me.
  4. Like many aviation geeks, the topic of Amelia Earhart always fascinates (despite the recent horrible movie). My Twitter follower @CravenTravels hipped me to a Kickstart project by Rich Martini, who is looking for money to fund his documentary of what “really” happened to Earhart.
  5. This story on Jaunted (and passed along by @LaurieHosken combines two of my favorite things: aircraft and the very occasional adult beverage.  The post profiles five airport bars made from actual old airplanes.  My favorite, of course is the Jumbo Bar at Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport, Sweden — because it’s made from a Boeing 747!

Speaking of Brett, I must throw him some love for five years of blogging over at Cranky Flier.  He has turned that blog into one of the most influential on the planet (as determined by the Guardian, no less) and is a must-read for me.   I’m still a bit behind on my Airplane Geek podcast episodes, but I really enjoyed Episode 159 with guest @PatFlannigan of the Aviation Chatter blog.

We’ll end the week with some YouTube video showing classic footage of my favorite aircraft of all time — the Boeing 747.  Enjoy!!

GUEST POST: Seattle is a Major Aviation Hub of the World

14 Jul

Editor’s note: I’m on vacation this week, so I have some of my aviation/airline/travel geek friends doing guest posts here this week. So next up is aviation blogger David Parker Brown. I met David back in May 2009 when AirTran did a special flight — complete with a live video stand-up on the Today Show — to show off its new inflight Wi-Fi service. He created the website AirlineReporter.com, where he writes about things that interest him. Below is his homage to all things aviation in his home town of Seattle. Enjoy!

Since I was a child, I have been interested in aviation and especially airlines. For me, flying is still a magical experience and should be celebrated. I feel extremely lucky to have been raised and still live in the Seattle area; I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. With so many places to relish aviation history, Seattle is a must-visit destination for any aviation enthusiast.

In 1916 Boeing started building aircraft in Seattle and today the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 are still built in the greater Seattle area.

Visitors can head north to Paine Field to watch a Boeing 777-300ER, 787 Dreamliner or 747 Dreamlifter take off or head down south to Boeing Field to watch Boeing 737s take test flights and be prepared to be delivered around the world. I don’t think there is another place you can view so many different airline liveries.

Boeing Factory Tour: Go inside the Boeing factory, which is the largest structure in the world based on volume. See the 777, 747, 767 and 787 in different stages of production and learn about the history of the company.

Future of Flight: The Boeing Factory tour leaves from the Future of Flight and a visit to the gallery floor is included with your tour ticket. Learn about the technologies used in aviation and explore the future. Be sure to get up on the Strato Deck to get an amazing view of the airport and maybe catch a plane or two taking off.

Museum of Flight: They have one of the best collections of aviation, ranging from World War II aircraft to space station modules. Be sure to check out their airpark, which houses the very first Boeing 747, an old Boeing 707 Air Force One, a British Airways Concorde and more.

Museum of Flight Restoration Center: The museum is located at Boeing Field and the Restoration Center is located north, at Paine Field. Get a behind the scenes look at how they restore the aircraft and get to meet the volunteers who work on the aircraft.

Flying Heritage Collection: This is Paul Allen’s, co-founder of Microsoft, collection of vintage aircraft that have been meticulously restored. They are beyond museum quality and they all can still fly. There are story boards and videos around the facility to put the aircraft and technology into perspective during the timeframe the aircraft were made.

Historic Flight Foundation: Located at Paine Field, Historic Flight lets you get close to the old aircraft housed in their hangar. Not only can you touch the aircraft, you can watch them fly during their set schedule and even take a ride on a B-25D called Grumpy.

Scenic Flights: After looking at airplanes, you might get the urge to get up in the air. If you have never taken a sea plane ride, this is the time to do it. Kenmore Air will take you on a tour of the greater Seattle area or you can take a ride up to the San Juan Islands to enjoy the weekend.

Yes, we might get a lot of rain in Seattle, but it is actually quite sunny near the end of summer (at least it is supposed to be). Of course there is a lot more to Seattle than just aviation, but that is for another story.

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