Tag Archives: Boeing

Random Aviation Photo

14 Jun

Back in June 2008, I attended an airports conference in New Orleans.  It was my first trip back to the Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina.  I had some time to kill at the gate, so I took some random shots. Mexico’s Aladia was a low-cost charter carrier that went out of business in October 2008. Below is an Aladia Boeing 757.

Random Aviation Photo

25 May

Back in November 2007, I took a trip to Chicago O’Hare to take an up-close-and-personal tour of the O’Hare Modernization Project, which included the construction of the Runway 9L/27R.  s part of that, I got to go into areas usually not open to the public.  In the shot below, we were over near the old cargo area, which was going to be moved to accommodate the new runway.  Enjoy!

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 cargo jet at Chicago O’Hare. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Random Aviation Photo

17 May

One of my last duties before leaving Delta Air Lines was working on the events surrounding the retirement of The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 bough by the airline’s employees, retirees, family and friends in 1982.  I left before the plane was brought to its final home at the Delta Heritage Museum at the carrier’s headquarters campus in 2006.  So I was so excited to see it in the museum during a visit to Atlanta in April 2011.  Enjoy!

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.

Random Aviation Photo

8 Mar

One of the best things about going to a U.S. airport that’s an international gateway is all the heavy metal from foreign flag carriers.  Back in April 2008, was flying out of Washington Dulles International Airport (my personal favorite) for a trip to Seoul, South Korea.  I arrived early on purpose, because it was around the time when the flag carriers were arriving.  I caught a snap of an Ethopian Airlines Boeing 767 sitting at the gate. Enjoy!

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

5 Mar
  1. All the true airline geeks (including me) were excited over a major aviation event this past weekend — the final steps to a complete merger of Continental Airlines and United Airlines.  In this phase, the airline now has a single reservation system, a single check-in and one frequent flyer program — MileagePlus. But there’s always some problems when you’re merging two systems, including “late flight departures and arrivals, missed connections, problems at check-in kiosks, long lines and extended wait times to reach reservations agents as United agents tried to master the new system,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  2. I’m a fool for anything written about my favorite aircraft — the Boeing 747.  So I thoroughly enjoyed a blog post by my former Aviation Week colleague Guy Norris, who gave us a sneak peek of the inside of a VIP 747 delivered to a Middle East customer in the Things With Wings blog.
  3. Back in late 1999, I took a trip to Israel for the delivery of the first ATR-72 to Arkia Israel Airlines. I was in New York City for a family event, so I flew on TWA to Tel Aviv. I could do several blog posts about that particular flight, but one of the things I remember is the flight attendants rolling down the aisles selling TWA-branded items — and being quite aggressive about it. Which is what I thought about when I read this New York Times article on the new revenue sources airlines are now chasing, including insurance, branded items and TV commercials.
  4. With Terrafugia Inc, about to debut its flying car at the New York Auto show next month, I read this Lifehacker blog post on the first true flying car.  The AVE Mizar was a Ford Pinto merged with a Cessna Skymaster plane. The wings were detachable, and that was the plane’s downfall.
  5. Back in the spring of 2005 when I was working for Delta Air Lines, I had to go out to Salt Lake City for a business meeting. One of my co-workers took me to the home of a flight attendant who had turned his basement into a Delta/Pan Am museum, complete with a reconstructed first class cabin, uniforms, travel posters and a huge pile of memorabilia. One thing he had was the wine-in-a-can Delta served passengers in the 1970s. So I thoroughly enjoyed a  post from Mary Kirby of the APEX Editor’s blog on Delta’s selections of wine in a box.

With the big switchover this weekend, the Continental Airlines name is no more.  So I’ll end this post with a classic commercial from the 1970s that featured a young Farrah Fawcett in the “We Really Move Our Tails For You” tag line. Enjoy!

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:

 

Random Aviation Photo

23 Feb

Back in July 2008, I was attending an airports conference in Chicago. As part of the conference, we got to take a great tour of Chicago Midway Airport.  I saw a lot of the Southwest Airlines fleet there, and I was lucky enough to get a snap of two Boeing 737s, including the one dedicated to the State of Maryland.  Enjoy!

My (Travel/Aviation) Interest In Pinterest

21 Feb

I went to Austin, Texas, last month for a data journalism geek unconference.  The first night we had dinner at Stubbs BBQ, and my dinner companion was Lauren Young, owner of Little Lamb web design (she’s currently redesigning this site).  She started talking about how much fun she was having with Pinterest.  For the uninitiated, check out this article in the Wall Street Journal profiling the website.

I love using Pinterest to show off many things, but my favorites are my aviation and travel boards.  The first board I created was one with pictures of my beloved Boeing 747, which has 101 followers.  My next board was Cool Aircraft Liveries, which has photos of some of the best aircraft paint jobs of the present and past, with 97 followers. I work across the street from Frederick Municipal Airport, so I created Seen At Frederick Airport (FDK).

I am a BIG fan of art deco airline/travel posters, and have them hanging in my home and office. My Art Deco Travel Posters has 92 followers.  I created a board made up entirely of the graphics I use for my Strange But True Aviation News column. And then I have boards entitled Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin’ (wo)Man and Places I REALLY Want To See, with 94 followers each.

Tomorrow’s post will be on 10 folks you should be following on Pinterest.  Not on Pinterest yet? Drop me an email at AuntBenet AT Gmail DOT com and I’ll get you an invite.  Enjoy!

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.

 

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