5 new airlines in Africa

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria, South Africa | Posted on 06-06-2014

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A lot of new airlines are starting up in Africa at the moment. Here are five to look out for…

 

Libyan Wings

Libyan Wings, based at Tripoli, is due to take delivery of two Airbus A319s later this year on lease. The airline is expecting to start flying by September, offering scheduled services. It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to order Airbus A320neo and A350-900 aircraft.

Discovery Air

Discovery Air of Nigeria has already taken delivery of a couple of Boeing 737-300s and indents to launch flights this month, once its Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority certification is granted. The airline hopes to fly from both Abuja and Lagos to Port Harcourt Omagwa.

FlyAfrica

flyafrica.com is a new Zimbabwean carrier looking to break the monopoly of Air Zimbabwe. It has gained its Air Operators Certificate and hopes to start flying this month. It has sourced five ex-CSA Boeing 737-500s, and will operate from Harare to Bulawayo, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.

Air Azman

Air Azman of Nigeria has recently been granted its Air Operator’s Certificate and now operates two Boeing 737-300s which were formerly flown by bmibaby. It plans flights across Africa from Kano, Abuja and Lagos, as well as to Dubai.

GoldStar Airlines

Goldstar Airlines is another new airline from Ghana. It hopes to begin services to China, the UK and USA, as well as offering flights to Brazil during the World Cup. Although flight times are available on the airline’s website, there are no aircraft or start dates available yet.

 

10 Boeing 707s you can go inside today

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Australasia, Australia, Colombia, Iran, Israel, Middle East, North America, South Africa, South America, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 19-04-2014

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It seems the days of being able to fly on a Boeing 707 are finally over, with Saha Air in Iran grounding their fleet in favour of modern types. So the next best thing is to at least get inside one of the classic jets.

Here are 12 Boeing 707s around the world that are open to the public*

55-3139 KC-135 Stratotanker USAF
Castle Air Museum, Atwater, CA
A former US Air Force tanker, 55-3139 is now preserved and occasionally open to the public to explore the interior.

KC-135 55-3139

55-3139 (c) Chris Kennedy

 

008 – 4X-JYD 707-131
Israeli Air Force Museum, Hatzerim AFB, Israel
Originally flown by TWA, this Israeli Air Force museum is preserved and often very dusty!

4X-JYD (c) Pieter v Marion

4X-JYD (c) Pieter v Marion

 

VH-XBA 707-138B QANTAS
Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach, Australia
This aircraft was part of the original QANTAS order for Boeing 707s. It was restored to flying condition from storage at Southend, UK, and ferried around the world to this amazing museum in Australia.

VH-XBA

VH-XBA (c) Qantas Founders Museum

 

G-APFJ 707-436 BOAC (forward fuselage only)
National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland
This aircraft was preserved in one piece at the RAF Cosford museum, but sadly scrapped in 2006. The forward fuselage is now open to the public at the National Museum of Flight near Edinburgh.

707-G-APFJ

(c) Kim Traynor

 

58-6970 C-137B Air Force One
Museum of Flight, Seattle Boeing Field, WA
Air Force One during the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon is now preserved at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

58-6970

Air Force One in Seattle (c) Matt Falcus

 

62-6000 VC-137C Air Force One
National Museum of the US Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
The aircraft used on the day of John F Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas 50 years ago, and on which President Lyndon B Johnson was sworn in.

707 62-6000

Air Force One 62-6000

 

EP-IRJ 707-321B Air Restaurant
nr Tehran Mehrabad Airport, Iran
Originally a Pan Am machine, this aircraft is now open as a restaurant close to Tehran Mehrabad Airport.

Inside EP-IRJ near Tehran (c) Sam Chui

Inside EP-IRJ near Tehran (c) Sam Chui/SamChuiPhotos.com

 

AF-621 707-344C South African Air Force (forward fuselage only)
South African Air Force Museum, Waterkloof AFB, South Africa
Forward section of former Air France and South African Air Force 707 is open to the public at the Waterkloof museum.

707 AF-621

(c) Warrant Officer Class II Alan Taylor

 

72-7000 VC-137C Air Force One
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, CA
The aircraft used by President Ronald Reagan is now lovingly restored at his final resting place and Presidential Library. See how the aircraft looked when in use as Air Force One.

707 Reagan Library

707 at the Reagan Presidential Library

 

HK-749 720-030B Avianca
Parque Saltire Magico, Bogota, Colombia
A former Lufthansa and Avianca aircraft is now in the large Saltire Park in Bogota, along with a Boeing 727, and often open to the public.

HK-749 (c) Renato Krause

HK-749 (c) Renato Krause

* Opening times are subject to the individual organisations displaying these aircraft.

Greatest Flights – World’s Longest Commercial Flight – Qantas

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Greatest Flights, North America, Singapore, South Africa, USA | Posted on 10-01-2014

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Qantas at SydneyContinuing the Greatest Flights series when we look at some of the more interesting and noteworthy flights enthusiasts and travellers can take, in this post the world’s longest commercial flight is covered (you may remember we also covered the world’s shortest commercial flight too!).

Today, the world’s longest commercial passenger flight is operated by Qantas between Sydney and Dallas/Ft. Worth airports.

The flight is operated by one of the airline’s special Boeing 747-400ER aircraft, and covers around 8,570 miles (13,800km). The flight time is a snoozy 15 hours and 25 minutes which is pretty much worth the money to upgrade to a lie-flat seat!

SYD-DFW route map

The route you’ll take on the longest commercial flight.

Until recently the longest flight crown went to Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-Newark A340-500 route, but this has been discontinued.

Coming up in second place today is Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta-Johannesburg route, operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, and only 150 miles shorter than Qantas’ QF7.

Top 5 spotting airports in January

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Australasia, Eastern Europe, Greece, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, New Zealand, North America, South Africa, USA | Posted on 31-12-2013

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January – typically a cold month for those in Europe and the USA; a month where people try to make new starts and pursue the resolutions they made at the end of the last year.

The weather doesn’t have to be a hindrance for your spotting. Here are five suggestions of places to spot in January.

 

Los Angeles International
One of the greatest airports in America. Los Angeles boasts sunshine and warmer temperatures than most of the country at this time of the year, and the sunlight is always great for photography. Head to one of the locations around the perimeter and snap some heavies landing.

Skiathos Airport

Johannesburg O R Tambo
South Africa’s principal airport is great at this time of year – warm, sunny and with lots of daylight. The airport is a hub for South African Airways, and a focal point for many African operators. You can also see a number of older aircraft operating here.

Skiathos
Dubbed the St. Maarten of Europe, the Greek island of Skiathos is an amazing place for the aircraft spotter and photographer. With average temperatures in the low teens, it is much more pleasant than the rest of Europe, and always popular with charter airlines.

Abu Dhabi
Always hot at this time of year, Abu Dhabi is an up-and-coming alternative to Dubai. Hub for Etihad Airways, the airport has a new Premier Inn with views of aircraft movements, making a much cheaper alternative to Dubai’s Sheraton Deira.

NZ Warbirds DC-3 Dakota Ardmore

Auckland
Catch up with aviation in New Zealand at its principal gateway and home hub of Air New Zealand. Auckland has a pleasant climate at this time of year, and offers some great local aviation attractions in addition to the airlines it serves, such as Ardmore Airport and its classic aircraft.

 
Whatever you get up to with your spotting in January, remember to comment on which airports you’ve been to and send us your tips and photographs from around the world!

More British Airways A380 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Heathrow, North America, South Africa, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 12-11-2013

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British Airways A380British Airways have released details about future Airbus A380 services.

From May 2014 the airline will add a second daily A380 on its London Heathrow – Los Angeles service (delayed from April).

Then, from 26 October 2014 the superjumbo will be used on one of the daily London Heathrow – Johannesburg flights.

 

National Airlines – where are they now?

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Australasia, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Miscellaneous Spotting, Nigeria, North America, South Africa, South America, USA, Venezuela | Posted on 20-10-2013

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(c) Richard VandervordThe best-know National Airlines (there was a later one in the 1990s) was founded in 1934 as a Florida based carrier operating along the Gulf Coast from bases at Jacksonville and St Petersburg. It soon relocated its operating base to Miami International, and gained prominence operating to New York and Havana.

The airline used a number of slogans and titles to attract customers away from the big players, including ‘Route of the Buccaneers’ and ‘The Airline of the Stars’.

National became the first airline in the United States to operate jet aircraft on domestic services when it leased a Pan Am Boeing 707 to fly the Miami to New York link from 10 December 1958. This was a temporary measure until the airline’s own Douglas DC-8-21s were delivered in 1960. It later replaced older piston aircraft with Boeing 727s and was soon linking the west coast.

National Airlines DC-6From 1970 widebody Boeing 747s and Douglas DC-10s joined the airline. It adopted a striking new livery, which many will remember, depicting the Sun King emblem, with bright orange and yellow cheatlines, and also began flying to Europe.

Pan American took over National Airlines in 1980, adopting its domestic network to gain a much bigger presence within the United States. It also took on National’s ‘Sundrome’ terminal at New York JFK.

All of this is in my new book, Airlines of the USA, which looks at some of America’s most important airlines past and present.

I thought it would be fun to look at the aircraft National Airlines operated and see if any of them still exist today – particularly any flying examples. Given its iconic status as a famous airline of the past, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to fly on a National jet that was still operating?

National operated the following aircraft types over the years: Boeing 727, Boeing 747-100, Convair 340/440/580, Curtiss C-46 Commando, Douglas DC-4, Douglas DC-6, Douglas DC-7, Douglas DC-8, Lockheed 10, Lockheed 18 Lodestar, Lockheed L-188 Electra, Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

National Airlines Aircraft Today
These are the aircraft still in existence today:

DC-6 N8223H todayAfrica
B727-100 N4610 Derelict, Harare Manyame AB, Zimbabwe
B727-100 N604NA – C5-GAE Active, Gambian Government, Banjul, Gambia
B727-200 N4741 – 5N-BCY Stored, Polokwane, Nigeria
DC-6B N8223H – N84AU Cockpit preserved, SAA Tehnical, Johannesburg, South Africa
DC-8-54 N108RD – 3D-ETM Stored, Luanda, Angola
L-1049H Constellation N7133C – CF-NAL Preserved as restaurant, Sao Tome International
L-1049H Constellation N7134C – CF-NAM Preserved as restaurant, Sao Tome International

Asia
B727-100 N4740 – 4K-AZ1 Stored, Baku, Azerbaijan
B727-100 N898PC – P4-JLD Active, Government of Tatarstan, Kazan, Tatarstan

CF-NAL in Sao Tome today

Australasia
B727-200 N11137 – VH-PDL Active? Pionair Australia, Sydney Bankstown, Australia
B727-200 N8416H – VH-PDX Active?, Pionair Australia, Condell Park, Australia
Convair 580 N11137 – VH-PDL Active? Pionair Australia, Sydney Bankstown, Australia
Convair 580 N8416H – VH-PDX Active?, Pionair Australia, Condell Park, Australia

Central & South America
B727-100 N4509 – EJC-161 Aviacion Del Ejercito, Preserved Bogota, Colombia
B727-100 N5607 – HK-4154 Active, Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, Bogota, Colombia
B727-100 N4622 – YV-846C Stored, Caracas, Venezuela
B727-200 N2046 – FAB-71 Stored, La Paz, Bolivia
B727-200 N8417H – TE-004 Ground Trainer, Santa Lucia AB, Mexico
Convair 580 N2046 – FAB-71 Stored, La Paz, Bolivia
Convair 580 N8417H – TE-004 Ground Trainer, Santa Lucia AB, Mexico

(c) George Trussell

USA & Canada
B727-100 N4615 – N692AF Stored, Mena, AR
B727-100 N4616 Blue Falcon Corp, El Paso, TX
B727-100 N4730 Fire Trainer, Amarillo, TX
B727-100 N5609 Sunk as reef, Key Biscayne, FL
B727-200 N64320 3D-JJM Stored, El Paso, TX
B727-200 N11151 – C-FKFZ Active, Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter, Kelowna, Canada
B727-200 N2041 – C-FTAP Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
B727-200 N2042 – C-GRLQ Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
B727-200 N8414H – N362Q Stored, Roswell, NM
B727-200 N8419H – N590X Stored, Columbus Rickenbacker, OH
Convair 580 N11151 – C-FKFZ Active, Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter, Kelowna, Canada
Convair 580 N2041 – C-FTAP Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
Convair 580 N2042 – C-GRLQ Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
Convair 580 N8414H – N362Q Stored, Roswell, NM

Convair 580 N8419H – N590X Stored, Columbus Rickenbacker, OH
DC-8-31 N4901C – N90GTB Cockpit preserved at private home, Hot Springs, AR
DC-10-10 N66NA – N554FE Active, FedEx Express
DC-10-10 N68NA – N556FE Stored, Victorville, CA
DC-10-10 N69NA – N450AX Active, 10 Tanker Air Carrier (water bomber), Victorville, CA
L188 Electra N5005K – N281F Ground Trainer, Anchorage Ted Stevens International, AK
L188 Electra N5006K – N282F Stored, Detroit Willow Run, MI
L188 Electra N5013K – N286F Stored, Detroit Willow Run, MI
L188 Electra N5014K – N287F Derelict, Abbotsford, Canada

 

As you can see, former National Airlines aircraft can now be found all over the world, mainly grounded or stored. But if you head to Canada you could fly on a Convair 580 with Nolinor Aviation.

Did you ever fly with National? What are your memories of the airline and its aircraft?

 

Airlines of the USAAirlines of the USA

The new book by Matt Falcus which details the most important airlines to have come from America, from the early days of air mail through legacy carriers, cargo carriers, and modern low-cost airlines. Covers lost giants such as Braniff, Eastern, Northwest, Pan Am, and PSA.

Buy a copy here

5 South African airport highlights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airport Spotting Guide, South Africa | Posted on 06-02-2012

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseVisiting South Africa this year? The country is fascinating for the aviation enthusiast, with busy international airports, historic heritage aircraft, and lots of stored airliners. Here are some tips on finding the best aviation experiences whilst there.

Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport
Most people arrive into the country via Johannesburg Airport (although Cape Town is also popular). Both Terminals (A and B) have viewing decks to use, with B being the most useful for photography and catching all movements. The deck is indoors, with somewhat dirty windows, but you can always clean a patch.

The airport has a good mix of international and domestic flights coming throughout the day, so it’s rarely boring.

On the north and south sides of the airport are storage and maintenance areas. The north (Safair) can be mostly read from the viewing decks, but the south (Denel) can’t. Best bet is to hire a car and explore to make sure you catch as many aircraft as possible.

Rand
Another airport in Johannesburg, Rand is much smaller. It has a lot of stored airliners on site, plus the South African Airways Society Museum with types up to Boeing 747 in size. You have some views from inside the terminal, however it’s much more rewarding to organise a tour from the fire crews, which cost 20 Rand. These take in all ramps and areas of the airfield, so you won’t miss much.

Lanseria
This is a smaller airport to the northwest of Johannesburg. It has a number of airlines flying domestic routes, and is also a popular place to see bizjets flying  into the city. One the airfield are also a number of stored and withdrawn airliners.

You can spot from the viewing deck area which doubles as a food court. However, it’s also possible to arrange an airside tour from the security office if you contact them in advance.

Wonderboom
One of the airports in the Pretoria area, Wonderboom is an interesting little place. It is home to a variety of

aircraft, from safari aircraft to Boeing 737s; bizjets to historic flight DC-3’s. It’s possible to see quite a few aircraft from a circuit of the perimeter, however it’s often possible to arrange airside access from the security office.


Durban King Shaka Airport

The new international airport for Durban opened in 2010, replacing the existing facility. It is actually over 20 miles from the city, but is ultra modern and one to watch for the future. At the moment it handles close to 5million passengers per year, with a mix of domestic and international. There are viewing opportunities from within the terminal.

South Africa warning – spotter found guilty

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, South Africa, Spotting News | Posted on 06-08-2011

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News24.com is reporting that a plane spotter has been found guilty of illegally listening to ATC communications through an air band receiver.

Julian Swift was at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport in February when he was arrested. He had been observed taking photographs of aircraft, and listening to a radio receiver (which could no transmit). He has been ordered to pay a R5000 fine, or face 10 months in jail.

In South Africa, it is illegal to use scanners and receivers without a license proving you’re qualified as a radio amateur.

Despite this, air traffic control is streamed live from South African airports via the internet, and at the High Flyers Bar next to OR Tambo Airport.

So watch out if you’re in South Africa! Maybe I should put up a list of rules from different countries on this site to keep us all on the right side of the law. Anyone care to explain the rules that you know of for different countries? Leave a comment.

World Cup – Spotting in Johannesburg

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airport Spotting Guide, South Africa | Posted on 28-04-2010

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If any of you lucky people are off to South Africa this summer for the World Cup, perhaps you could benefit from a bit of information on spotting at one of the main airports in the country.

Johannesburg will handle the vast majority of international flights, given it is already set up and well-served by carriers from around the world. Cape Town will also handle a lot of flights.

Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport has two parallel runways. The airport also has two terminals – A (International) and B (Domestic).

Each terminal has its own viewing gallery, and each has views of both runways. The International terminal’s gallery is the best, as it also has views of the cargo terminal, and you can still see the domestic terminal and all movements from there. Sadly both viewing areas are behind glass, so it can limit photography potential.

Spotting at Rand, South Africa

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airport Spotting Guide, South Africa | Posted on 28-08-2008

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I’m back from honeymoon now. Before I move on to details of spotting in Iceland and Copenhagen (stay tuned!), I’ll simply write this note I received about spotting at Rand airfield in South Africa – a very popular side-trip for spotters in the Johannesburg area.

Spotters are usually permitted to take an airside tour of the hangars and parked aircraft, escorted by the fire department at the airfield. You simply have to turn up at the Airport Manager’s office (ask at the Information Desk), sign a form, and they’ll organise it if possible that day.

I also got told that the Academy B&B nearby gives guests a key for the gate onto the apron and a token to get you through security. This seems a little unbelievable, so please let us know if you’ve found it to be true!