United to fly 787-9s domestically

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, North America, USA | Posted on 28-03-2014

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United Airlines 787-800United Airlines will begin operations with its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft by flying on a number of domestic routes.

The first of the aircraft, which is an extended version of the standard 787-8 model, will arrive in July. Flying shorter routes will help in gaining crew familiarity before the type begins long haul flying.

The aircraft will fly between Denver, Houston IAH and Los Angeles International from August.

Already announced, the first international route will be from Los Angeles International to Melbourne, starting in October.

 

Sydney Airport aviation community weekend – 4-5 April

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia | Posted on 19-03-2014

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Qantas_A380_VH-OQB_SydneySydney Airport will host its second annual Aviation Community Weekend on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th April.

This year Sydney Airport will be offering two exclusive airfield tours.  Both tours will be escorted by an airfield safety vehicle enabling each of you to spend a reasonable amount of time on the airfield to capture aircraft landings and takeoffs.  The airfield tour will also consist of a tour around the inside perimeter fence.

Canon Australia are on board to offer product demonstrations along with a selection of super telephoto lenses available for use during an afternoon plane spotting session from a high vantage point.  This session will occur on the airport’s corporate office rooftop which has an impressive 180 degree runway view.

After Canon’s product demonstrations, Sydney Airport and YSSY Forum will offer light refreshments and finger food. A trivia competition will also be held, with several of stakeholders offering great experiences as prizes.

Pre-registration is open until Friday, 21st March at 9am (SYD time) where names for both airfield tours will be selected at random.

Sydney Rydges Hotel is the new spotting location

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News | Posted on 17-03-2014

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Rydges Hotel ViewWe recently reported on the closure of Sydney’s Observation Deck on the International Terminal. However, the airport has been working with the Rydges Hotel in providing an alternative place for spotters to congregate.

The hotel has a rooftop area which it is now opening up to plane spotters for a small fee of $10.This fee gets you access to the rooftop, a free beverage from the cafe, and a spotter information sheet to help you get to grips with Sydney Airport. There are also family passes available for $30 for 2 adults and 2 children.

The Rydges Hotel is located within the International Terminal complex, and is Sydney’s only airport terminal hotel.

Views from the roof look across the airfield and runways, with many of the International Terminal gates in view, and the Domestic Terminal visible in the distance. All movements can be seen to some degree, so you’re not going to miss anything from here.

Rydges Hotel Rooftop

Photography is also possible for aircraft at the International Terminal and on the nearest (16R/34L) runway but needs a zoom lens.

Rydges Hotel Room Views

Spotter Hotel Package
If you’re looking to stay in Sydney, the Rydges Hotel has a special Plane Spotter Package which guarantees you a Deluxe King Room with a great view of the airport and surroundings, a pair of binoculars, food & drink voucher, free Wi-Fi and late checkout. The price starts at AUS$229 for non-members, or $206 for members. Check it out here: http://www.rydges.com/accommodation/sydney-nsw/sydney-airport/offers/plane-spotter-package/

 

Sydney to close observation deck

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia, Spotting News | Posted on 20-02-2014

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Sydney Spotting. Photo (c) YSSYguySome sad news today… Sydney Airport is to close its observation deck on the International Terminal in March.

According to site Australian Business Traveller, Sydney Airport confirmed the closure due to “operational reasons” as the airport explores a range of potential uses for the space as it looks to redevelop parts of the terminal.

This is sad news for spotters who enjoy the panoramic views and great position for photographing and watching aircraft at the airport.

There are a number of alternative locations for spotting aircraft at Sydney, which the airport encourages you to use. These include the Rydges Hotel at Terminal 1, Qantas Drive, the mound next to runway 16L, and the area alongside the runway 25 threshold.

The airport maintains that the aviation enthusiast community is important to them and has a page dedicated to this (see here) with details of spotting locations. Nevertheless, some enthusiasts have reacted badly at the news of this closure.

Scoot Boeing 787 routes planned

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan | Posted on 15-02-2014

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Scoot 787Scoot, the low-cost spin-off of Singapore Airlines, has announced some of the routes it plans to operated its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on.

As Scoot works towards replacing its entire Boeing-777 fleet, the new Dreamliners — the first of which is expected to arrive in November — will help the airline save more than 20 per cent in fuel per seat, Chief Executive Campbell Wilson said.

“We certainly intend to pass some, if not most, of the savings to our consumers as, clearly, lower air fares stimulate more people to travel … At the very least, the fares will not increase; more likely they will come down,” he added.

Scoot announced in October 2012 it had agreed to acquire 20 Boeing 787s.

Initial routes will be from Singapore Changi to Taipei, Japan, and Australia.

Thai Boeing 787 routes planned

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Japan, Spotting News, Thailand | Posted on 04-02-2014

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Thai 787Thai Airways International have started loading their Boeing 787 flight schedules into the system according to Airlineroute.net.

It looks like the airline will operate their new Dreamliners initially on the following routes:

 

 

Bangkok to Perth
Daily, from 1st July

Bangkok to Tokyo Haneda
Daily from 1st August

As always you can keep up-to-date on the routes airlines are planning to operate their 787s to on our 787 Routes page.

 

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.

Boeing 787-9 to visit Auckland in January

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Australasia, Australia, New Zealand | Posted on 03-01-2014

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787-9 First FlightBoeing will be bringing its 787-9 to Auckland in early January to visit launch customer Air New Zealand. This will be the first international trip for the new, extended model of Dreamliner.

“Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting,” said Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer, Air New Zealand. “It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

The aircraft, ZB002, is the second of three 787-9s dedicated to the test program. As the only 787-9 test aircraft to be fitted with elements of the passenger interior, in addition to test racks and instrumentation, Boeing uses ZB002 to test the environmental control system and other aspects of aircraft performance. After the test program is complete, the aircraft will be reconfigured for delivery to Air New Zealand.

From Auckland, ZB002 is scheduled to continue on to Alice Springs, Australia, where Boeing plans to conduct flight testing in hot weather. Boeing chose Alice Springs Airport for this testing because the location meets specific test requirements for both facilities and atmospheric conditions. Testing is contingent on favorable weather and is scheduled to last approximately one week.

QANTAS’ Christmas Spirit

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Australasia, Australia, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-12-2013

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Reader Jasmina Manev sent us this picture which she took on the tarmac on the domestic side at Perth on Christmas Eve, showing how QANTAS have got into the Christmas spirit!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year!

Qantas at Christmas

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