Last Chance to Fly Book Update

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 23-02-2014


Last Chance to Fly EBookOur ebook Last Chance to Fly, which covers details of which airlines still fly some of the rarer aircraft types today and how you can fly on them, has been updated for 2014.

As well as updating some rarer types such as the Tupolev Tu-134 and Tu-154, we’ve also sadly had to remove some types completely as they are now no longer flying. These include the Boeing 747-100 (last flight with Iran Air in January) and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (last flight with Biman in February).

To find out more about the book and buy your copy, visit this page.

10 new aviation books for January

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Spotting Equipment Reviews | Posted on 20-12-2013


There are a lot of new aviation books coming out in early 2014, and quite a few new ones that have appeared in the last few months of 2013. We haven’t brought you details of any for a while, so I thought I’d give you details of a few of the best new ones here.

I’ve linked each one to its Amazon page for you to find out more.

1. Commercial Aviation: An Insider’s Story
Packed full of information on the how’s and why’s of commercial aviation, such as: How do airlines work? How do you get a job in aviation? Are aircraft safe? Why did some of the well known crashes happen? What regulations do governments impose on airlines?

2. Air Disasters of the World: From the early days of flight to the Jet Age
Despite aviation being safer than ever, air disasters still occur and continue to fascinate us. In this gripping book, Xavier Waterkeyn explores more than 200 notable air crashes, including bizarre accidents, hijackings and tales of miraculous survival.

Civil Aviation in Northern Ireland

3. Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet
A look at everything about the style of airlines, from flight attendants and their uniforms, to the way cabins are laid out and designed. It shows how airline culture has changed since the 1920s, to the present big jets and corporations.

4. Civil Aviation in Northern Ireland: An Illustrated History
It’s easy to forget the part Northern Ireland has played in aviation, and this book takes a look at that history particularly through civil aviation, with 200 images of the airports, aircraft, people and developments since 1909.

5. Airlines of the USA
America has been a leader in air travel since the earliest days of flight. This book looks at the most important airlines to have come out of the country, from the big names such as Pan Am and TWA, to the cargo carriers, leisure airlines, and low cost pioneers.

6. BAC One-Eleven, The Whole Story
A new version of this excellent, authoritative history of the British twin-jet from Stephen Skinner and the History Press. Full of facts, information, and pictures.

Comet The World's First Jet Airliner

7. Comet! The World’s First Jetliner
Over 300 pages of detailed history, pictures and diagrams on the de Havilland Comet, which was the world’s first jet airliner. Written by respected aviation historian Graham Simons, so it is definitely recommended.

8. London City Airport Through Time
Incredibly London City Airport is more than 25 years old. Built on a former east London dock, its impressive short runway and steep approach is always a favourite, and it has managed to grow into a significant business airport served by many airlines. This book looks back at the history of London City through pictures and captions.

9. Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines
Northwest’s name has sadly disappeared from our skies. Yet it was once a household name.  This book is a fully illustrated history of the carrier with many rare photographs and insights.

10. Concorde: A Photographic Tribute
2013 marked a decade since Concorde was retired, leaving only museum exhibits to scattered around the world of this most famous aircraft. This book looks at Concorde through a great number of full colour photographs from every angle in this beautiful tribute. Worthy of any collection.

Which aviation books would you recommend from the past year? Leave a comment below, and also let us know if there are any good books coming soon which you’d like to review!

Airliner World magazine Air Florida article

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 16-10-2013


Airliner World Nov 13If any of you read Airliner World magazine, which is published in the UK but available worldwide, the current (November 13) issue features my article on Air Florida.

This airline was seen as one of the most successful carriers to emerge from the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 and quickly grew a reputation and route network that was the envy of some of the legacy carriers.

Airlines of the USA

Sadly a well-publicised crash and mounting debts led to its demise in 1984.

Read all about it, with some great pictures, in Airliner World, or alternatively in my new book: Airlines of the USA, out now!

A look at Sun Country Airlines

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 28-07-2013


Sun CountrySun Country Airlines emerged in the early 1980s with a single Boeing 727-200 aircraft. MLT Vacations utilised this aircraft on charter and leisure services out of Minneapolis/St Paul. The venture was set up by a group of former Braniff employees who recognised the gap in the market, where previously MLT had offered such flights using a Braniff 727.

MLT Vacations took a 51 per cent stake in this new venture, which was run by its employees and pilots, who were known for working together in order to cover all jobs that were required in the running of the airline, in order to save costs.

A Douglas DC-10-40 aircraft was leased from Northwest Airlines in 1986 and fitted with 370 seats to cope with demand on popular routes, such as Minneapolis /St Paul to Las Vegas, and also to allow longer routes to be undertaken. With the DC-10 came a stronger, sunnier new colour scheme with bold titles. Further Boeing 727 aircraft had also been acquired, and the airline was taking on many private charters and sports teams. During the Desert Storm operations in the Middle East in 1990–91, the airline’s aircraft and crew flew many charters as members of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.

Sun Country 727Following record profits and further fleet and route expansion, Sun Country was sold to the Mark Travel Group in the early 1990s. A time of consolidation took place as the airline encountered difficult trading conditions and an ageing fleet. The DC-10s were refurbished, and then finally retired in 2001.

In order to remain competitive, Mark Travel Group started a transition of Sun Country from a charter airline into a scheduled carrier capable of competing with the low-cost airlines of the era. It focussed on offering regular services between Minneapolis and Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, and a variety of seasonal destinations in the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico. A major fleet renewal also took place, with Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft ordered for delivery beginning in 2001. However, with intense competition from Northwest Airlines, and the dramatic effects of September 11, 2001 on the airline industry, Sun Country was forced to cease operations on 8 December 2001.

The airline’s Boeing 727 and newly delivered 737-700/800 aircraft were mostly sold. A single 737-800 and the airline’s operating certificate were salvaged in the bankruptcy court by MN Airlines, a group of investors keen to restart Sun Country.

Service was gradually reinstated to operating seasonal schedules and charters from Minneapolis to California, Florida, Mexico and Nevada. This slow progress returned the airline to profitability, and from 2004 new Boeing 737s were acquired to fuel its growth.

The airline was sold again in 2006, to Petters Group Worldwide. But despite a strong start it began to struggle financially once again from 2008 as fuel costs and a struggling economy reduced its income. It once again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2008, and its owner resigned during a fraud investigation by the FBI.

Following a successful reorganisation, Sun Country emerged from Chapter 11 protection in 2009 and announced a return to profitability, followed by route expansion. It currently has a fleet of 14 Boeing 737-700/800 aircraft.

The airline has always taken advantage of differing demands as the seasons change, taking on Dan-Air Boeing 727s in the winter months, and leasing its own aircraft during the spring and summer. Today, a similar arrangement exists with Transavia Airlines of the Netherlands, which sends its Boeing 737s during the winter, and receives Sun Country examples in the summer.

Aircraft Types Operated:

  • Boeing 727-200                       1985–2002
  • Boeing 737-700                       2001–present
  • Boeing 737-800                       2005–present
  • McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10     1991–1995
  • McDonnell Douglas DC-10-15     1995–2003
  • McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40     1986–1989


Airlines of the USAThis post is an extract from my new book, Airlines of the USA, which charts many of the most important airlines to have come from America, from early pioneers to present-day operators. Find out more about the book and get your copy here:

Thinking of becoming a pilot? Read Jason’s entertaining account – Book Review

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 16-07-2013


Take Your Wings and FlyJason Smart had always wondered what it would be like to fly a small aircraft, and had been fascinated by flight from a young age.

After a terrifying flight in a friend’s microlight aircraft, he decided to take a taster flying lesson in a ‘larger’ Cessna light aircraft. Despite the overwhelming unfamiliarity of the experience, he was hooked and went on to complete his training and gain his Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL).

He decided to write down his experiences in this new book, Take Your Wings and Fly – A Journey Through a Private Pilot’s Licence, to help inspire (and perhaps pacify) others who are learning to fly, or have already gained their licence.

Written in a diary style, Jason takes the reader through the realities of learning to fly. From the confusing jargon, the thrills of first solos, and the points where nothing seems to click, to the exams, the days the weather cancels flying, the language of ATC, and the final test.

Here’s a sample where Jason struggles with the subtleties of landings…

Day 19. Thursday 15 August
Lesson 16: Circuit Bashing #6
The weather was good. Up we went into the circuit. After a few landings,
James told me I would be doing the landing completely unaided.
My approach was good, considering the crosswind, but my landing was
disastrous. In the flare, James took control at the last second to avoid a nasty liaison with the runway. We went around again.
On the next go, everything was fine until just over the runway threshold. I
still couldn’t judge how much to pull back on the yoke. Also just to add to my
woes I found it hard keeping the aircraft straight.
“C’mon… more right rudder!” James shouted. “And more back pressure
on the yoke!” And then we’d bumped down with a crunch. Up we went once more.

Yesterday, I read the average student took between 12-15 hours to go solo.
I was now at 16 hours and felt ages away from even considering going up by
myself. I couldn’t even land. After we’d parked up, I questioned James about it,
deciding to broach the subject tactfully and diplomatically.
“So am I shit at landing or what?”


The book is hugely entertaining, and goes on to cover Jason’s flying after gaining his licence, which is a great inspiration for those who have already gained their wings. Follow him on trips to other airfields and see how his skills develop.

Take Your Wings and Fly is available now through Destinworld Publishing, and also available on Amazon

Airlines of the USA – new aviation book

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, North America, USA | Posted on 09-07-2013


Airlines of the USAAirlines of the USA is a new book from Destinworld Publishing, and written by Airport Spotting Blog’s Matt Falcus.

The book looks at the most important airlines to have come out of America, from the earliest days of commercial flying, to the more recent startups.

Who remembers such important airlines like TWA, Pan Am, Braniff, and Eastern Airlines? In their heyday it was inconceivable that they could fail when they were so huge, domineering, and were household names. Yet all of them ceased flying or disappeared into a different airline.

More recently we’ve lost names such as America West, Continental, Northwest Airlines, and we’re about to lose US Airways.

The book looks at how some of these large carriers first started, which was usually through government funded air mail routes using very early aircraft. Being pioneers in air travel, and with the emergence of new aircraft such as the Douglas DC-3 and Boeing 707, the airlines grew very quickly.

PSA and Pan Am

Then came the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, which allowed airlines to fly anywhere. It saw low-cost carriers such as PSA and Southwest Airlines thrive. And today they still do thrive, with AirTran and Spirit Airlines amongst the well-known names.

Each airline has its own chapter, and the book looks at the aircraft types it operated, with dates and much more information. The book is full colour, and is available to order now through Destinworld’s website here:

It is also available through Amazon and good aviation stores.


Mumbai Airports in Airports of the World magazine

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Book Reviews, India, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 08-05-2013


Airports of the World May 2013Our new book title, Mumbai Airports Through Time gets a nice feature in the current Airports of the World magazine (probably the best enthusiast magazine on the subjects of airport spotting!)

The feature shows a snapshot of pictures from Mumbai’s airports, and gives a taste for the book (copies available here).

There’s also the chance to win a copy of Mumbai Airports Through Time, so grab a copy quickly. Go to this link to order:

Or simply head to your local news agent.


Airport Spotting Guide Books Weekend Sale!!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Book Reviews | Posted on 22-03-2013



Airport Spotting Guide Book SampleThis weekend we’re giving 20% off all of our Airport Spotting Guides Books!

The sale will last until midnight GMT on Sunday 24th March, so get in there quickly before it’s too late.

Our three guides uncover details on where to spot and photograph aircraft all over the world. They include:

– Best spotting and photography locations
– Which airlines fly to each airport
– Runways and radio frequencies
– The best spotting hotels to use
– Lists of all commercial airports in each country
– Nearby aviation attractions at each airport, such as museums and other airfields

The three books are:

Airport Spotting Guides Europe bookAirport Spotting Guides Far East and Australasia







Airport Spotting Guides Europe

Airport Spotting Guides Far East & Australasia

Airport Spotting Guides USA

To find out more about each book, click the links above.

20% Discount
To take advantage of your 20% discount, head to and add any Airport Spotting Guides book to your cart. Then click View Cart at the top of the page and enter the code ASG20 

If you have any problems applying the coupon, please contact


Mumbai Airports Through Time – New photographic book

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Book Reviews, India | Posted on 14-03-2013


Mumbai Airports Through TimeI have been producing a new book by two prolific Indian photographers, entitled Mumbai Airports Through Time. The photographers are Sean DSilva and Jimmy Wadia.

The book is a fantastic photographic journey from the 1970s to the present day at both Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, and the smaller Juhu Aerodrome.

Formerly Bombay, Mumbai is one of the main centres of travel in India, and its airports see a lot of interesting aircraft from around the world flying in on a daily basis.

The main airport also sees a range of military, government, corporate and domestic traffic.

The smaller, original Juhu Aerodrome is a base for helicopter and general aviation operators today, but in the past was a busy airport handling the city’s main airline traffic.

Spotting in India is not easy, but these two photographers have been documenting movements at the airports for decades and have a vast range of spectacular images to show for it. Reproduced in this book in large, glossy images, it’s a chance for you to also enjoy the off-limits world of Indian aviation.

The book features 175 images of historic airliners, domestic, international, cargo, military, government, and helicopter traffic. It also covers the airport infrastructure at both airports. It’s a fantastic addition to any aviation book collection, and is available to buy now from Destinworld Publishing or Amazon.

You can buy a copy from this link:

The book is 168 pages long, and full of glossy pictures. It is a nice 21cm x 21cm in size, too!

Here’s a selection of pictures from the book, showing off the quality of the shots Sean and Jimmy have taken:

London City article in Airports of the World magazine

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 02-03-2013


Airports of the World March 13An article about my visit behind the scenes at London City Airport can be found in the current (March/April 2013) issue of Airports of the World, published in the UK (but available online).

In the article, I looked at how staff prepare the airport to open each day, and keep it running smoothly during the busy morning and evening rush hour periods.

London City is a unique little airport – the only one with a London postcode, and with a steep 5 degree approach angle onto a runway situated on a former dock. It’s busy with airlines such as BA CityFlyer, Lufthansa Regional, Luxair, and Swiss European Air Lines.

Click here for more information.