Last Chance to Fly Book Update

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

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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.

Where to still see DC-10s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Bolivia, Canada, Netherlands, North America, South America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 21-02-2014

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This month sees the final passenger flights to be operated by a Douglas DC-10, with Biman Bangladesh operating a number of enthusiast flights from Birmingham, UK, ahead of the retirement of their last example.

The DC-10 first flew in August 1970, and despite a few early setbacks including some notable crashes, it went on to be a very successful airliner used both for long and medium haul flying.

In recent years the number of operators has been dwindling, and with Biman retiring their last example it leaves only cargo and military operators operating the type. So where can you still see the DC-10? Here’s a handy list.

 

FedEx DC-10 at San Jose (c) Dylan Ashe. Creative Commons

FedEx DC-10 at San Jose (c) Dylan Ashe. Creative Commons

FedEx Express
Along with the US Air Force, FedEx are the largest operator of DC-10s today. With around 60 in service at the time of writing, they have all been converted to MD-10 configuration, which converts them to a two-man, glass cockpit to match their more modern MD-11 fleet. FedEx’s main hub is at Memphis, TN, and you can see their MD-10s flying many domestic and trans-continental freight routes. However, the airline is retiring its fleet at an alarming pace as it introduces more fuel efficient aircraft.

 

USAF KC-10

USAF KC-10

US Air Force
Also with around 60 DC-10s in service at the time of writing, the US Air Force uses the military KC-10A derivative. These are used as refuelling tankers and transport aircraft, supporting the air force in conflicts and war zones around the world. They are primarily based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, and Travis AFB, CA. The US Air Force initially said the KC-10 would operate until 2043, but it is thought the fleet will be retired much earlier than that as part of cost cutting measures.

 

Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (c) Sebastian Barheier. Creative Commons

Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 (c) Sebastian Barheier. Creative Commons

Royal Netherlands Air Force
Continuing with the military variant, the RNAF owns three KDC-10 tanker/transport aircraft, which are based at Eindhoven Airport in support of peacekeeping operations around the world.

 

TAB Cargo DC-10

TAB Cargo DC-10

TAB Cargo
This Bolivian cargo operator has three DC-10s in its flee, one of which is an ex-FedEx MD-10. It operates cargo flights around South America and to Miami.

 

Kelowna Purolator DC-10 (c) Matthew Capina

Kelowna Purolator DC-10 (c) Matthew Capina

Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter / Purolator Canada
The Canadian cargo operator has four DC-10s operating usually from its Kelowna and Hamilton bases, although two aircraft have been in storage recently.

 

Omega Air DC-10 (c) Phil Vabre

Omega Air DC-10 (c) Phil Vabre

Omega Air
Another tanker operator, Omega Air has a lot of DC-10s on its books, but most are in storage or in the process of being scrapped. The active ones are used to support military refuelling operations, and can thus be found operating all over on missions, including with foreign air forces.

 

10 Tanker DC-10 (c) Alan Radecki. Creative Commons.

10 Tanker DC-10 (c) Alan Radecki. Creative Commons.

10 Tanker Air Carrier
One of the more spectacular DC-10 operations are these converted aerial firefighting aircraft. Using two former passenger examples, these huge aircraft now fight wild fires and are capable of dumping 12,000 US gallons at at time. The aircraft are painted white and red, with 910 and 911 fleet numbers.

 

 

DC-10 Project Orbis

DC-10 Project Orbis

Project Orbis
Finally, another unusual operator of two DC-10s is Project Orbis – a non-profit organisation whose mission is to perform eye operations around the world to prevent blindness and eye diseases. These two Flying Eye Hospital aircraft are equipped with hospital equipment, operating theatres, and teaching facilities. Their N220AU aircraft was the second DC-10 built, and since then an MD-10, N330AU, has been donated by FedEx.

Solar Cargo
A Venezuelan cargo carrier with bases in Caracas and Valencia. They have a single DC-10 in a smart livery which flies throughout Latin America on scheduled and charter flights.

 

In addition to these active DC-10s, stored and retired aircraft can be seen at a number of the bigger storage airports around the US, including Davis-Monthan, AZ, Marana, AZ, Mojave, CA, Roswell, NM, Sanford, FL and Victorville, CA.

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.

SunExpress expand with up to 50 Boeing 737 order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Miscellaneous Spotting, Turkey | Posted on 20-02-2014

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SunExpress SXD 737 MAX 8 ArtworkTurkey’s SunExpress is to significantly add to its fleet after placing and order for Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX-8 aircraft.

The firm order is for 25 737-800s and 15 737 MAX-8s, valued at more than $3.8 billion at list prices. Additional options for 10 MAX-8s have also been secured.

“Twenty-four years ago we started to fly tourists to Turkey with brand-new 737-300s and ten years later the company began to operate the Next-Generation 737-800s. Next year at the age of 25, SunExpress will start the process of renewing its entire fleet and in the future add the latest achievement of Boeing, the 737 MAX,” said Paul Schwaiger, managing director of SunExpress.

Based in Antalya on the Turkish Riviera, SunExpress was founded in October 1989 as a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Today, SunExpress carries more than seven million passengers per year and is one of the leading airlines in terms of passenger numbers between Germany and Turkey. The carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of more than 60 Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s and serves more than 90 destinations across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

FARNAIR Europe’s first 737

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, Switzerland, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-02-2014

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Farnair 737-400FARNAIR Europe has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-400 aircraft.

The aircraft is a high gross weight B737-400SF (MSN 28492 – ex JA737F) built in 1996 and was converted at Commercial Jet’s Miami facility, which is one of five authorized AEI Conversion Centers worldwide. This is AEI’s 2nd of an anticipated 30+ freighters to be delivered in 2014.

Guy Girard, CEO of the FARNAIR Group, said “This is the first of four aircraft we have secured, while the rest will join our fleet in the coming months.”

United Express Embraer 175s arriving in May

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, USA | Posted on 18-02-2014

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Skywest Embraer 175United Express will begin Embraer 175 flights on 17th May this year.

The aircraft, owned and operated by SkyWest, will initially operate from United’s Chicago O’Hare hub. The first flight will operate to Washington Reagan National. Two days later, Boston Logan will be added.

SkyWest placed an order for 40 Embraer 175s last year. The aircraft will operate in a two class layout, and will eventually be seen across a large number of United Express destinations.

Greatest Flights – Singapore to Sydney A380

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Greatest Flights, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 15-02-2014

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Singapore A380 9V-SKA

The Airbus A380 is currently the largest passenger aircraft in service, and has now been delivered to a number of airlines around the world. However, back on 25 October 2007 the aircraft made its debut with launch customer Singapore Airlines.

The route that day was from Singapore to Sydney on SQ380, on which passengers had bought tickets through a charity auction.

SIN-SYD route map

This Greatest Flight entry is for that particular route, which allows you to relive the experience on a daily basis on the 8 hour flight. But it’s not just about the historical significance of this flight. Flying on an A380 is a very different flying experience for many – with two full length seating decks, this is a huge aircraft. Most passengers say it is one of the quietest aircraft to fly, and crew say it is so big that they rarely see their colleagues in different parts of the aircraft during the flight.

(c) Rudy Herman

What’s more, flying Singapore Airlines is also an experience in itself. Since creating the ‘Singapore Girl’ in 1972, the concept has become synonymous with impeccable standards of onboard service. Whether you are in economy class, or one of the A380′s impressive suites, you will be treated very well by this airline.

Singapore Girls (c) Rita Fritz

Singapore Girls (c) Rita Fritz

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.

TransAsia’s first ATR 72-600 delivered

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-02-2014

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ATR 72-600 Transasia MSN 1133TransAsia Airways, a full service airline from Taiwan, has taken delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft at a ceremony in Toulouse.

The aircraft is now making its way to Taiwan to begin service for the airline from Taipei Songshan Airport from 21st February. It will operate initially to Magong, and eventually more destinations as additional aircraft are delivered.

The airline has 11 more ATR 72-600s on order. Vincent Lin, TransAsia Airways chairman, said “We are ready to further expand our regional offering and to support the addition of new routes and frequencies on existing routes. The introduction of our new planes will support this growth.”

The first aircraft is registered B-22815.

ATR 72-600 orders at Singapore Airshow

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Thailand | Posted on 13-02-2014

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ATR 72-600 Bangkok AirwaysATR have had a good Singapore Airshow, with a number of significant orders for their ATR 72-600 regional turboprop announced.

Bangkok Airways have placed an order for eight aircraft (six firm and two options). The airline has been operating ATR aircraft for two decades and currently operates a fleet of eight ATR 72-500s. The first new ATR 72-600s will be delivered later this year, allowing Bangkok Airways to start renewing its fleet and to offer all the new comfort and cabin features of the ATR-600s to its customers.

Secondly, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) announced they have purchased 40 ATR 72-600s (20 firm and 20 options) to add to its leasing business. This is the first time DAE has ventured into regional aircraft, and expects high interest from customers around the world for the type. Khalifa AlDaboos, Managing Director of DAE, declared: “ATRs are today operated by some 190 carriers all over the world, and this is clearly providing us with many potential opportunities to place this new fleet of regional aircraft”