Spotting at Porto Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Portugal, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 05-02-2014

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Porto AirportI recently had the chance to visit Porto Airport in northern Portugal. Whilst at the airport on the return journey, I checked out the opportunities for spotting from within and around the terminal. Here’s what I found.

Outside the terminal the roadway curves up to the departures area on the first floor. At either end, you can get a limited view of the airfield and see aircraft distant on the runway. You will miss most of what is parked at the terminal, however.

Before heading through to departures, there are no views of aircraft from within the terminal.

Once you have reached the departures area, Porto’s modern glass terminal is ideal for viewing the aircraft on the ground. Walking the length of the departures area reveals all aircraft parked at the gates, which are mainly parked nose in or on remote stands a short distance away.

Porto Departures area

From the northern end of the building you have a view along the cargo ramp. Aircraft parked on the opposite side of the runway, such as the DHL Boeing 757 on my visit, are a little too distant to easily read off.

Anything that moves on the runway is easily visible from the departures area.

Air France 747 at Porto

Porto’s traffic is made up primarily of TAP Portugal, Portugalia, and Ryanair aircraft. A number of European scheduled and low cost airlines also fly to the airport. On my visit, cargo movements included the DHL 757, a Swiftair ATR, and an Air France Cargo 747-400.

Porto is a Ryanair hub

The airport has a single runway, and a large modern terminal with jet bridges, and a lower floor area for walking to aircraft which is used by Ryanair.

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.

 

Milan Orio al Serio temporary closure

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 03-02-2014

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IMG_0332Milan Orio al Serio airport near Bergamo will close to all fixed wing operations between May 13 and June 2, 2014.

The closure is to allow essential runway resurfacing works to take place.

Flights to the airport will be reduced and diverted to other airports during the period of the closure. Ryanair has already announced that it will operate from Milan Malpensa during the period.

 

Best Cameras for Aircraft Photography

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Equipment Reviews | Posted on 31-01-2014

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Perhaps the biggest aspect for any aviation enthusiast is photographing the aircraft they see. In fact, a lot of inspiration can be gained by looking at photographs from other enthusiasts on sites such as Airliners.net and in magazines which can drive you to get out and pursue the hobby more!

In terms of equipment, there’s a lot on offer, from the most basic cameras to ultra expensive SLRs and lenses.

In this post I want to give you ideas of some of the recommended cameras and lenses out there so that you can get the best of your aircraft photography. These recommendations have been suggested by some of the top photographers out there.

For the Trip Reporter
A great compact to take on your spotting trips is the Canon Powershot SX280 HS. This is perfect for the photographer who wants to take shots whilst out and about, aboard aircraft, and at the gate, documenting their travels.
Read more…

Best SLR Body
The Nikon D7100 is a current favourite. It has great ISO and auto focus settings, which are important when you’re following something that’s moving fast and in variable light. It has a healthy 24.1 megapixels, and a decent size screen on the back. Read More…

For Canon lovers, try the 70D. It has slightly fewer megapixels than its Nikon counterpart, but its results are fantastic. Read More…

 

Best Nikon Lens
One of the highest recommended lenses for Nikon cameras is the 70-200 F2.8 VR. It’s a little pricier, but the quality of glass and image stabilisation is amongst the best available. Read More….

Good Nikon Lens
The Nikkor 70-300mm VR is a mid-price lens which gets great reviews from aviation photographers. It is perfect for those who want good results without paying top money for the best glass. Read More…

Best Canon Lens
The best lens for Canon cameras is the 70-200L IS, which offers superb sharpness and great results. The L range offer the best mechanics, build quality, casing and coating. Read More…

Good Canon Lens
For something less expensive, try the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM lens which offers the same specs but is for the consumer rather than the professional. Read More…

 

These suggestions are amongst the best equipment you can buy, but there are lots of options out there and everyone has their own preference. Any modern digital SLR and lens will be capable of producing good results if you know how to use it, and most importantly practice your hobby. I’d be interested to know which cameras and lenses you’d recommend. Leave a comment below!

Seattle Seahawks 747-8 painted

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 30-01-2014

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Seahawks 747-8Boeing has painted a 747-8 freighter in the colours of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The livery commemorates the team’s National Football Conference Championship and upcoming appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks and has partnered with the team for more than a decade on programs in the Puget Sound area.

This 747-8 is owned by Boeing and currently being used for flight testing. The special livery features the distinctive Seahawks logo and a “12″ on the tail to salute the team’s fans. The airplane will make its first flight in its new livery on Thurs., Jan. 30.

A380 ban lifted in India

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Asia, Dubai, Germany, India, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore, Western Europe | Posted on 28-01-2014

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Filton A380In a move that is likely to see airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines reviewing their operations to India, the government there has agreed to lift a ban on Airbus A380 flights to the country.

The ban was put in place to protect national carrier Air India from predatory carriers stealing passengers and market share to the country. It was also in part because of a lack of infrastructure to handle the huge superjumbo.

Now, however, A380s will be allowed to fly to the country’s four biggest airports: Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

Both Emirates and Singapore Airlines have now said they will review their operations to India with a view to introducing A380 services. Lufthansa, which currently operates Boeing 747-8s to India said it would also not rule out the possibility of flying its A380s to the country.

 

Final ANA 747 flights planned

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Japan | Posted on 25-01-2014

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ANA 747400DFollowing on from the previous report we made about the end of ANA All Nippon Airways Boeing 747 operations, details have now been announced of the date and routes to be flown by the final aircraft.

The final ANA 747 flights will take place on 31st March 2014. The final route will be Tokyo Haneda to Okinawa and back.

The aircraft will leave Haneda at 0840, arriving back at 1500, marking the end of decades of operation of the type with the airline.

 

 

5 Must-Visit Aviation Events for 2014

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Austria, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 24-01-2014

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Farnborough Air ShowHere are five aviation events not to miss in 2014. Which will you be going to?

 

1. DC-10 Final Flight, Birmingham UK
22-24 February

The Douglas DC-10 will make its final passenger flights on a series of enthusiast trips from Birmingham Airport in the UK. There are no other airlines operating passenger variant DC-10s, so this is your last chance to fly!

Website: Biman Airlines

2. DC-3 Meet & Fly-In, Salzburg
3-7 July

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Austrian DC-3 Dakota Club, an event is being held over a few days at Salzburg Airport which will see seven DC-3s, a Li-2, and a DC-6 attend. Guests will be permitted to look around the aircraft and attend events, as well as make pleasure trips in some of the aircraft. Some 5,000 people are expected to attend.

Website: www.dc-3flyin.com

3. Farnborough Air Show
19-20 July

Always great for the airline orders and demonstrations of new aircraft, both military and civil. Farnborough is also a great day out for the general public, with hours of flying displays and lots to see on the ground. This year the show will focus on 100 years of aviation, to coincide with the anniversary of WWI.

Website: www.farnborough.com

4. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
26 July – 3 August

For a week, Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI, is turned into the busiest airport in the world. Thousands of aircraft fly in to the event every year, creating the greatest air show on earth. There are also spectacular flying displays, and so much to see on the ground (suppliers, talks, static aircraft, entertainment) that you’d be hard pushed to get through it all in a week!

Website: www.airventure.org

5. NBAA, Orlando
21 – 23 October

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) descends on Orlando Executive Airport for three days, along with hundreds of biz jets. It is always an interesting trip for the spotter hoping to make a lot of new biz jet tail numbers in a short space of time.

 

Which other events would you recommend for 2014? Which ones will you be attending?

Reborn HK Express reveals new logo and livery

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous Spotting, South Korea | Posted on 23-01-2014

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(c) HK Express

HK Express, formerly Hong Kong Express, has revealed its new logo and aircraft livery.

The airline, which flies Airbus A320s, has turned itself into a low cost carrier (LCC) operating from Hong Kong to a number of destinations. Its latest route will link Seoul in South Korea from 30th March.

The airline hopes to have 11 A320s flying by the end of the year. They will wear the smart new livery seen here.

Mr. Andrew Cowen, Deputy CEO of HK Express explained, “The new logo and livery design will be rolled out across all of our branding towards the end of March. We wanted to establish a new brand for HK Express to reflect and support the amazing transition that HK Express has undergone in the past year, and the fresh, youthful and dynamic sense that the new design inspires fits perfectly with our ethos as Hong Kong’s one-and-only low fare airline. We look forward to the adventure continuing in 2014 and beyond!”

Greatest Flights – Buffalo Airways DC-3 ‘sked’

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Greatest Flights, North America | Posted on 20-01-2014

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Buffalo Airways DC-3Thanks to the popular Ice Pilots NWT TV series’, Buffalo Airways and its fleet of vintage wartime and 1950s piston airliners have been brought to the attention of a great number of people around the world.

In particular, it has highlighted the airline’s daily scheduled DC-3 passenger flight, known as the ‘sked’, which is a rare and welcome chance for anyone to get a flight on this immortal aircraft type.

YZF-YHY route map

Often flown by “Buffalo” Joe McBryan himself, the sked operates between Hay River and Yellowknife. It operates on the following schedules:
Yellowknife to Hay River
Mon-Fri departs at 5:00pm
Sat no flight
Sun departs at 4:30pm

Hay River to Yellowknife
Mon-Fri departs at 7:30am
Sat departs at 8:00am
Sun no flight

Reservations can be made on 867-874-3333, or buffalo@buffaloairways.com