Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Bolivia MD-10 low fly-past

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Bolivia, South America, Spotting Videos | Posted on 25-10-2013


It’s been a few weeks since I posted a video, so it will take something pretty spectacular to make up for that. Well, how about this video of an incredibly low and fast fly-past of a MD-10 freighter at El Trompillo in Bolivia?

Details of final Biman DC-10 flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Bangladesh, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 22-10-2013


Bangladesh Biman DC10In an update to a previous report on the final operations of Biman Bangladesh’s DC-10 operations (see story here), and recent report on the excellent Austrian Wings site has uncovered some updated details of the date and route of the final flight.

Biman is the last airline in the world to operate the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in passenger service.

The airline has seemingly negotiated to send its last aircraft to the USA to be preserved in a museum. The final flight is planned for February 2014 and will route from Dhaka to Seattle, with a stop in the UK (likely to be Birmingham or Manchester). The flight will be open for bookings as a regular flight, which would make it a perfect choice for enthusiasts wishing to take part in this historic event.

If the exact date is announced I will report it on here along with any other details. Otherwise, you may find details on the Biman website.

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


(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

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

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

Chicago O’Hare opens new runway

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 19-10-2013


Chicago O’Hare opened its new runway 10C/28C opened on 17th October in the hope that it will instantly improve the crippling delays experienced at the airport.

O'Hare RunwaysThe new 10,800ft runway is the sixth parallel runway at the airport and hopes to allow it to offer up to 90,000 extra movements per year. Its construction has meant the relocation of a cemetery and section of railroad, amongst other ground infrastructure.

You will find the new runway close to the existing runway 10L/28R, and just to the north of the cargo terminals.

In terms of spotting, the new runway does not really offer any new opportunities to those existing already (see our book Airport Spotting Guides USA). The nearest unofficial spotting location is on Balmoral Avenue, just off Mannheim Road, with parking at the Rosemont Metra Station.

Norwegian add UK long-haul flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-10-2013


Norwegian Air takeoffNorwegian Air Shuttle have announced plans to commence long-haul flights from London Gatwick Airport in the UK from next summer.

Following the inauguration of routes from Scandinavia this year with their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet (as well as some leased-in aircraft), the airline wants to expand from its UK focus airport.

Routes to be operated from London Gatwick include New York JFK (3x weekly), Los Angeles International (2x weekly) and Fort Lauderdale (2x weekly).

Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “There’s great demand for high-quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the US, particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes. Launching long-haul routes between London Gatwick and the US is also an important part of our strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in markets outside Scandinavia.”

Norwegian is also planning to add five new European routes from Gatwick next summer. It will operate weekly fights to Santorini, Corfu, Sicily (Catania), and Cyprus plus three flights a week to Budapest. It will also increase frequency on services to Malaga, Ibiza, Split, Dubrovnik, Majorca, Faro, Tenerife, Copenhagen and Barcelona.

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!

Iberia unveils new image

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 15-10-2013


iberia new logoI reported a couple of weeks ago that Iberia are set to reveal their new corporate image this month, and it will involve a new livery for their aircraft, and logo.

Well, today the airline unveiled that new image. The image below is of their Airbus A330 aircraft painted in the new scheme, whilst this video shows a bit more of the whole image concept.


Iberia’s new image both s

At today’s presentation Iberia CEO Luis Gallego noted that “it’s not just a matter of changing the company logo, but of bringing the new image to every corner of Iberia, so the change will be perceived in all our products and the service we provide to our customers.”ymbolises and contributes its own momentum to the transformation plan, aimed at reshaping the company into a strong, modern, competitive and trend-setting airline. The launch of the new logo and livery is timed to coincide with the first fruits of these efforts. Indeed, it was made possible by the steps that have been taken to give Iberia a competitive cost structure.

Iberia new livery a330

The red and yellow of the Spanish flag remain prominent, with a starring role for red as symbol of Spain’s vitality, expressiveness, and art, and of the Spanish character. The design of the company’s IB code letters denotes agility, liveliness, and comfort. The new designs will appear progressively over the next few months on Iberia graphic materials and supports at all points of contact with customers and staff.

The entry into service of the first A330 with the new livery in mid-November will be marked by a ceremony at one of its Madrid-Barajas hangars in which authorities, customers, and the press will be invited to inspect the new aircraft exterior and interior.

What do you think of the new image? Leave a comment below…

Second A350XWB takes flight

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in France, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 14-10-2013


A350_XWB_MSN3_First_Flight_take_offThe second Airbus A350XWB test aircraft has taken to the skies on its first flight at Toulouse.

F-WZGG, MSN3, carries equipment to aid in the testing and certification process, like the first aircraft which flew in June on the type’s maiden flight.

The first deliveries of the A350 are expected in late 2014. Here’s a list of the carriers who have ordered the type.


Gatwick’s mobile reporters get snapping

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 14-10-2013


Gatwick InstagramEleven members of staff at London Gatwick Airport have been enlisted as mobile photographers to document the life of the airport as they go about their daily jobs.

Gatwick was one of the first airports to set up its own Instagram account. With over 150 million people using Instagram, it is a great way to connect with people in a visual way.

You can follow Gatwick on Instagram and EyeEm, searching for the username @gatwickairport. Look out for the first posts from the official mobile reporters this week, where they will be using the hashtag #lgwmobilereporter.

You can view Gatwick’s Instagram feed here:



Adria Airways setting up non-Slovenian bases

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Eastern Europe, Italy, Kosovo, Slovenia, Switzerland, Western Europe | Posted on 14-10-2013


Adria CRJSlovenian national carrier Adria Airways is looking to set up a number of hubs or focus cities at airports outside of its home country.

The airline has already based a CRJ900 aircraft at Pristina Airport in Kosovo, and is now looking to set up similar operations at Tirana in Albania, Verona in Italy, and Klagenfurt in Austria.

All of these airports are within close proximity of Slovenia.

The newly-announced Verona hub will allow Adria to take up routes dropped recently by Air Dolomiti, and it intends to connect the city to its fellow Star Alliance partner hubs at Brussels, Vienna and Zurich. Flights will start in 2014.

Klagenfurt is still being evaluated as a possible base for 2014.