Museum of Aeronautical Science, Narita, Japan

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Japan, Spotting Trip Reports | Posted on 03-10-2013


Boeing 747 at museumAlec Wilson recently visited a little-known museum close to Tokyo’s Narita Airport in Japan and provided this report.

The Museum of Aeronautical Science displays artefacts that are relevant to the aviation history of Japan, including a number of full aircraft exhibits.

The museum is located to the south of Narita airport.
Access from the airport is by bus from stop no.30 outside the south wing of terminal 1 – there are only 4 buses out per day (5 return).
To Museum: 0935; 1135; 1335; 1535.
From Museum: 1010; 1310; 1410; 1610; 1710.
Trip takes about 20 mins. JPY200 each way.

The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 1000 – 1700. Entry fee is JPY500.
All the exhibits are outside. Inside there is various regalia etc.

Also of note is that the museum offers an observation deck with views over Narita Airport. From here you can watch aircraft landing and departing, log numbers, and take photographs.

Exhibits include:

JA3007 Cessna 195 7870
JA3117 Piper PA-18150 18-6626 (Storage shed at back of main building.)
JA3440 Beech E33 CD-1196 (Code 440)
JA3848 Fuji FA-200160 294
JA3944 Cessna 172P 172-74964
JA4177 Mooney M.20M 27-0121
JA5074 Aero Commander Twin Commander680E 872
JA5151 Cessna 411A 411A-0280
JA5159 Beech 56TC TG-77
JA5238 Cessna 421B 421B-0602
JA5258 Fuji FA.300 30001
JA7758 Robinson R22 0961
JA7990 Kamov Ka-26D 7303804
JA8611 NAMC YS-11 1001/2001
JA8628 Mitsubishi MU-2B 005
JA8711 NAMC YS-11 115 2048 (Nose only. Storage shed at back of main building)
JA8767 Mitsubishi MU-2G 520 (Nose only. Storage shed at back of main building)
JA9156 Mitsubishi S-62A M62014
JA9298 Hughes 369HS 04235 (Storage shed at back of main building.)
JA9512 Aerospatiale SA.330F 1141
N67HB Learjet 25B 25-189
N642NW Boeing 747212B 21942 (Nose/cockpit section outside with small cross section of fuselage inside.)
JA8001 Douglas DC-832 45418 (Small cross section of fuselage inside.)


Thomas Cook rebrands

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Western Europe | Posted on 01-10-2013


Thomas Cook is rebranding, with a new ‘Sunny Heart’ logo and livery.

All of the companies under Thomas Cook will receive the branding, including its airline divisions.

The Group has many leading brands including Neckermann in Europe, Ving in Sweden, Condor in Germany and Airtours in the UK that will all carry the ‘Sunny Heart’. The intention isn’t to rebrand all with the Sunny Heart, but they form part of the Group architecture and will, in most cases, carry the Heart as some part of their logo.

“The Heart will appear on the web, in brochures, in our aircraft, in our concept hotels, our other hotels and in our stores: in short, everywhere that our customers connect with us,” said Harriet Green, Group CEO of Thomas Cook Group. “Our new brand essence will show our customers the breadth and depth of the Thomas Cook Group. It will inspire and assure our customers, showing that everything through our brands is connected at every level ensuring a unification of care for our customers, through every step of their journey with Thomas Cook.”

Iberia to reveal new corporate image this month

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 01-10-2013


Iberia A340-600Iberia are to reveal a new corporate image at their Madrid headquarters on 15th October.

The launch of the new image will become effective in mid-November with the delivery of Iberia’s first Airbus A330 bearing the new logo, which is presently nearing completion at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.

The new brand image, which will keep the current symbols and colour scheme that identify the airline as the Spanish flag carrier, is part of a wider renovation and modernisation programme that is intended to make Iberia a modern, profitable, and sustainable company, attractive both to customers and staff.

Proud Bird Restaurant at LAX to close

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 30-09-2013


Proud Bird LAXIt has been announced that the iconic Proud Bird Restaurant at Los Angeles International (LAX) is to close in November.

This has long been a haunt for plane spotters and tourists due to its great views of aircraft landing on the southerly parallel runways at the airport.

It also has a nice collection of historic aircraft parked outside, which are an attraction in their own right.

The Proud Bird has existed for 48 years, and it’s not certain what will become of the site or the collection of rare aircraft.

American Airlines 767-200 retirement date

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 27-09-2013


American_Airlines_767-200_N324AAAmerican Airlines has announced it will retire its Boeing 767-200 fleet on 7th May 2014.

The type has been in service with the airline since 1982 and is one of the longest-serving types operated by American. The airline also operates a large number of the -300 model.

With the arrival of new Airbus A321s, the 767-200s will be replaced on their trans-continental US routes.

The final 767-200 flight will be from Los Angeles International to New York JFK.

First Asiana A380 taking shape

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, South Korea, Western Europe | Posted on 26-09-2013


A380 Asiana assemblyThe first Airbus A380 for Asiana has entered the final assembly line at the manufacturer’s Toulouse facility.

The main sections of the aircraft arrived in recent weeks from the various manufacturing sites around Europe and are now being attached at the airframe assembly station (Station 40).

Asiana Airlines will become the twelfth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2014. The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its primary routes from Seoul to the US.

Up to 100 Airbus A320s for VietJet

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Vietnam | Posted on 26-09-2013


VietJet Airbus A320VietJet will receive up to 100 Airbus A320 family aircraft in a new deal signed with the manufacturer and lessors.

Vietnam’s VietJetAir has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for up to 92 A320 Family aircraft and will lease eight more from third party lessors. The agreement signed with Airbus today covers for 42 A320neo, 14 A320ceo and six A321ceo, plus 30 purchase rights for the A320 Family.

VietJetAir is an existing A320 operator, with eight leased aircraft already in service. The carrier took delivery this week of its ninth A320, delivered new from Airbus via the US leasing company AWAS.


Farewell VC-10 (and other RAF transports). Brize Norton day

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 24-09-2013


Brize Norton VC-10 L1011Last weekend I was one of the lucky few who got to pay my respects to some of the RAF’s workhorse transport aircraft, coinciding with the actual retirement of the Vickers VC-10.

The open day was organised by 216 Squadron, with the intention of giving access to the VC-10, Lockheed L1011 TriStar, and the C-130 Hercules, all of which are to be retired in the near future. It was also an opportunity to raise some funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The last two remaining VC-10s flew their final tanker missions on Friday 20th September, and upon arrival at Brize Norton ZA147 was parked ready to receive guests, whilst ZA150 was visible in the distance.

Brize Norton VC-10Also parked on the apron were L1011 ZE705 and Hercules XV303.

Visitors were permitted to enter each of the aircraft and look around, and also to sit in the cockpit seats to have their picture taken. Helpful crews were on hand to answer questions and explain the aircraft, with many being asked what their future holds personally. “easyJet” one said, whilst others announced “Desk job. I’ve done plenty of tours now!”

It was interesting to see the interior of the VC-10, which is fitted out with huge fuel tanks for refuelling other aircraft. It still retains a small section of rear-facing crew seating behind the cockpit. One of the two remaining aircraft is flying to Dunsfold today (Tuesday 24th September), and the other to Bruntingthorpe tomorrow (Wednesday 25th) on what will be the last ever VC-10 flight. The first ever flight was 51 years ago in June 1962. Both of these aircraft are likely to be scrapped, although the Dunsfold aircraft may be sent by road to a museum.

Brize Norton L1011Whilst I’d been inside other VC-10s before (albeit in museums), I’d never set foot inside a L1011 TriStar before, so it was just as interesting to get inside ZE705. This aircraft was built for Pan Am as N509PA and flew with them for four years until the RAF bought them in December 1984.

Many of the fittings remain as they would have been when in civilian use, including a large area of ten-abreast seating. The forward cabin is set up with stretchers to transport injured personnel. The crew told me the type will be retired from the RAF in 2014, but the fate of the aircraft is not yet known.

After the personnel on hand kindle removed all equipment for an hour to allow visitors ‘clean’ pictures of aircraft, I visited Hercules XV303 which features seating along the sides and central area of the cabin, and a huge rear door. These aircraft are likely to be retired by the end of 2013.

Brize Norton HerculesWhilst enjoying these older aircraft, it was good to see the modern replacements active in the background at Brize Norton, including the Airbus A330 Airtanker and various C-17s. There were also two white HiFly Airbus A340-300s parked in between troop charters.

Thanks to 216 Squadron for their invite to the event – something very memorable and a last chance to experience these classic aircraft, particularly the VC-10 which will never again be seen in our skies.

Here’s a selection of pictures from the day:

Royal Brunei Boeing 787 routes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Brunei, Heathrow, Malaysia, Singapore, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 20-09-2013


Royal Brunei 787

Royal Brunei will soon receive its first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.

The first routes operated by the type will be short hops from Bandar Seri Begawan to both Kuala Lumpur (from 1 – 30 November) and Singapore Changi (from 18 October – 30 November). Both flights will operate 1-2 times daily.

From 2 December, Royal Brunei will begin its long haul Boeing 787 service from Bandar Seri Begawan to London Heathrow.

Keep an eye on our Boeing 787 Routes page to find out where to catch airlines flying their new Dreamliners.

Lufthansa commits to huge long-haul aircraft order – A350 and 777X

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Germany, Western Europe | Posted on 19-09-2013


A350-Lufthansa_2Lufthansa has announced a large long-haul aircraft order, split between Airbus and Boeing, which will allow it to ultimately replace its A340 and 747-400 fleets.

The Airbus order comprises 55 A350-900 aircraft (25 firm and 30 options). Lufthansa also has the flexibility to convert some of the order to the larger A350-1000.

From Boeing, Lufthansa will purchase 34 777-9X aircraft, allowing the launch of the type.

“We are focused on developing and delivering a superior airplane that ensures the 777 remains the unequivocal long-haul leader,” said John Wojick, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With its new engines and an all-new composite wing design, the 777X will be the largest and most-efficient twin engine jet in the world with 20 percent lower fuel consumption and 15 percent lower operating costs than today’s 777. Boeing is delighted that Lufthansa is continuing its longstanding partnership with Boeing by selecting the 777X for its future fleet development.”

Meanwhile, John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers said “We are honoured that such a long-standing and prestigious customer as Lufthansa is coming back for more Airbus aircraft,” adding “The all-new A350 XWBs, will integrate very well into the Group’s existing Airbus fleet. From the A319 to the A380 size category, Lufthansa will benefit from latest technologies and efficiency levels, an unmatched wider cabin, operational flexibility and cost-savings – enhanced by the unique fleet commonality only Airbus offers.”

Scheduled for entry-into-service in 2014, the A350 XWB to date has already won 682 firm orders from 35 customers worldwide.