Cockpit-FestUSA coming to Kansas

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, USA | Posted on 26-07-2012


Image from Kansas Aviation MuseumThe Kansas Aviation Museum is to host the first ever Cockpit-FestUSA this September, in association with the Newark Air Museum in the UK.

The event takes place on 29th and 30th September, and will coincide with McConnell AFB’s Air Show, making it a great weekend for aviation in Wichita!

The cockpits attending include a 737-200 cockpit, AH-1 Cobra simulator, DC-8 simulator, F-4 Phantom simulators, B-52 Stratofortress cockpit, F-16 Fighting Falcon simulator, F-16 Fighting Falcon cockpit, F-8 Crusader cockpit, F-5 Freedom Fighter Cockpit, F-84F Thunderstreak Cockpit, F-111 Cockpit, F-15A Eagle cockpit, and more.

Saturday and Sunday the general public is invited to see the cockpits and enjoy air show on the museum’s aircraft ramp with its own static display aircraft that includes a B-52 Stratofortress, Boeing 737, Boeing 727, KC-135 Stratotanker, Beech Starship, and a Learjet 23.


Aeromexico expanding with 100 plane order

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Mexico, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News | Posted on 25-07-2012


Aeromexico has come forth to announce a huge, 100-plane order for Boeing aircraft as part of its expansion and upgrade plans.

The order comprises 90 Boeing 737-8 MAX short-to-medium range, single aisle airliners, and 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner long-range, twin aisle airliners.

The deal has a book value of around US$11 billion.

Aeromexico is pushing forward with plans to maintain one of the youngest, most fuel efficient fleets in the world by purchasing these aircraft. These are in addition to previously orders for Embraer 190, Boeing 737-800, and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that were announced in 2011. The first of these Dreamliners is expected to be delivered in Summer 2013.

The next generation 737-8 MAX aircraft will be delivered from 2018.

Air New Zealand announces new colours

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Australasia, New Zealand, Spotting News | Posted on 25-07-2012


Air New Zealand new colours (c) Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has announced its new colour scheme and branding.

Whilst its nothing too drastic, it sees the airline stepping away from its green and blue tail colours, and adopting the national colour of black on its tail. It will also adopt revised titling on the airline name.

The traditional Koru symbol will still be retained on the tail, giving it a strong link with the previous scheme.

Air New Zealand began using black as its corporate colour ahead of the All Blacks’ campaign last year.

“Black has resonated well with our customers and staff who identify with it as the colour of New Zealand and a natural choice for our national airline. It inspires pride, is part of our Kiwi identity and a symbol of Kiwi success on the world stage,” Chief Executive Office Rob Fyfe says.

Airport Spotting Guides USA available on Kindle!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Equipment Reviews | Posted on 23-07-2012


My popular book, Airport Spotting Guides USA is now available digitally through Amazon’s Kindle.

For those of you with a Kindle, or simply with the Kindle App on your phone, you can now take the book with you electronically and plan your spotting trips around the USA’s best airports.






The book covers information such as:

  • Airport layout maps, with spotting locations and roads marked on
  • Spotting and photography location descriptions
  • Hotels with views of aircraft movements
  • Runway information, radio frequencies, and lists of airlines you’ll see at each airport.
  • Nearby aviation attractions, such as museums and other airfields.
  • A state-by-state list of all commercial airports and storage airports.
The kindle edition is available for a specially reduced price, so get your copy now!

You can get the Kindle version of Airport Spotting Guides USA here:

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon Germany

Alternatively, the print edition is still available here

Island Air new aircraft and business model

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 21-07-2012


IslandAir ATR Aircraft (c) Island AirIsland Air – one of Hawaii’s inter-island airlines – has announced its new business plan and new aircraft.

The airline, which is based at Honolulu, has revealed a new branding and colourscheme, and the first of its new ATR aircraft.
The comprehensive rebranding touches every aspect of the airline; from an enhanced website to a newly inspired aircraft livery design, including an exciting new logo mark and identity.

Along with the new look, Island Air is upgrading its fleet with ATR42 and ATR72 aircraft. The new aircraft are more fuel efficient, and carry more passengers than the Dash 8 aircraft that are being replaced. “We’ve been working on our new business model for well over a year and today, for the public’s first time viewing, we’re delighted to unveil our new look marking our new beginning,” said Lesley Kaneshiro, CEO of Island Air. “We will be the first to operate this comfortable ATR72 Jet-Prop aircraft in Hawaii and with additional aircraft delivery on the horizon, we’ll be Hawaii’s fastest growing inter-island carrier.”
Founded in 1980 to provide scheduled service between Princeville and Honolulu, the airline now offers 352 weekly flights between the islands of O’ahu (Honolulu International Airport), Maui (Kahului Airport and West Maui’s Kapalua Airport), Molokai (Ho’olehua Airport), Lana’i (Lana’i City Airport), Kaua’i (Lihue Airport), and the Island of Hawai’i (Kona International Airport). For reservations, flight information, and free membership in Island Air’s Cloud 9 Customer Rewards Program, visit our website.

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Oshkosh Arrival

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in North America, Spotting Trip Reports, Spotting Videos, USA | Posted on 20-07-2012


Next week is the EAA Air Venture event at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Wittman Regional Airport becomes the world’s busiest for this short period, with thousands of movements and aircraft on site, from historic warplanes, to experimental aircraft, and the largest new airlines. Many people choose to fly their own light aircraft to the event, and arrival can therefore be quite tricky. Air Traffic Controllers naturally need to be the best you can get as it’s a very intense job. The FISK arrival sees pilots following railroad tracks from the town of Ripon, and then landing on an assigned colour dot on the runway so as to separate parking positions. Watch this excellent video showing the flight up to Oshkosh and hectic arrival.

Seoul Incheon – an Asian hub full of potential

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Japan, South Korea, Spotting News | Posted on 19-07-2012


Seoul’s Incheon Airport is the South Korea’s main international airport, and it has ambitions to grow into one of the region’s biggest hubs.

Already the home base of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, Incheon handled 35 million passengers in 2011 – a rise of 7% over the previous year. A phase of development is currently taking place, which will add a second terminal, due to open in 2017, and increase the airport’s capacity to 62 million passengers per year.

The airport already prides itself on its connections within Asia. It currently serves more domestic destinations in Japan than either Tokyo Haneda or Narita airports do. As such, it acts as an important hub for onward connections for Japanese passengers.

In addition, Incheon’s management team are trying to push the airport as a major gateway to the region for European passengers, in particular, for connections to Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Korean Air already has a strong network linking various European cities with Seoul, as does Asiana Airlines. British Airways will also begin their new Boeing 777 route from London Heathrow to Seoul Incheon in December (see story here)

Details of how to spot at both of Seoul’s Airports – Incheon and Gimpo – are covered in my book, Airport Spotting Guides Far East and Australasia, available here.

It covers the best places to spot around the airports, plus hotels with views, details of airlines you can see there, and much more information.

Lufthansa A380 arrival party in Houston

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Frankfurt, Germany, North America, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 18-07-2012


If you’re in Houston, there’s a party being held for the arrival of the first Lufthansa Airbus A380 flight on 1st August.

This will be the first arrival of the type on the Frankfurt – Houston George Bush Intercontinental route, as it takes over from the regular Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

© Photographer: Jens Görlich - © CGI: MO CGI GbRGeneral visitors are encouraged to head to the IAH Airport Ranger Trailhead viewing location off FM 1960 just east of Farrell Road to watch the arrival, which is scheduled for 1.50pm. There will be a party held to greet the arrival, including yodelling competition, Lederhosen contest, live DJ, food and drink, and a free gift for all who come.

The party takes place from midday to 2pm. Check out this website for more information, including directions:

An official party is being laid on at the gate for press and those who pre-register, with the opportunity of a tour of the aircraft, and more festivities.

FlyGrip smartphone solution available now – Review

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Websites | Posted on 17-07-2012


I had the pleasure of reviewing a new product this week which is now on sale at all InMotion Entertainment stores in airports across the USA.

The device looks like a small clip, and attaches to the back of the phone. It can then be used to attach the phone to your hand without you having to grip it, and giving you the chance to easily type a text, e-mail, or bring up your boarding pass whilst dragging your luggage through the airport.

FlyGrip is a new solution for those with smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone, to help with using it on the move and whilst travelling.


Additionally, the FlyGrip can be used to prop up your phone allowing you to watch videos, read e-mails, or play games whilst it rests on your seatback tray, for example.

Naturally, in addition to smartphones, the FlyGrip can be used on MP3 players and small tablets. The example I tried wouldn’t be of much use with larger tablets, such as the iPad, however there are three sizes available so the larger ones may be more suitable.

The FlyGrip comes in a variety of colours, from subtle to the loud, and comes with full instructions and protective wipes and pads for the device.

FlyGrip Product Range

It is priced from $29.95. You can find out more and order here:

5 key facts about the Asia Pacific aviation market

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia | Posted on 15-07-2012


Air China 777This guest post is from the experts at Baltic Aviation Academy – a specialist training centre in Lithuania which trains airline pilots. They are constantly investigating the characteristics of various aviation markets. This article summarizes research results of the Asia Pacific aviation market by pointing out five key facts.

1.    Asia Pacific accounts for a 34% of the global passenger traffic.

A few hundred years ago the journey from China to Europe took tea traders a year. By ship in 2012 it takes almost a month, by air it will last about 10 hours. The demand for flying in the Asia Pacific region is high and it continues to grow further due to constantly increasing population. At the moment the region has 359 airlines operating in 1207 commercial airports, executes about 6247000 flights and transports about 779 565 798 passengers a year. This results in Asia Pacific accounting for more than one third of the total global passenger traffic.


  1. 2.    Asia Pacific soon will become the second-largest world region for air traffic.

A large share of the global passenger traffic speaks for itself, but it is also useful to compare the situation with the rest of the world. The Asian Pacific international traffic level is projected to grow by 6.9% annually in the period between 2010 and 2015. This will place Asia Pacific as the second-largest world region for air traffic after the Middle East. International traffic level for Europe is expected to grow at 5%, while the world’s average is projected to climb up by 5.8%.


  1. 3.    The fleet of airlines operating in the region concentrates on A320 and B737.

by Altair78

Even though the regions’ fleet is quite diversified, the largest share belongs to Airbus and Boeing. Two most popular aircraft models are A320 and B737, while the top-five also includes B777, A330 and B747. The majority of confirmed orders for new aircraft is composed of these types as well, but also includes new A320 NEO and B787. The most common Non-Boeing/Airbus aircrafts exploited in the region are ATR, DHC-8 and ERJ190.


  1. 4.    The demand for Full Flight Simulators in the region is expected to grow dramatically.

240 Full Flight Simulators are currently operating in the region. However, the number is about to change significantly in the future. At least 20-30 new FFS will be needed in the next 3 years, while the total number of FFS demanded is expected to reach about 500 in 2030.


  1. 5.    Asia Pacific region will be the biggest customer for new pilots over the next 20 years.

According to Boeing estimates, from year 2011 to 2030 the world will need 460,000 new pilots along with Asia-Pacific area accounting for 40% of the number. This means that the region will face a need of 9,684 pilots per year, which will make it the main customer in this type of labor market.


‘We see a huge demand for senior specialists – highly experienced pilots and instructors who could train the excessive number of pilots-beginners in order to reduce the lack of qualified professionals faster. In terms of resourcing professional aviation training instructors, Baltic Aviation Academy has already achieved major success in the markets across Central Asia, so the next logical step is to address the Asian-Pacific region,’ commented Egle Vaitkeviciute, Chief Executive Officer at Baltic Aviation Academy.


Baltic Aviation Academy is addressing the rapid expansion of Asia Pacific market and its future needs of qualified aviation personnel by taking the initiative to adapt European standard training programs and assigning its aviation specialists to the regions.


Starting with 2012 the Academy has been actively participating in aviation events and air shows. On the 28 – 29th of August together with partners from the Bird Group, Baltic Aviation  Academy will arrange a keynote entitled ‘Strategic View to Pilot Training: External TRTO Provider VS In-house Base‘ in Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium (APATS) 2012, held in Singapore.