Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Second UAE C-17A takes to the skies

The second United Arab Emirates Air Force C-17A (F-235/UE-2) N9500R tbr 1224 upon delivery performed her 2nd pre-delivery test flight today (May 31, 2011), returning to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 17:22 PST. Her first flight took place on Friday May 27, 2011. The photos below are of todays 2nd flight. 

 Nice 3/4qtr front view of this lovely aircraft.
 Short final to Rwy 30.

 The Pratts purr as they bring this beauty home.

Smoking the mains on Rwy 30.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Air France 447 investigation continues as pilot action raise more questions

The Air France airliner that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 was out of control for four minutes, investigators said, in a report raising questions about how crew handled a "stall alarm" blaring out in the cabin.

Information gleaned from black boxes, and recovered almost two years after the disaster killed 228 people, confirmed that speed-readings in the Airbus cockpit had gone haywire, believed to be linked to the icing of speed sensors outside the jet.

As Air France pilots fought for control, the doomed A330 dropped 38,000 feet, rolling left to right, its engines flat out but its wings unable to grab enough air to keep flying.

The plane crashed on June 1, 2009, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Black boxes stopped recording at 0214 GMT.

France's BEA crash investigation agency said in a detailed chronology of the crash that commands from the controls of the 32-year-old junior pilot on board had pulled the nose up as the aircraft became unstable and generated an audible stall warning.

Aviation industry sources told reporters that this action went against the normal procedures which call for the nose to be lowered in response to an alert that the plane was about to stall.

This type of aerodynamic stall is nothing to do with a stall in the engines, both of which kept working as crew requested.

"A stall is the moment at which a plane stops flying and starts falling," said David Learmount, operations and safety editor at the British aviation publication Flight International.

An aircraft industry safety consultant said the standard guidance in the Airbus pilot manual called in this event for the pilot to lower the nose by pushing the control stick forward.

"The BEA is now going to have to analyze and get to bottom of how crew handled this event," said Paul Hayes, safety director at Ascend Aviation, a UK-based aviation consultancy.

"The big question in my mind is why did the pilot flying (the aircraft) appear to continue to pull the nose up," he said.

French investigators said the emergency began with the autopilot disengaging itself two and a half hours into the flight and the junior pilot, who had been in control at take-off, picked up manually and saying "I have control".

The autopilot appears to have responded to a loss of reliable airspeed information. This was accompanied moments later by the disembodied voice of a recorded "stall" alert.

It is what happened next that is likely to fuel most theories on what preceded the crash, but Air France and its main pilots union insisted faulty speed probes were the root cause.

In a passage likely to attract particular scrutiny, the BEA said the pilot "maintained" the nose-up command despite fresh stall warnings 46 seconds into the four-minute emergency.

"The inputs made by the pilot flying were mainly nose-up," the report added.

The Airbus jet climbed 3,000 feet to 38,000 feet despite the crew having decided earlier against a climb, and then began a dramatic descent, with the youngest pilot handing control to the second most senior pilot a minute before impact.

The captain returned after "several attempts" to call him back to the cockpit but was not at the controls in the final moments, according to information gleaned from black boxes.

By the time the 58-year-old returned, just over a minute into the emergency, the aircraft was in serious trouble: plunging at 10,000 feet a minute with its nose pointing up 15 degrees and at too high an angle to the air to recapture lift.

The BEA did not provide extracts of the transcript for the last minute before the jet hit the water with its nose up.

It promised a fuller interim report which could say more about the causes of the crash in July.


Relatives of victims had waited long for the report.

"It's very emotional to see the unrolling minute by minute or second by second at some points of what happened," said John Clemes, vice president of the families' support group.

"You automatically think of your family member and how they were living through this. It's the events that caused the deaths of 228 people so it's traumatic and moving."

The BEA report put to rest speculation that the pilots recklessly flew into the centre of an equatorial storm cell.

Pilots had decided calmly to alter course slightly to avoid turbulence shortly before the crisis. But the pilot did tell flight attendants to prepare for a "little bit of turbulence".

"In two minutes we should enter an area where it'll move about more than at the moment; you should watch out," he told cabin staff. "I'll call you back as soon as we're out of it."

Air France said the crew had displayed a "totally professional attitude" and stayed committed to the end.

The crew's response to stall warnings contrasts with advice to pilots contained in an Airbus training seminar in October last year, according to a document obtained by reporters.

In large red capital letters, the slide presentation says that in the event of a stall warning, pilots should "APPLY NOSE DOWN PITCH CONTROL TO REDUCE AOA (ANGLE OF ATTACK)".

Two aviation industry sources said the drill in force at the time of the accident was to apply full thrust and reduce the pitch attitude of the aircraft, which means lowering the nose.

Later guidance calls for pilots to push the nose down and adjust thrust as necessary, they said, asking not to be named.

Despite the apparent anomaly, aviation experts said it was early and most probably far-fetched to blame the miscommands -- so basic one compared it to hitting the accelerator instead of the brake when facing a car collision -- on a conscious error.

"One of the weird things about this is that the aircraft was definitely stalled, because the crew had had a stall warning, but they were not doing anything to recover from the stall," Learmount said. "It was almost as if they didn't know the aircraft was stalled, because they could have recovered."

The report and a more detailed follow-up are eagerly awaited by lawyers representing victims' families, but cannot be used in many courts. A separate French criminal probe is also under way.


China Southern announces 777 purchase

China Southern Airlines, one of the country's top three carriers, will buy six Boeing 777 freighters with a total list price of USD$1.58 billion, it said on Tuesday.

Each freighter had a list price of USD$264 million, the airline said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Iraq Airways assets seized by Kuwait in Jordan

Kuwait has seized assets of Iraq's national airline in Jordan, Iraqi officials said on Saturday, the latest step in a row between the states over war reparations.

Iraqi Airways has filed an appeal against the decision in Jordan, said Karim al-Nuri, a media adviser to the Iraqi Transport Ministry.

He said Kuwaiti authorities seized the Iraqi Airways office in the Jordanian capital after obtaining a ruling from a court there.

"Two days ago, the Iraqi Airways' office in Amman has been seized (by Kuwait) and USD$1.5 million of its assets have been frozen," Nuri said.

Kuwaiti officials could not be reached for comment.

Baghdad and Kuwait have been locked in a long-running dispute over billions of dollars in reparations from Iraq, including some USD$1.2 billion related to aircraft and parts seized during former dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

The dispute is between Kuwait Airways and Iraqi Airways, both of which are state owned.

"This a serious step, and it will legitimize unacceptable mistakes in the future," Nuri said, adding that Iraqi Airways will continue flying to Jordan despite the freeze.

Last year, Kuwait tried to seize one of the Iraqi carrier's planes in London after obtaining a High Court order against Iraqi Airways that included freezing its assets worldwide. The airline has halted flights to Britain and Sweden under threat that its planes would be seized by Kuwait.

"Unfortunately, so far talks with the Kuwaiti authorities have failed to resolve this issue," said Nasir al-Amiri, an advisor for the Iraqi Transport Ministry. "We cannot see a solution on the horizon."

In May last year, Iraq's government said it would dissolve Iraqi Airways over the next three years and pursue private options to dodge asset claims made by Kuwait over their 1990-91 war.


Friday, May 27, 2011

U.S. Transportation Dept. unblocks private flights

Private-plane owners will no longer be able to cite privacy and instead must provide a “valid security concern” to have flight information blocked from public viewing, the U.S. Transportation Department said.

The registration number, flight path, departure point, destination and flight length will be accessible to the public unless operators and owners provide the Federal Aviation Administration “written certification” that it would create a security threat, the Transportation Department said in a statement today. The change will take effect 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

“Both general aviation and commercial aircraft use the public airspace and air traffic control facilities, and the public has a right to information about their activities,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in the statement.

Corporate groups protested the plan proposed in March, saying security and business deals would be risked with public knowledge of their trips. Opponents included the Washington- based National Business Aviation Association, which represents 8,000 companies, ConocoPhillips and PepsiCo Inc. LaHood countered that many fliers taking advantage of the secrecy, including drug dealers, don’t deserve it.

Representative John Mica, the Florida Republican who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, had sought to block the bid to require more public disclosure with a bill that won U.S. House approval in March.

The FAA requires business-jet operators to provide their origin, route and destination so the agency can manage traffic flow. Anyone who knows the registration or “N” number on the tail of an aircraft can use Web sites such as FlightAware.com, the largest tracking service, to see that information.

At the behest of aviation operators, Congress in 2000 directed the FAA to let companies block the flight data. They don’t have to give a reason. Operators of about 2,000 planes, making up about 5 percent of flights, take advantage of the program, Daniel Baker, chief executive officer of Houston-based FlightAware, said in March.

 (Andrea Snyder - Bloomberg News)

Five passengers hike to safety following crash at Sedona, Arizona

(Christopher Fox Graham - Larson Newspapers)

A JetSuite charter plane went over the side of Airport Mesa at 3:50 p.m., on Wednesday, May 25, after attempting to land at the Sedona Airport.

According to authorities, the Embraer Phenom 100 twin jet crashed approximately 300 feet below the edge of the airport’s runway. Five passengers inside the plane managed to evacuate the site of the crash and make their way up the mesa to the airport, where they reported the incident.

According to Sedona Fire District Fire Chief Nazih Hazime, the plane’s three passengers and two pilots appeared to have sustained only minor injuries as a result of the crash.

The aircraft reportedly left San Jose, Calif., at 2:30 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Sedona at 3:52 p.m.

“They were all able to walk out of it and walk up the hill about 300 feet,” Hazime said. “There was a lot of damage to the plane.”

The incident occurred at approximately 4 p.m. May 25. SFD crews, Sedona police, and U.S. Forest Service authorities responded to the crash.

“We had the Forest Service on scene and our people as well,” Hazime said.

JetSuite charter planes are commonly known as Red Stripes due to a characteristic stripe from the nose of the plane to the tail.

Mac McCall, general manager and CEO of the Sedona Airport, said an investigation into the incident has already begun. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were expected on the site Thursday, May 26.

“It went off the end of the runway and fortunately, the blow was softened by the junipers and all the trees on the way down the hill and everybody walked away,” McCall said. “As soon as [NTSB investigators] get what they need on the site here, we will start the recovery operation. Not sure how it will be done yet, but a high-lift helicopter may be here. We’ve done that in the past.”

There has not been a crash at the Sedona Airport for two-and-a-half years, McCall said.

 (Patrick Whitehurst - Sedona Red Rock News)

American Airlines receives first 737-823 with "Sky Interior"

American Airlines took delivery of it's first 737-823 (40762/3634) N867NN which features the new "Sky Interior" on May 24, 2011. In the above photo, the aircraft is captured arriving back at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on May 21, 2011 following a pre-delivery test flight.
(Photo by Joe G. Walker) 

Norwegian Air Shuttle to recieve Icelandair's three 787-8s

Norwegian Air Shuttle said Thursday it signed a letter of intent with Icelandair to acquire three Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered Boeing 787-8s that Icelandair currently has on order.

Two of the aircraft are expected to be delivered during the first half of 2013 and the third in early 2015. Norwegian is also slated to receive two 787-8s on lease from ILFC in late 2012/early 2013 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 9, 2010).

"Getting hold of an additional three Dreamliners implies that we have secured sufficient capacity for the launch of the long-haul operation," said CEO Bjorn Kjos. "We will operate a fleet of at least four of the most efficient and modern long-haul aircraft by summer 2013." The carrier is believed to be negotiating to acquire additional 787s.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)
Turkish Airlines 777-3F2/ER (40709/909) TC-JJI now sports this special "F.C. Barcelona" livery and is captured arriving at London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) on May 26, 2011.
(Photo by James Mepsted) 

Dassault Aviation's Falcon 7X grounded

Falcon 7X (c/n 31) N786CS operated by Valkyrie 7X LLC departs from Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on April 27, 2009. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Dassault Aviation's Falcon 7X business jets are banned from flying as of Friday over safety concerns, the European Aviation Safety Agency said in a directive published on Thursday.

"A Falcon 7X experienced an uncontrolled pitch trim runaway during descent," EASA said. "This condition, if occurring again, could lead to loss of control of the aeroplane."

EASA said Dassault had proposed that the safety agency prohibit flights of the Falcon 7X from May 27.

"We took this decision as a precaution because our first priority is the total safety of our aircraft and their passengers," a spokesman for Dassault said.

The Falcon 7X was introduced in 2007 and is designed to fly 5,950 nautical miles with at least eight passengers. There are 112 of the aircraft in service.

"This airworthiness directive is considered to be an interim measure pending the outcome of the investigation currently carried out by the manufacturer," EASA said.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

jetBlue commences Long Beach - Anchorage service

JetBlue Airways launched a new seasonal nonstop flight to Alaska on Monday, May 23 and plans to add a third daily flight to Sacramento (SMF/KSMF) in the coming months.

The Anchorage (ANC/PANC) flight is the latest expansion at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB), where commuters now have the option of direct travel to 17 cities nationally.

The Alaska flights will last through at least Sept. 5, though they could be extended depending on demand. Travelers arriving from Alaska can connect with flights leaving Long Beach to several major cities, including New York (JFK/KJFK), Boston (BOS/KBOS), Washington, D.C. (IAD/KIAD), and Chicago (ORD/KORD).

Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske meets moose mascot Samuel at a ceremony Monday to mark JetBlue's inaugural Anchorage, Alaska, flight from Long Beach.
 (Jeff Gritchen, Staff Photographer)

The new route is expected to cater primarily to tourists, though there are strong economic ties between Long Beach, Los Angeles and Alaska, primarily because of the timber and oil trades.

Oil tankers carrying Alaskan crude call in Long Beach regularly and Southern California businesses and universities do a great deal of engineering and research work in Alaska.

The Airbus 320 jets used for the route will also haul commercial cargo, including frozen fish, from Alaska, and various other packages, said Mateo Lleras, a JetBlue spokesman.

"Summer is the best time to visit our northernmost state, and we're proud to offer our customers another option in the L.A. Basin, as the only airline flying to Anchorage out of Long Beach and the southern Los Angeles region," said Marty St. George, JetBlue's senior vice president of marketing. "Plus, with the extended daylight hours, our customers can look forward to playing midnight golf soon after they touch down in Anchorage."

The Long Beach to Anchorage service departs daily on Airbus 320 jets at 7:37 p.m. and arrives at Ted Stevens International Airport at

11:54 p.m. The return flight departs Anchorage at about

1 a.m. and lands in Long Beach at 7:30 a.m.

Fares can be found as low as $149 each way with advanced booking, the airline said.

Meanwhile, JetBlue is planning to begin a third daily flight to Sacramento in September as part of a reshuffling of operations following the departure of Frontier Airlines.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Korean Air takes delivery of its first A380

Korean Air has celebrated the delivery of its first A380 at a special ceremony at Airbus in Toulouse May 25. The ceremony was attended by Korean Air Chairman Yang Ho Cho and hosted by Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. EADS CEO Louis Gallois was also present at the event. Korean Air is the sixth airline to take delivery of the A380 and has ordered a total of 10 aircraft.

Korean Air will initially operate the A380 from its Seoul hub to selected destinations in Asia, followed by non-stop services to North America and Europe. The airline has specified an extra-spacious layout for its A380 fleet, with accommodation for 407 passengers in three classes. Special features on board the aircraft include the world's first ever duty free showcase area and a stylish onboard bar and lounge on the upper deck for premium passengers.

"Korean Air was the first airline to purchase an Airbus aircraft outside Europe and they have now become an essential part of our fleet,” said Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO of Korean Air. “The exceptional, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly A380 that is being delivered today is perfect to assist Korean Air in advancing our goal of becoming a respected leading global carrier.”

"We are extremely proud to welcome Korean Air as the latest operator of the A380," said Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus. "The A380 has proven to be a game changer, setting new standards for comfort, economic efficiency and respect for the environment. We are confident that the A380 will play a key role in enabling Korean Air to further strengthen its position as one of the world's great airlines."

(Airbus Press Release)

ANA's Peach Aviation to commence service in early 2012

Joint venture partners All Nippon Airways and First Eastern Investment, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, named their new LCC Peach Aviation. ANA said the name symbolizes longevity, energy and happiness—as peaches do in Japan.

"The name Peach was chosen to reflect our mission of becoming a completely new type of airline that links destinations in Japan and Japan with Asia," said Peach Aviation CEO Shinichi Inoue in a statement reported by AFP.

The airline also unveiled its aircraft design, showing an Airbus A320 in white, pink and fuchsia.

Services are expected to start in March 2012 from its base at Osaka Kansai.

(Geoffrey Thomas - ATWOnline News)

Singapore Airlines to establish new low fare carrier

Sending a major signal to the airline industry that the competitive landscape of long-haul travel is changing, Singapore Airlines announced Wednesday it will set up a new no-frills, low-fare carrier operating twin-aisle aircraft on medium- and long-haul routes.

SIA said in a statement that “the new airline is being established following extensive review and analysis,” which was in part focused on the runaway success of AirAsia X with its fleet of A330s and A340s. It added that the new airline would “enable the SIA Group to serve a largely untapped new market and cater to the growing demand among consumers for low-fare travel.”

The new carrier has not yet been named. It is expected to begin operations within one year. It will be wholly owned by Singapore Airlines, but will be operated independently and managed separately from SIA.

“We are very excited about what our new low-fare subsidiary will offer to consumers. We are seeing a new market segment being created and this will provide another growth opportunity for the SIA Group,” said CEO Goh Choon Phong.

He added, “We have observed on short-haul routes within Asia, low-fare airlines help stimulate demand for travel, and we expect this will also prove true for longer flights. At the same time, we remain fully committed to the further growth of SIA, which will continue to offer the highest-quality products and services to our customers.”

Reacting to the news in Toulouse, Airbus COO-Customers John Leahy told ATW, “I have been waiting for this to happen. It is quite a natural move. I'm a big believer in the LCC model.”

While noting that he doesn't have many details on SIA's plan, Leahy said the new carrier could operate A330s: “Have a look at Tony Fernandes at Air Asia X [an A330 operator] to see how well this operation can work. I suspect, also, [SIA's new carrier] will use the new low-cost terminal in Singapore.”

( Geoffrey Thomas & Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Been under the weather

Greetings All!

I 've been out of commission due to a nasty cold, so that is why there have been no updates the past two days. Feeling better today so back to updating APF.


787 gets closer to first delivery

Boeing narrowed its target date for delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner as it announced plans on Thursday to run mock commercial flights with the first customer, Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways.

Boeing, which most recently targeted first delivery in the third quarter, said in a statement it planned to deliver the first plane between August and September.

The 787 is a light-weight, carbon-composite aircraft whose sales pitch offers fuel savings for airlines and more comfort and less jet lag for passengers, with its purer and more humid air pressurized to a lower altitude than ordinary jets.

After nearly three years of production delays, the plane is being prepared for the first commercial operations.

Using the second flight test aircraft code-named ZA002, Boeing said it planned to carry out test flights in Japan together with ANA to help prepare for real operations.

The in-service test flights will take place in the week of July 4. Boeing expects to fly the 787 between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and airports in Osaka, Okayama and Hiroshima.

The aircraft has captured the imagination of the aviation world, but problems with the extensive supply chain, as well as labor disputes, have caused a string of delays.

ANA has said it is disappointed about the delays which are expected to have resulted in costly penalties for Boeing.

Boeing has taken 835 orders for the plane from 56 customers.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Business Select contributes to strong revenue growth for Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Senior VP and CFO Laura Wright said that specific revenue initiatives undertaken by the carrier helped to boost sales by $2.2 billion between 2007 and 2010, exceeding the carrier's target of growing top-line revenue by $1.5 billion. Addressing the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference, available via webcast,Wright noted that the revenue growth was achieved "on capacity that was slightly down" from 2007."

Among successful initiatives she identified is the carrier's Business Select program that gives customers in the highest fare buckets priority in boarding the aircraft as well as other perks. Incremental revenues from Business Select in the 2011 first quarter were $24 million, up from $21 million in the year-ago period with passengers up 12%, she said.

Another success is the "Early Bird" product that allows customers to pay $10 to get an early boarding number. "We are well ahead of what we initially thought we would achieve with this product," she said. The airline had "an annual goal of $100 million in incremental revenue and in the first quarter we had $34 million, which was double what we earned the previous year." The service is being used by 16%-17% of customers.

Additionally, the easing of the Wright Amendment, which gave SWA the ability to begin offering additional connections out of Dallas Love Field on a one-stop or connecting basis, contributed $59 million in incremental revenues in the first quarter, up from $47 million a year ago, she said.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

AirAsia wants to be just like Southwest Airlines

Being number one in Asia is no longer enough for low-cost airline boss Tony Fernandes. Now he wants to double the size of Malaysian carrier AirAsia's fleet to catch up with industry titan Southwest Airlines.

Fernandes indicated ambitious plans for Asia's largest low-cost carrier as he closed in on a potentially massive deal to buy Airbus aircraft, which could rival a recent USD$16 billion, 180-plane deal as one of the world's largest.

The expansion plan reflects confidence in a fast-growing Asian transport market which continues at a blistering pace despite concerns over fuel prices.

"We have done a study (which shows) that AirAsia has a potential to have about 500 planes... that we could be the size of Southwest Airlines. That would give you some idea; we already have an order of 175 or so," he told reporters in an interview.

"The market is big and the market is growing. We are in a fantastic playground, Asia Pacific," Fernandes said.

Such a deal could make Malaysian group AirAsia to Airbus what Southwest is to Boeing, dominating the customer list for their respective narrow-body airliners.

Texas-based Southwest Airlines started operations after a legal battle in 1971 and has grown into the world's top low-cost airline with a fleet of 548 Boeing aircraft.

AirAsia already has the largest number of A320 aircraft on order of any airline, second only to a US-based leasing company.

Fernandes is looking at placing a big order for A320neos, a revamped version of Airbus's best-selling, medium-haul plane.

Airbus has been under pressure to deliver on pledges to announce hundreds of sales of the A320neo at the Paris air show on June 20-26, as rival Boeing tries to persuade airlines to hold off and wait for an even bolder potential redesign of its 737.

The timing appears to support AirAsia. "I am never one who particularly likes air shows, but aircraft manufacturers like air shows so let us wait and see," Fernandes said.


The Malaysian entrepreneur was speaking in the Team Lotus motorhome on the eve of the Spanish Grand Prix.

He has spent the past few days shuttling between the United States, Spain and France to negotiate a deal almost certain to be well over USD$10 billion for aircraft and engines and to indulge his passion for motor racing -- as principal of Team Lotus.

Wearing a bright red AirAsia-branded cap, Fernandes said the airline's links to popular Formula One had boosted its growth.

"The AirAsia brand is growing rapidly and it is a lot to do with this, and me wearing this cap... We are only nine years old and I am talking about 500 planes."

In a sign of the stakes involved for engine makers as well as the plane's designers, Fernandes held talks last week with the chief executive of General Electric, the co-parent of a French-US joint venture that competes to supply engines.

GE and French partner Safran are trailing well behind Pratt & Whitney in the battle to supply engines for the A320neo.

Indian discount carrier Indigo chose Pratt over GE-Safran joint venture CFM International to power a fleet of 180 A320neo jets provisionally ordered earlier this year.

"I was in GE. We have been in discussions with Pratt. I flew from there to Barcelona, Barcelona to Nice, so although I am running a Formula One team it has been a very, very productive last few days for AirAsia," Fernandes said.

In sharp contrast with the secrecy surrounding most aircraft deals, Fernandes, an avid user of Twitter, has chatted openly about his whereabouts as he played off big-time manufacturers.

"For a Fortune top 25 company his humility is great," Fernandes noted after meeting GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt.

On Friday, it was reported Fernandes was close to a big Airbus deal after he tweeted he was off to Nice for talks. Fernandes confirmed afterwards that a deal could be "imminent".

"I touched down and I saw a Google alert and my tweet was picked up. Welcome to the new world," Fernandes said.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

USMC VMFA (AW) -121 "Green Knights" visit Long Beach May 20

 F/A-18D "Hornet" (c/n 1472/D151) 165530 / VK-00 on short final to Rwy 30 at 1648 PST.

Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure 1926 PST.

 F/A-18D "Hornet" (c/n 1214/D122) 164882 / VK-16 smokes the mains on Rwy 30 at 1749 PST.

Rolls on "Delta" at 1927 PST just prior to departure.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Japans Skynet Asia Airways rebrands itself as Solaseed Air

Miyazaki-based low-cost airline Skynet Asia Airways on 12th May has announced to rename its new brand name to Solaseed Air with effect from 1st July coinciding with the delivery of its first Boeing B737-800 aircraft.

The new Boeing B737-800 to form its latest fleet, will start flying with the newly introduced all white with pistachio green colors livery on the Miyazaki – Tokyo Haneda route. Along with the revamp of the brand name, both cabin attendants and ground handling staffs will also be given new uniforms bearing the same theme.

The carriers first 737-81D (39415/3666) JA801X on the ramp at Renton - Municipal (RNT/KRNT) on May 21, 2011. (Photo by Joe G. Walker)

The company hopes that with the new adopted brand image it will help in its bid to increase recognition. The word Solaseed is taken from the Japanese word “Sora” meaning Sky, and seed meaning seeds, which gives the meaning of ‘‘scattering seeds of smile from the sky,’’

However the company has chosen to retain the existing 3-letter airline code “SNA”, and does not rule out the possibility of changing it at a later time. A new official website has also been launched (http://www.solaseedair.jp/). Skynet Asia Airways enters into service approximately 9 years ago in July 2002 and mainly operates services between Miyazaki/Kumamoto/Nagasaki/Kagoshima/Oita and Tokyo Haneda. It was formerly Pan Asia Airlines. It launched services as the fourth new airline after the airline industry market deregulation in 1998.

(Toyko TOMO)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

G550 for USAF

 Taxies on "Lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

G550 (c/n 5297) N792GA rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 May 20, 2011. The aircraft is destined for the United States Air Force (USAF) and will be registered as 11-0550 when delivered.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Singapore Airlines A380's to have fewer seats

Singapore Airlines is to reduce the seating density on its remaining Airbus A380s by 13%, slashing the economy-class cabin in favour of more business-class accommodation.

The airline is to fit just 409 seats in the eight outstanding A380s which it has on order.

Singapore Airlines' in-service fleet of 11 A380s are configured with 471 seats. These comprise 12 first-class and 60 business-class seats, plus an economy cabin seating 399.

But a spokesman for SIA confirms that while the 12 first-class suites will stay, the business-class seating will be increased to 86 in the eight aircraft yet to be delivered.

The economy-class seating will be cut back to 311 seats.

SIA has not detailed the precise layout of the aircraft but its current 471-seat A380s have 311 economy seats on the lower deck, which could indicate that the 88 upper-deck economy seats will be replaced by 26 business-class seats - giving the A380 an all-business upper deck.

This reconfiguration will also mean SIA will operate one of the lowest-density A380s in the global fleet. Only Korean Air has fewer seats, having declared a 407-seat layout for its A380s, the first of which will be handed over on 24 May.

(David Kaminski-Morrow - Air Transport Intelligence News)

Friday, May 20, 2011

USMC F/A-18D's at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

These two beauties were a very nice surprise for us!  

 USMC F/A-18D "Hornet" (c/n 1438/D142) 165411 / VK-05 smokes the mains on Rwy 30 May 19, 2011.

USMC F/A-18D "Hornet" (c/n 1450/D146) 165415 / 06 on a very short final to Rwy 30 on May 19, 2011.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Boeing 787 ship 4 to test upgraded RR Trent 100

Boeing's 787 test aircraft ZA004 will return to flying on 20 May with the first Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 'Package B' engine hung under its right wing, marking the beginning of tests on the updated powerplant meant to deliver specific fuel consumption (SFC) rates within 1% of the engine-maker's initially targeted specification.

The fourth 787 test aircraft had been down for maintenance since 27 April for installation of the engine and its extensive instrumentation. The left-hand engine is expected to be installed on ZA004 later this month, say programme sources.

The Package B engine includes a revised six-stage low pressure turbine (LPT) design, high-aspect-ratio blades, relocation of the intermediate-pressure (IP) compressor bleed offtake ports and a fan outlet guide vanes with improved aerodynamics.

Additionally, it is believed that the Package B engine also incorporates undisclosed hardware changes that were prompted following the August 2010 uncontained failure of a 'Package A' model Trent 1000 on the Rolls-Royce test stand in Derby, UK.

The test fleet, which Boeing said in April had completed 95% of certification requirements, had been flying with the Package A engine since the 787's first flight in December 2009.

Boeing and Rolls-Royce have not disclosed whether or not first 787 deliveries in the third quarter to All Nippon Airways will include the Pacakge A or B engines, though initial planning prior to the most recent programme delays indicated the first five or six Rolls-Royce 787s to be delivered would feature the A model engine.

Rolls-Royce received extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) certification on the Package A engine on 9 May, clearing the way for engine-airframe ETOPS certification to be undertaken.

Boeing offers also offers a choice of General Electric GEnx-1B engines on the 787.

(Jon Ostrower - Air Transport Intelligence News)

Photo of the Day / SAI DC-8-62H(F)

Stars Away International Douglas DC-8-62H(F) (46098/516) ZS-OSI is captured at Zurich-Kloten (ZRH/LSZH) preparing for a charter operation to Venezuela.

(Photo by Adrian Arzinhiemer) 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Captain "Sully" Sullenberger "Miracle on the Hudson" joins CBS as aviation expert

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot behind the 2009 emergency landing in New York's Hudson River, is joining CBS News as aviation and safety expert.

Describing him as a "genuine hero," CBS News chairman Jeff Fager said the ex-pilot with nearly 20,000 hours of service will help viewers "better understand the stories involving safety and air travel that seem to pop up all the time."

"He is a remarkable person who has great ability to turn his significant experience into useful insights," he added, noting that Sullenberger will provide analysis of aviation safety and contribute to CBS News broadcasts and platforms across the news division.

Sullenberger guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing on January 15, 2009, after the Airbus A320's two engines lost thrust following a bird strike. Former New York Governor David Paterson dubbed the event the "Miracle on the Hudson."

"I am eager to contribute to an organization I have long respected for its award-winning reputation of superior reporting," Sullenberger said.

The author of "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters" was recognized, with his crew, with a congressional resolution for bravery.

He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he majored in psychology. He holds two master's degrees, one in industrial psychology from Purdue and another in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado.


Lufthansa Cargo order for 5 777F's now a done deal

AeroLogic 777-FZN (36199/894) D-AALG arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 28, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Boeing confirmed that Lufthansa Cargo finalized a previously announced order for five 777 freighters valued at $1.35 billion based on list prices. “The 777 freighter is highly regarded for its fuel efficiency and a noise footprint significantly smaller than comparable freighters,” said LHC Chairman and CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt. “We are certain that these airplanes will benefit our customers greatly, as experienced by our AeroLogic joint venture [with DHL Express], which already operates eight 777 freighters.” The 777s will be needed for LHC's growth from 2016-2020, he told ATW previously.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Skywest Airlines begins flying for Horizon Air

Canadair CL-600-2C10 CRJ701 (c/n 10023) N216AG ex-N606QX, rolls for departure on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) bound for Seattle (SEA/KSEA) on May 18, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter) 

May 14, 2011, Skywest Airlines commenced operating 5 CRJ-700 aircraft for Horizon Air on the carriers west coast routes. This move comes as Horizon Air phases out the CRJ-700 fleet in favor of the Dash 8-Q400 fleet. Horizon entered into the agreement with Skywest and the transfer of the -700s as to maintain certain routes that the Q400 was not suited for such as the Seattle (SEA/KSEA) - Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) pairing. The 5 -700 will be registered with Skywest tail numbers and recieve the new Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air livery along with Skywest titles.    

Gulfstream action at Long Beach Airport

 G-IISP (c/n 153) N132FP owned by the Crenshaw Christian Center Church of Los Angeles holds short of Rwy 30 prior to departure on May 11, 2011.

 G-III (c/n 412) N450BD taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure on May 10, 2011.

 G-III (c/n 412) N450BD operated by Bramblebush GIII LLC rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 May 10, 2011.

 North Pacific Enterprises Inc. operates G350 (c/n 4019) N82CW, the aircraft is captured arriving on May 12, 2011.

 AKM Aviation II LLC operates this gorgeous G450 (c/n 4186) N510AK which is a normal visitor to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) and John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA). It is seen on short final to Rwy 30 on May 11, 2011.

 G-V (c/n 553) N516GH owned by MDL Consulting Associates LLC taxies to Rwy 30 for a morning departure on May 11, 2011.

G550 (c/n 5007) N754BA is captured on short final to Rwy 30 on May 12, 2011.

(Photos by Michael Carter) 

New UPS 767-34AF at Long Beach Airport

 Short final to Rwy 30.

Taxies on "Lima" to parking at the UPS facilities.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

The latest Boeing 767-34AF/ER (37945/1003) N343UP to join the United Parcel Service (UPS) fleet operated into Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 11, 2011. The new aircraft which was delivered to the carrier on May 5, 2011 is captured arriving from Louisville International Airport (SDF/KSDF) at 1717 PST as "UPS2916 Heavy."   

Air France and Airbus at odds concerning AF447 data investigation

A row has erupted between Air France and Airbus as pressure grows to explain the 2009 Rio-Paris plane crash using data recovered from black boxes.

The tensions were laid bare inadvertently by a senior official following days of finger-pointing in the media and the disclosure that the A330 aircraft suffered no major faults.

Air France chief Pierre-Henri Gourgeon urged the media to stay calm over the causes of the 2009 Atlantic plane crash, which are expected to become clear in a matter of weeks.

"It is impossible today to draw conclusions about any kind of responsibility," he told a news conference.

"Let's wait until the experts give us a coherent message before heading off in one direction or another and speculating," Gourgeon said, dismissing questions over his future as chief executive of parent Air France-KLM.

But in remarks picked up by a microphone afterwards and relayed to journalists, Gourgeon told a colleague: "The way I answer is a bit rude, but I have to because of Airbus."

Air France officials are said to be upset that Airbus quickly let it be known that an initial reading of black box data uncovered no significant mechanical problems, by telling airlines it did not plan immediate new safety recommendations.

"It is not very fair play," a source familiar with the airline's thinking said, adding it had broken a convention.

The airline seems particularly upset that the industry bulletin appeared in French newspaper Le Figaro, coupled with a story line blaming Air France pilots for the crash.

Europe 1 radio reported on Thursday that the pilots were not to blame, leaving uncertainty over what did cause the Airbus jet to dive into the Atlantic killing 228 people in June 2009.

The reputations of both companies are on the line over one of the world's most shocking and unexplained disasters and both face a criminal probe as well as potential claims from families.

The black box investigation is not only happening under the glare of media attention but also comes weeks before the Paris air show, at which Airbus hopes to announce large plane orders.

Airbus has denied leaking the industry bulletin, which went out to over 100 airlines, but the huge media attention paid to the document has clouded the atmosphere of the investigation.

It says the airline bulletin had been approved by France's BEA crash investigation agency, which is leading the probe.

"Our relationship with Air France is strong," a spokesman for Airbus in Toulouse said.

"They are operating all our products including some 180 aircraft. We share with Air France the costs of the search and we all have an interest in supporting the investigation and understanding what caused the tragic loss of flight 447."

An Air France spokeswoman also denied any disagreements.

Gourgeon, a former head of France's civil aviation authority, said history had shown that air accidents were typically not caused by any individual event.

"An accident is the product of several elements coming together at one time and place," he said. Air France has reviewed all its safety measures, he added.

"If something appears from the investigation which we have not already covered by measures already taken then we will take them to be certain such an event never happens again."

Gourgeon was renewed in his post for four years by the airline group's board on Thursday but the decision must be approved by shareholders in July, raising the prospect that the move may overlap with the BEA's interim safety findings.

Asked whether he felt his position under threat if Air France took part of the blame, Gourgeon said the BEA's job was to establish causes but not to attribute responsibility.

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 4647) N793JB "My Other Ride is a jetBlue E190" is the carriers latest addition to it's Airbus fleet having been delivered on April 8, 2011. The aircraft is seen rolling for departure on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 17, 2011.

(Photo by Michael Carter)
ATR42-320 (c/n 358) N313CG operated by the U.S. Department of Justice, arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 at 17:03 PST and parked on the Signature flight ramp.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

UA 9/11 flight numbers accidentally revived

United Airlines temporarily revived the flight numbers of two hijacked planes used in the September 11 attacks but said on Wednesday the move was inadvertent and they would not be used.

"We are taking immediate steps to remove them and apologize for the error," a United spokesman said.

Flight numbers 93 and 175 were mistakenly assigned to two flights by Continental Airlines, which has merged with United.

United declined to explain how the numbers found their way back onto flights. Unionized flight attendants urged the company to permanently retire them, while pilots said the move was insensitive.

Flight 175, a Boeing 767, took off from Boston and was one of two planes flown into New York's World Trade Centre.

Flight 93, a Boeing 757, took off from New Jersey's Newark Airport and crashed into a Pennsylvania field. Investigators believed the hijackers of that plane wanted to hit the US Capitol or the White House.

Two other planes used in the attack were flown by American Airlines. Flight 11, a 767 from Boston, hit the World Trade Centre, and Flight 77 from Washington Dulles, crashed into the Pentagon.

American Airlines long ago retired those two flight numbers.

Boeing 737-7H4 (36673/3661) N1787B arrives at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on May 13, 2011 as "BOE104" following it's first flight. The aircraft is destined for Southwest Airlines and will be registered as N958WN upon delivery.

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

***This just in from Seattle!***

Thursday May 19, 2011 1012am PST

Apparently there is a rumor floating between the BFI spotters/photographers that this aircraft might receive a special livery.....stay tuned! 
S7 Airlines Boeing 737-8ZS (37085/3654) VQ-BKW is captured at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on Wednesday May 18, rollong for departure on a pre-delivery test flight sporting the "OneWorld" livery.

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Omega Air 707 Tanker crashes at Point Mugu Navel Air Station

Appears to be the Omega Air Tanker.......very sad! Thankfully the crew made it out of the aircraft alive with minor injuries.

(KABC Channel 7 News)

A Boeing 707 military tanker plane with three people onboard crashed and burst into flames at the Point Mugu naval air base in Ventura County on Wednesday, fire officials said. The three passengers escaped with minor injuries.

Large plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the aircraft on the beach near the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, located about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The plane is reportedly a Boeing 707 plane, which is considered an older model. It crashed and slid off a runway just before 5:30 p.m. Skid marks indicate the plane slid off the runway as it attempted to take off.

The naval air base issued a flight-restricted-area designation, requiring any aircraft to maintain a distance of at least 5 miles.

About 150,000 pounds of jet fuel was reportedly onboard when the plane crashed. It is not clear if any fuel had gone into the ocean.

Several firefighting agencies were summoned to extinguish the flames from the ground and air. A helicopter dumped several loads of water on the tanker. Firefighters on the ground appeared to be letting the fire burn but were dousing the area around the plane.

There is a possibility of a hazardous-material situation. The smoke and fuel can be toxic. People in the area were warned to stay indoors and away from the smoke.

According to an air station spokeswoman, the tanker is used for fleet operations support and transporting fuel. It is not known where the tanker was headed at the time of the crash.

(KABC Channel 7 News Los Angeles)

Southwest Airlines to terminate AirTran Airways / Skywest Airlines agreement

Southwest Airlines Co., which completed the purchase of AirTran Holdings Inc. this month, plans to end the smaller carrier's flights to six Midwest cities operated under an agreement with SkyWest Inc.

Southwest's pilot contract doesn't allow for such so-called code-share flying in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said today. Southwest has had talks with SkyWest and hasn't given a termination notice, Kelly said after the airline's annual meeting at its Dallas headquarters.

The affected cities are Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Louis; Akron-Canton, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Pittsburgh, and most flights are performed with regional jets to and from the Milwaukee hub, AirTran President Bob Jordan said.

Southwest serves some of the cities, such as Omaha, on its own and hopes to keep flying to all of them, although it hasn't yet determined routes, schedules or plane types, Kelly said. Omaha is home to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., whose MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. unit is based in Des Moines.

"We will try to sustain service in places like Des Moines even when we shut down SkyWest," Kelly said.

SkyWest, based in St. George, Utah, had no immediate comment.