Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 345,636
2013: 330,818

Arizona’s AvGeek Heaven, Part 2 – AMARG aka “The Boneyard”

Row after row of KC-135s at AMARG

In my previous piece we talked about how great the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson was, and how much of an AvGeek dream it is to walk around.  However Pima isn’t the only reason AvGeek’s want to come to Tucson; they also come for the Boneyard.

The Boneyard, or the 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group (AMARG) as it is officially known, belongs to the United States Air Force and is part of Davis Monthan Air Force Base (although technically next door).  Most of the aircraft at AMARG have come from the armed forces of the United States.  The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all send their equipment here once it has reached the end of its service life.  Some countries, such as Norway, send their military aircraft to AMARG for what this facility does best – storing military aircraft.  Before we talk about how you can visit AMARG, we need to talk first about what they do.

Continue reading Arizona’s AvGeek Heaven, Part 2 – AMARG aka “The Boneyard”

Photo Tour: China Airlines Maintenance Facility

Resting in the hangar a Boeing 747-400 undergoes a C-check.

Resting in the hangar, a Boeing 747-400 undergoes a C-check

We recently paid a visit to China Airlines’ (CI) primary maintenance facility, located at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei. The monster facility–which held three Boeing 747-400s and an Airbus A340-300 at the time–is able to perform all standard maintenance regimens from A to D checks, as well as landing gear replacement and painting.

In for a two-week C-check, a Boeing 747 shows signs of care in progress. Each cabin is inspected in detail.

In for a two-week C-check, a Boeing 747 shows signs of care in progress. Each cabin is inspected in detail.

Unfortunately for us (probably good for the airline) their new Boeing 777-300ER wasn’t in the hangar at the time. Being so new, CI is currently only able to complete A-checks on the airplane. It expects to be able to offer up to C-checks by mid-2015, and add service to Panasonic’s IFE system in 2016. Check out our photo gallery and learn more.

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Virgin America — Still Got It?

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

Virgin America Airbus A320 – Photo: David Parker Brown

It has been a while since I’ve flown on Virgin America, and to be honest I’ve sort of missed it. The purplely-pink mood lighting, good food, and that awesome entertainment system; it was a light cutting through the otherwise dark and dank scene of American domestic economy flying.

Thus I was rather looking forward to getting back in the air with Virgin, spurred on by its new codeshare partnership with China Airlines (which I recently sampled and detailed here). Arriving at SeaTac on November 30th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I expected mayhem but was instead met with relative calm.

Space means weight, which means money. Photo: David Parker Brown.

The economy seats in Virgin America’s Airbus A320 – Photo: David Parker Brown

Virgin provided me a ticket in its Main Cabin Express (MCE) block of seats. The benefits are slight, basically amounting to early boarding after first class, seating in the first few rows of economy as well as guaranteed overhead bin access. The service and product are otherwise identical to the rest of the economy cabin.

Boarding was a bit chaotic, mostly thanks to the gate agent never actually announcing that it was time for MCE to board. Suspecting that I’d missed something, I joined the boarding line which now included main cabin passengers, and was ushered on the plane and into seat 5A.

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Photo Tour of Flight Training Operations for Condor Airlines

The Condor 767 crew trainer located in Frankfurt

The Condor 767 crew trainer located in Frankfurt

No matter the size of an airline, they need to provide safety training for their flight attendants. There will be training provided to new hires, as well as reoccurring training for current employees.

It is an important part of making sure an airline operates safely and the more realistic of a training that an airline can provide, the better prepared their flight attendants are going to be to react to an emergency scenario.

Condor's head quarters is located next to FRA

Condor’s headquarters is located next to FRA

Recently, I had the chance to get an up-close look at how Condor Airlines manages their flight attendant training at their headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. I was a bit surprised with some of the things that I learned and how hands-on I was able to get.

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Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”

Carollers greet families as they deboard the jet.

Carolers greet families as they deboard the jet at the “North Pole”

Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines offered a very special charter flight to the North Pole with VIP guests. Children and families of the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound boarded a specially decorated Airbus A330 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before being whisked away on a quick trip to a winter wonderland.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

Upon arrival, the guests were treated to different games, entertainment, Blitz from the Seattle Seahawks, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and of course Santa, who took some time out of his busy schedule to interact.

We had photographer Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren there to cover the event and afterwards he said, “I have to say that it was one of the heartwarming three hours I’ve had in awhile.” He was excited to share the experience via some photos.

Continue reading Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”