FedEx Boeing 727 sitting outside of the museum – Photo: Aaron Giddings

Ask most airline travelers what they know of Sioux City, Iowa and, if they’ve heard of it at all, it’s likely for only one of two reasons. The first, that Sioux City was the site of the crash of United Flight 232 in 1989. The second, that the Sioux Gateway Airport has a somewhat unfortunate airport code, particularly if one’s ultimate destination is either Charlotte, North Carolina or Pensacola, Florida. However, there is much more to this sprawling complex than just a notable aviation disaster and an awkward airport designator.

Unitef Flight 232 Artifacts

Artifacts at the front of the United Flight 232 section of the museum – Photo: Aaron Giddings, Sr.

Tucked away in the northeastern corner of the airport lies the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation. AvGeeks will likely first notice the retired FedEx 727 parked outside the museum’s main building, or perhaps the EA-6A standing guard near the gate as visitors pull into a parking lot carved from a portion of the airport’s 1930’s era runways. Inside the main building, a bright yellow Monnett Moni motorglider hangs from the ceiling and presides over the gift shop, which sells a variety of aviation items, including “Fly SUX” shirts and hats.

The entrance to Air Canada’s Signature Suite – Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s Signature Suite, its newest lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), officially opened on December 1.  The Signature Suite creates an environment that makes it easy to forget you’re in an airport. Those eligible to access the lounge can receive complimentary beer, wine, champagne and signature cocktails. Complimentary food will also be available; passengers will be able to dine a la carte from a menu created by Vancouver-based celebrity chef David Hawksworth.

Prior to its opening, Air Canada spared no expense as it invited select media to preview its newest premium creation. Read more to learn about the experience inside the Signature Suite.

These guys know how to fly.

These guys know how to fly

Agriculture (ag) aviation is not the swashbuckling, seat-of-the-pants occupation that popular culture led me to expect. Sure, it’s definitely all about daring flying, but it’s also gone all high-tech, making use of 3-D obstacle mapping, computer-controlled spray nozzles, and precisely-defined GPS flight paths across the fields.

“I’m not just drilling holes in the sky going from point A to point B – I’m helping out, it’s a gratifying feeling,” said Gavin Morse, co-owner of GEM Air, an aerial spraying company based in Warden, Wash.

A GEM Air Air Tractor 602 in action, spraying a field in central Washington state.

A GEM Air Air Tractor 602 in action, spraying a field in central Washington state

Morse said the term ‘crop duster’ is freighted with assumptions based on behaviors from a bygone era. He prefers to use either ‘ag aviation’ or ‘aerial spraying’ when referring to his line of work.

“People think of ag aviation as being a little crazy or a little wild, but that’s just not the case – the average aerial applicator is highly trained even before they’re flying,” Morse said. Pilots spend a long time, sometimes years, as loaders, mixing and loading the chemicals into the planes, along with helping to maintain the aircraft, and, of course, training to fly them.

The inaugural flight from Mexico City arrived in Seattle to a traditional water-turret salute.

The inaugural flight from Mexico City arrived in Seattle to a traditional water-cannon salute

On Wednesday, November 1 at 7:57 p.m., the inaugural Aeroméxico flight from Mexico City to Seattle touched down eight minutes ahead of schedule. After a brief taxi, the Boeing 737-800 lined up for the traditional water cannon salute, courtesy of the Port of Seattle Fire Department.

An Aeromexico 737-800. Photo by <a href="">Eddie Maloney</a> is licensed under <a href="">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>.

An Aeromexico 737-800 – Photo: Eddie Maloney, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

“Seattle was the largest North American market without nonstop service to Mexico City,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Mexico City is an important gateway to Mexico and Latin America, and Sea-Tac provides numerous regional connections to cities throughout the Pacific Northwest.”