Airnorth operates a fleet of E120 Brasilias on the "centre run" and shorter regional routes Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Airnorth operates a fleet of E120 Brasilias on the “centre run” and shorter regional routes – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Following my excellent flight on Airnorth’s jet service from Cairns to Darwin, where I got my first real taste of outback flying in Australia, I was left longing for more outback adventures. When I was planning my trip to Darwin, I came across the “centre-run” operated once again by Airnorth. This was the perfect opportunity for me to not only get my fix of outback flying, but also to experience the Embraer E120 Brasilia for the first time – an increasingly rare aircraft type. At one point in the booking process, I did have to question my sanity. Due to time constraints, I could only do a flight same day return, meaning that I would be flying over 1600 miles in nearly eight hours on a turbo-prop in the Northern Territory’s wet season. Needless to say, my AvGeek mentality took over and I booked the flight without a second guess.

A long way to go in a turbo-prop - Source: Great Circle Mapper

A long way to go in a turbo-prop – Image: Great Circle Mapper

The “centre run” (or “milk run” as referred to by the locals), is a three segment flight from Darwin (DRW) in the top-end to Alice springs (ASP), in Australia’s Red Centre. On the way, the flight stops at Katherine (KTR) and Tennant Creek (TCA); both are key regional communities located on the Stuart Highway which stretches across the continent from Darwin to Adelaide. The route was re-launched in September of 2014 as part of the Northern Territory government’s commitment to developing air services to remote communities. In order to maintain this essential air service, the route is currently subsidized by the government.

The Paine Field Fire Department, ready for action!

The Paine Field Fire Department, ready for action!

I think many people have a child-like persona that lives inside them. I know I do. When I had the opportunity to hang out with the fine folks at the Paine Field Fire Department, my inner seven-year-old was not only excited, but very jealous of my mid-30s self.

Yes. I am very much having a good time - Photo: AirlineReporter

Yes. I am very much having a good time. – Photo: AirlineReporter

I think my initial pitch was to do a story about how the Paine Field Fire Department operates at the airport — and it was very professional-like. When they told me they would love to host me for a story, I couldn’t help but ask if I could turn on the lights and sirens. They told me they could arrange for much more than that. I was down!

Gogo's 737-500 N321GG, a.k.a. the "Jimmy Ray" - Come fly with us!

Gogo’s 737-500 N321GG, a.k.a. the “Jimmy Ray” – Come fly with us!

This is big. Really big. The biggest giveaway we have offered at AirlineReporter. How would you like to fly on Gogo’s own private Boeing 737-500 (named “Jimmy Ray”) on March 13th? Oh heck yes you would!

Gogo uses the plane to test their awesome technology (many of you have probably seen/used their in-flight WiFi). It is decked out in a VIP configuration and two of our readers can see for themselves by winning a free trip from Chicago to Austin — where SXSW will be going down.

Our Johnny Nguyen got to fly on the plane a while back and I loved watching his experience — I wanted to fly on it too. Join me, JL Johnson, and Dave Delagarza on this very special SXSW party flight. Keep reading to learn more and enter our contest!

The Boeing 727's first flight - Photo: Boeing

Air-to-air photo of the Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing

Today is the 53rd anniversary of the Boeing 727’s first flight. What a day. At the time, the 727 was a risk and important to the success of Boeing. Luckily for everyone, not only was the first flight a huge success, but the aircraft would go on to help redefine domestic air travel.

Its three iconic engines also helped to build aviation fans around the world; it is still a favorite among AvGeeks today.

BONUS: An AvGeek in the left seat – flying the Boeing 727

727 Renton Flightline in 1966 - Photo: Boeing

727 Renton flight line in 1966 – Photo: Boeing

To help celebrate the first flight’s anniversary, we reached out to Boeing to see if we could get some photos, and they delivered! We were told that some “haven’t seen the light of day in 50 years.” Rock on!

BONUS: VIDEO – A tribute to the Boeing 727