Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 201,532
2013: 330,818

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Interview: Flying on the World’s Most Interesting Aircraft

The flight deck on the Air Koryo IL-62.

The flight deck on the Air Koryo IL-62 – Photo: Bernie Leighton

Some people might think our own Bernie Leighton, AirlineReporter Managing Correspondent, is crazy. He has had the opportunity to fly around the world on some old and unique airplanes others might be afraid to step foot on. But Bernie throws caution to the wind and looks to fly on planes that make many AvGeeks jealous. The specialty aircraft he has flown and reported on, via AirlineReporter, include:

Biman DC-10 ready for boarding - Photo: Bernie Leighton

Biman DC-10 ready for boarding – Photo: Bernie Leighton

And that is not to mention the “normal” airplanes he flies on too, like the 747, Q400 and G650. Since he has experienced so many different types of aircraft, I wanted to interview him and have him share his ideas. Here is our interview:

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The Unique Boeing 737-700C Gets Some Love

Composite image of an Air Algerie Boeing 737-700C - Image: Boeing

Composite image of an Air Algerie Boeing 737-700C – Image: Boeing

The Boeing 737-700C is an interesting aircraft. What makes it unique is its ability to convert from passengers to cargo depending on how the airline wants to use it. If you have heavy passenger flow during the summer, but more cargo during the winter, being able to convert between the two is quite helpful.

What also makes the 737-700C unique is that, like the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), it has strengthened wings, different than the standard passenger 737-700. When in passenger configuration, the plane can hold 120-140 seats and fly 3,205nm. In an all-cargo set up, it can haul 40,000 pounds and fly 2,880nm.

The model was launched back in September 1997, when the US Naval Reserve ordered two and called them the C-40A Clipper. This was a big deal, since there had not been a convertible version of the 737 built from the Next Generation-version of the 737 at the time.

The US Navy currently operates 12 C-40As to move personnel and supplies around the world. Think of it as an airliner for the military.

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Catching Up with the New Eastern Air Lines

A model at Farnborough showing the EAL livery on the MRJ90 - Photo: Jon Ostrower

A model at Farnborough showing the Eastern livery on the MRJ90 – Photo: Jon Ostrower

Whenever there is news that a startup airline is going to launch with a classic name-sake, I get a little excited. When press releases started coming in saying that Eastern Air Lines was going to start up again, I was happy, but of course skeptical.

Even back in May when they signed an initial order with Boeing and placed deposits for 10 737-800NG and 10 737 MAX 8 aircraft, I was unsure about the viability of the airline.

Then, last week at the Farnborough Airshow, they announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for 20 Mitsubishi MRJ90 aircraft, with purchase rights to an additional 20. Now, I am starting to pay a bit more attention.

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Photos + Details: Airbus Officially Announces the A330neo

The Airbus A330-900neo - Image: Airbus

The Airbus A330-900neo – Image: Airbus

At the Farnborough Airshow this week, Airbus has officially announced that they will be moving forward with offering the new A330neo. Airbus is hoping that the new model will be 14% lower fuel burn per seat than the current A330 and they will be able to fly an additional 400 nautical miles.

Cabin mock up of the A330neo - Image: Airbus

Cabin mock up of the A330neo – Image: Airbus

“The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our Group. It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever,” said Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group. “Customers love it. With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come.”

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Flying on Sun Country Air Surrounded by Children

A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 at SEA

A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 at SEA

If I had to sum up my recent Sun Country Air flight experience with one word, it would be: “kids.”

It is not the airline’s fault that I was surrounded by kids on my over three hour flight from Seattle (SEA) to Minnesota (MSP), but it did make my experience a little less enjoyable.

Now, I am not one of those who complains every time a kid is next to me. I know I was there once and I know that parents are just trying to get somewhere with their family. But when I have a gaggle of kids surrounding me and not behaving, I can’t help but take notice. Luckily the airline came through and over all I would still say I had a good flight experience.

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