Around the World

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

Flight Review: Business Class on China Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER

China Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER - Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

China Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

When China Airlines unveiled its new Boeing 777-300ER back in early October of this year, it was clear that this airplane was something special. Photos and videos of the new interior—outfitted with a snazzy new business cabin, homages to Taiwanese culture, and a small library—quickly made the internet rounds, establishing this plane as the hot new item in the air.

Having seen it myself in Seattle, I knew it had to try it once it was released into the wild. Fast forward two months to last Monday (December 1), when I found myself, ticket in hand, ready to board China Airlines flight 5, service from Los Angeles LAX to Taipei. AirlineReporter/NYCAviation were invited by the airline to sample the carrier’s promising-looking new business class. The formal adventure began in the lounge at Los Angeles International Airport.

China Airlines (CAL), does not have one of its own at the airport, and thus utilizes Korean’s SkyTeam lounge instead. As far as lounges go, this one runs above average, largely thanks to its new-ness and an exterior deck overlooking the main hall. I helped myself to a few finger sandwiches and a beverage while checking email on the free WiFi. Boarding began on time at gate 134. Holding a ticket for the carrier’s premium business class, I boarded quickly via a dedicated jet-way connected to the L1 door.

Those with business tickets are split between two cabins, and today’s seat—22A—was in the rear section nestled behind the L2 door. Both cabins are set up in a reverse herringbone style in a 1-2-1 configuration. As boarding continued, cabin crew offered a selection of non-alcoholic pre-flight drinks and hot towels. Bags and personal items slipped easily into overhead bins or into one of three built-in storage areas in the seat. The giant Boeing 777-300ER easily lifted off runway 25R and turned northwest to head up the California coast for the scheduled 14-hour flight to Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport.

Continue reading Flight Review: Business Class on China Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER

Aerial Firefighting Part One: Anchor, Flank, and Pinch

Stuff here

06 Lockheed P2V fire-fighting aircraft – Photo: Julian Cordle

Fall brings cool, wet weather, which serves as a huge relief to areas devastated by the 2014 US wildfire season. In the last sixty days, a number of high-profile tragedies have highlighted the dangers of wildfires. In September, the town of Weed, California was nearly wiped out by the vicious Boles Fire, which destroyed over 150 homes and buildings. Just a few weeks ago, CalFire Pilot Craig Hunt was killed when his S-2 tanker crashed while fighting the Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite National Park.

In the spirit of respect and appreciation for the efforts of all forest firefighters, aerial and “ground-pounders” alike, AirlineReporter offers this two-part series on Aerial Firefighting.

P2V Neptune fire tanker dropping borate fire retardant on the rugged mountainside in an effort to contain the Quail wildfire in Alpine, Utah - Photo: arbyreed | Flickr CC

P2V Neptune fire tanker dropping borate fire retardant on the mountainside in an effort to contain a wildfire – Photo: Jeremy Ulloa

The 2014 fire season began with a bang, as an early season fire in Alaska consumed nearly 200,000 acres before a badly needed weather system put it to rest. About the same time, a vicious collection of fires raged through heavily populated areas of Southern California. All of this took place before we had even seen the first day of June.

Continue reading Aerial Firefighting Part One: Anchor, Flank, and Pinch

Let’s Avoid Ebola Paranoia and Stop All These Airplane Quarantines with Some Handy Tips

Media can make things get out of control - Image: Original photo via ChameleonsEye |Shutterstock.com

Media can make things get out of control – Image: Original photo via ChameleonsEye | Shutterstock.com

Full story originally posted on CrankyFlier.com via Brett Snyder

Had I said to you a month ago that your flight was quarantined because of an Ebola scare, you would have laughed out loud (unless, of course, you’re from Western Africa). But today, that’s the reality. We’re seeing a level of paranoia that is completely unwarranted, and I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse. So, how about we dispel some of these myths? I’ve put together some incredibly useful tips to help.

Yes, there are a couple of cases of Ebola in the US, but in its current state, it’s just really hard to catch the disease. That hasn’t prevented people from freaking out, of course. We can thank the media for that panic with a frenzied level of coverage. On Friday, Delta had a flight quarantined in Vegas. It was United’s turn on Sunday in LA. And you know we’re just going to see more of these.

I’m not a doctor, but I can read. And I know that the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization both have websites. That’s enough to qualify me as being able to understand the basics of how this thing works. (You can too unless, of course, you’re a conspiracy theorist who doesn’t believe anything. In that case, enjoy your underground bunker.)

One of the problems with Ebola is that the symptoms start out just like a flu. So as we move into flu season, half the US is going to decide it has contracted Ebola. Airline planners – you might want to start padding your schedules to account for the inevitable quarantines on every other flight. This is not going to work out well unless people take a deep breath and get educated.

Continue reading Let’s Avoid Ebola Paranoia and Stop All These Airplane Quarantines with Some Handy Tips on CrankyFlier.com

The Disaster That Wasn’t: Saving Eastern Air Lines Flight 902

An Eastern Air Lines L1011 - Photo:

An Eastern Air Lines L1011 – Photo: Wiki Commons

This story was written by David J Williams on NYCAviation.com

Student pilots are taught very early on to recognize that when an airplane approaches its minimum flying speed, the airflow over the wing will begin to separate or break down, creating turbulence over the tail. The degradation of lift and the associated turbulence over the tail causes the airplane to buffet and alert the pilot to a deteriorating and dangerous situation. The recovery is rather basic – lower the nose some, apply full power to the engine and let the airplane fly out of it. As it accelerates, the buffeting will end and the aircraft will safely regain both flight and controllability.

In the 1930’s, military and large civilian airplanes were being equipped with supercharged and turbocharged engines. These engines enabled to the planes to fly higher and faster than airplanes with normal engines. However, these “boosted” engines required a pilot with a delicate hand on the throttles. Whereas a normally aspirated engine could run at full throttle continuously without much more than some added wear, the supercharged and turbocharged engines would run beyond the normal power limits creating excessive heat which, in minutes, would damage the engine. Only when the situation was critical could a competent pilot consider “firewalling” the throttles by pushing them to the stops and exceeding the manufacturers’ limits.

When the turbojet airliners appeared in the late 1950’s, engine heat became an even more critical issue. Firewalling these engines would result in immediate engine damage from the heat, while only providing a small gain from accelerating the engine past takeoff power. This is because the supersonic exhaust stream beyond the takeoff limit “chokes” in the tailpipe and the additional thrust is lost, becoming marginal at best.

Continue reading The Disaster That Wasn’t: Saving Eastern Air Lines Flight 902 on NYCAviation.com

Taking the Inaugural United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Flight

United’s 787-9 parked at the gate as a 787-8 taxis in next door

United’s 787-9 parked at the gate as a 787-8 taxis in next door

This story was originally published on Airways News by Seth Miller.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner entered service with United Airlines Monday, making the Chicago-based carrier the third airline in the world to offer service on the type. The first flight operated from Houston to Los Angeles, a route the carrier has used for 787 training and proving runs since taking delivery of its first 787-8 two years ago. After a short period of domestic flights, the aircraft will enter international service this fall. The first route the 787-9 will serve is Los Angeles – Melbourne, which will be the longest 787 route in the world when it launches in late October. Airways News was a guest of United’s on the inaugural flight.

The forward BusinessFirst cabin of the 787-9

The forward BusinessFirst cabin of the 787-9

For most passengers (and the airline) this was business as usual; just another flight from Houston to Los Angeles. There was no special reception at either end, no balloons and nary a cupcake to be seen. Yet there was still a bit of excitement in the air. For some passengers it was just about flying on a Dreamliner. For others being on the inaugural was a specific goal. Neil Gamrod was up at 4am Eastern to make his way down to Houston for the inaugural flight.

Like others he studied the airline schedules and adjusted his plans a few times, just to make it on board. And by the time we wrapped up the day with a celebratory dinner at the In-n-Out adjacent to LAX he was absolutely convinced it was a worthwhile trip, even if he was exhausted. Like many other 787 passengers Gamrod noted the more comfortable cabin comfort and the quieter ride as just a couple of the advantages the Dreamliner brings to the skies.

Continue reading Taking the Inaugural United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Flight on Airways News