One of two TAM Boeing 777-300ER models you could win - Photo: David Parker Brown

One of two TAM Boeing 777-300ER models you could win — we kind of want to keep them for myself, but we are givers – Photo: David Parker Brown

We have these two awesome, 1:200 scale (aka, about a foot long) 777-300ER models from TAM Airlines that we don’t know what to do with. Why not give them away? That is exactly what AirlineReporter is doing and one of these fine models can be all yours! This is all you need to do:

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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.

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.

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.