LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits at their maintenance facility at Santiago.
Back in the day when the Boeing 787 was allowed to fly, I took LAN’s first 787 delivery flight from Everett, WA to Santiago Chile. During my short stay, I was able to tour their maintenance and training facility and I wanted to share what I was able to explore.
Boeing 767s get winglets installed.
LAN has been going through a huge undertaking of upgrading their older Boeing 767s to each have winglets to increase their fuel efficiency. When LAN started the process, it would take them about 49 days to install the winglets. More recently,it only takes them two weeks.
Sometimes, the simplest way is the best.
One of the most interesting aspects was using old-school white boards and papers to keep track of where each aircraft is at in the maintenance process. At first, I couldn’t imagine why they wouldn’t upgrade to computers, but their process absolutely works for them and why fix something that is not broken?
The Airbus A318 still looks like a baby airplane to me. LAN currently operates 5 of the type.
Typically, it takes about 12 hours to replace a Boeing 767 engine and only nine hours to replace one on an Airbus A318.
P&W4000 engine being worked on.
LAN is able to re-work up to ten engines at a time and the shop runs 24 hours per day, six days per week.
This is an engine cleaning truck (pretty sure that they had a fancier name for it) that can drive to clean the engines of a LAN aircraft.
I started to get TIREd at this point in the tour (okay, not really and that was a bad joke).
CAE training facility in Santiago.
LAN does not operate their own flight simulators or crew training, but outsource to CAE, which is located directly next to the airport.
You probably never will need to use a raft like this, but it is good to know that flight attendants know how to use it, if needed.
These may look like fun (I wasn’t allowed to slide down), but this is where flight attendants train how to evacuate an aircraft.
Boeing 767 interior mock up for safety training.
A CAE Boeing 767 flight simulator. Do I want to go inside? Um, yes please.
Pilots get training in the Boeing 767 simulator.
Was able to sit in on two current pilots who were doing additional training on the Boeing 767. They just had one engine go out during landing and had to react appropriately — we all made it.
CHECK ALL 41 PHOTOS OF THE MAINTENANCE / TRAINING FACILITY
||This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.
David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.
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This sign is actually lying. This photos was taken via an iPhone just minutes before getting through security without valid photo ID.
This guest post was written by Jenny Brown, mother to David Parker Brown, the Founder of AirlineReporter.com. Notes in italics in the story are from David:
Unlike my son, a perfect flight is an uneventful flight. However, when I flew to Tucson in November, several events occurred that made my flight more of an adventure than I wanted.
It began when I boarded an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Tucson (TUS) on November 14, the only non-stop between the two cities. I usually fly first class (I was flying economy next to the lavatories -David) mainly because I am a reluctant flier and it allows me to relax more and get on and off the plane quickly.
So, the first class passengers were settling in when I heard the flight attendant say to the pilot, “So, what’s wrong with the plane?” Not something I wanted to hear! The voice on the intercom eventually told us that the co-pilot’s instruments were not working in the flight deck and it would take about two hours to fix. We deplaned to wait at the gate. Periodically, we were given updates and thanked for our patience. How the voice over the intercom knew we were being patient, I don’t know (Wait, isn’t this story about your ID mom? -David).
After a bit over two hours, we were told that another plane was being brought in and we eventually made it to Tucson.
While in Tucson, enjoying my family for Thanksgiving, I for some reason was looking in my purse for my driver’s license. I couldn’t find it. Yikes… I am undocumented in Arizona! (Let’s not get too political here -David). How am I going to get back to Seattle? What do I do? Call my son of course!
Luckily he helped out and emailed Alaska Airlines as I checked out their website as well as TSA’s. I also called Alaska Airlines and Cindy reassured me that I would make it home. Much to my surprise, I discovered that a photo ID is not necessary to fly, even though so many make you feel that it is required.
A list of other identification was given, including voter registration and social security card. I had both in my wallet as well as an expired passport with a 16 year-old photo. Thank goodness I don’t clean out my purse (I have since talked to my mom about having so many ID’s and identity theft, but that is another story – David).
Top tier (that is sarcasm) iPhone photo of our Alaska 737 at TUS. Image by David (not that I really want to take credit).
I was still nervous about getting through TSA on the way home. Fortunately, David was returning on the same flight (he came down later), so he was there as son and journalist.
At the ticket counter, the Alaska agent was again very helpful (Well, technically, it was a Delta employee who was being contracted out to operate the counter for Alaska, but that is okay, she was very nice -David).
Then there was no line at security (Yea, that almost never happens -David). The TSA agent was very understanding and accepted the ID I had available. David was taking notes and photos; he seemed disappointed that I wasn’t whisked away to a room for “interrogation”. Would make for a better story (No way, I am happy nothing bad went down. Although a nice frisking and detaining of my mom would have provided interesting content. -David).
Final Chapter: So after getting home safe and sound, I went to pick up my held mail at the post office the next day. The postal worker asked for a photo ID. I showed my voter’s registration and Social Security card to no avail. Finally, he reluctantly accepted my expired passport. I told him the postal service is tougher than the TSA. He said this is the US mail!
In my held mail was my driver’s license-sent by Alaska Airlines.
I talk about airlines and airplanes a lot; it’s a part of who I am. Fairly often, my conversations about such topics end up on Virgin America. At this point, I am forced to divulge the fact that I had never been on Virgin America, a statement which is often met with a blank stare followed by the response, “really?”
Most of my domestic flights are on JetBlue and Delta, simply because of their much larger route network out of New York, where I am based. When I finally had the opportunity to give Virgin America a try, I immediately jumped at the chance. I flew from New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) and back in 12 hours as part of a media event, so travel was paid for by the airline (note: the airline paid for my trip, but all opinions are my own).
At JFK, Virgin America is based out of Terminal 4, which mainly houses international carriers. Virgins gates are in the A concourse, which is simply not where you want to be. With extremely limited restaurant and shopping options there, you will want to spend as little time as possible at the gate. Thankfully, Terminal 4 is undergoing a massive renovation which will remedy this issue. The terminal is in the process of unifying the two security checkpoints, and when complete, passengers will have access to a markedly wider selection of restaurants and shopping.
Virgin Americas gate at JFK T4 does not stand out in any way over any other domestic airline. There is no fancy seating, no nice lighting, and not so much as power outlet in sight. However, the instant you board the aircraft, things immediately start to change.
Most passengers will quickly notice the colorful mood lighting, which is a great upgrade from the typical dim white fluorescent tube lighting. At first it might appear the lighting is all LED, like we are seeing in new Boeing interiors, but it is actually a combination of fluorescent tubes and white LEDs with a color gel on them.
It’s warm, inviting, and just overall pleasant. Once settled, I found the seat to be quite comfy. The adjustable head rest is a great addition to the black leather seat. At 6’2’’, legroom was not an issue, as I had room to stretch, something becoming increasingly rare in economy.
Virgin America features one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems I have ever used, and I took this opportunity to put it to the test. The system, called RED, features movies and TV shows on demand, live satellite TV, food and drink ordering, and other information features. What I liked most about the system was how responsive it was. I never encountered any lag in the system, which makes the user experience quite enjoyable. I was thankful that the live TV was free, as I found the other selections a bit too expensive for my taste. The satellite TV selection is limited to 18 channels compared to 36 on JetBlue, and certain channels did not work, but I was always able to find something to watch.
One thing that did irk me about the entertainment system was that there seemed be a lot of features that either didn’t work, or weren’t yet available. For instance, on the main menu there is a button labeled “read,” but when clicked, a message told me that the feature is not yet available. A feature that is not yet activated should not be displayed as an option to the passenger.
I was able to follow up with Virgin American and they explained to AirlineReporter.com that they are, replacing the Read section with an Info Section, “that includes static content that will be updated every six weeks, but that relates to travel, destination and other info that is more ‘evergreen’ and that fits better with what guests want to engage with in-flight.”
Similarly, I had some issues with the program guide for the live TV. I would click on it and an error message would appear. That must have just been an isolated instance. Additionally, I would like if some on-screen reference was made to the tethered remote in the armrest. Had the passenger next to me not removed it first, I probably would never had known it could be moved.
My favorite part of the Virgin America experience was probably the in-flight ordering process. Virgin has done away with the traditional cart down the aisle system, and instead passengers order what they want through their screen and a flight attendant delivers it. I was extremely impressed at how simple the ordering process was, and how quickly items were delivered. If I could change one thing, it would be the inclusion of any free food option, even if just a small bag of chips. All food is purchase only in economy, no freebies except for drinks.
Once arriving to SFO, I made my way to my hotel and did not really check out the terminal. The following day, I made an effort to arrive at SFO early in the morning and was relieved to discover how beautiful Virgin America’s terminal was. Wide open spaces, bright, restaurant choices to satisfy even the most picky of eaters. This terminal clearly reflected Virgin’s attitude.
Unlike the terminal at JFK, SFO features lovely seating areas, classy furniture, free wifi and power outlets everywhere. These upgrades go a long way when it comes to unwinding after passing through security, and I wish any of these features were present at JFK.
Now that I have finally flown Virgin America, I can give an honest opinion of this high-tech, feature packed airline. While the airline did not disappoint, I’m not sure I would pay a premium over other airlines such as JetBlue for the privilege. The entertainment system may be more advanced and the mood lighting may create a brighter atmosphere, but overall, I felt the overall experience was different, but comparable. However, when compared to some legacy carriers that fly the route, I would absolutely consider upgrading to Virgin America.
The flight from SFO to JFK was a special media flight to fly the San Fransisco Giants World Championship Trophy to New York… stay tuned.
||This story written by… Jason Rabinowitz, Correspondent.
Jason is a New York City native who has grown up in the shadow of JFK International Airport. A true “avgeek”, he enjoys plane spotting and photography, as well taking any opportunity he can get to fly on an aircraft.
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Imagine back to 2003 when the preparations for the Summer Olympics in Athens were underway. It was time that the Bush Campaign was back in full swing, the Concorde made its last revenue flight and it was also the same year that the Qatar government was developing the master plan for their new airport: Doha International Airport (DOH). The airport has come a long way since then and is close to being fully complete.
Currently Doha Airport has no jet bridges and every single guest, no matter the class of ticket held, is bused to the gate. This isn’t the most efficient and means long minimum connect times, but it is only temporary.
The Outside of the New Doha International Airport – Photo: Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com
The airport was scheduled to be fully operational later in 2013, but there have been construction delays and the official opening has been pushed back.
At present the terminal is approximately 97% complete, the runways are ready for use and most of the major infrastructure is complete. I had the opportunity to tour the facility and if you just cleaned the dust away, you would have an almost fully operating airport — you just wouldn’t be able to shop or eat just yet.
Going on a tour of the New Doha International Airport at the moment means dressing like a construction worker – Photo: Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com
The airport is built to accommodate 24 million passengers a year. The airport has 17 million meters (roughly 10,000 miles) of electrical cabling, 9000 phones, 3800 parking spots, two runways (which will allow 100 aircraft movements an hour), a cargo facility (able to handle 1.4 million tons of cargo annually) and a catering facility capable of preparing 90,000 meals per day. This is a huge investment for a relatively small nation in the Middle East.
With design elements taken from two world leading airports (Singapore Changi and Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok), DOH will be an amazing new facility that will allow the passengers to have a world leading experience. Inside the terminal will be 25,000 square meters of retail, food and beverage space allowing travelers to get their shopping fix or grab a meal at a number of outlets between connections.
You should have ample time to go shopping at DOH. The new airport is designed to allow a 30 minute connection between flights; including the time required to disembark and re-board your next flight. This is a staggering figure and one that is going to be a true test. To compare, most professionals suggest you have almost four hours to connect between flights at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
What Airport in the Middle East would not be complete without a Mosque and this one a Fine Example – Photo: Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com
Qatar is a Muslim country, where a high majority of its travelers and workers are of Muslim faith. This means that you would need some form of prayer facilities for them as the call to prayer happens five times a day (and is a good sign when you can hear it, that you know you’re in the middle east). Right outside the main entrance to the airport facility is one of the most staggeringly beautiful Mosques I have seen.
The airport also offers a new cargo terminal and a new maintenance facility for Qatar Airways. This impressively large building was essentially raised in one piece from the ground up and is so large that it can accommodate eight wide bodied aircraft at any one time.
The Amiri Terminal at the New Doha International Airport – Photo: Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com
What would Qatar’s new airport be without somewhere for the Amir of Qatar to spend some time? He has to hop on board his “unconfirmed” 747-8I at some point right? So the airport design also includes a new Amiri Terminal. Again another stunningly beautiful facility, surrounded by water and palm trees.
There are many other VIPs who are expected to visit the airport and many of them have come to expect red carpet treatment. Obviously it would take quite a bit of work to roll out a red carpet upon each arrival and departure, so the designers came up with a novel idea. They created an air bridge that allows anyone to step off their aircraft onto a red carpet and right into a greeting ceremony.
No matter the height of the aircraft, it can be accommodated (although after clarification, they weren’t sure if it was A380 capable, but it is definitely 747 capable). Not even a single step is required. Although it doesn’t look as cool, stepping off waving to the crowd then coming down your steps to the awaiting band, and yes there is a band stand there as well.
All of this high level of service is just the beginning. The airport has already been signed to expand further, adding more terminals, railway stations, metro links, and more facilities. DOH is expected to double in capacity in time for the 2022 Soccer World Cup to be held in Qatar. Given all of this, this will truly be a fantastic new airport.
Disclaimer: Qatar Airways paid for the trip to Qatar, all opinions are my own.
||This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos
An Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A340. Image by Malcolm Muir.
Thursday 17th January saw two events in aviation that normally would have made headlines, but with all the Boeing 787 issues and American revealing their new livery, these two interesting events have been overshadowed.
The first event to happen in Miami at approximately 545pm EST when an Airbus A340 flown by Aerolineas Argentinas touched down after flying from Buenos Aires. As it was taxiing to the gate it collided with an Air France 777-300 preparing to depart for Paris.
BONUS: The NYDailyNews has a photo of the two aircraft
The collision caused damage to the tail and wingtips of the aircraft. Emergency crews showed up, but thankfully no injuries occurred. Those passengers on the arriving aircraft were allowed to disembark, however the Air France passengers were unable to depart for Paris.
Normally it is not the best to see one of these outside your window. Image by Malcolm Muir.
On the opposite side of the country, around 6:00pm PST, two F15Cs of the Oregon Air National Guard were scrambled from their base at Portland International Airport. The two jets from the 142 Fighter Wing were sent to escort Alaska Airlines flight 819, a Boeing 737, from Kona Hawaii to Seattle.
A hijacking threat had been made against the flight and the passenger involved in the threat was monitored by crew. Alaska Airlines told AirlineRepoter.com that, “This passenger did not display any unusual behavior and was asleep much of the flight.”
Officials made the decision to escort the aircraft into Seattle and the flight touched down in Seattle at 707pm PST where they were greeted by the TSA and the Port of Seattle Police. According to KING5 News, the FBI interviewed the passenger for approximately two hours and FBI Spokesperson Ayn Dietrich said that they do not anticipate an arrest. Turns out that the passenger was cooperative and the investigation will now look into who called in the possible hoax or practical joke.
||This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos