e-greeting card received from ANA. CLICK FOR LARGER.

It’s the time of year airline holiday greetings spread across the globe. – Image: All Nippon Airways

We are in the thick of the holiday travel season right now, and with Christmas fast approaching it is going to get even busier.  Traveling at this time of year can be a real challenge.  Weather, crowds, high prices, and even-higher load factors can make travel a headache.

When you add delays, the stress of getting away for a vacation, or travel to see family (which can be either cherished or dreaded), things can get rough.  We at Airline Reporter wanted to share some of our favorite tips and tips from readers who travel quite often.

The First Production PT6 in December, 1963. Photo: Pratt & Whitney Canada

The first production PT6 in December, 1963 – Photo: Pratt & Whitney Canada

Today is the 50th birthday of the legendary Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop. That first engine was delivered to Beech Aircraft Company for installation onto an aircraft that would become the equally-remarkable Beechcraft King Air.

The PT6 had its genesis at what was then the United Aircraft of Canada Limited (UACL) factory in Longueuil, Quebec. In the mid-1950s, UACL had looked at the market and determined that there was a need for a small, efficient turboprop in the 500-shaft-horsepower (SHP) range. They felt there was technology available to replace then-current radial piston engines that dated back to the 1920s, like the P & W Wasp. 

So in 1957, a group of 12 young engineers got together to design a powerplant that was unlike any engine of its time. Turboprops of the day were either massive, such as the 4,000 SHP Allison T56 that powered the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, or they were early-generation and inefficient, like the Rolls-Royce Dart that flew on the Vickers Viscount.

The engineering team made design choices that would stand the test of time. They separated the gas generator and the power sections of the turbine. Think of your car – the gas generator in the PT6 is like your engine, and the power section is the transmission. Other turboprops had the gas generator directly connected to the power section. If that was in your car, it would be like trying to start and drive it with the transmission always engaged. By splitting the engine, starting was much easier and maintenance was hugely simplified. The design is also called a “free turbine”.

 

It is likely that if you read our site, you will find this Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A340 video quite amusing.

The airline is based at Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti, which the area offers some pretty darn amazing views. Air Tahiti operates a fleet of five Airbus A340-300 aircraft in a unique and fun livery.

The video was made by Matthieu Courtous using different clips of videos to celebrate the airline’s 15th anniversary. Do not worry, permission was given from the airline and the owners of the other videos to make this amazing short film.

The video shows some great exterior views of the plane and of the flight deck, but the passenger cabin is pretty slick as well. Be sure to check out this tour of the colorful interior an Air Tahiti A340 by our friends over at Airchive.com.

An Alaska Airlines aviator bear. Photo: Alaska Airlines

An Alaska Airlines aviator bear – Photo: Alaska Airlines

With only a week remaining until Christmas, are you one of the millions still searching for gifts at the last minute?  Or is family pestering you for gift ideas?  Or do you not care it is Christmas and still want to get some cool airline-related swag?

Why not grab the perfect AvGeek present for that special someone in your life?  All of the major carriers and aircraft manufacturers have online stores where you can shop to your heart’s content.

Don’t forget that you can also shop for yourself!  The AirlineReporter.com Staff also welcomes AvGeek gifts of any kind.