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Miles flown for stories
2015: 25,266
2014: 363,407
Total: 946,866

President Obama Makes a Visit to the Boeing Factory at Paine Field

President Obama in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner inside the Boeing Factory. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

President Obama in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner inside the Boeing Factory. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

President Barack Obama toured and spoke at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington mid-day on Friday. An audience of Boeing workers and local politicians waited for President Obama to take the stage with three Dreamliners and a banner with the slogan “An America Built to Last” as a backdrop.

Air Force One arrived at Boeing Field at around 11am, which was an event in itself for local planespotters. A motorcade brought President Obama, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, and Boeing escorts onto the vast 787 factory floor. The President toured two of three Dreamliners before exiting the second 787 (already outfitted in a make-shift United Airlines livery) onto a red carpet down the stairs and to the podium. In his speech, Obama made sure to give “props” to United since they are based out of his hometown of Chicago.

People wait to hear Obama speak inside the Boeing Factory. United's 787 showed off their livery. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Boeing employees listen to Obama speak inside the Boeing Factory. United's 787 showed off their livery. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

After thanking Boeing for the “smooth ride” he has in Air Force One, the 747 which was built at the Boeing Everett plant in 1986, President Obama admired the 787 Dreamliner in front of the Boeing audience,“This is the first commercial airplane to be made with 50% composite materials. It’s lighter, it’s faster, it’s more fuel-efficient than any airplane in its class. And it looks cool.”

Later, Obama stated that business was “booming” for Boeing, citing a 50% increase in orders for commercial aircraft last year, and 13,000 new Boeing employees hired across the country. Obama praised Boeing as a company that keeps jobs in America in a global economy where many manufacturing jobs are moving overseas. Boeing employees cheered as Obama skewered foreign competition, “Companies like Boeing are finding out that even when we can’t make things faster or cheaper than China, we can make them better.” In what will inevitably be an election year issue, Obama continued by laying out his hopes to change the tax code to favor companies who keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and more heavily tax companies who outsource.

Notice how event though this Boeing 787 has the United globe on the tail, it has not actually been painted yet. You can see Obama exiting the aircraft. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Notice how event though this Boeing 787 has the United globe on the tail, it has not actually been painted yet. You can see Obama exiting the aircraft. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

From the 25-year employee and the 787 Quality Inspector who got to introduce Jim Albaugh (President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes) and President Obama, respectively, to Obama’s personal acknowledgement of machinist and engineering union leaders in the audience, workers were clearly meant to be at the forefront of the event. “If we have a level playing field, America will always win, because we have the best workers.”

President Obama speaks to Boeing workers and media. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

President Obama speaks to Boeing workers and media. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

The praise of America’s workforce was particularly well-timed with the payroll tax bill that passed through Congress with bipartisan support Friday morning. President Obama took a couple of minutes in Everett to celebrate the bill that will delay a payroll tax hike for working Americans and will renew jobless benefits for others. In one of his only mentions of bitterly divided political parties, Obama lauded the bill as “what happens when Congress focuses on doing the right thing instead of just playing politics.”

Air Force One (well Obama is not on it, so technically, that is not it's name right now) sitting at Paine Field. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

Air Force One (well Obama is not on it, so technically, that is not it's name right now) sitting at Paine Field. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.

After leaving the Everett facility, President Obama visited elsewhere in the Seattle-area via helicopter, but shortly returned to Paine Field and departed in Air Force One at about 6pm local time.

Story written by Amy Franklin for AirlineReporter.com and photos taken by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren with NYCAviation.com.

Airlines Are Safe. Why Do They Get Picked On? Let’s Compare Statistics.

The fear of flying is rational, but is all the attention given to airline safety rational?

The fear of flying is rational, but is all the attention given to airline safety rational?

I understand why there are people who might be afraid to fly. I would be a liar if I said that I have never felt un-easy during a turbulent flight or rough landing. But with all the attention always given to airline safety, one would think planes are falling out of the sky constantly. As most of you probably know, flying is extremely safe. So why is so much attention always given when something remotely related to airline safety makes headlines?

Are there that many deaths in the US each year from airlines to cause such attention? Hmm. Not really (see data below), especially when compared to other deaths. So why do airlines get so much coverage and regulation, when other, more easily preventable deaths do not?

Please note that this post is by no means to trivialize anyone who dies from any of these causes in the US each year, but it is to compare how much attention is given to different kind of deaths each year in the US.

Here are statistics for the number of deaths in the US each year for 2009:
All Deaths: 2,436,682
Heart Disease: 598,607
Alzheimer’s: 78,889
Diabetes: 68,705
All Transportation related deaths: 39,057
Auto accident deaths: 36,284
Deaths from falls: 24,834
Homicide: 16,591
Accidental drowning: 3,539
Hernias: 1,821
Tornado: 550
US Troops in Iraq: 149
Lightning: 34
Dog Attack: 32
Malaria: 5

Now, let’s take a look at airline related deaths in the US:

Airline deaths 2009: 45
Airline deaths 2010: 0
Airline deaths 2011: 0
Airline deaths 1982 to present: 2924

For me, that is amazing. More people died from accidental drowning in 2009 alone versus all the people who have died from airlines in the US since 1982. Now, the big question: why is so much attention given to airline related deaths? What are your thoughts?

Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Join Us at Aviation Geek Fest 2012 — Some Tickets Still Available (updated)

The time is getting near. On Sunday February 19, 2012, the Future of Flight, Boeing and AirlineReporter.com will host the third Aviation Geek Fest (#AGF12) at Paine Field. What is Aviation Geek Fest? It is a chance for aviation lovers to come together in Seattle and share their passion and get to do a few cool things. Aviation Geek Fest in 2009 and 2010 were great successes and this one will be better than ever!

Tickets are on sale NOW get yours before they are gone!  Check out the full schedule below. Anyone from around the world is welcome to join us. This experience and the memories from it will be well worth a plane ticket and a hotel.

The Aviation Geek Fest 2010 peeps pose in front of a GE90 engine on a Boeing 777. Photo from Boeing.

The Aviation Geek Fest 2010 peeps pose in front of a GE90 engine on a Boeing 777. Photo from Boeing.

Tentative (as in 99% chance everything will happen as below) Schedule for Aviation Geek Fest 2012:

8:00am: Free Aviation Photography Class @ the Future of Flight
The Pacific Northwest Aviation Photographers abbreviated Basic Aviation Photography Class will cover the essential basics of judging images, selecting equipment, understanding what settings to use and why, and other specialized topics such as RAW versus JPEG and placing yourself for optimal light. The class is designed to bring everyone up to a basic level of understanding about aviation photography.

ELITE TICKETS ($20.00) REQUIRED FOR THESE TWO OPTIONS:

12:30pm: ELITE Meet and Greet
Check in at the Future of Flight and meet the other aviation geeks participating at #AGF12. Share stories, meet people that write on airlines, work for airlines and those who are just fans.

2:00pm: ELITE Adventure Ticket
Guests will pre-register for one of a several aviation adventures:
* Boeing factory floor tour [SOLD OUT]: The Boeing factory is open to the public, but #AGF12 participants will get VIP treatment with a tour on the actual floor. Note: no cameras will be allowed on this event.
* Dreamliner Gallery Tour [SOLD OUT]: Every airline that buys a 787 Dreamliner goes through this gallery to pick and choose what they want inside their aircraft. This facility is not generally open to the public.
* Paine Field Fire Department Tour [TICKETS AVAILABLE]: Getting there will be half the fun. Take a van from the Future of Flight, along the Paine Field flight line (with all the new Boeing aircraft), take photos as you go and then take a tour of the airport’s fire station with Chief Jeff Bohnet.
* Learn How to be an Airline Pilot [TICKETS AVAILABLE]: Just like the Fire Department tour, you will take a ride across the airport and be transported by all the new Boeing planes and after you arrive, you will learn what it would take to become an airline pilot by the professionals at Regal Air.

GENERAL TICKETS ($10.00 – these events are included if you purchase ELITE tickets):

3:30pm: Boeing Moonshine Presentation and Demonstration @ the Future of Flight
Who is the Moonshine Lab? They are a part of Boeing’s Lean Supplier Management Operations. Aviation Geek Fest participants will learn how the Moonshine Lab experts work inside the factory and around the world to streamline processes to save time and money. They are both innovative and scrappy often times making their own tools to get a job done. #AGF12 attendees will have an opportunity to experience a supply chain exercise themselves and even come away with a souvenir.

5:00pm: Aviation Geek Fest Social @ the Future of Flight
Food and drink will be served while you can tour the Future of Flight, get to know folks, take photos in the cockpit of a Boeing 727 and more. Awesome prizes will also be awarded to participants.

There will be a few other surprises added in as well. Stay tuned and make sure to sign up for the Aviation Geek Fest 2012 mailing list for all the latest details.

This was originally posted 2/12/2012 2pm and was last updated 2/15/2012 3:30pm

How Does the Boeing 737 Next Generation Fly Compared to the 737 Classic? Guest Blog

A retiring 737-400 waits at the gate prior to it's final departure. Photo by Owen Zupp.

A Boeing 737-800NG readies for a dusk departure.. Photo by Owen Zupp.

Last week, I shared a story written by Owen Zupp, comparing the Boeing 737 classic to the next generation. What better way to compare them than how they fly? Luckily for us, Zupp has been able to fly both and is willing to share. Be sure to also follow Zupp on his own blog about aviation. Here is his story on the 737 in his own words…

The 737NG is a great all-rounder. In the context of a comparison with the Classic, there are distinct differences from a pilot’s perspective. From handling characteristics and performance to “two cup holders instead of one”, there are a myriad of differences in the newest steed from the 737 stable. Some are subtle, some are distinct, but the vast majority are improvements for the better while still meeting the ‘common type’ constraints.

The majority of pilot’s speak of the NG with admiration. Much of this stems from the re-designed wing and winglets which provides enhanced speed, range and performance. The wing is also a major player from a handling viewpoint. The NG could be described as a “straight line aeroplane” when compared to the Classic. More like its bigger brothers, the increased weight and enhanced wing of the 737NG translates to higher energy that, in turn, calls for greater planning and anticipation when decelerating. On descent the NG can easily accelerate to its upper speed limit of the ‘Barber’s Pole’ and whilst the Classic was quite at home being wheeled around the circling area and washing off speed, the NG is a more ‘slippery’ candidate and needs to be handled on descent accordingly. In terms of turbulence penetration, the Classic possesses a seemingly more rigid wing that tends to “punch through turbulence”, whilst the NGs wing is more “giving” and tends to ride the turbulence better. Again, this is a feature the NG seems to have in common with the larger aircraft from Boeing.

The analogue flight deck of a 737-400 'Classic' in a 'powered down' state. Photo by Owen Zupp.

The analogue flight deck of a Boeing 737-400 'Classic' in a 'powered down' state. Photo by Owen Zupp.

The enhanced performance of the NG also received high praise. In the 737-300, the 1700 nm into wind sector between Australia’s coastal capitals of Sydney and Perth was not possible whereas such sectors are not a problem for the higher powered -800. Additionally, the capability to climb directly to 41,000 feet can prove an operational bonus when performance permits, allowing that extra 4,000 feet to get above more of the weather.

Whilst cockpit ergonomics seemed to have changed little, particularly with reference to the overhead panel, the accuracy of the GPS navigation system is a significant improvement for those up the sharp end. Constantly updated, there is no tendency for the map display to ‘drift’. The outside world is reflected with precision on the cockpit presentation, which assists greatly in visual manoeuvres such as circling off the bottom of an approach. This was not the case with the older IRS driven maps.

A retiring 737-400 waits at the gate prior to it's final departure. Photo by Owen Zupp.

A retiring Boeing 737-400 waits at the gate prior to it's final departure. Photo by Owen Zupp.

The longer fuselage of the -800 offers a potentially limiting geometry on take-off, making a ‘tail strike’ a real possibility if the rotation is too fast. Landing the newer variant is also notably different aside from the longer landing distance that is required. With the shorter winged ‘Classic’, a few knots above reference speed in the flare did not seem to alter the touchdown point significantly. Once its mind is made up to land, the spot is fairly fixed. However, the carriage of excess speed, or flaring too early in the NG can result in the wastage of significant amounts of precious runway. The enhanced wing of the NG means that the aircraft wants to keep flying and will happily float as it slowly decelerates in ground effect. For pilots flying the dual variants it is always worth self briefing this point on approach when hopping from type to type.

Walking around the NG, there seems to be only subtle visible changes to the 737 beyond the prominent winglets. It is longer, wider and with a higher fin than the Classic, but unless it is side by side with its ‘parent’ these differences are all matters of scale. However, the aircraft does sit higher than its Classic forerunner and consequently allows greater clearance for the CFM56-7 engines that are slung beneath the wings. The trademark flat-bottomed cowlings of the ‘dash 3’ CFMs are not quite so flat and lean towards more conventional round cowlings. Additionally, since January 2005, Boeing has been rolling out the 737NG without the now familiar ‘eyebrow’ windows above the crew’s main windows.

A new 737-800 at Honolulu enroute to Australia. Photo by Owen Zupp.

A new 737-800 at Honolulu enroute to Australia. Photo by Owen Zupp.

The Next Generation?

2012 sees the Boeing 737 turning 45. Even so, it is still a design seeking more efficient ways to achieve its designed tasks. This year Boeing announced improvements to engine and airframe that will equate to around 2% in fuel savings. For the passengers, Boeing have looked to the 787 and given the 737 a facelift with the ‘Boeing Sky’ interior with newer sidewalls, LED lighting and bigger overhead lockers.

The 737 also has a proven track record that defies time as all marques of this Boeing are still gracing the sky. With such a bloodline it is not surprising that the 737 Next Generation has enjoyed success in the same vein as its predecessors. With ER (Extended Range) versions giving the type even longer legs; there are very few tasks that the 737NG can’t handle.

Forged from the legacy of another tremendous domestic stalwart, the Classic, it has built upon its strengths and alleviated most of the perceived shortcomings. And with the 737 Max now looming on the horizon, It finds that irrepressible the NG family has captured that quality of so many Boeing aircraft; a workhorse for the airline and a loved stallion by its crews.

BOEING 737 CLASSIC vs NEXT GENERATION
Part 1 | Part 2 | Owen’s Blog

My Review: JetSuite Makes Flying on a Private Jet Realistic

JETSUITE REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Not an airline… try JetSuite private jet.
Aircraft: Embraer Phenom 100
Departed: Boeing Field (BFI)
Arrived: San Fransisco International Airport (SFO)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Uber private jet class
Seat: Yes. Window and Aisle
Length: About 2.0 hours

Cheers: You are riding in a private jet and get all the bonuses that go along with that.
Jeers: You can only bring three of your friends.
Overall: JetSuite is a cost effective option that makes it difficult to go back to flying commercial.

I did not have to fake that smile. On the tarmac at SFO after our JetSuite flight.

I did not have to fake that smile. On the tarmac at SFO after our JetSuite flight. This is the 100th Phenom made by Embraer, reg number N581JS.

THE FULL JETSUITE REVIEW

When I was recently asked if I might want to hitch a ride from Seattle (BFI) to San Francisco (SFO) on a JetSuite private jet, how could I refuse? I have always wanted to try flying on a private jet and before this, I have never had the opportunity, so I was game.

Aren’t private jets just for the uber rich and was an exclusivity meant for a rare few? I now see that it depends on who you are flying and how flexible your schedule might be. JetSuite is a luxury that even the common man can afford and the better off can still appreciate (note: JetSuite flew me and a photographer down to SFO at no charge and Singapore Airlines paid for our commercial flights home).

Mount Rainier and Adams popping above the clouds shortly after take off.

Mount Rainier and Adams popping above the clouds shortly after take off.

My JetSuite flight was scheduled to leave Seattle at around 6:45 am, which meant it was an early morning. It is amazing how knowing you are going to fly can help to wake you up. I was hoping to get photos of the Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft before we departed, but it was dark and (take a wild guess) rainy.

One of the benefits of flying on a private jet is not having to deal with the airport hassle. Most private jet flights leave from an FBO (Fixed Base Operator), which is really a small office for private aircraft. It took me about 3 minutes to get from my car to the aircraft and that was with a stop to get coffee. No security, no lines, no hassles. An extra bonus is I was greeted by our two pilots and we had the opportunity to get to know them a little bit before taking off.

The Phenom 100's interior was designed by BMW and is actually pretty roomy.

The Phenom 100's interior was designed by BMW and is actually pretty roomy. I took the seat on the right facing backwards.

It was time to go. After a quick run from the FBO to the plane to avoid the rain, I was ready to start our journey. Currently, JetSuite only operates the small Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft that can hold four passengers. You cannot miss them with their red racing stripe going down the center, providing a unique look. It seems that some folks are not a fan of the aggressive livery, but I love it. It gives their aircraft that race car look and isn’t the swirly grays or tans that you normally see on a private jet.

I was not sure what to expect since the Phenom 100 is such a small plane, but looks can be deceiving.  I was impressed with how much room was in the cabin and how easy it was to work, take photos and chat with the others on board. The interior was designed by BMW and because of this, the colors, lighting and tones felt high-end. Each set of seats has a table that folds out and provides ample space for both people to work. I chose to sit in a rear facing seat to experience the flight backwards, which is not much different than enjoying it facing forwards.

JetSuite opted to install Synthetic Vision on their Phenom 100's which give a realistic view of the terrain on the large screens.

JetSuite opted to install Synthetic Vision on their Phenom 100's which give a realistic view of the terrain on the large screens.

Being able to work and collaborate with others is a huge benefit of taking an aircraft like this. Along for the ride was a photographer for AirlineReporter.com (thanks Amy), another journalist and Keith Rabin, the President of JetSuite. Although the engines were not that far away from us, there was not any trouble hearing and it was no problem getting work done. Four business people would not be able to hold a confidential meeting like this flying commercial, nor could four friends have such a grand time socializing.

Another benefit of riding your own private jet is that you can go check out the cockpit and take photos. When going up front, you are welcomed by three large screens.  Each pilot can customize the look of his/her display. The photo above demonstrates the new Synthetic Vision which shows real time terrain behind everything else a pilot needs to know about their aircraft. Even though the Phenom 100 can be operated by just one pilot, JetSuite has chosen to use two.

There is a small lavatory in the rear of the plane that requires a curtain. You might want to go before take off.

There is a small lavatory in the rear of the plane that requires a curtain. You might want to go before take off.

Even though the plane is small, there are quite a few amenities tucked in for the passengers. You have the ability to pull out some Bose headphones to either deaden the noise or listen to XFM Satellite radio. There was also hot coffee, cold drinks and a  selection of snacks located in a bin right behind the seat. If  one feels like having a few “adult beverages” there are plenty of choices (here is just one basket). Since my flight was early morning, I chose coffee and water.

There is a small lavatory in the back of the plane, which you need to put up a curtain to use. It is much better than having no restroom option, but I would suggest going before you take off or drink enough alcohol where you just won’t care anymore. You also are allowed to use your electronic devices whenever you want and if you are flying and get a cell signal, you are allowed to use it! Do not get too excited; I only had two short windows of cell reception to get Tweets out, but not being yelled at to put away my electronic devices was wonderful.

My seat had access to an outlet, Bose headphones to listen to XFM radio and a little storage area.

My seat had access to an outlet, Bose headphones to listen to XFM radio and a little storage area.

During the flight, I was able to learn about JetSuite and what they are are hoping to do in the future. The company was started in 2007 by JetBlue founder Alex Wilcox who knows airplanes. JetSuite currently operates a fleet of 13 Embraer Phenom 100s. They chose the aircraft because it provides some of the best economics for a private jet and is capable of providing quick short hop trips for their customers.

However, only being able to do short hops is detrimental for a company looking to expand. JetSuite wants to grow their operations, especially on the east coast and to reach Florida from the New York non-stop will require a larger aircraft. The obvious fit would be the Phenom 300 or if things are going well, maybe even the larger Embraer Legacy 500.

I was pretty upset that this photo did not turn out, but we were on final approach into SFO. Beyond amazing to turn around and watch out the cockpit window was we landed.

I was pretty upset that this photo did not turn out, but it was the best one I ended up with. I still want to share it since the experience was quite epic. We were on final approach into SFO and it is great to be able to turn around and watch out the cockpit window as we landed.

How does one go about getting a ride on JetSuite? Well, it depends on who you are and what you are looking for. On the crazy cheap end of things, you and three of your friends can take a flight one way for only $499 — about $125.00 per person. To get one of these deals, called “SuiteDeals”, you need to be very flexible and catch it on their Facebook page. When JetSuite has an empty leg, they will offer it and if a person has the ability to take them up on the offer, you have yourself one heck of a great deal.

If you are looking for something  a bit more flexible, they also offer SuiteSavers from $1499 to $1999 each way. Of course they also offer getting a jet when and where you want it, but that will cost you a bit more — from $2500 to $4000 per hour depending on if you have a membership and your needs.

With some private jet companies, you have to invest for the long-term. Either buying a fraction of the plane or purchasing a costly hour card. But with JetSuite, there are no long term commitments or contracts. You want to fly once, you get to fly once — although a membership and multiple flights will bring down your costs per hour.

The wings on the Phenom 100 are tiny, but they get you where you need to go. Here we are landing at SFO.

The wings on the Phenom 100 are tiny, but they get you where you need to go. Here we are landing at SFO.

JetSuite has recently started a business relationship with Singapore Airlines to allow passengers to maintain a high level of service that they have come to expect. Singapore Airlines is well known for their level of service (especially on their Airbus A380s) and although there might be a few US domestic airlines that provide a decent product, none are able to compete with Singapore’s first class suite.

The new relationship allows passengers to easily transfer from their Singapore Airlines flight to their JetSuite private aircraft. Once arriving, a car will pick you up and take you to JetSuite — really a suite-to-suite service.

Anyone who flies Singapore Airlines is able to get a discount, which depends on the type of class you are flying.  If you are on a first class ticket, you will save up to $1400/hr and on a business class ticket up to $900/hr on your JetSuite flight.

It was hard to leave the JetSuite Phenom 100. Especially knowing I had to fly back home commercial.

It was hard to leave the JetSuite Phenom 100. Especially knowing I had to fly back home commercial.

After spending a few hours in San Francisco touring Singapore Airline’s food facility (that story coming soon), it was to the “real” airport and time to board a Virgin America flight back to Seattle. Even though Virgin America might provide one heck of a domestic product, it just did not even come close to comparing to JetSuite. The problem with flying private jet, is it is hard to travel any other way in the future. I guess that is a problem I am willing to have.

I have been fortunate enough to experience many cool adventures with this blog, but almost none of them I could afford on my own. $8000.00 for a one way business class ticket? Ha! But this was an experience that I could actually afford, if I was able to get one of the last minute deals. Of course those of you with a bit more means at your disposal, even paying a full fare can be worth the time and hassle saved.

VIEW ALL 26 OF MY JETSUITE REVIEW PHOTOS