Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 93,970
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,015,570





Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, Qantas opened a new lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The Qantas First Lounge serves first class passengers from Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines, along with oneworld Emerald and Qantas’ own top-tier elites. As such, it is a good-sized lounge.

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I had a long layover in Los Angeles as part of my trip to Santiago with LAN Airlines to check out business class on their 787-8 Dreamliner, so we were able to arrange with Qantas to visit their new lounge and experience what it had to offer.  It didn’t disappoint.

Continue reading Review: Qantas First Lounge at Los Angeles (LAX)

Flight Review: Taking TAP Portugal’s Business Class to Lisbon on an Airbus A330

My TAP A330-200 (named Bartolomeu Dias - reg CS-TOR) sitting at Lisbon - Photo: Katka Lapelosová

My TAP A330-200 (named Bartolomeu Dias – reg CS-TOR) sitting at Lisbon – Photo: Katka Lapelosová

Recenty, I was booked to fly on TAP airlines from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS). On my way there, I flew on their Executive product (aka business class) and on the way home, I flew in economy.

Photo: TAP

TAP Executive cabin – Photo: TAP

At the airport, I looked for a priority line, but did not see one, so I waited in the standard line. Upon check-in, I was provided with a green sticker on my boarding pass, which indicated I was to receive an expedited security clearance. There was no discussion of whether I had lounge access and the ticket agents did not seem to know — actually, different agents told me to go to different lounges.

I was a bit frustrated, but it was only an hour until my flight anyway, so I decided to relax in a secluded part of the gate with the economy passengers. Checking out TAP’s website, I was able to confirm that I had access to the Lufthansa’s Business Class lounge in Terminal B.

Continue reading Flight Review: Taking TAP Portugal’s Business Class to Lisbon on an Airbus A330

The Evolution of Engine Starting: From Hand-Propping to Button Pushing

Cold cranking an Ilyshilin Il-14 - Photo: Aleksander Markin | Flickr CC

Cold cranking an Ilyushin Il-14 – Photo: Aleksander Markin | Flickr CC

Excerpt was written by David J. Williams, who is a former airline captain and currently involved with aviation safety, on NYCAviation.com.

For many of us, our first understanding on how to start an airplane was when Bugs Bunny started the engines of the “World’s Largest Airplane” in Hare Lift (FF to 2:04). With a simple push of a button, all of the radial engines were up and running. And as ridiculous as that was, in the sixty years since, starting the modern jet engine has become just as simple as that.

In the Beginning

A century ago, when the Wright brothers started up the four-cylinder engine on the Wright Flyer, they did so by hand. This was the method for the farm tractors, motorcycles, and automobiles of the time, as the electric starter was still several years away. Even had the Wright brothers had access to an electric starter, they likely would have rejected it to keep the weight and complexity of the Wright Flyer to a minimum.

Even after the electric starter became available, during the several decades following the Wright’s flight, the majority of the airplanes produced chose to reject the heavy and expensive electric starter and relied on the pilots hand-propping their new airplanes. Though it seems to be highly dangerous, it is a safe with proper training.

Replica of the Wright Flyer at the Museum of Flight - Photo: MoF

Replica of the Wright Flyer at the Museum of Flight – Photo: MoF

When hand-propping an aircraft, the person outside is the one in control, though the pilot will typically direct the sequence. The engine will then be turned over several times with the ignition off to purge the cylinders of stale air and oil, which is especially critical on radial and inverted engines. Gasoline will then be either poured directly into the intake manifold, or injected with a small hand pump in the cockpit. The person propping then checks the security of the brakes by pulling and pushing on the propeller, and then calls “Contact!” instructing the pilot to turn on a magneto. The term contact is often used to better differentiate between the calls of having ignition system on or off; Contact is used to denote Magneto (or Mag) On, and not to be confused with Mags Off.

The propeller would then be pulled through one compression stroke at a time with the magneto on. When the engine started, the pilot would then resume control of the airplane – adjusting the throttle for proper idle, switching on a second magneto, checking oil pressure, and completing the start procedure from memory.

Continue reading The Evolution of Engine Starting: From Hand-Propping to Button Pushing on NYCAviation.com

An Introduction to Vietnam Airlines – the Next “It” Carrier in Southeast Asia?

The initial A350 XWB for Vietnam Airlines rolled out of Airbus’ Toulouse paint shop on 6 March 2015, displaying the airline’s updated blue and gold lotus livery

The initial A350 XWB for Vietnam Airlines rolled out of Airbus’ Toulouse paint shop on 6 March 2015, displaying the airline’s updated blue and gold lotus livery

Vietnam Airlines, the government-owned national flag carrier for Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is on the cusp of its first major international expansion in over a decade.

The airline has made no secret of its desire to become the second-largest carrier in Southeast Asia by 2020, behind Singapore Airlines. With the financial near-collapses of regional competitors Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines and the upcoming expansion of its long-haul fleet, Vietnam Airlines is poised to gain significant market share and inch closer to its goal of regional domination.

A member of the SkyTeam alliance, Vietnam currently operates a full-service schedule to 52 destinations in 17 countries, with an active fleet of 77 aircraft.

Continue reading An Introduction to Vietnam Airlines – the Next “It” Carrier in Southeast Asia?

Aerial Firefighting Part Two: The Different Planes Converted, and One Big Red Button

An AT-802F Air Tractor (check out the "fire words" on the nose) - Photo: Julian Cordle

An AT-802F Air Tractor (check out the “fire words” on the nose) – Photo: Julian Cordle

Last November, I brought you an initial introduction into the world of Aerial Firefighting. That article focused on the concept, tactics and state of aerial firefighting. I promised a second look at the aircraft of Aerial Firefighting, so here we go!

First, let’s review the types of fixed-wing aerial firefighting aircraft and the associated designations and acronyms.

SEATs (Single Engine Air Tankers) are short-range, small, one-person aircraft with less than approximately 1,000 gallons of usable retardant capacity. The most well-known example here is an AT-802F Air Tractor and the “Fire Boss”, which is a model AT-802F fitted with floats.

- Photo: Alan Radecki | WikiCommons

A Grumman S-2T converted to fire fighting duty – Photo: Alan Radecki | WikiCommons

Next we have the Large Air Tankers (LATs): of Type III, II, and I. Type III air tankers can dispense approximately 1,200 gallons per drop. The best example in this class could be the Grumman S-2T, which are re-engined Grumman S-2 “Tracker” Navy patrol aircraft. CalFire currently has 20+ of these in service.

Type II tankers include such interesting aircraft as the purpose-built Canadair CL-215 “SuperScooper”, with high, oversized wings and v-hull for scooping up up to 1,250 gallons of water to deliver to a fire.

Continue reading Aerial Firefighting Part Two: The Different Planes Converted, and One Big Red Button