FlightSafety Simulator - Photo: FlightSafety International Inc

FlightSafety Simulator – Photo: FlightSafety International Inc

I first flew in a Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 as a passenger in October 2015 and, less than a year later, I got to co-pilot one! Well, not exactly… Not being a qualified pilot, I am unlikely to fly one any time soon. However, that did not prevent me from experiencing the next best thing: a ride in FlightSafety’s multimillion-dollar Dash 8 simulator, one of which is housed in the US aviation training company’s UK base at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire.

Our ride: Q400 Dash 8 - Photo: Alastair Long

Our ride: Q400 Dash 8 – Photo: Alastair Long

Sales Manager Cristina Rodriguez, Dash 8 Program Manager (and examiner) Michèle Rodrigues, and Q400 Simulator Flight Instructor Bill Grevaux recently welcomed me to join them in the aircraft-type simulator. How could I refuse?

This is never a good thing to see on your computer screen

This is never a good thing to see on your computer screen

I realize this is not one of your usual #AvGeek stories on AirlineReporter, but if you’re a traveler, writer, planespotter, and/or photographer (and I happen to be all of the above to some degree), then you know that photos, whether they are taken to tell a story or record a memory, are your treasure, the fruits that result from your hard labor.

My photos may not be valuable to others, but certainly they are valuable to me… some might even be priceless and irreplaceable. Given that, you’d think I’d be more careful about protecting them. Heck, I tell others how to protect their data all the time (just ask my wife). Yet somehow, I never did… maybe it was procrastination, or naivete thinking a relatively new laptop wouldn’t fail, but in any case I had the majority of my photos in one place… on my laptop’s hard drive. I will be the first to admit that what I did was stupid.

So imagine that pit in my stomach that occurred when I hit the power button on my laptop and a simple text system notification appeared on my screen: “Bootable device not found…”

An Emirates A380 landing at Los Angeles Airport. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Emirates buying part of Qatar Airways? Yeah, no. – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I spend a lot of time on this place called the Internet. You’ve probably heard of it. I will admit that I dwell within the fringes and depths of it to find interesting aviation rumors and innuendo. Sometimes, however, they are so comical it just takes a look at Twitter to find some comedy gold. My friend Ben over at One Mile at a Time (you’ve heard of him)… well, he posted a summary of an article that he found on a paragon of virtue called Zerohedge saying that rumors were flying that Emirates sought a majority or, at least, a large stake in their rival down the track in Doha.

One of Qatar's two Oneworld 777s taken through the window of a QR A320 photo by Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Qatar Airways has friends outside the gulf. What would they stand to gain? – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Now that you’ve stopped laughing the first time, let me just say that again. There are rumors that Emirates wants to purchase a large stake in Qatar Airways.

Let me put this in big bold letters so that I can give you a summary: EMIRATES WILL NEVER PURCHASE A LARGE STAKE IN QATAR AIRWAYS!!!!

Well, why not? I’m so glad you asked.

Etihad has strength in branding, this lounge could be anywhere. This entrance is the new LAX lounge, though.

Etihad has strength in branding; this lounge could be anywhere. This entrance is the new LAX lounge, though. – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s no secret that Etihad knows how to build a lounge. They have been very busy. Late last year, they opened their fabulous New York lounge. This year it was followed by a new lounge in Melbourne and their new First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi’s terminal 3. Before their efforts go to maximum on finishing the gorgeous new midfield terminal back home, they had one more lounge up their sleeve; Los Angeles. In the two years they’ve been serving LAX, they have transported more than a quarter million guests. The premium guests were using the lovely Star Alliance lounge next door until this facility opened earlier this week. The Star Alliance lounge, however, did not say Etihad.

James Hogan, in presence of the CEO of LAWA and other Etihad executives opening the LAX lounge - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

James Hogan, in presence of the CEO of LAWA and other Etihad executives opening the LAX lounge – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

While this lounge does not have a Residence nook, yet, it does have a VIP area that could easily serve the purpose should the A380 ever grace the west coast. The public premium area, however, is fantastic.