Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 71,764
2014: 363,407
Total: 993,364

PHOTOS: Lufthansa Paints a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in Retro Livery

Front part of Lufthansa's special retro livery on the Boeing 747-8I - Photo: Lufthansa

Front part of Lufthansa’s special retro livery on the Boeing 747-8I – Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa was the first airline to fly the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and now has 16 of the type in service.  Over the history of the airline and the 747 program, Lufthansa has been a very good customer.  They have operated the 747-100, 200, & 400 (with a good portion of those 747-400s still flying).

The airline, as a whole, has been around since 1926 (in some form or another), during which time they have been through a number of liveries.  What better way for an airline to receive their latest aircraft than to paint it in an retro livery?
Continue reading PHOTOS: Lufthansa Paints a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in Retro Livery

Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER.

Eva Air Boeing 777-300ER in flight – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Another week, another flight. This time my adventure started at Los Angeles International, with a ticket in hand on EVA Air to Taipei. The occasion? To give the carrier’s Royal Laurel (RL) business class a good, thorough testing.

With no line present at the Royal Laurel Desk, check-in was quick and simple. A staff member escorted me to the lounge, managing to whisk me right past the hulking mid-day security line. This does not appear to be a normal procedure for RL passengers, though the premium line looked to have a 15-minute back-up.

EVA utilizes the finely appointed Star Alliance lounge in LAX, thanks to being part of the alliance since mid-2013. Time was short on this visit, though long enough to snag a finger sandwich and a few deserts.

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMedia

Boarding began on time, and I quickly squirreled away my bags above my seat: 1A. A selection of juices and water was on tap for pre-departure drinks. I went with apple, my new favorite as of late.

Continue reading Flight Review: Eva Air Royal Laurel Business Class on a Boeing 777-300ER

Information on Aviation Geek Fest Mini Tickets

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It is still unreal that Full Aviation Geek Fest (AGF) tickets sold out in less than 30 seconds. We know that there are many of you who were hoping to get tickets and weren’t able to get them. That bites and we are sorry – blame it on the old rule of “supply and demand.” There were also some technical issues that popped up because of the overwhelming demand that didn’t make things any easier. Again, we apologize. We are looking how to improve the process in the future (and hopefully allow more people to enjoy this epic event), but for now, we still have AGF15 to look forward to!

The sale of Mini Tickets has now closed

Continue reading Information on Aviation Geek Fest Mini Tickets

On the Wings of Giants: Airbus Banks on the Beluga

Out comes the nose section of an A320 aircraft from an Airbus A300-600 Beluga "Supertransporter" - Photo: Olivier CABARET | Flickr CC

Out comes the nose section of an A320 aircraft from an Airbus A300-600 Beluga “Supertransporter” – Photo: Olivier CABARET | Flickr CC

This is an excerpt from Paul Thompson’s story on NYCAviation.com

Throughout Airbus’ first two decades in business, its competitors at Boeing would joke that “Every Airbus is delivered on the wings of a Boeing.” That statement was both accurate and fair, being that Airbus had to use modified Boeing Stratocruisers known as Super Guppies. Yes, Airbus was transporting parts for its own jets inside 1940s-era planes built by its only real competitor.

As time progressed, Airbus finally resolved the issue by designing its own transport based on one of their own planes – the A300 twin-engine jet.

A Beluga in the air looks almost like a Beluga Whale out of water - Photo: Ken Fielding

A Beluga in the air looks almost like a Beluga whale out of water – Photo: Ken Fielding

The resulting A300-600ST (ST for Super Transporter) became commonly known as “The Beluga” for its bubble-like forehead resembling the Beluga whale. To accomplish the plane that seems to defy every law of aerodynamics, Airbus employed some major structural changes.

BONUS: Super Guppy Delivers Space Shuttle Trainer to the Museum of Flight

Starting at the nose, Airbus lowered the cockpit below the cargo deck so that the cargo area could be loaded without having to disconnect any of the vital electric and hydraulic lines running to the rest of the plane. The design kept the A300’s lower fuselage, wings and landing gears, but added a cavernous cargo area on top.

A320 noses are unloaded from the Beluga - Photo: Olivier CABARET | Flickr CC

A320 noses are unloaded from the Beluga – Photo: Olivier CABARET | Flickr CC

At 49,440 cubic feet, the Beluga’s cargo volume ranks second between Boeing’s 747-LCF Dreamlifter (65,000 cubic feet) and the Antonov An-225 (45,909 cubic feet). The Beluga is hampered by its weight lifting capability, which is only 47 tons (103,617 pounds) or roughly the weight of an empty 737. Its cargo bay measures 25 feet in diameter. The Beluga has a maximum takeoff weight of just over 341,000 pounds, while the Dreamlifter tops out at 803,000 pounds.

BONUS: Antonov AN-225 Photo Tour

In comparison, the 747-8 freighter is capable of lifting over one million pounds, and the An-225 can lift over 1.4 million pounds. The Beluga is also incapable of hauling sections of the A380 due to its size. Those parts are still taken by barge or road convoy to the A380’s final assembly location in Toulouse.

Continue reading On the Wings of Giants: Airbus Banks on the Beluga on NYCAviation.com

Looking Back at Soviet Air Defenses & the Aircraft that Served

A Tu-128 at the Central Aviation Museum of Russia. Photo - Maarten Dirkse

A Tu-128 at the Central Aviation Museum of Russia – Photo: Maarten Dirkse

Before I get into the aircraft I want to discuss today, there is an important matter of Soviet Military organization that I see misconstrued often. During the Soviet times, the VVS (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily or Military Air Force) was not responsible for matters of air defense.

This was the auspice of the PVO, sometimes also abbreviated as V-PVO (or sometimes PVO strany). PVO is a Russian abbreviation that literal translates to anti-air defense; strany is Russian for country (sometimes nation). So PVO strany was responsible for the anti-air defense of the nation. They were considered the third-most important branch of the Soviet Armed Forces (behind the RVSN and Ground Forces). While the PVO was merged into the VVS in 1998, their legacy lives on; Air Defense Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of every April.

This, if it was not obvious yet, is a story about an aircraft that served with the PVO. Some would say, the most unusual of them as well.

Continue reading Looking Back at Soviet Air Defenses & the Aircraft that Served