Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Day of the Turbine (Part 2): The Original King Air

A Propair Beech King Air A100

A Propair Beech King Air A100 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

This is a continuation of Day of the Turbine (Part 1): Flying on the Convair 580

Realistically, Beech knew the 18 was in need of replacement. Though the 18 was produced until 1972, by the mid 1960’s there were thousands upon thousands of light utility, cargo, and twin-engine training aircraft that needed replacement. There was no reason for Beech to forfeit that market.

At the same time, Beech had become successful in the recreational and corporate aviation avenue. Executives who used their salary to buy smaller single-engine Beeches would often buy larger twins, such as the Baron, for their companies. With turboprops becoming popular around the same time and the demand for executive travel growing, Beech needed both a larger Baron and an 18 replacement, in one frame.

The first King Air was almost exactly that – a stretched Baron with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines. In some ways, the original King Air is reminiscent of a Pacific Airmotive Tradewind with turbine engines. Not many ways other than cosmetic, yes- but it counts!

Propair, operator of the 1972 Beech King Air A100 I would fly on (C-FWRM), is based in Rouyn-Naranda. They fly medevacs, mining charters, and any sort of charter aviation task one would need in rural northern Quebec, up to and including Nunavik. They also operate a Gulfstream I, which we were supposed to fly on, but it went tech a little over a week before our flying day, and was be replaced with an aircraft to be discussed in part three.  Continue reading Day of the Turbine (Part 2): The Original King Air

Photo Tour of the JetBlue Maintenance Hangar at JFK

The JetBlue maintinance hangar at JFK. Image: Jason Rabinowitz

The JetBlue maintenance hangar at JFK airport – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

In 2005, a giant blue building appeared in the middle of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens. JetBlue, still growing larger and larger at the time, decided it was time to have a place of their own, at their home airport, to do some aircraft maintenance. The 140,000-square-foot hangar and maintenance (MX) facility, or “Technical Operations Center” (simply called “Hangar 81″ by employees), finally provided JetBlue with a proper facility for on-site offices, part storage, and light maintenance.

The hangar was actually opened before JetBlue took delivery of their first Embraer E190, and long before the Airbus A321 was even in the cards. Over the years, the hangar has been adapted to accommodate such aircraft without a hitch, and what goes on behind the scenes is pretty amazing. Last month, Timothy Russo, JetBlue manager of MX and Material Planning, Technical Operations, walked me around the sprawling facility, which might actually be better compared to a maze than an office.

Continue reading Photo Tour of the JetBlue Maintenance Hangar at JFK

LIVE BLOG: The World’s Longest Flight (SIN-EWR)

Heading out soon.

Heading out soon.

It is almost that time to board a Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 and be a part of the world’s longest flight. Okay, well I still have a few hours left. Before then, I will be checking out of my hotel, getting a short tour of the airport, probably relax in the lounge for a minute or two and then find my seat for the next 18 hours or so. I will be departing on SQ 22, which leaves about 10:55am local time [which is 7:55pm 10/13 in Seattle or 2:55am 10/30 GMT].

You can follow along the flight on FlightAware and hopefully on this blog. Here is the catch though; due to the flight plan there is a good chance that I won’t be able to access the internet the whole time and when I do, it could be slow. Have no fear though, if I cannot connect up, I will write the story as a live blog on my local laptop and be sure to update when I have a chance. Worst case, that means after I get settled into my hotel after arriving at Newark (aka worst case scenario).

Since I will be crossing about half the existing time zones (and the international date line), I plan to update based on time spent on the aircraft. Once I enter the cabin, I will start a timer and update the post based on the elapsed time. I am hoping to stay awake the whole time, but know that I might need a little nap. Also realize that on a flight this long, there might not be too much happening between, “oh starting this movie,” and “done with the movie,” so my silence might not mean I cannot connect to the internet, but because I am doing something boring. Well, nothing is boring while on this flight, but I don’t want to give away plot lines of a movie.

With live blogging and possibly having a Singapore Sling or two, I realize that the grammar might not be 100%. No worries, it will all be worked out as the flight progresses or afterwards, so try to have a little more flexibility for the short-term and we shall do just fine. Well, I think that just about lays the ground work for how this shin-dig will work out. Hopefully you will be hearing from me soon and if not, know that I am enjoying the flight and looking forward to sharing soon.

Continue reading LIVE BLOG: The World’s Longest Flight (SIN-EWR)

Air New Zealand Gets Hip with Betty White Safety Video

Due to the rapid popularity this new safety video from Air New Zealand, our guess that many of you have already seen it. But we wanted to make sure that if you haven’t, you get the opportunity and if you have — well heck, it is worth another gander.

Doing safety videos like this are cleaver for two main reasons. The first is it makes frequent fliers stop, watch and be reminded of what to do in case of an emergency. Secondly, they surely get Air New Zealand some nice publicity for coming up with some creative material.

Continue reading Air New Zealand Gets Hip with Betty White Safety Video

Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s

Say hello a freshly painted Delta 717! Photo Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Say hello a freshly-painted Delta Boeing 717! Photos: Delta Air Lines

Two months ago a number of folks broke news that the much-anticipated Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-200 had finally started showing up in reservation systems. For aviation enthusiasts, it’s an exciting time when an airline brings on a new aircraft type, especially one like the 717. The 717 holds a special place in many hearts for a number of reasons, chiefly because it’s an ultra-modern descendant of the Douglas DC-9s and MD-80s which have a cult following with pilots and AvGeeks alike.

In 2011, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran, a 717 launch partner who also happened to fly the largest fleet of 717s in the world. Aviation enthusiasts questioned whether Southwest would go against their all-Boeing 737 business model that had served them so well over the decades. Much to the surprise of many aviation industry analysts and insiders, Southwest announced they would indeed incorporate the 717 into their fleet.  However, those plans never came to fruition. In 2012, Southwest and Delta announced a sweetheart deal which would allow Delta to take possession of the former AirTran birds, allowing them to retire a number of older DC/MD variants and giving Southwest the ability to maintain fleet uniformity.

After digging around on Delta.com, I confirmed the first scheduled 717 flight was supposed to be 2343 on 9/19 from ATL to EWR. I had already booked a mini-vacation to the NYC area for that weekend, so the timing simply could not have been better. I almost canceled my outbound leg and booked this flight instead…almost. Understanding that new equipment is often subject to last minute changes,  I decided a call to Delta was in order.

Continue reading Photos: Delta Begins Receiving Boeing 717s