Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

Day of the Turbine (Part 3): The Fairchild Metroliner 23

C-GBVY, the Bearskin Airlines Fairchild Metroliner 23 that I flew on.

C-GBVY, the Bearskin Airlines Fairchild Metroliner 23 that I flew on. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

This is a continuation of Day of the Turbine (Part 1): Flying on the Convair 580 & Day of the Turbine (Part 2): The Original King Air

The Swearingen Merlin began in a manner akin to the Pacific Airmotive Tradewind. It existed to answer the question, “how can we modernize a Beech piston twin?” By the time Ed Swearingen and his partners had finished their modifications, the aircraft had slowly evolved into its own turbine-powered type. As far as executive aircraft went, the Merlin was relatively popular. It was produced at the Swearingen plant in San Antonio from 1965 until 1998.

The Metroliner came to be as a stretch of the Merlin. It was equipped with the same inverted Garret AiResearch TPE331s, but lengthened to accommodate up to nineteen passengers. Fairchild purchased Swearingen, but continued the Metroliner and Merlin brands. Indeed, they kept production of the Metroliner going until 2001.

C-GJVB, a Metroliner 23, was built in 1998 and I set to take a flight in the classic airliner.

Continue reading Day of the Turbine (Part 3): The Fairchild Metroliner 23

In-Flight Review: LOT Polish 787 Premium Club

A warm welcome onboard a LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

A warm welcome onboard a LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

Story & Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren – A joint venture between Airchive & AirlineReporter.com

LOT Polish has not exactly been living on easy street over the past few years. The carrier has faced intense competition from deeply entrenched regional full service carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France that have made the effects of the global recession all the more severe. Below the surface the carrier has been shedding routes left and right since 2010 in a bid to increase profitability. The carrier has also been courting partners since 2012 to convince one to buy a major stake in the airline.

But worst of all, the carrier bet the farm on the controversial Boeing 787 Dreamliner for its long-haul operations. Originally intended to help create one of the youngest and most advanced fleets in Europe, the move instead left the Warsaw-based airline with a bunch of expensive pieces of flying plastic when the type was grounded worldwide in January.

Having already sold off all but one of their Boeing 767s by the time of the grounding, the carrier was left up a big creek with a very small paddle. With long-haul operations effectively crippled the carrier hemorrhaged cash to the tune of $50,000 per day for months on end, eventually ending up broke earlier this year. LOT has been taking government loans consistently ever since, and has already admitted that if Boeing doesn’t compensate them for the loss in revenue they are already looking at dire financial straits for 2014.

It is against that backdrop that Airchive was invited by LOT Polish on a roundtrip from New York JFK to Warsaw.

A LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

A LOT Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Airchive.com

The Flight

Terminal one at New York’s JFK Airport isn’t exactly the airports crowning jewel, but it’s hardly the worst of the bunch either. LOT Polish’s check-in desks are located just below and to the left of the AirTrain entrance, making it an easy find. Premium economy passengers have the option to check in for the flight in at the business class desk, where a friendly LOT employee made check-in quick and easy.

Despite having a fast track security status it took almost thirty minutes to wind through the lanes. Obviously not LOTs fault, but the coach lanes moved faster. Post-security, premium economy passengers can enjoy the Lufthansa lounge at JFK’s Terminal One: this was not clear to us however, and we missed it.

Continue reading In-Flight Review: LOT Polish 787 Premium Club on Airchive.com

Tour of the New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX

The entrance of the new Star Alliance lounge inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

The entrance of the new Star Alliance lounge inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

Recently, I had the opportunity to check out the new Star Alliance lounge located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The old lounge wasn’t terribly bad, but it was ready for some upgrades. I was very excited about what I found in the new lounge.

To describe the feeling of the new lounge in one word: Home. It has different areas that each have their own energy, but all come back to being very home-like. Well, it’s a higher-end feeling than my home, but still it feels like it was meant for be lived in, rather than just looked at or enjoyed for a short amount of time.

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Alaska Airlines Shows Off “Employee Powered” Livery

Check out that sparkle on the tail. Image: Alaska Airlines

Check out that sparkle on the tail – Photo: Alaska Airlines

Earlier this month, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 (N568AS) showed up at Paine Field with a special livery. Although the photos showed that the airline was up to something, it wasn’t obvious how cool this special livery was going to turn out.

It is more than just about looks – it’s really about celebrating those who work for the airline.  Not only does the livery sport a very sparkling tail, but also the signatures of more than 8,500 employees.

“Look closely and you will see the words “Employee Powered” by the L1 door,” said Ben Minicucci, executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer during the aircraft’s debut. “This aircraft is dedicated to you as a thank you for all you have done for this airline.”

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Hotel Review: The Fairmont Vancouver Airport

Reading a fun website while looking out the hotel room is awesome.

Reading a fun website while looking out the hotel room is awesome.

There are hotels and then there are AvGeek hotels. The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel is surely an AvGeek’s hotel, but can still be enjoyed by those who are more practically-minded. The hotel is located inside Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which makes it convenient for people who are flying. There is no need to find a shuttle and you can sleep in until just before your flight, roll out of bed, and either start or continue your journey.

But for many who enjoy aviation, these rare hotels provide something a little bit more: sleeping and relaxing while airline spotting. Heck, it is a thrill to stay at an airport like this, even if you are not flying anywhere. Recently, that is just what Malcolm and I did to check it out, and we wanted to share what we found.

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