Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 242,760
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,164,361






Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

It's not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.

To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.

Woodinville Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.

After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.

Continue reading Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

Ryanair to Fly Across the Atlantic? Using Which Aircraft?

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field. Photo - Andrew W. Sieber FlickerCC

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field – Photo: Andrew W. Sieber | FlickerCC

Ryanair might soon start trans-Atlantic flights, but what does it mean?

At face value, this may seem like an earthshaking headline; after all, Ryanair has been either threatening or strongly implying that they will fly from various European airports to the United States.

But again, the truth is always in the details. Yes, Ryanair will be arriving on U.S. soil, but not tomorrow — not even next year. You see, the exact wording of the approval came in the form as part of their five-year plan.

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United Takes Delivery of the 8,000th 737

United Latest 737-900ER taxiing at Boeing Field

United’s latest 737-900ER, taxiing at Boeing Field

On Wednesday April 16th, United took delivery of its latest 737, but this one was special.

A 737-900ER was delivered from Boeing Field, marking a special occasion for not only Boeing but also United.  The aircraft was the 8,000th 737 to roll out of the Renton factory, and became one of over 550 of the type to be delivered to United since its inception.

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Rock and Roll: More Options for an Electric Ground Taxi System

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in July, 2012 Courtesy: WheelTug

WheelTug testing at Prague Airport using a Germania 737-700 in June, 2012. Yes, it’s moving!
Courtesy: WheelTug

You may have read my recent report on the Honeywell/Safran Electric Ground Taxi System, or EGTS.  But as we’ve seen countless times with many technologies, there’s rarely just one solution to a challenge.  We’ve had the 707 & DC-8 duo,  L-1011 & DC-10s, 737 & A320s, PCs & Macs, iThingys & Everything Else… you get the idea.  Interesting, though, that the market usually settles down to 2 options. So it should be no surprise that there’s another E-Taxi system, one that takes a different approach to meeting the same objectives of saving fuel, time, and other operational costs.

Gibraltar-based WheelTug decided to figure out a way to power the nose gear in their E-Taxi solution, and not the main gear. Their reasons? Easier and quicker installation; no interference with braking and anti-skid systems; shorter cable runs to the equipment bay under the cockpit; and it’s lighter, on the single nose gear rather than two main gear. But there isn’t much space available on the nose gear and in the wheel well. To make it all work, WheelTug looked to an old idea updated with new technology – the “wheel-hub” electric motor.

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From the Ramp to the Runway Without Engine Power?

No, this A320 isn't parked. It's taxiing without the engines running. Check out the video after the break.Photo: Benoît Vallet/Safran

No, this A320 isn’t parked. It’s taxiing without the engines running. Check out the video after the break.
Photo: Benoît Vallet/Safran

Airlines are doing everything they can to reduce their fuel costs. You may have taken an airline flight recently where the crew taxied to or from the runway on one engine.  Or you’ve noticed that the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) isn’t running when a plane is at the gate. Sometimes, if possible, instead of running the APU the plane can be plugged into “ground power,” getting it’s juice through a big extension cord from the terminal.

Airlines are also playing with new approach procedures that smooth out the descent and path to the runway, allowing crews to bring the power back to near-idle thrust and pretty well glide most of the way to the threshold and saving on fuel. The goal is to try and do anything to save fuel while keeping passengers safe.

Honeywell and Paris-based Safran Groupe have come up with some nifty new technology that could save airlines hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs for each aircraft. It’s called the “Electric Green Taxi System” or EGTS, and it was recently demo’d at the Paris Air Show.

Continue reading From the Ramp to the Runway Without Engine Power?