Hurricane Issac is currently hitting the US, but a bit earlier, it hit Saint Maarten, which is a well known airline spotting site. This video, taken yesterday, shows an Air France Airbus A340 trying to land, but deciding to go around.
F-GZCP, the Airbus A330 involved in Air France flight 447, taken in March 2007. Photo by Pawel Kierzkowski / Wikipedia.
I have read quite a bit about Air France flight 447 that crashed on June 1, 2009. I think a recent story from Popular Mechanics is the best and really paints a picture about what really happened in the cockpit of that Airbus A330 the day of the accident.
The story shows what was said on the voice recorder and explains what it all means, very interesting and worth the time to read it.
“For its first joint order, the Air France KLM group made its selection after a detailed assessment showing all the performance characteristics of each aircraft, including their energy and environmental performance” declared Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France KLM.
Computer rendering of the 787 Dreamliner in Air France and KLM liveries. Images from Boeing.
The airline will purchase 25 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with options for 25 more. They will also purchase 25 A350-900s with options for another 35.
“We’re proud to be a major part of the fleet renewal plan being undertaken by Air France-KLM,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 Dreamliner will bring outstanding value to the two airlines and will be a great complement to their large fleets of Boeing widebody airplanes.”
Currently Boeing has over 800 orders from 56 customers for the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus has 567 orders for the A350 XWB from 35 customers.
The second Boeing 747-400 (F-GITB) to be scapped. Photo from Air Salvage International Limited
The Boeing 747 starts her next chapter with the first flight of the 747-8 Intercontinental. As we look to the future of the jumbo jet, we also have started the begining of the end for the Boeing 747-400. In July 2010, the first three 747-400s were taken to Air Salvage International, located in Hampshire, UK and destroyed for salvage.
The first -400 first flew on April 29, 1988 and became the best selling 747 model. The -400 differed from the -300 with an updated cockpit, the addition of winglets, additional fuel and other odds and ends. The first three to be salvaged all served their entire lives with Air France. It is sad to think about the first Boeing 747-400’s being destroyed, never to fly again. Let’s get to know the three -400’s that were the first to go:
This aircraft was delivered to Air France in February 1991. In September 1993, she was operating as flight AF072 from Paris to Los Angeles to Tahiti. The aircraft went off the end of the runway, but no one was killed and the plane was repaired and placed back into service. The aircraft was stored in February 2010 after serving Air France for almost 20 years. She has the official title of being the very first Boeing 747-400 to be scrapped.
* Photo of F-GITA being torn up via Airliners.net
* Photo of F-GITA off the runway via AirDisaster.com
* 88 pics of F-GITA’s life via Airliners.net
She was delivered to Air France in May of 1991. During her almost 20 years of service for Air France, she mostly flew out of Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG). She was pulled out of service and stored in March 2010.
* 77 Photos of F-GITB via Airliners.net
While Boeing 747-400s are being destroyed, there talk of two Boeing 747-200s to fly US passengers. It might seem odd at first, but when you look at the fact that there were 694 Boeing 747-400s delivered and only 12 have been taken out of service to date, that isn’t too shabby.
“For more than 20 years, the 747-400 has helped foster the proud legacy of the 747 family. It has been the world’s favorite airplane and a proven performer,” Joanna Pickup with Boeing 747 Communications told AirlineReporter.com.
When asked what aircraft type that Boeing is hoping customers will replace their Boeing 747-400 with, Pickup explained, “The 747-8 Intercontinental is perfectly suited to serve the 400 to 500-seat market served by the 747-400, with more range, more passengers, more cargo, and with lower operating costs.”
So if you are in the market to buy a Boeing 747-400 in the next few years, you are in luck. It is likely that we will see more -400’s looking for a new home (or maybe to be made into a home) for cheap.
UPDATE: “Note that to date Air France counts in its fleet 10 B747-400. This aicraft is foreseen to be maintained in the fleet until 2016, ” Air France spokesperson explained. “Indeed, B747-400 was one of the most successful devices of an economic point of view up to the arrival of the new generation 777-300ER.”