Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 228,152
2013: 330,818

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Amazing Video: Airbus A340 Lands in the Fog

Here we have a Swiss Airbus A340 landing in Zurich in the fog at night. A fun combo for catching some vortexes. Enjoy.

Thanks to Louie for pointing this one out and to Andy Ruesch for making this beauty.

Video: Air France A340 Aborts Landing at St. Maarten During Hurricane Issac

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.

No worries, the plane ended up landing safely, with a round of applause.

Tip of the hat to @JustinTPA for this one. 

Photo Tour of Emirates Airline Crew Training in Dubai

Yes. The building is designed to look like an airliner. Only in Dubai.

Yes. The building is designed to look like an airliner. Only in Dubai.

It was surreal pulling up to the Emirates Airline training facility in Dubai to find that part of the building was designed to look like an airliner — engines and all. In retrospect, it shouldn’t be too surprising, since this is the land of bigger and better and Emirates Airline seems to fit right in.

Emirates currently has a fleet of over 175 aircraft, flying to 120 destinations and they have no plans to slow down their growth. The airline hopes to hire around 4,000 additional cabin crew by the end of 2012.

Emirates is not an airline that cares only about the number of employees, but also the quality. They hire people from around the world to train to be some of the best flight crew in the world and Emirates Aviation College in Dubai is where every new hire will start.

A Majlis, where students learn about the Emirates culture and the cultures of others.

A Majlis, where students learn about the Emirates culture and the cultures of others.

Each week, about 80-120 near new trainees will start their seven week long educational journey. Each class is comprised of people from around the world, making Emirate’s employees some of the most diverse. At any given time, there are about 130 nationalities represented among the trainees and about 70 among the the trainers.

One of the first steps of every trainee is learning about Arabic hospitality and about the other cultures represented among the company and passengers in a themed roomed call the Majlis room. The crew’s diversity helps them easily interact with many of the passengers that will be flying on the airline.

Flight Stewardesses train how to properly serve passengers in this Airbus A380 mock interior trainer.

Flight Stewardesses train how to properly serve passengers in this Airbus A380 mock interior trainer.

One can only learn so much by reading out of a book or being lectured to. That is why each trainee is given hands on experience in one of the interior cabin mock-ups. From greeting passengers to learning what order to serve them food, to pointing out how to operate the on-board showers, the mock ups provide opportunities for students to learn new ways of doing things and to learn from their mistakes.

Each trainee is taught how each cabin is designed to give their passengers a unique experience. Emirates tries to make first class passengers feel like they are on a private jet, where business class passengers will receive a “my retreat” experience and finally a “surprising treat” type encounter for economy.

Part-time Emirates Trainer and Senior Flight Stewardess Lisa Williamson works the bar in the Airbus A380 trainer.

Part-time Emirates Trainer and Senior Flight Stewardess Lisa Williamson works the bar in the Airbus A380 trainer.

One part of the training is learning when it might be best to start weaning a passenger off alcohol, when they have had one too many. This can be more of a challenge when that passenger is in a public space, like the business and first class bar on board an Emirates Airbus A380. Unlike a bar on the ground, a drunk person cannot be kicked out. It takes a certain skill level to cut a person’s alcohol without insulting them. Lisa Williamson, part-time Emirates Trainer and Senior Flight Stewardess, explained how Emirates follows a delay, distract, dilute and then, deny strategy.

Every flight stewardess learns how to properly wear their uniform and wear make-up.

Every flight stewardess learns how to properly wear their uniform and wear make-up.

A group of Emirates flight crew walking in an airport garners attention — and for good reason. Their outfit is one that stands out and each trainee must go through training on how to wear their uniform, style their hair, apply their make up  and of course on how to properly wear their signature red hat.

Emirates Boeing 777 safety trainer is able to move on three axis, providing realistic scenarios inside the cabin.

Emirates Boeing 777 safety trainer is able to move on three axis, providing realistic scenarios inside the cabin.

Although learning how flight crew should properly wear make up is interesting enough, getting to the training pool with a mock up for the Boeing 777, Airbus A380 and A330/A340 is much more aligned with my interests.

Unlike other safety training mock-ups I have seen, both the 777 and A340/A330 trainers are able to move on 3-axis. Due to the size of the larger A380 trainer, it did not move and was stationary.

New trainees practice helping a passenger who is passed out down the slide.

New trainees practice helping a passenger who is passed out down the slide.

In the aircraft training room there is a pool that is surrounded by all three aircraft mock-ups. On one side, crew are able to practice water evacuations, where on the the other side, slides allow trainees the ability to practice sliding to the ground. This can be a mentally and physically challenging part of training and those flight crew that are not able (or un-willing) to go down the slide, are unable to continue the overall training program.

Emirates Airbus A380 and A340/A330 Safety Trainer

Emirates Airbus A380 and A340/A330 Safety Trainer.

Like most other things in Dubai, the aircraft training room was huge — it has to be. There was no shortage of eye candy watching both the A330/340 and Boeing 777 trainers rocking and rolling, hearing trainees yell for their training and seeing them jump out of the slides. I probably could have stayed in that room all day — heck probably all week.

Unfortunately during out visit, there was no one who jumped into the pool.

Who needs Disney Land, when you can take a ride on an Airbus A380 upper-deck slide.

Who needs Disney Land, when you can take a ride on an Airbus A380 upper-deck slide.

The photo above does not accurately convey how steep and long the upper deck slide on the Airbus A380 is from the top to the ground. It made me feel a bit nervous just standing on the ground and I could imagine that some trainees would have some hesitation sliding down for the first time. At first glance, the facility might seem like fun and games, but crews are practicing worse case scenarios on how to keep passengers safe and how to save lives.

From providing the best customer service as possible, to helping passengers in a disastrous situation, the Emirates Airline Crew Training facility prepares everyone to have a successful career with the airline.

SEE ALL 35 PHOTOS OF EMIRATES TRAINING FACILITY

A Farewell to the Airbus A340

The very first Airbus A340 takes shape inside their factory. Photo from Airbus.

The very first Airbus A340 takes shape inside their factory. Photo from Airbus.

I have always loved the look of the Airbus A340. In the early days of jet airlines, seeing a single-deck plane with four engines on the wing was common. By the time the A340 first flew on October 25, 1991, there weren’t too many Boeing 707s or Douglas DC-8s flying around. Even for the amateur aviation enthusiast, it has always been quite easy to spot an A340.

The engines might provide an easy tell on what kind of aircraft it was, but they also drained a lot of fuel. Airlines started to opt for two engine Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s instead of the A340. Due to a lack of demand, Airbus officially announced the end to the aircraft due to a,  “changing market dynamic,” (aka no orders) on November 10, 2011.

Although Airbus is no longer making the A340, there are still four that are left to be delivered. Two are set to go to VIP customers and two were ordered by Kingfisher Airlines. It is not certain when the final four will be delivered, but I am going to bet that Kingfisher might never take delivery of their two A340s due to their current financial difficulties.

The first Airbus A340-600 takes off in Airbus livery. Photo from Airbus.

The first Airbus A340-600 takes off in Airbus livery. Photo from Airbus.

Well, times have changed with ETOPS certification and today, two engine aircraft can fly much farther away from land than they used to. When the A340 was first produced, many passengers (and probably even airlines) were weary of flying over water with two engines and the Boeing 777 wasn’t even in production.

As Boeing Randy Tinseth points out in his blog, Airbus used creative advertising to possibly play off the fears of passengers who might not want to fly over the open seas using a two-engined aircraft. Obviously any fear that people might have had was put to rest with the success of many airliners who have successfully flown over open waters with only two engines.

Lufthansa Airbus A340-642 D-AIHE Leverkusen. Photo by Thomas Becker.

Lufthansa Airbus A340-642 D-AIHE Leverkusen. Photo by Thomas Becker.

There were a total of 379 of the A340 ordered and 365 are still in service today. Lufthansa Airlines is the largest operator of the A340 with 51 currently in service.

“Technological achievements during the last years today allow to operate aircraft of the size of the A340-300 efficiently with two engines, what hasn’t been the case earlier,” Nico Buchholz, Head of Lufthansa Group Fleet Management explained to AirlineReporter.com. “Still, on some routes the A340-300 is still superior to it’s twin-engine competitors, with regards to payload and flight performance. In light of the huge accomplishments made, however, aircraft of this segment now and in the future are clearly twin-engines, as demonstrated impressively by B777, A330, B787 and A350 aircraft.”

Currently,  Lufthansa is not planning to replace any of their A340 fleet anytime soon. “We keep on applying modifications to make them more fuel-efficient, reduce noise or make cockpit modifications,” Buchholz explained. “That being said, our fleet is economically and technically up to date and we have no huge pressure to make a buying decision here. We will decide at an appropriate time.”

Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 landing at LAX.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500 landing at LAX. Photo by Bob Connolley

Singapore Airlines only operates five of the A340 aircraft, but they are unique in using them to fly the world’s two longest flights: Los Angeles (LAX) and Newark (EWR) to Singapore (SIN). Flight SQ21, from EWR to SIN,  is the longest scheduled airline flight in the world, which is 9,535 miles and takes almost 19 hours. Flight SQ 37, from LAX to SIN, is the world’s second longest flight at 8,770 miles and takes about 18 hours. Both of these flights exclusively use the Airbus A340-500 aircraft. “What the aircraft does is create a non-stop link between the US and Singapore for growth,” James Boyd, Singapore Airline’s Vice President of Communications for the Americas explained to AirlineReporter.com.

At the time that Singapore Airlines started the flights, the A340-500 was the only aircraft capable of operating routes that long. Even today, there are only two aircraft that are able to handle the route: the A340-500 and Boeing 777-200LR.

Even though Singapore Airlines also operates the 777, Boyd explained that they are not planning on replacing their A340-500s anytime soon. Recently the airline invested quite a bit of money updating all five cabins on their A340s to all Business Class, providing the same product that is found on their Airbus A380.

Singapore Airlines is unique due to operating aircraft that many see as directly competing against each other: the Boeing 777 and Airbus A340/A330, the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, and they have the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 on order. Why? Because many of their routes are market and destination specific and each route is specifically matched up to the aircraft it uses and for them, that means a diverse fleet. Singapore’s two routes that use the A340-500s are very profitable and it wouldn’t make any sense to change out aircraft.

Air France Airbus A340-300 landing at the iconic Saint Maarten. Photo by Jordi Grife..

Air France Airbus A340-300 landing at the iconic Saint Maarten. Photo by Jordi Grife..

The end of the Airbus A340 leaves only two quad jets that remain in commercial airliner production: The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and the Airbus A380. As engines become more efficient, will there be more quad jets into the future? Probably not, but for those of us that get a kick out of seeing jets with more than two engines, at least we will see the A340 still flying for quite some time to come.

 Images:
Lufthansa A340 – Thomas Becker
Singapore A340 – Bob Connolly
Air France A340 – Jordi Grife 

Fan Photo: Lufthansa A340 with a few Boeing 727′s

Lufthansa Airbus A340, US Airways Boeing 737, UPS Airbus A300 and two Boeing 727-100's for NASCAR

Lufthansa Airbus A340, US Airways Boeing 737, UPS Airbus A310 and two Boeing 727-100's for NASCAR


There are a lot of good places to look at photos of airliners. I can spend hours going through and looking at them. Some of my favorites are those from readers that send in ones they have taken and I really want to be able to share them. If you take photos of airlines and want to share, feel free to email them on over and I might post a few as well.

This one is taken at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) by Drew. You can see a Lufthansa Airbus A340 getting ready to take off, as well as a US Airways Boeing 737 on the left. What’s really cool about this one is you can see two Boeing 727-100′s in the background by the UPS Airbus A310, that are still flying,

Those two Boeing 727-100′s are owned by Jack Roush with NASCAR. They were converted to have 90 seats and used to shuttle NASCAR crew from one race to another. It looks like Roush bought both planes from MGM and they spend quite a bit of time at CLT.

LARGER VERSION