Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 360,327
2013: 330,818

G20 2014 – The Day the World Came to Brisbane and Brought Their VIP Airliners

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the G20 in Brisbane aboard a C-32

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the G20 in Brisbane aboard a C-32

The annual G20 (group of twenty) Summit is the gathering of the world’s 20 most powerful and influential nations to discuss various political and economic issues facing the world. As with any gathering of major international powers, there was a vast array of interesting and unique aircraft on show.

This year’s summit was held in Brisbane, Australia, during the weekend from November 14th – 16th. As I was in Brisbane during this time, I was very fortunate to partake in some good old plane-spotting.

Over 40 aircraft part took in the G20 Summit; this ranged not only from the various head of state VIP aircraft but also the countless support aircraft. These aircraft carried everything from advance teams to motorcade vehicles, right through to food for the various world leaders and dignitaries attending the summit.

Additionally, the US delegation also brought with them a number of helicopters including “Marine One” and V-22 Ospreys to assist in the transfer of POTUS from the military base where he landed into the city.

The dedicated media/spotters area for the event allowed for some great views of the 3 IL-96 aircraft from the Russian delegation

The dedicated media/spotters area for the event allowed for some great views of the three IL-96 aircraft from the Russian delegation

As with any major event of this nature security was very tight. There were over 6,000 additional police on duty for the weekend. Now, most would expect that the airport would be completely off-limits to spotters. But thanks to some outstanding work by the local plane-spotting community, in particular the work of YBBN Spotters Group together with Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), there was a dedicated area set up on airport property for registered spotters and media.

Unfortunately, due to the prevailing winds and runway configuration, the area was only really suitable for afternoon and evening movements. Even so, there was plenty of other locations off-airport to get some spectacular images.

Below is a selection of images that I have taken during the event showcasing the vast array of different and unique aircraft used for the event by the various visiting nations. Unfortunately, due to the timings of some arrivals, it was not possible for me to capture all of the visiting aircraft, but I feel I was able to capture quite a few special aircraft.

Continue reading G20 2014 – The Day the World Came to Brisbane and Brought Their VIP Airliners

Bloomberg News Examines What it Means To Be an AvGeek

AirlineReporter's own Bernie Leighton stands in front of a helicopter at Boeing Field (BFI) - Photo: Britton Staniar | Bloomberg News

AirlineReporter’s own Bernie Leighton in front of a helicopter at Boeing Field (BFI) – Photo: Britton Staniar | Bloomberg News

When Julie Johnsson, Aerospace Reporter with Bloomberg News, asked if I knew of a good plane spotter in Seattle that she could speak with, Bernie Leighton quickly came to mind!

Bernie is a Managing Correspondent with AirlineReporter and he has provided some amazing photos of aircraft of all types and sizes in the Seattle area and around the world. His specialty: aerial shots.

I am always excited when a journalist with a major media outlet is looking to bring AvGeeks into the mainstream, and after speaking with Johnsson for a short-while, I knew she understood who we were and was excited to read her story. That said, I was a bit curious to why she was motivated to do this story now.

“I’ve been tracking photographers like Bernie on Airliners.net for years, so it was pretty cool to follow him in real life,” Johnsson explained to AirlineReporter. “I was curious to learn more about folks who are documenting Boeing’s jetliner production, what motivates them — and the 787’s role in galvanizing AvGeeks.”

Sounds good to me.

With the AvGeeks of today, Boeing has to get creative to hide a new livery. Here is the first 747-8I all covered before the big reveal - Photo by Boeing

Boeing has to get creative to hide a new livery. Here’s the first 747-8I covered before the big reveal – Photo: Boeing

From Bloomberg News’ story by By Julie Johnsson and Britton Staniar…

Bernie Leighton leans out an open-sided helicopter into a chilly breeze, Nikon camera glued to his face as he focuses on his unsuspecting photographic quarry.

The celebrity in his lens is no Kardashian. It’s Etihad Airways’ first 787 Dreamliner, parked outside Boeing Co. (BA)’s wide-body jet plant north of Seattle and an object of desire among planespotters for a new, secrecy-shrouded paint scheme.

Leighton is angling for Internet fame as he stalks the 787, already one of the most-chronicled industrial products on the planet for its futuristic design and troubled start. Selling the first aerial shot of the shimmering silver-and-gold Etihad plane would also cover the cost of his $500 copter ride.

Continue reading Bloomberg Takes Sometime to Find out What it Means to be an AvGeek & view the video on Bloomberg News.

Aviation in Seattle: Renton Plane Spotting Guide

Renton Municipal Airport, home of the 737.

Renton Municipal Airport, home of the Boeing 737

In the past, we have featured plane spotting guides for Paine Field and also other airports like Anchorage or Tokyo Haneda. With numerous airports in the Seattle area, including SeaTac and Boeing Field, there is sometimes a forgotten, but quite important, airport for plane spotters which provides a continuous stream of aircraft to spot. I am speaking of Renton Municipal Airport, the home of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft plant.

The Southern Threshold of Renton's runway.

The southern threshold of Renton’s runway

The Renton Airport traces its history back to World War II.  Originally built on reclaimed land from Lake Washington, the airport was built by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support Amphibious Aircraft being built by Boeing on Lake Washington.  The PBB Sea Ranger project was cancelled after the prototype was built, so Boeing ended up using the facility to produce the B-29 Superfortress.  By the end of the war, a total of 1,119 were built.

After the war, the City of Renton purchased the airport back from the DoD for $1 and the facility laid dormant for a few years.  In 1948, the KC-97 Stratofreighter project brought the airport back to life and thus began a long and productive history of aircraft to flow out of the Boeing factory doors.  The first Dash 80 aircraft, famous for the barrel roll over Lake Washington, rolled out in May 1954.  Renton was the home of every single 707 built.

The 727 & 757 were all built there as well.  However, Renton is famous these days for being the home of the 737, where production stands at a massive 42 aircraft per month. Continue reading Aviation in Seattle: Renton Plane Spotting Guide

Photos: Hanging at the LAX In-N-Out for #DorkFest

Dang those planes get low. A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 landing at LAX.

Dang those planes get low. A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 landing at LAX.

When I tell my friends that I am going to fly to a city for a day trip, most of them think I am crazy, but I love it. On Saturday, I got up at 4:00am to start my journey to Los Angeles to hang out with some airline dorks at the LAX In-N-Out.

For only $40, we were able to drive this baby around. Only put 20 miles on her though.

For only $40, we were able to drive this baby around. Only put 20 miles on her though.

Brett Snyder (AKA CrankyFlier) organized the event and about 30 people from around the west coast came to talk planes, eat some good food and spot for airplanes. I was heading down with my friend Mal and even though it is pretty easy to get from the airport to the In-N-Out, he was able to get a great deal on a Ford Mustang Convertible, so we decided to cruise in style. Problem is that we were requested to pick up @danwebbage and @briadavi and a convertable gets a bit tight with four guys in it, but we made it work.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200. Walked down the street a bit to get better lighting. Love this livery.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200. Walked down the street a bit to get better lighting. Love this livery.

I had never been to this In-N-Out (I know crazy right), so I was very excited. I have seen many photos and heard great things about the ability to spot, but photos and words can really not do it justice. The planes get so darn low!

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 takes from from LAX.

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 takes from from LAX.

After hanging out at the In-N-Out, it was time to head over to the other side of the airport: Imperial Hill. It was definitely challenging making sure poles, lines and trees did not get in the shot (it is almost like people do not design infrastructure with spotters in mind), but the views were great.

The planes were exciting, but it is hard to beat talking to other aviation dorks about airlines. I am surely looking forward to next year’s event. Now, it is time to put my energies into Aviation Geek Fest 2013.

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

Here are some additional goodies from the event:
* 43 of my photos of #DorkFest
* Cranky’s story
* Images from @Braniff747SP

If you attended #DorkFest and have photos you want to share, either leave a comment or email me (david@airlinereporter.com) the link and I will add them to this story.