Around the World

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

John Travolta Comes to Seattle to Celebrate Qantas’ Retro 737 Livery

The Qantas' retro livery on their new Boeing 737

The Qantas’ retro livery on their new Boeing 737

I always love being invited to celebrate a new delivery for an airline, but I wasn’t sure how Qantas might make a 737 delivery special. There have been over 8,000 of the aircraft type delivered and Qantas is already operating 74 737s.

Of course, the big deal about this 737-800 (VH-XZP) is that it is in a retro livery. A livery that flew on the airline from 1974-1981. That is a good start.

John Travolta showed up and celebrated with Qantas

John Travolta showed up and celebrated with Qantas

However, because of all the mindful AvGeeks out there, photos of the new livery have been on the internet for a week. How was Qantas going to make this celebration really stand out?

They were able to use this opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the kangaroo being used as their logo and this month is also their 94th birthday. All great things, but I think overall there were two things that really made this event work: a shiny disco ball and John Travolta.

Continue reading John Travolta Comes to Seattle to Celebrate Qantas’ Retro 737 Livery

Flying High at Ground Level – Checking out Alaska Airlines’ New Flight Simulator

The HUD on Alaska Airline's newest flight simulator

The HUD on Alaska Airlines’ newest flight simulator. Notice Mount Rainier off in the distance on the left.

When Alaska Airlines recently reached out to me, asking if I would like some time in their brand-spanking-new Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, I didn’t know if I should reply with just “yes,” or “hell yes.” (I actually think I went for the latter).

The simulator was so new that it hasn’t been added to Alaska’s training schedule (that will start next week). That was a huge benefit, because it allowed me to experience the simulator for over an hour. I have had the opportunity to be in six other simulators, but typically they are in high demand, so the max time in one is about 15-20 minutes. I was excited to give this one a full-on ride.

Taxiing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The attention to detail was amazing.

Taxiing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The attention to detail was amazing.

Captain Burton, our instructor Dave, PR guru Halley and I had a great time (I felt special that I was given the Captain’s seat). We flew by downtown Seattle, made a difficult approach into Juneau, completed a foggy aborted landing, and more. The only thing Captain Burton wouldn’t let us do is a barrel roll — that’s okay, but I had to ask.

To learn more and follow along with my simulator adventure, check out the full story (with more photos and video) on Alaska Airlines’ new blog. When you are done there, you can also check out more photos of the simulator and Alaska’s flight operations center on our Flickr.

Continue Reading Flying High at Ground Level – Checking out Alaska’s New Flight Simulator

SilkAir Welcomes the Boeing 737-800 into its Fleet

A side view of Silk Air's first 737-8SA. Photo - Bernie Leighton AirlineReporter.com

Side view of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737-8SA – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

February 21, 1989 was an important day for Singapore Airlines. On that day, their regional affiliate Tradewinds Airlines took off using MD-87s for previously unserved Southeast Asian destinations like Bandar Seri Begawan.

Tradewinds continued until 1992 when it was renamed SilkAir. If you have not noticed, it is almost February 21, 2014. In other words, we are quickly approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of SilkAir. On top of that, this is also the Chinese Lunar New Year period. There is a lot to celebrate at SilkAir. Most of all, the delivery of their first Boeing 737-8SA.

A Chinese Lion Dance to bring in the new year and celebrate a new era of SilkAir.  - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

A Chinese Lion Dance to bring in the new year and celebrate a new era of SilkAir – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

SilkAir is celebrating a lot of firsts with delivery of 9V-MGA (internally referred to as “my great aircraft”). Their first 737 NextGen, their largest aircraft order (54 frames), and their fastest year-on-year fleet growth (they are accepting eight frames this year).

Continue reading SilkAir Welcomes the Boeing 737-800 into its Fleet

PHOTOS: Alaska Airlines to Debut Special Employee-Celebrating Livery

FlightAware Photo
Photo Courtesy of FlightAware.com

Behold this special Alaska Airlines livery seen on a Boeing 737-800 (N568AS) by Leland Schmit at Paine Field yesterday. No, this is not a new livery for Alaska, but is, “a new special scheme dedicated to our employees,” Alaska explained via Twitter.

It has sweeping lines (that look quite a bit like New Zealand’s old livery) that says, “Employee powered,” on the rear of the fuselage. Although simplistic, I have to say that I like it — especially the blue/green gradient on the engine nacelles.

Continue reading PHOTOS: Alaska Airlines to Debut Special Employee-Celebrating Livery

Video: A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 Gets a Fresh Paint Job

This time-lapse from our friends at Jet Midwest offers a rare glimpse into the plane repainting process from start-to-finish. The clip begins with a Sun Country Boeing 737-800 (N804SY) landing at Kansas City International Airport. After a fast and furious time-lapse of less than five minutes, we witness what could easily be mistaken for a brand-new plane heading back to its home base in Minneapolis, MN (MSP).

At first, you see that the paint is noticeably weathered but still beautiful in its own right. In fact, I contend that the 12 year-old paint job, as-is, was arguably more attractive than a brand-new paint job with most of the larger airlines who sport “Eurowhite” liveries (can you tell that I do not like bland liveries?)

BONUS: Lost Airline Livery: An Orange Donbassaero Airbus A320

The paint scheme that Sun Country planes sport is what many AvGeeks would refer to as a “jelly bean” livery; i.e. at the very minimum, a brightly-colored plane. There is however some dissent in the community that argues a true “jelly bean” requires that each plane be slightly different, for example the historic liveries of Braniff seen below.

Continue reading Video: A Sun Country Boeing 737-800 Gets a Fresh Paint Job