Around the World

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

Photo Tour: China Airlines Maintenance Facility

Resting in the hangar a Boeing 747-400 undergoes a C-check.

Resting in the hangar, a Boeing 747-400 undergoes a C-check

We recently paid a visit to China Airlines’ (CI) primary maintenance facility, located at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei. The monster facility–which held three Boeing 747-400s and an Airbus A340-300 at the time–is able to perform all standard maintenance regimens from A to D checks, as well as landing gear replacement and painting.

In for a two-week C-check, a Boeing 747 shows signs of care in progress. Each cabin is inspected in detail.

In for a two-week C-check, a Boeing 747 shows signs of care in progress. Each cabin is inspected in detail.

Unfortunately for us (probably good for the airline) their new Boeing 777-300ER wasn’t in the hangar at the time. Being so new, CI is currently only able to complete A-checks on the airplane. It expects to be able to offer up to C-checks by mid-2015, and add service to Panasonic’s IFE system in 2016. Check out our photo gallery and learn more.

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Inside Look: Crew Rest Areas on Different Airliners

The pilot's rest area inside an Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Photo: Howard Slutsken | Airways News

The pilot’s rest area inside an Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Photo: Howard Slutsken | Airways News

Often passengers on long-haul flights do not stop and think about the need for the flight crew to rest. Pilots and flight attendants only have a certain number of hours that they can work, and then they need their time to rest.

Some airlines opt for crew rest areas either above or below the passenger cabin of the aircraft, while others will have crew just use your standard passenger seat.

A crew rest sign means business

A crew rest sign means business – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

We have had a chance to visit quite a few different rest areas and I have to say that one thing that most of them have in common is they are small. They probably wouldn’t be a good fit for those who are claustrophobic.

It is not always easy to get to the rest areas (normally, steep stairs or a ladder), and once you are in, there isn’t always too much room to maneuver. However, what they do offer is a private space, away from passengers, to get some rest.

We wanted to share the number of different crew rest areas that we have visited. Enjoy the photo tour:

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EPIC AVGEEK PHOTO: Three Dreamlifters & a Starship at Paine Field

The Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field. Image: Future of Flight

The Dreamlifter Operations Center at Paine Field. Image: Future of Flight – Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

It is rare to catch more than two Boeing 747 Dreamlifters at Paine Field. It is even more special when one is able to catch three Dreamlifters. But three Dreamlifters and a  Beechcraft Starship (NC-50 / N8285Q)? Oh yes!

On November 10th, that is exactly what happened next to the Future of Flight – Aviation Center & Boeing Tour — and what a view. The Dreamlifters were parked at their new Operations Center and the Starship was at a fund raiser for the Future of Flight.

There are four Dreamlifters that have been built (you might have remember that one recently landed at the wrong airport) and they are modified Boeing 747-400s used to transport 787 Dreamliner parts around the world.

From Buying a Ticket to Walking on a British Airways 747

British Airways Boeing 747-400 at Seattle.

British Airways Boeing 747-400 at Seattle

Although I know many readers of this site are more interested about the flight itself, I tend to be more intrigued with what goes one between searching for a ticket and stepping on to the plane. Odd for some, I know, but I wanted to share my own insight.

My most recent adventure started when I decided to go to Paris (CDG) from Seattle (SEA) for vacation. After some work, I narrowed my dates to flying out on a Thursday so that I could have a full weekend in-country. Last year, I made the same trip on Icelandair and chose that airline mostly on having the lowest fare. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go with the lowest fare this time; I was also interested in the experience, so I decided to start my ticket hunt early. This all resulted with me flying on a British Airways Boeing 747-400 out of Seattle.

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Does the Boeing 747 Have a Future?

The first Boeing 747-8I. But how long will the model last?

The first Boeing 747-8I. But how long will the model last?

There are few who can make a case against the Boeing 747 as the most majestic and beautiful airliner in the sky.  I love the 747 (any variant) for its unique shape and instant recognition; you just won’t find folks lining up to tell you about the classic lines of the A380.  Originally released in 1970, the Queen of the Skies has defined the term “jumbo jet” for multiple generations.  But, despite the 747’s 40+ years as a long-haul mainstay for airlines around the world, is the future of the 747 and its latest variant, the 747-8, in jeopardy?

The Fiero Problem

The issue doesn’t seem to be that the 747 has gotten stale in its old age (in fact, Boeing’s latest version features new engines, a redesigned wing, a fuselage stretch, and advanced avionics; some might argue that Boeing spent WAY too much capital on a plane with so few orders).  Rather, the problem seems to be that other planes have gotten so much better.  This reminds me of that 80’s darling, the Pontiac Fiero, and its cool uncle, the Chevrolet Corvette.

GM and Pontiac built the Fiero from 1984-1988.  A mid-engined, two-seater sports car with sharp (for the 80’s) looks, the Fiero did a lot of things well that the Corvette also was known for.  Although not officially acknowledged by GM as a reason for ending the program, enthusiasts maintain that GM killed the Fiero because it was encroaching on the performance envelope of the ‘Vette, at lower acquisition and operating costs.  Sound familiar?  If you’ve ever flown on a Boeing 777, it should.

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