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Miles flown for stories
2015: 25,266
2014: 363,407
Total: 946,866

First Boeing 767-2C Takes Flight – First Step Towards the KC-46A

People line up beside the runway at the ever popular "Windsock" at Paine Field on a Rainy Sunday morning.  The 767-2C is just about to begin its maiden flight.

People line up at the ever-popular “Windsock” at Paine Field – the 767-2C is just about to begin its maiden flight

9:40 am on a wet and grey Sunday morning in Seattle saw the first flight of an aircraft with a tumultuous history.  This wasn’t a 787 or the A350, this was a Boeing aircraft that has not had much in the way of press in recent times. However, in the past that was a different story.

The first 767-2C, the prototype that will lead to the beginning of the KC-46 program took to the air for the first time.  With it, over 12 years of history will see the USAF’s new tanker project finally start to fly.

The first 767-2C exits the runway in Everett due to a malfunction in the telemetry control.  It was able to get back to the planned flight departure a few minutes later.

The first 767-2C exits the runway in Everett due to a malfunction in the telemetry control. It was able to get back to the planned flight departure a few minutes later.

 The first flight of the 767-2C is not technically a KC-46 Pegasus tanker, but the first of four aircraft destined for the testing of this unique aircraft.  A hybrid aircraft of sorts,- made up of the fuselage of a 767-200, the wings of a -300ER, and then throw in the cockpit of Boeing’s latest aircraft, the 787, and you have this almost frankensteinish aircraft that will perform, what some think of as, the most unnatural of airborne feets, refueling other aircraft mid-flight.

Boeing’s history, not only with tankers but with this program alone, could fill page after page.  Let’s try and condense it down, shall we?

Continue reading First Boeing 767-2C Takes Flight – First Step Towards the KC-46A

VIDEO: Qantas Retires Their Boeing 767s [60 Minutes]

If you are a fan of the Boeing 767, this video might make you a bit sad.

Qantas Airways is in the process of retiring their final 767-300ERs and the TV show 60 Minutes produced a story following VH-OGG from Australia over to Victorville Airport (VCV), home of probably the most famous airliner graveyard. Many times the main-stream media drops the ball when it comes to stories like this, but I have to admit that they did a pretty darn good job!

VH-OGG first flew at Paine Field on November 27, 1990. It was delivered to Qantas on December 12th of the same year and served with the airline for its entire life — up until now. The aircraft even sported a special Planes livery from Disney on the fuselage for a while.

Continue reading VIDEO: Qantas Retires Their Boeing 767s [60 Minutes]

Tour: Condor Airlines’ Maintenance Facility in Frankfurt

A Condor Boeing 767-300 being worked on in their maintenance facility.

Condor Boeing 767-300ER being worked on in their maintenance facility

With Condor Airlines being a smaller, low-cost carrier, it is not a huge surprise that their on-site maintenance facility at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is quite small (well, in comparison to others like Lufthansa Technik).

Just because the hangar might not have the volume of other locations, it is a place where the job gets done. Ensuring that aircraft are checked and safe is no easy task, but a very important one.

Condor’s facility at FRA is able to work on one Boeing 767 at a time — and they only work on their 767s and 757s there. Condor sublets out the work done on their Airbus aircraft at other facilities around Europe.

Continue reading Tour: Condor Airlines’ Maintenance Facility in Frankfurt

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:

Continue reading Inside Look: Crew Rest Areas on Different Airliners

All The Details of Ethiopian Airlines’ Flight 702 Being Hijacked

 Photo of the Boeing 767 (reg ET-AMF) that could be possibly hi-jacked as flight ETH702 - Photo: Fabrice Clerc | Flicker CC

Photo of the Boeing 767 (reg ET-AMF) that was hijacked as flight ETH702 – Photo: Fabrice Clerc | Flicker CC

At 5:00pm Pacific Time, Ethiopian Flight 702, a Boeing 767-300 (registered ET-AMF) was flying over Sudan when it started squawking 7500. The transponder code, is supposed to indicate a “hijacking.”

Sometimes, pilots accidentally switch to this code or equipment malfunctions. This however, does not appear to be the case. The aircraft can be tracked live via Flightradar 24.

This was hopefully just an error, but this was certainly a deviation from normal flight.

We have reached out to a source who is an aircraft electrical expert and they confirmed that a “7500” code can’t come from a glitch.

The flight, operating from Addis Abba to Rome has been confirmed by Rome Airport not to have arrived yet.  It is currently circling over Geneva Airport (GVA), with a military escort.  Emergency crews are standing by a GVA.

The unusual flight path the hijacked aircraft took prior to its safe landing. Image - Flightradar24

The unusual flight path the hijacked aircraft took prior to its safe landing – Image: Flightradar24

The aircraft landed in Geneva, safely, but with an extremely limited quantity of fuel remaining.

This story will be updated as details emerge.

We will also be live updating via twitter with #ET702

Ethiopian Airlines Press Release: 

Ethiopian Airlines flight 702 on scheduled service departing from Addis Ababa at 00:30 (local time) scheduled to arrive in Rome at 04:40 (local time) was forced to proceed to Geneva Airport. Accordingly, the flight has landed safely at Geneva Airport. All passengers and crew are safe at Geneva Airport.

Ethiopian Airlines is making immediate arrangements to fly its esteemed customers on-board the flight to their intended destinations.

Once the press release went out to the public, the airline recanted it. Shortly it was re-released with minor changes.

UPDATES: 

  • The aircraft now has 20 minutes of fuel remaining (8:45pm PST) via LiveATC.net
  • Reports of one engine potentially flaming out (unconfirmed via LiveATC)
  • Reports of the aircraft being directed to make an approach but not landing until a response is given regarding the word “asylum” (via LiveATC)
  • Fuel warning has been received on the flight deck (Via LiveATC)
  • Aircraft apparently cleared for an ILS approach. What could be a hostage negotiator has been heard on the radio (Via LiveATC)
  • Response to the request will be given by Swiss Authorities on Short Final for landing on Runway 05 (via LiveATC)
  • AIRCRAFT HAS LANDED SAFELY (Via FlightRadar24 and LiveATC)
  • Pilots heard on radio stating they will be exiting via the aircraft flight deck window. (via LiveATC)
  • Airport/Airspace around Geneva is now closed (via LiveATC)
  • Geneva airport remains closed (updated at 10:01PST)
  • Unconfirmed reports the aircraft is parked at the end of Runway 05.
  • Asylum request still pending. (9:33PST)
  • International arrivals into Geneva are diverting to other airports (via FlightRadar 24)
  • “We will disembark our passengers within the next 5 minutes and we will call you back.” Heard over LiveATC. (10:13pm PST) According to John Walton- this may actually have been regarding the arrival of BA723.
  • Geneva Airport now saying that police are still negotiating with hijackers. (10:32pm)
  • As of 10:42pm, there are unconfirmed rumors there is a lone hijacker.
  • Geneva Airport Police confidently stating that no one has been hurt (10:45pm)
  • Swiss Authorities stating that they have arrested the hi-jacker
  • There is a press conference scheduled for 9:00am CET (12:00am PST)
  • Swiss Police confirming that a pilot aboard the aircraft is the individual in custody (10:54pm PST)
  • Signs of life on Geneva ATC are starting to be heard- normal airport operations are expected to resume shortly (10:56pm) (via Live ATC)
  • News from the press conference indicates that it may have been the first officer that hijacked the aircraft (12:16am PST)
  • The aircraft was apparently escorted by two Eurofighter Typhoons (12:20am PST)
  • The co-pilot locked himself in the flight deck and was unarmed (12:27am)
  • Regardless of where the hijacker is tried (either Geneva or Bern)- he is looking at a potential 20 year sentence.
  • Back in 1996 an Ethiopian 767 had to ditch in the water due to hi-jackers and lack of fuel. Fight 961