Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 345,636
2013: 330,818

My First Flight on the Airbus A350 XWB

The Airbus A350 waiting to be boarded - Photo: Owen Zupp

The Airbus A350 (MSN002) waiting to be boarded – Photo: Owen Zupp

A flight test program is a finely-tuned schedule, down to the most detailed demonstration, with every minute of flight time accounted for. The deadlines of certification and delivery loom ever-closer as the engineers and pilots continue to put the aircraft through its paces. Still, recently, Airbus was able to somehow wedge a 60-minute flight into their A350 XWB timeline to showcase their newest family member to a media contingent visiting Toulouse for their ‘Airbus Innovations 2014′. I was fortunate to be one of those that flew aboard that flight.

The A350 wingtip with special escort - Photo: Owen Zupp

The A350 wingtip with special escort – Photo: Owen Zupp

The fact that Airbus was prepared to conduct the flight reflects two rather key points. Firstly, that their flight test program is on track and secondly, that they are confident enough in their product to take a load of media scribes aloft. Furthermore, Airbus created specific social media channels for the journalists to share the flight with the world. Consequently, there was a buzz of texting and tweeting as 200 passengers cleared a security channel and filed down the aero-bridge.

The aircraft’s cabin was still in flight test mode, so interspersed amongst the passenger seats were stations of data-gathering equipment, computer screens, and cables taped to the floor. Even so, as one walked through business class and into the economy cabin, there was still that new airplane smell. The interior boasted all of the mod-cons of inflight entertainment systems and even the fasten belt sign was a scrolling digital display. As we all settled in, there was no mistaking that this was a new generation of passenger jet and we were very privileged to take flight.

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AvGeek Tale: Taking My First Flying Lesson

Coming in for a landing - Photo Gr

Coming in for a landing – Photo: Graeme J W Smith

Lunchtime – I arrive at Airport Road in Warwick, having driven past the usual airport entrance and around the end of the field. There are hangars behind the fence, a big “Learn to Fly Here” sign on the end of the large hangar. A trail of little yellow airplanes painted on the sidewalk leads to the school door in the old control tower building. I go through the door. A counter – I’m immediately greeted by a young guy whose name badge said Chris. There are aviation prints, flags from around the world from people who learned at the school, a case with headsets and aircraft models, some seats, and magazines.

We do some paperwork. Chris detects my Scottish accent. He will need to perform a background check on me before I am ever able to solo. A legacy from 9/11. I explain I’m actually an American and produce a US Passport. Clearly this has just saved a ton of extra paperwork. Big smile from Chris. We talk about – what else – flying. My instructor is finishing up with the last student – he will be right with me.

Someone appears through a door telling the person who is clearly a student what they will do next time. I’m introduced to Greg. He snags me a guest headset from the school’s loaner pile, grabs a flight box for an aircraft, and takes me down to the classrooms on the side of the hangar. Each desk has a computer, books, and some aviation print or similar. We sit down at his and go over what is about to happen. We are cautiously sounding each other out. We turn to the computer and get a volume of information from it (don’t worry, it gets easier with time) weather, standard briefing, radar picture, METARS, TAF’s, TFR’s and NOTAMS all written in code and requiring interpretation. I note the website we are using for later study. We do this before EVERY flight. Especially TFR’s – Temporary Flight Restrictions – they can pop up at a moment’s notice and leave you grounded or in big trouble if you fly.

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The Dream has Landed in Vancouver (YVR)!

JAL 18 touches down in YVR

JAL 18 touches down at YVR Airport – Photo: Brandon Farris | AirlineReporter

In what turned out to be a beautiful Monday morning in Vancouver, British Columbia, reporters and the Vancouver Airport Authority greeted the airport’s first scheduled 787 service with Japan Airlines.

Banner welcoming Passengers onboard - Brandon Farris - AirlineReporter

Banner welcoming passengers onboard – Photo: Brandon Farris | AirlineReporter

The conditions couldn’t have been any better for the carrier’s first arrival with the aircraft, as the skies were clear when the pilots flared the nose and gracefully put the aircraft (JA823J) on the ground 15 minutes ahead of schedule, to the delight of many who have been working hard on bringing the 787 to YVR.

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Epic AvGeek Photo: First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Flying Over Mt. Rainier

Boeing shared this photo of the 787-9 flying over Mt. Rainier.

Boeing shared this photo of the 787-9 flying over Mt. Rainier.

Here is a photo of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flying over Mount Rainier during its first flight earlier today. Nuff said.


PHOTOS + INFO: The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Takes First Flight

ZB-001 (N789EX) the First Boeing 787-9, takes to the Sky - Photo: Bernie Leighton |

ZB-001 (N789EX) the first Boeing 787-9, takes to the sky – Photo: Bernie Leighton |

At 11:02am this morning, ZB-001 the first Boeing 787-9, became airworthy as it departed Paine Field in Everett, Washington on its first flight.

Boeing’s inaugural flight of the 787-9 was originally scheduled for 10am Pacific Time, but as is usual for “Boeing Time” there was a few delays.  The weather may not have been as perfect as the flight tests for yesterday’s CS100 flight from Mirabel, but there was no rain, which is always a positive for Seattle this time of year.  With over 10,000 employees in attendance and lots more of the Everett flight line crews watching (plus thousands more watching the live webcast), it was a spectacle that many were anxiously awaiting.

Continue reading PHOTOS + INFO: The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Takes First Flight