The Blue Angels are known for their high precision, mesmerizing aerobatic shows. What is it like to be around and fly with such an elite group for a day? Simply put: inspiring. Maybe it’s their outstanding skill, balanced with admirable humbleness which is so inspiring, or their thorough understanding of every maneuver that must be made – or perhaps it’s just their snazzy uniforms. Either way, here is your inside look into riding with the Blue Angels.
Low, steep bank in residential area – Photo: Kassy Coan | AirlineReporter
The demonstration flight on the C-130, known as “Fat Albert,” while not on one of the F/A-18 fighter jets, it is still a thrilling flight made of both positive and negative G-forces. I was lucky enough to be invited to a demonstration flight over Seattle this past Friday, during the SeaFair show. The experience forces up to 2G, causing me to feel up to double my weight. The negative-G experience, also known as weightlessness, was (according to the cheers on-board) the best part.
Preparing for flight, we had a briefing of what to expect. On at least three different occasions, I was asked if I get motion sickness and told how to puke in a low-G environment. Pro tip: remember to close the barf bag!
It was exciting, but also intimidating to hear the speed and confidence with which each maneuver was explained. The intensity and timing of every turn, ascent and descent, is planned in advance. While I’ve never gotten motion sickness before, and I’ve always been a roller-coaster junkie, even I was beginning to second-guess myself.
Forklifting this Beaver to its parking spot for the night
Kenmore Air is the world’s second largest seaplane operator, with their main base of operations located just northeast of Seattle (in Kenmore) and just a few miles away from where I live. I have had a few opportunities to fly their seaplanes, but I have always been wanting to take a closer look at their operations and learn a bit more about how they keep their 18 seaplanes going.
Multiple planes are being worked on inside Kenmore Air’s new hangar
When I heard that they just recently opened up a brand-new maintenance hangar, I figured that this would be a great excuse to get a behind-the-scenes tour. I went in, not fully knowing what to expect, but found out quite a bit about the planes, the facility, and the people that make it all happen.
Fresh mini pretzels await packaging
King Nut and Summer Harvest: If you’ve ever enjoyed an airline snack at 35,000 feet and inspected the wrapper, chances are you are familiar with one, or both, of these name brands. They, alongside Peterson Nut Co., make up the King Nut Companies family. As a fan of the airline industry, and the companies that support it, I’ve long been familiar with King Nut, and have spotted their products on numerous airlines. Plus, here at AirlineReporter, we love telling the behind-the-scenes stories of the airline world.
A few years back, I was excited to learn that they sometimes sell direct to the public the same airline-branded snacks I’ve come to know, love, and expect up in the air. I’ve made it a habit to occasionally place orders with them online in order to bring AvGeek-themed snacks to various gatherings; we even had their product at my son’s airline-themed birthday party.
A sack of honey roasted peanuts passes through an X-ray machine
I guess you could say I’m nuts for King Nut (you knew at some point I had to make that joke – figured I should get it out of the way). And while I’m a fan of their products, I never took the time to really learn about what it takes to get these snacks into the hands (and bellies) of passengers.
That opportunity presented itself recently, when I was in the Cleveland area on business. It just so happens that the King Nut facilities are less than a mile from one of my company’s offices in Solon, Ohio. I reached out to Mr. Martin Kanan, President and Chief Executive Officer, to see about a tour and for a chance to learn about their company – he was happy to do so. Sit back, relax, grab some snacks, and prepare to drool over some seriously tasty snackage photos and facts…
Front part of Lufthansa’s special retro livery on the Boeing 747-8I – Photo: Lufthansa
Lufthansa was the first airline to fly the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and now has 16 of the type in service. Over the history of the airline and the 747 program, Lufthansa has been a very good customer. They have operated the 747-100, 200, & 400 (with a good portion of those 747-400s still flying).
The airline, as a whole, has been around since 1926 (in some form or another), during which time they have been through a number of liveries. What better way for an airline to receive their latest aircraft than to paint it in an retro livery?