Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540






Behind the Scenes with Sea-Tac Airport’s Runway Construction

Taxiway Mike at Sea-Tac Airport is closed during construction of runway 16C/34C. - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Taxiway Mike at Sea-Tac Airport is closed during reconstruction of runway 16C/34C – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Last week, I had the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the construction currently in progress on Runway 16C/34C at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA, aka Sea-Tac). The center runway closed on May 4th for a complete reconstruction and is scheduled to re-open October 30th, so the project is already well underway.

At 9,426 feet in length, 16C/34C is Sea-Tac’s second-longest runway, consisting of over 4,000 concrete panels, each measuring 20 feet x 18.75 feet. Needless to say, reconstructing a runway is a huge undertaking, so there was plenty to see on our tour!

During construction, it is business as usual on the other two runways and the open taxiways. - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

During construction, it is business as usual on the other two runways and the open taxiways – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Originally built in 1969, 16C/34C is the oldest runway at Sea-Tac. It was designed to last 20 years, so it has more than done its duty. Upon completion of this reconstruction project, all three of Sea-Tac’s runways will have been constructed or rebuilt within the last seven years. 16R/34L (the hotly-contested “third runway”) was built in 2008, and the longest runway, 16L/34R, was reconstructed in 2009.

“We continue to grow at a tremendous rate and the reconstruction of Sec-Tac’s center runway is vital to serve the demands of our region with progressive steps to improve safety, efficiency and environmental stewardship”, said Mike Ehl, Director, Aviation Operations. “This will bring all of our runways up to modern standards for reliable use for decades to come.”

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Sixth-Annual Copper River Salmon Hootenanny with Alaska Airlines

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

Welcoming a 53lb Copper River salmon to Seattle

In what town do people get up before 4:00am to greet some fish? In the land of the flying fish, of course!

This was the sixth year in a row that I woke up earlier than I probably should to greet my breakfast, which was flying in on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi. Why? Well, it is a special (aka delicious) kind of breakfast; some Copper River salmon.

Also, I  enjoy the fun event that Alaska Airlines puts on each year to celebrate the official start to the salmon season.

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (reg N762AS) arrives to SEA

Why are these salmon different? Well, they like to travel — about 300 miles from the ocean to their spawning grounds and that type of journey requires lots of energy (aka fat). That fat gives the fish its special flavor for which many people are willing to pay a premium.

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For the Birds: Wildlife Management at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

One of 2 Avian radars located at SeaTac.  This one in a ditch at SeaTac adjacent to the third runway.

One of two avian radars located at SEA. This one is in a ditch adjacent to the third runway.

Have you ever looked up in the sky, seen a hawk or eagle soaring, and admired the beauty? Although exciting, the birds can cause major problems for aviation.

The “Miracle on the Hudson” is a prime example of why birds and aircraft do not mix.  But what do airports do to ensure that our journeys, from one airport to the next, are safe? I recently took a tour of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and saw what their wildlife management team was doing to keep both airplanes and birds safe.

A snowy owl is captured at SEA, then released in the upper part of Washington State, near Bellingham - Photos: SEA

A Snowy Owl is captured at SEA, then released in the upper part of Washington state, near Bellingham – Photo: SEA

SEA has been a leader in wildlife management since the 1970s, when they were the first airport to hire a dedicated wildlife biologist onto their staff.  At the moment, Steve Osmek runs the wildlife program at the airport and has done so for a number of years.  Previously coming from the USDA and NOAA, he gets to combine his love of animals and an interest in aviation into on job.  It was Steve who took me around the airport and introduced me to a number of ways that the airport is helping to mitigate bird strikes.

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Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”

Carollers greet families as they deboard the jet.

Carolers greet families as they deboard the jet at the “North Pole”

Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines offered a very special charter flight to the North Pole with VIP guests. Children and families of the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound boarded a specially decorated Airbus A330 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before being whisked away on a quick trip to a winter wonderland.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

The pilots for Delta flight 1225, service from Seattle to the North Pole, check emails before the flight.

Upon arrival, the guests were treated to different games, entertainment, Blitz from the Seattle Seahawks, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and of course Santa, who took some time out of his busy schedule to interact.

We had photographer Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren there to cover the event and afterwards he said, “I have to say that it was one of the heartwarming three hours I’ve had in awhile.” He was excited to share the experience via some photos.

Continue reading Delta Air Lines and Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound Head to the “North Pole”

Flight Review: Checking Out Condor Airlines’ Business Class to Frankfurt

My Condor Boeing 767-300ER on the ground at Frankfurt

My Condor Boeing 767-300ER on the ground at Frankfurt

CONDOR AIRLINES BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS

Airline: Condor Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER (Version 3 SEA-FRA and Version 1 FRA-SEA)
Departed: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Arrived: Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business class
Seat: SEA-FRA 1D then 4A | FRA-SEA 3K
Length: About 10 hours

The Business Class product on Condor's 767s

Business Class product on Condor’s 767s

Cheers: Nicely upgraded product, food that is tasty and fun to eat!
Jeers: Service on my flights was not consistent. Ground operations in Frankfurt were disappointing.
Overall: What an amazing value.

Continue reading Flight Review: Checking Out Condor Airlines’ Business Class to Frankfurt