The maintenance area for the Miniatur Wunderland airport – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter
Over the years, I have had many people email me, tag me, and in other ways share with me videos of the Miniatur Wunderland airport, which is located in Hamburg, Germany. I enjoyed watching each one and was quite impressed with the videos. That said, no words, no video, no photos, not even this story can come close to convey just how freak’n awesome this place is!
When I was preparing for my recent trip to Hamburg, Lee Zerrilla, was telling me I needed to go to Miniatur Wunderland. I think my initial reaction was, “dude, this where a bunch of old people go to look at train sets?” No. He pointed out that not only was it way beyond just train sets, but this is also the location where all those videos had been taken… I was now very interested and made it my mission to check this place out.
I was set to arrive in Hamburg at about 11:00am local time and didn’t have any media events planned until the next morning. That almost never happens — most media trips are packed full of (mostly) good stuff. I always appreciate having some of my own time to explore the area — and Miniatur Wunderland was #1 on my list. I asked Jason Rabinowitz to tag along, who was also scheduled to arrive somewhat early, and we penciled in to head to downtown. He stated that he had been before, but he was totally down to going again — score!
One of the pilots cleans the windshield of this three-engined beauty
When I got the invite to head to Hamburg for a few days to check out Lufthansa Technik, I was interested. When I saw that part of the trip involved flying on a Junkers Ju-52 that was built in 1936… I was sold.
The Lufthansa Ju-52 sits at Hamburg Airport
Over the years, I have been able to fly on many airliners, but most were built in my lifetime. I haven’t had the privilege on flying on any real classic aircraft like this, and given that it is a three-engined, well-maintained beast, I just couldn’t help but be giddy.
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.
Space Bins in the 737 Configuration Studio – Photo: The Boeing Company
During Aviation Geek Fest 2015, a small number of us AvGeeks (seven, to be exact: me, Mal, Dan, Christy, Michael, Michael #2, and Derek — who didn’t seem to make it into the video, but still was great) were invited by Boeing to preview their new Space Bin design and offer our feedback. It was previously announced that Alaska Airlines will be the launch customer for the Space Bin (first aircraft should be delivered by the end of the year), so as a frequent flier on Alaska, I was very interested to see the overhead bin of the future. (Also, this was probably the closest I will ever come to my not-so-secret dream of appearing in an airline safety demonstration video.)
The Space Bin offers a significant increase in capacity, with each bin holding six standard-sized rollaboard bags, instead of four. According to Boeing, that allows for 194 total bags in Space Bins on a 737-900ER or 737 MAX 9, compared to 132 in the current bin configuration; 174 compared to 118 on a 737-800 or 737 MAX 8; and 130 compared to 90 on a 737-700 or 737 MAX 7.