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Likely my favorite C172 in Galvin's fleet

Likely my favorite C172 in Galvin’s fleet

This is a continuation of my multi-part series on learning to fly. You can read the whole Fly With Francis series here.

March 20 marked the one-year anniversary of my having started flight training; my first ground-school class was already more than 12 months ago.

Deciding to pursue a pilot’s license has been, simultaneously, the most fiscally-irresponsible thing I’ve ever done, and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ll leave that to the reader to reconcile; I’m totally OK with the decision.

Progress has been sporadic, mostly due to a particularly bad winter with consistent low clouds that precluded flying and resulted in dozens of cancelled training flights. On the upside, now that spring is here, I’ve started to make progress again, although COVID-19 holds the potential for future disruptions. Our governor here in Washington state was kind enough to declare flight training to be among the exempted activities during the lockdown (at least for now).

Since my last post, I’ve completed both my day and night cross-country flights with my instructor, have been working a lot on navigation and flight planning, and now have returned to practicing basic maneuvers to kick off the rust from a winter’s worth of very little flying.

Plane Talking with mom podcast
For years, I have been told that AirlineReporter needs to do their own podcast. Sigh. Why? I just couldn’t imagine adding on something else. Having to get guests, come up with scripts, and the worst part — editing the audio! I have often asked our writers if they might have an interest, but no takers. Well, I am finally giving in and I have created our very first podcast, called Plane Talking with Mom. So what makes this podcast different?

#1 I talk about airplanes with my mom — 100% exclusive. No one else has my mom talking about planes.

#2 I am not editing crap (and you can tell). You get everything. All the “ums” and “uhs,” the mess ups.

#3 My mom doesn’t even like airplanes. So many podcasts have experts or at least people who are interested in talking about the topic. Booooooring. Hear directly from a person who might care the least, and doesn’t even like to fly.

Some reviews are already in…

“It was interesting… at least you and your mom had a nice time” – My Wife

“(It’s) purrr (fect)” – My Cat (aka #A380cat)

“What… I… listened to is… the… nice… podcast… will… listen… again” – My Friend Nick

“The combination of airplanes, birds, and moms is a real winner. A++” – David P Brown

Give it a listen… it is the best podcast we have ever done!!! Oh yea, it is not actually up at any of the places you normally listen to podcasts, so you just have to listen to it via our site.

So… what do you think (remember my mom will be reading the comments too)? But before you make any comment, make sure you listen to the end…

A TWA, featuring the Boeing 707, ad seen in The Saturday Event Post in 1959

A TWA, featuring the Boeing 707, ad seen in The Saturday Event Post in 1959 – Image: Jeremy’s Collection

I love looking back at old airline advertisements that promote a new type of aircraft that will soon become the flagship of the fleet. We are talking about the iconic birds of yesteryear; like the Lockheed Constellation, Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and Lockheed L1011. However, there was one aircraft that let the world know that your airline has arrived (literally and figuratively): the 747 Jumbo Jet.

Before I continue, let’s make sure we are on the same page about the definition of “flagship.” I really hate it when people just say “well, Merriam-Webber defines <insert word here> as…” because it is just a super lazy way to get your point across. Whatever, it is really easy to do it that way…

flagship
noun
flag·​ship | \ ˈflag-ˌship  \
1: the ship that carries the commander of a fleet or subdivision of a fleet and flies the commander’s flag
2: the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things (such as products, stores, etc.) —often used before another noun

In AvGeek terms, the flagship is often the coolest airplane that they have that will make passengers think “golly gee, that is a swell plane and I want to fly on it, I am going to take that airline” (I actually tried to make that sound sarcastic, but that is how I legit feel when I am looking for flights).

 

With so many airlines moving to smaller aircraft (B737, A320, E-Jet, and A220) and operating aging fleets (B767,B 757, A330ceo, etc), what aircraft do they see as their flagship today? I found some that were pretty obvious, and others that had me scratching my head. I am making my best guesses based on the information that airlines put out there to the public, so I might be wrong. With one or two, I am pretty sure that I am wrong. Let me break it down by airline, let you know what I found, and you tell me if you disagree.

Austrian Airlines DO&CO dining

Even at ground level cooking a fancy meal can be tricky. That’s why I’m so amazed by the delicious meals I’ve had while speeding at 600 miles per hour miles in the sky in a narrow metal tube. The fact that airlines can make restaurant-quality meals happen under those constraints — at least in premium cabins — is pretty awesome.

Probably the best food I’ve had in the skies was aboard Turkish Airlines, which relies on an Austria-based company named DO&CO to deliver its “gourmet entertainment” in the skies. So of course Austrian Airlines, which also uses DO&CO for premium cabin catering, has been high on my list ever since. I finally got the chance to fly ’em and try ’em. What did I think? Read on to find out!

Austrian Airlines 767 business class cabin