Long Exposure of STL Airport from across the highway.

Long Exposure of STL Airport from across the highway the evening before STLavDay

Airports across the U.S. are recognizing the value in opening up and partnering with local aviation enthusiasts (AvGeeks.)  We have been delighted to recognize, encourage, and report on this trend. To that end, AirlineReporter recently featured two airports looking to forge relationships in their own unique ways. How can we tell that this is indeed a trend rather than a few random events? Now, even airports known for being aggressive are looking to thaw relations. While this should not come as a surprise to locals or anyone who has recently tried PlaneSpotting in the area, it’s worth stating: The St. Louis airport has a well deserved, longstanding spot in the “AvGeek unfriendly” category.

But the airport’s recent #STLavDay event suggests that may very well be changing.

I told you Boeing Field's airspace was busy. That's a USAF KC-46 Pegasus tanker returning from a test flight and a bizjet taxiing to the right; Galvin's ramp is in the foreground.

I told you Boeing Field’s airspace was busy. That’s a USAF KC-46 Pegasus tanker returning from a test flight and a biz jet taxiing to the right; Galvin’s ramp is in the foreground.

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

I passed the FAA written exam two weeks ago. I’ve never been so excited about what amounts to a B+ on a test. But it was a solid pass, as a 70 (or the equivalent of either a C or C-, depending on where you’re from) is the minimum required.

Those free online practice tests are really helpful for exam prep, but I credit the combination of dedicating tons of spare time to studying, along with all of the knowledge and tips shared by Robin, our most excellent ground instructor.

You can’t just toss the books after the exam, though – keeping on top of this stuff seems to be a never-ending task, as several more exams of differing complexity await, as well as a series of so-called stage checks. These are flight-skill milestones, the first of which is probably the most daunting — stage 1, which, if successful, sets you up to do your first solo flight, and the checkride done with a different CFI for both safety and evaluative reasons.

I am now emotionally ready to try this again — we are going to be moving AirlineReporter to new servers. Last time, things didn’t go so well (I think I used “dumpster fire” to describe it), and hoping that things go better this time.

This means the site might be down here and there and I am not going to be posting any new content until we are all good to go!

Fingers crossed…

UPDATE: That was a long down time, my apologies. The server change actually went pretty smoothly, but just took time. Then life got super busy meaning I got behind in the parts I needed to do. Anyhow, we are back in action and new content coming at you starting Monday the 24th!

The ORY airport fire department during a training exercise

The ORY airport fire department during a training exercise

Behind-the-scenes airport operations tours are almost always amazing experiences, but Paris Orly Airport (ORY) seems to have set the bar for me with this one. Orly is the second-busiest airport in Paris (after Charles de Gaulle Airport), the 11th-busiest in Europe, and is located about eight miles south of Paris.

An Air France Hop commuter flight departing ORY

An Air France Hop commuter flight departing ORY

It’s a proper international airport and the busiest domestic airport in France. It serves 143 cities, saw a total of 33,120,685 passengers in 2018, and its three runways had 229,654 aircraft movements in 2013, which is the most recent year for which records are available.