The three Boeing 747-8 tails all lined up
Last Saturday, I decided to drive around Paine Field located in Everett, WA. I have done it before, but not since I started my blog. I wanted to see what planes I could see and how close I could get before hitting a fence. I was quite surprised with some of the views I found.
I took my camera and iPhone along and took pictures and thought you might be interested in what I saw:
* Great angle to see all three Boeing 747-8 tails lined up
* The first Boeing 727 with old United Airlines livery
* Two Eva Airlines Boeing 777’s
* Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 in special retro livery
The best part, it was all free and anyone can access all the areas I went. The day was gray and rainy, but well worth it. Turns out a Twitter follower, Kevin (@TxAgFlyer), followed the same path on Sunday and got some pretty nice pictures with the sky being blue and purple, instead of gray.
CHECK OUT ALL OF MY FLICKR PHOTOS
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Me, in the engine of a Boeing 777 at the Future of Flight
This year has been amazing. 2009 brought some interesting blogs, a name change, syndication with the Seattle PI, coverage from multiple media outlets, some wonderful friends in aviation, travel around the country and much more.
I started this blog about a year and a half ago just to share my passion of commercial aviation with others. I started with only a few readers and now have thousands everyday. I have enjoyed the wonderful comments on my blog, syndication, and of course Twitter.
Looking back, in January 2009 I only wrote three blogs for the whole month and now, I work very hard trying to get one up daily. The task is not easy; I work a full-time job, own a house, have a wonderful girlfriend, and try to keep a decent social life. But I love following the airline industry and it seems some of you enjoy my perspective, so it motivates me to keep it up!
Next year is already looking great. I am currently working with a few airlines on some pretty cool projects I plan to take on early next year. I will also have a close relationship with the Future of Flight which has already inspired some of my blogs and allowed me to have VIP viewing of the Boeing 787 first flight. I also ask you, my readers, to think of interesting blogs you would like to see!
Now, to my top Airline Reporter blogs of this year. It was hard to choose just five of my favorite blogs, so I changed it to my top six (hey, this is my blog, I can do what I want 🙂 ). They might not have been the most read, but they are special to me for different reasons. Here they are in no particular order and why they are my favorite:
Back in May 2009 I was invited by AirTran to fly from Seattle to Baltimore to go on their special Wi-Fi media flight. This was still at a time where being an aviation blogger was new, I didn’t have a solid direction my blog was going and I had never had an experience like this previously. This event really opened my eyes to the potential of my blog. I was lucky enough to meet Benet Wilson with Aviation Weekly, Ben Mutzabaugh with USA Today, Joe Sharky aviation legend, and many others who are very inspiring writers. The trip really started me thinking big and motivated me to aspire for bigger and original blogs.
What can I say about this? Being there in person on the Strato Deck at the Future of Flight, seeing the Boeing 787 take flight for the first time was absolutely amazing. 10 years from now, I am certain this post will make my “Top 5 blogs in the last 10 years.” Seeing this gorgeous plane lift off, while Boeing employees cheered them on, I felt so lucky to be there. I also got to meet the famous Flight Blogger Jon Ostrower to boot!
I have wondered about row 13 for over 15 years. When I started to think about writing a blog on it in May, it took me five months to complete the write up (and posted it on Friday the 13th). When I started the research, I had no idea where it would lead me. Some airlines had no row 13 because of luck, another because of a canceled Boeing order. It was neat to make connections with many airlines and the fine folks at SeatGuru.com during my research.
It is awesome that my mom has written a few blogs for me. This one was my favorite where she took a look back at what flying used to be like. She didn’t just blame the airlines for treating people like cattle, but realizes that airlines have just been meeting passenger demand for cheaper flying. Her story got put on the front page of the Seattle PI and got quite a bit of attention (something I was a little jealous about). People have really enjoyed reading her blogs and she is working on a few more for 2010!
This one was just fun. I had just bought a car that was in Phoenix and a friend and I were flying down on Alaska Airlines to drive it back to Seattle (it was a great trip). I had just read that Alaska started charging for checked bags, but was giving passengers a guarantee — your checked bag will be at baggage claim 25min or less after the plane reaches the gate or you get a $25 discount on a future flight or 2500 bonus miles. This was a genius idea and I knew I wanted to cover it! It was perfect timing, since I already had booked my ticket on Alaska and I could put them to the test. I started my timer right as the plane stopped at the gate. It took us 15min 18sec to get from row 26 on the plane to baggage claim and the bag was already on the carousel. Good job Alaska Airlines! When I wrote the blog, they were planning to end the promotion at the end of the year, but since it has gone so well, they are extending it until at least July 31, 2010.
Ok, this is kind of cheating because it is not just one blog, but I just love blogging about Ryanair. I know that Ryanair says crazy stuff to get free media attention, but heck, I see it as win-win situation. In July I also gave out my “More Crazy Than Ryanair” medal (which I have more recently changed to “Crazier Than Ryanair”). Oddly I haven’t been able to give it out much since few airlines are crazier than Ryanair. I truly hope they can keep up the good (and crazy) times in 2010.
I wish everyone a wonderful and safe New Year!
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Alaska Airline's Boeing 737-900 (N318AS) with Spirit Of Disneyland II livery
Last Saturday, Alaska Airlines showed off its newest livery, “Spirit of Disneyland II.” Back in 2002 Alaska announced their “Spirit of Disneyland I” livery, which was retired about two weeks ago. Can you tell which one of Mickey’s friends was missing on the first livery?
Because they used a Boeing 737-400 on the first livery, it wasn’t long enough to include Pluto, but since the newest livery is on a Boeing 737-900 (which is about 20′ longer), Alaska was able to include Pluto, re-uniting Mickey and his closest four friends.
The new livery took over 300 gallons of paint, 120 gallons of paint remover (before painting the new livery), and 32,400 feet of tape (which is 108 football fields).
Not only did Alaska show off their new plane, they also flew three “Make a Wish” children from Portland, down to LAX to go to Disneyland.
“When a child with a life-threatening medical condition wishes to meet a Disney character or visit a Disney park, we know that Alaska Airlines and Disneyland Resort are there to make it a dream-come-true,” said Andrew Asato, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oregon executive director. “With donated tickets and passes, as well as extra-special treatment for wish families, these partners have each provided an unduplicated resource to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for more than 20 years.”
Alaska Airlines has supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation since 1985 and provides air transportation allowing about 80 children’s wishes to be granted each year. The airline invites members of the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to donate frequent-flier miles to the Make-A-Wish Foundation through the Charity Miles program. To make a donation of miles, visit alaskaair.com and click on the “Mileage Plan” and “Charity Miles” links.
Hi-Res Photo of new livery.
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The Aviation Geekfest happened at the Future of Flight. Photo by Airline Reporter
The Aviation GeekFest was amazing yesterday. I got there a little early to enjoy what the Future of Flight has to offer. I was treated to seeing a Boeing 737 doing touch and go’s (can you guess what airline will be getting this aircraft?) from the Strato Deck.
It was nice meeting all the other aviation geeks. It is always great to be around other aviation-minded people and talk in length about the airline business.
After grouping up we were able to get a special VIP tour of the Boeing Factory up in Everett. It was hard because we weren’t allowed to bring in cameras or phones on the tour. Most of us are technology geeks and I wanted to pull out my iPhone about two dozen times to take pictures and Twitter, but I wasn’t able to. Harriet Baskas, who was also on the tour and aviation pro, was lucky enough to smuggle out a drawn picture of the Boeing 787 ZA001. After seeing her nice picture I was happy that Boeing was also kind enough to take pictures of our group during the tour (which I included on my Flickr).
The money shot! Our bus got with-in a few feet of the ZA001 Boeing 787 on the flight line. Its strobes were flashing and one engine spinning. Photo by Boeing
Probably the best part of the tour was being able to drive out on the flight line. Normally the tour doesn’t do this, but we were all about 50 feet away from Boeing 787 ZA001. It had its strobes on and one engine spinning. Pretty much aviation geek heaven. I think most people had goose bumps being so close and I REALLY wanted to have my camera right then. The Boeing 787 just looks amazing that close in person and I can’t wait to see it take flight.
We then went into the Boeing facility where we could see the Boeing 777, 747-8, and 787 being built. It just amazed me how Boeing makes it look so simple to build some of the most complex machines in the world. Seeing all the parts and how complex the process is, it is incredible how these machines are able to fly for 20-40 years with almost no issues. Tour guide Mike (also a Airline Reporter reader, HI MIKE!) did an AMAZING job with his tour and left no question unanswered (except “hey, when is the 787’s first flight?” — although it was hinted it might be December 15th now).
It was great looking out and seeing the new Boeing 747-8 being built. Photo by Boeing
Then it was back to the Future of Flight for some awesome pizza from Garlic Jim’s and beer compliments of Horizon Air. Although I didn’t win any of the raffle prizes (two VIP tickets to the 787 first flight, $250 Alaska Airlines gift certificates, an amazing looking model by Custom Models, and more) I was totally ok with that since it was a great event.
They hope to do it again in the future, so be sure to keep out a keen eye for invites (add everyone listed in the previous paragraph and me to your Twitter account to hear about the next event). A special thank you to everyone who made the event possible and I can’t wait until the next one!
* Photos from the event
* Twitters of the event (#agf)
* Video shot of Future of Flight by @chasegallagher
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