Watching the CNN Airport Network at JFK – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz
When I was growing up, I would have long layovers at airports. Typically looking outside at the planes would entertain me, but I also always made sure I had one of the TVs, hanging from the ceiling, in view. I could sit and watch the CNN Airport Network for hours and be good.
It was my mainstay of personal entertainment at the airport for many years. Of course there wasn’t too much competition back then. Today, I rarely even notice the TVs anymore. With having multiple personal devices and free WiFi, the competition for my attention has become fierce.
CNN headquarters in Atlanta
When I was recently making a trip down to Atlanta, I decided to reach out for a tour of the CNN Airport Network operations and learn a bit more about their station and how it works. I also wanted to see how they are working to stay relevant, with all the other options out there. I went in without many expectations, but I have to say I walked away with quite a few surprises.
Bernie standing in front of a Air Koryo IL-62 – Photo: Bernie Leighton
We always love when other media outlets want to share some AvGeek goodness. This story posted today on CNN, written by Thom Patterson, talks about some of the adventures that our Bernie Leighton and others have had chasing old Russian metal in North Korea. Here is an except:
The moment he stepped aboard the North Korean airliner, Bernie Leighton felt like he’d entered a Cold War time machine.
For an aviation enthusiast like Leighton, it was nothing short of thrilling. After years of anticipation, Leighton, a real estate investor, finally snagged a seat on a rare 1980s Soviet-built Ilyushin IL-62 airliner.
Air Koryo’s IL-76 with a Russian made ground-start vehicle – Photo: Bernie Leighton
Patriotic military music filled the cabin. Flight attendants handed out communist propaganda magazines. As Leighton put it, that 2012 flight on Air Koryo airlines from Beijing to Pyongyang was an experience “beyond belief.”
That’s high praise. Leighton may rank among the most accomplished “avgeeks” in the world. He said he’s flown on at least 50 kinds of aircraft and racked up an estimated 2 million air miles.
“The IL-62, by Western standards, was quite old, but it was actually one of the newer planes I flew on while I was there,” Leighton said. Only a handful still fly in commercial service worldwide, he said.
Continue reading Stalking North Korea’s Odd Cold War Time Machines on CNN.com