Browsing Tag: Flight

Gogo's 737-500 N321GG, a.k.a. the "Jimmy Ray" - Come fly with us!

Gogo’s 737-500 N321GG, a.k.a. the “Jimmy Ray” – Come fly with us!

UPDATE: Entry for the contest ended on Wednesday, February 17th. Stay tuned for the announcement of winners and to follow along with us on the big flight!

This is big. Really big. The biggest giveaway we have offered at AirlineReporter. How would you like to fly on Gogo’s own private Boeing 737-500 (named “Jimmy Ray”) on March 13th? Oh heck yes you would!

Gogo uses the plane to test their awesome technology (many of you have probably seen/used their in-flight WiFi). It is decked out in a VIP configuration and two of our readers can see for themselves by winning a free trip from Chicago to Austin — where SXSW will be going down.

Our Johnny Nguyen got to fly on the plane a while back and I loved watching his experience — I wanted to fly on it too. Join me, JL Johnson, and Dave Delagarza on this very special SXSW party flight. Keep reading to learn more and enter our contest!

The vintage 1952 Grumman Albatross

The vintage 1952 Grumman Albatross – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

“Do you have time this week for a flight in a 1952…”

“Yes.”

“What time do you have ava……”

“I’ll make time available. Just grab me a seat!”

That’s pretty much the conversation I had prior to the 2015 APEX Expo, where Global Eagle subsidiary Row 44 had its Grumman Albatross on hand to give demo flights throughout the week. Naturally, when offered the chance to hop on board for one of the flights, I made it my business to be available.

The classic controls - Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

The classic controls – Photo: Jason Rabinowitz

Global Eagle is the in-flight internet provider to a few major airlines in the United States, including Southwest Airlines. While its satellite equipment is installed on hundreds of commercial aircraft, an aircraft it can call its own is necessary to constantly test the service and upcoming products. While our friends at Gogo now have a 737 to call their own, Global Eagle kind of went the other way on this one. Its test aircraft is this wonderful old Albatross. What better way to test the future of in-flight connectivity than with a half century old twin–radial engine amphibious flying boat?

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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.

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.