A Condor 767-300ER departing Anchorage Airport – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter
Back in May I was desperate to fly somewhere — anywhere. By that time, I had not flown a single mile. Yep that’s right, an AvGeek who flew over 60,000 miles last year alone was sitting at 0 miles until May. I was having major withdrawals and then I saw a fare sale to Alaska.
Last year, during my $100 Challenge, I decided on Kansas City over Alaska. I was determined to tick that missing state off my list, and $200 round trip fares to Anchorage were a steal! So I booked my trip and decided on a weekend of pure plane spotting.
I had heard, read, and seen how good spotting at Anchorage can be and I wanted to check it out myself. The airport sits in view of a massive mountain range providing a great back drop to the aircraft taking off and landing. Adding to the scenic nature of the airport is the fact that it is the crossroads of freight aircraft going between Asia and the Americas. What AvGeek wouldn’t want to spot there?
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – flight test airplane ZB001 – completes its validation flight July 11th, ahead of the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow outside London – Photo: Boeing
You are probably aware that the Farnborough Airshow is going on this week. It is a time where airline manufacturers compete for orders, but also a chance to show off a little aviation porn with flying during the airshow. Typically you get to see these large aircraft flown agressively, not like you see them in the “real world.”
We just wanted to share some of the photos of the first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (ZB001) taking flight over Farnborough – enjoy!
ZB001 takes off from Farnborough – Photo: Boeing
ZK-NZE, Air New Zealand’s first 787 at the Everett Delivery Center. It took 92.5 gallons of paint to create this special livery. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
This morning I was able to take part in a Boeing media event involving a much heralded aircraft: Air New Zealand’s first 787-9. We’ve discussed what the cabin will look like before on the site, but it’s a lot different to see- and feel- it in person.
The tour commenced by taking a look around the airframe outside, but with the caveat that we had to stay within the gate lines of the delivery stall. This meant that I had to get creative with my angles. We could, however, also make use of the balcony of the Everett Delivery Center, which provided some great views.
Windscreen-level with a 787-9. Photo – Bernie Leighton |AirlineReporter
The outside of this plane is amazing, but I was mostly there to check out what was on in the inside. After getting external shots, it was time to head onboard Air New Zealand’s brand new aircraft. A special moment for me as I’ve never even set foot inside a 787 Dreamliner of any flavor before.
The Airbus A350 (MSN002) waiting to be boarded – Photo: Owen Zupp
A flight test program is a finely-tuned schedule, down to the most detailed demonstration, with every minute of flight time accounted for. The deadlines of certification and delivery loom ever-closer as the engineers and pilots continue to put the aircraft through its paces. Still, recently, Airbus was able to somehow wedge a 60-minute flight into their A350 XWB timeline to showcase their newest family member to a media contingent visiting Toulouse for their ‘Airbus Innovations 2014’. I was fortunate to be one of those that flew aboard that flight.
The A350 wingtip with special escort – Photo: Owen Zupp
The fact that Airbus was prepared to conduct the flight reflects two rather key points. Firstly, that their flight test program is on track and secondly, that they are confident enough in their product to take a load of media scribes aloft. Furthermore, Airbus created specific social media channels for the journalists to share the flight with the world. Consequently, there was a buzz of texting and tweeting as 200 passengers cleared a security channel and filed down the aero-bridge.
The aircraft’s cabin was still in flight test mode, so interspersed amongst the passenger seats were stations of data-gathering equipment, computer screens, and cables taped to the floor. Even so, as one walked through business class and into the economy cabin, there was still that new airplane smell. The interior boasted all of the mod-cons of inflight entertainment systems and even the fasten belt sign was a scrolling digital display. As we all settled in, there was no mistaking that this was a new generation of passenger jet and we were very privileged to take flight.
The A350 XWB cabin design ’“ with its smooth curves, flowing lines, innovative lighting, and wide windows ’“ helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere for business class travellers – Photo: Airbus
Recently in Germany, Airbus showed off a potential interior for their new Airbus A350 XWB. They shared the second test aircraft, MSN002 with a partial test interior and mock cabin. Even though it looks impressive, at the end of the day, airline customers will be the ones deciding what finishes will go into the aircraft.
Although Airbus decided to show off a 3-3-3 layout in economy, the aircraft could end up seeing a ten-abreast configuration in the future.
Although the interior of MSN002 gives us a preview, Airbus is planning to fit MSN005 with a full interior which might show more of the robust ideas, like a impressive entry way.
Continue reading to see photos of the interior and descriptions from Airbus…