Thursday, May 27, 2010

I just had to share this first photograph of the new Swiss Airlines 340 (reg. HB-JMJ). It is an old plane repainted to promote their new destination, San Francisco, CA.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Delta Pink Plane

Delta is releasing a 767-400ER (registration N845MH) painted pink and white in order to spread the word about breast cancer research. The plane will be ready on May 25 and will be flying to Australia's Melbourne international airport. It will make its maiden voyage on October 29. Delta has been doing this since 2005 in order to raise Breast Cancer awareness, and has since raised billions of dollars - $1 million in 2009 alone. Delta will also be selling pink lemonade on their flights, flight attendants will don pink accessories and will encourage passengers to support the cause as well.

The photograph above is of the previous years' pink plane. The new 767 will be replacing this 757 so that it can make an appearance internationally. This year's plane looks a bit different, and although it has not yet been painted, it is expected to look like this:

 It looks great! I can't wait to see it, or perhaps to even fly it to Australia. Its design is a bit different than previously but I think it'll look good.

Ajira Airways

Ajira Airways is the new way to fly!

Get lost in the world with groundbreaking promotions like Destination: Destiny that keeps your flight destination a mystery until you get there. We’re changing the way people think about travel - this isn’t vacation, this is your life... escaped. Let us deliver your destination by revealing your destiny.

 Each & every flight costs only $87 and Ajira features awesome destinations for you to spend some time getting lost in the world and in yourself. Right now, bookings are tight, but hopefully you'll be able to grab a good deal. Want to know what you can do with Ajira?

  • Australian Walkabout!
  • Polar Adventure!
  • Island Adventures!
  • Swimming with Sharks!
  • Excavations: Ruins!
Sounds like an awesome time, no matter where you go. They even have their own types of planes, as you can see from the picture. Looks like a Boeing 747-ERTXL, created JUST for Ajira. Hop on and see where it takes you...

Tail Strike

It has been a few days since I've last posted, but a lot has been going on in the aviation world.

I want to share this picture of a tailstrike that occurred in Sydney. A United Airlines 747 on its way to San Francisco impacted the runway upon takeoff. The plane got to 8000 feet, dumped fuel, and safely returned to the airport.

Pretty astonishing that someone captured this actually happening.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pamir Airways Knew About Faults...

As I briefly reported yesterday, an Antonov An-24 crashed into the mountains not too far from Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday the 17. Three of the individuals who were likely killed are from the UK, and for some reason, news sites are differentiating this from the rest of the passengers for some reason. I don't know why they are more noteworthy than the other 41 people who perished.

Regardless, the airlines had had complaints just weeks before by other passengers on the same plane. Pamir Airways simply dismissed these concerns. The plane had been delayed due to poor visibility and weather. Despite this, the pilots invited a passenger into the cockpit. There are also reports that a transponder had not been installed in the cockpit and this, amongst other basic equipment, could have prevented such an accident, or at least could have sped up the recovery process of the plane.

NATO sent recovery efforts to the last known position of the planes; however, due to the notoriously treacherous mountain locations, the team had to turn around. Heavy fog and snow and of course the Hindu Kush mountains made it nearly impossible for the search team to see anything.

The Antonov An-24 is around 60 years old, and an updated model is still being updated. These planes are only used in developing countries and are cheap and easy to maintain, though they do not feature more modern functionality. The An-24 was the only one that Pamir Airways had; they now operate a fleet of 5 planes - all variations of a Boeing 737 (likely a much safer alternative).

Pamir Airways has been in service since 2005, and has since served thousands of pilgrims to and from Afghanistan.

Pamir Airways, which literally translates to "roof of the world."

To the right is a photo of the 737 with the Pamir livery - it's actually quite pretty. 

Pamir denied that any complaints had been made and statements made declared that no one extra would have fit in the cockpit alongside the two very capable pilots. However, the Afghanistan ministry of transport continues to be short-staffed and does not have all of the appropriate resources to enforce some of the most important regulations. It looks like that it is likely that Pamir will not be penalized for these allegations.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

United Airlines Flight 27

Recent Plane Crashes

It has not been looking too good for Eastern European flying lately (though when has it ever...?) The Ukrainian company, which has the largest operating airplane in the world (An-225) has had several accidents. This comes not long after Polish officials perished last month when a Tupolev model Tu-154 crahsed on landing. 96 other people died on that flight.

Antonov 225 prop plane

According to, an An-24B on its way to Kunduz Airport crashed over the mountains in Salang pass, Afghanistan. It was operated by Pamir Airlines and on Mar 17, 2010 at around 9:30 in the morning, all 43 were killed when the plane went down, perhaps due to fog, over a mountain pass.

Just two days prior to that on the 15th of May, an An-28 operated by Blue Wing Airlines and carrying 8 passengers and crew, crashed in the woods over Suriname.

The Tu-154 has an "average" safety record, but has been involved in 66 serious accidents; 6 of which have been a result of terrorist activities. Those are frightening statistics. Aeroflot, which is generally pretty reliable, retired them all from service as of January 2010, a smart move in my opinion.

If you have ever seen the show Air Crash Investigation, there have been many survivable plane crashes. I can't recall where I read it, but generally, most plane crashes (41% perhaps?) occur on take off and landing, but they are also the most survivable, which is good news for us. There was one episode in which a New Zealander managed to survive because, as he explained it, he was in the head down position putting his shoes back on. I wish it were as simple as that. I don't think I will be flying in Russia, Poland, or the Ukraine anytime soon, however. Just to be safe.

tupolev tu-154

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lufthansa's new A380

May 19, 2010 - Lufthansa Airlines is getting a special delivery today: an Airbus A380-800. Named "Frankfurt am Main," which was first tested in October of 2009, it will fly from Hamburg, Germany to Frankfort. Lufthansa is the fifth airline to operate the A380 and with 15 more on order, is expected to become the largest carrier of the plane.

Lufthansa recently held a contest in which customers could name the next A380 to be delivered. The winning name was "Lady Bee." Lufthansa offered one million miles to the winner of the contest. Personally, I think they could have chosen something more clever or more flattering for the plane; however, it is pretty cool that they have given the general public a say in what to call it.

500 passengers and 22 crew will be present on the maiden voyage, leaving 4 seats empty. Lufthansa apparently went even further to "include" passengers in their experience on board and are boasting new and exciting features on-board their A380 (although mostly for first-class passengers, naturally). In addition to a relaxing and subtle decor, first-class passengers can enjoy a curtain for which they can decide how much privacy they would like from the rest of the plane. These curtains block out noises from the cabin, as well, which is a nice luxury in an already much quieter plane. There are also bigger beds, a better air conditioning system, and ambient lighting. Finally, first-class passengers are also given a lockable closet rather than overhead storage bins. They have, of course, showers as well. A bit excessive, perhaps, but it is nice to have these options if you can afford them, I suppose.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Ok, so I have been talking a lot about the Airbus A380 in the last few days. I was getting very dismayed as every opportunity I have to see it, I somehow miss out. I went to Inwood park here in the 5 towns last Monday, and was excited to snap a photo of AirFrance's 777. That was before I realized that it was flying instead of the A380 that day on the 3:45pm AF6 flight, which flies in daily. It is, however, a pretty cool plane, and here's a picture that I took.

While it is a very nice plane, it was not the one I wanted to see.

Last evening, I was at my parents' house in Baldwin, and by chance my mom invited me outside. I looked up upon hearing the roar of airplane engines and it was clearly a 4-engined plane. I could easily make out the AirFrance tail design. So I pulled out my phone, checked what had just taken off from JFK and alas, it was the Airbus A380, returning to France. Another missed opportunity.

Then, today, my day off from work - the A380 would be flying! We went to Inwood park at 3:30pm and realized the planes were taking off that way, so we would never see the 380 landing there. We had to find another place to plane watch. We ended up sitting in traffic to get to North Woodmere park with just seconds to spare and end up on Brookville Blvd, pulled over on the dirt to get the following photos. I could have gotten better ones had the camera decided to focus, but I didn't have enough time to do it manually. So, here is what I'd been waiting for:

Coming in for the landing.

Such an awesome plane...

In all its glory.

Now I just can't wait to see the Emirates 380 in October!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Emirates to fly A380 to JFK again!

Two days ago on May 13, Emirates Airlines announced that due to increased demand, the Airbus A380 will fly to JFK again! This is just after I posted how disappointed I was that it didn't fly here anymore. However, this does come just weeks after potential terrorist Faisal Shahzid boarded an Emirates plane despite being on a no-flight list. Mr. Shahzid purchased the green SUV that was found in Times Square on May 4. Anyway, Emirates will fly beginning in October.

Emirates currently has 8 A380s and has 50 more on order. That's just insane. And, just in case you didn't know how luxurious of an aircraft it is inside, take a look at these pictures:

This is the first class bathroom on board. With a shower. With two showers, in fact. There is also a spa, a lounge, work benches for business class, the seats, naturally, fold into beds, and there is a minibar. Plus power points everywhere. That's in first class, where you also have your own private suite. It clearly has every luxury you could possibly imagine that high in the air. The plane is also amazingly quiet for such a big machine. I usually end up falling asleep, like, as we're taxiing away from the runway so I'm usually pretty happy with a just a window seat.

The first A380 that Emirates acquired has 489 seats, with economy having 399 seats. The upper level of the plane has 14 first class seats and 76 business class seats. I cannot wait to get onto one of these things, and hopefully it will be soon - I flew on the Qantas 747 last year to get from Brisbane, Australia to Los Angeles, CA and I flew in business class, which was awesome. Outlets was probably one of the best features because I could watch whatever I wanted to without worrying about losing battery. Also, the inside of the plane had cute koala and kangaroo designs, which was a nice touch. The flight attendant also helped me get to sleep, as I got free alcohol. Which is always a plus.


Well, I am a happy camper, because with JFK's construction on their runways, they were only landing the planes on certain runways, and they are not meant to reopen them until June, according to some sources. Nevertheless, I saw some planes flying on the old flight paths this morning (I live very close to the airport and love watching the planes). Here are some photographs I've taken, basically in my backyard.

airberlin a330

Iberia a340 - One of my favorite planes

Not sure what this guy is...but my guess is a330?

Finally, a BritishAirways flight, over the Lawrence LIRR train station.

More pictures to come.

What... no... Airbus A380

Well, I have been looking for this elusive plane since it started flying to New York's JFK airport on November 20, 2009. I've gone plane watching, and I've seen it, but only fleetingly and only when I have not had a camera of any kind. Once I saw its tail 5 minutes after leaving a location that would have given me an amazing view of it. I once saw it fly over the local dollar store, and stopped in the middle of the parking lot, for a short view of it. Then, I saw it once (and have blurry photos) of it flying in the distance, about to land at JFK. Just by chance did I snap a couple of photos. Then, when I was at the right place at the right time, Air France changed the equipment to a 777 that day. I don't think I will ever see it.

If I were living in England, however, I guess I would just take up Air France's awesome £80 deal to fly from Heathrow to Charles De Gaulle. $150 bucks to fly on this thing? I'd totally do it. They are also offering business-class seats for £250 The thing can seat more than 500 passengers, and they are flying it on a short haul route (215 miles). How about a JFK-BOS A380 route, guys? Evidently, AirFrance can justify using the A380 on this route, because it's pretty busy. Emirates had an Airbus A380 flying from Dubai to JFK as well, but due to the lack of demand, dropped it in early 2009, replacing it, again, with a B777. I can't wait to see which US carrier uses the A380 first (if it ever happens) but my guess would be for Northwest, or with this new Continental/United merger, perhaps they will acquire the $300m+ plane. Right now, only four carriers have at least one: Air France, Emirates, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines.

Just because, here are some of my (horrible quality) pictures of the A380. These were taken in Woodmere, NY, coming in for a landing at JFK.

One day, Airbus A380, I will get you.

New Swiss Airlines Livery

There is lots of buzz in the forums about a new plane design that Swiss Airlines is releasing on its 340 to San Francisco. It's a colorful design and clearly reflects San Francisco's "hippie" background. I personally love it, and appreciate seeing different designs on airplanes. As a somewhat avid plane watcher, it gets pretty boring to see one Delta plane over and over again, so anything new is exciting. Anyway, here are some photographs of this awesome design that won, as well as the alternatives that were offered to "20 Minuten online," a Swiss online newspaper. And the winner is:

As you can see, it's a fun design, with eyes over each door (and one poking out at the back!). Notice that it says "Zurich" right behind the wing as well. I think this one stood out as compared to the other candidates which were as follows:

Although I do like the flowers, I think the color combinations in the first alternative are horrible, and the second one is just ugly. Unfortunately, since I am on the East Coast, I will probably never get an opportunity to see this awesome plane, but I can't wait to see photographs on

Friday, May 14, 2010

Most Generous Airlines

The merge of Continental and United Airlines is likely to create the most "generous" airline in terms of frequent flier miles. Apparently, Continental awarded free tickets 71 percent of the time in response to requests, and United 69 percent of the time. The first place airline: Southwest Airlines with a whopping 99% of free tickets granted upon request. That being said, Continental is facing its own issues right now, with the FAA threatening to fine the carrier $325,000 after flying a B737 at least 12 times without repairing faulty landing gear, which was known about.

Continental actually came in second place last year in terms of customer service. United was at the bottom of the list. They were ranked based on in-flight services, costs and fees, reservations experience and other services. However, neither Continental nor United made the list of best domestic airlines. We'll see what happens with this merger in the near future. Flying with broken wheels is probably one way to not make the list.

Take a look at the new plane that United and Continental will have as a result of the merge. Personally, it is kind boring, but it's a decent looking design.

Afriqiyah Flight 8U771 Crash

Everyone has heard of Afriqiyah Flight 8U771, in which a plane flying from Johannesburg, South Africa crashed prior to landing at Tripoli airport in Libya on May 12, 2010.

The sole survivor of this accident was a 9-year old Dutch boy called Ruben van Assouw. The plane was an Airbus A330.

It is unclear what exactly caused the crash; however, the plane was banned to fly in Europe as it did not pass necessary safety regulations. This is one of the dangers of flying in Africa. According to reports, planes are frequently shot down by rebels, bombings and hijackings are common, and pilots drink alcohol in the cockpits. Surprisingly, the crew and pilots seem to expect disaster and react nonchalantly when incidents do occur. According to one article, when a window burst inwards, an attendant "sauntered over" and simply pulled it back in.

There are, however, African Airlines with a relatively safe record. Qatar Airways is of the best, with a decent sized fleet (83) Emirates, of course, and Tunisair. So stick with these carriers when flying in Africa!

There have been many incidents in which only one passenger has survived. One, in particular, struck me: Northwest Airlines Flight 255, in which a MD-82 (reg. N312RC) crashed due to the pilots forgetting to extend the flaps properly. This occurred in 1987. One 4-year old girl survived and has since graduated from the University of Alabama. A website was created in honor of those lost in the accident, and I direct you have a look at it: Flight 255 Memorial. The image to the right is the site of the crash, and came from the memorial site.