Friday, July 19, 2019


Southern California made the news earlier this month when we experienced a series of earthquakes. The epicenter was near Death Valley - about halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Even so, we felt several of them here at LAX. The most notable casualty was our ground control radar, which has an antenna that spins about 60 RPM atop a 100-foot tall tower. That much momentum at the top of a tower can cause some damage, so it shut down when a couple of the strongest quakes were felt. The techs had to climb the tower and inspect it, but we had it back a few hours later. We also got some special seismic equipment installed:

Here are your random airplane pictures of the week:

The original Salmon-Thirty-Seven was a B737-400; it's been replaced by this -900

Birds of a feather: A pair of Virgin Atlantics on the move. In the foreground, a B787-9 taxis out for departure to London. Beyond, an A330-200 arrives from Manchester. The Manchester flight is a recent addition at LAX.

Friday, July 12, 2019

July construction update

Earlier this week, a reader kindly reminded me that you're overdue for a construction update, so here we go! The opening shot was taken this morning, looking west from the tower. There's a lot going on, so here are some close-ups:

The southern end of the MSC is getting closer to completion on the exterior

The ramps connecting the parking garages for Terminals 3 & 4 have been completely removed

Progress is being made at the north end of the MSC, as well as at the bottom of the D-10 alley, between Terminal 3 and the TBIT. We have hope that the section of Taxiway D that runs along the north end of the MSC may reopen later this month.

I don't think I've mentioned the D-9 alley, between Terminals 2 & 3, but you can see there is work going on at the southern end of this alley as well.

Some of the most visible progress has been on the Terminal 1.5 project:

June 5

June 14

July 12

Meanwhile, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion in the terminal area, the former parking lot just east of Terminal 1, which I previously told you was going to become the site of Concourse 0, is apparently going to be a new rideshare pick-up area. I believe this is intended to be temporary while the people mover is under construction.

Speaking of the people mover project, another ramp connecting the parking garages between Terminals 2 & 6 was removed a week or two ago:

I had to go back a year to find a shot that happened to include the ramp that's missing in the previous shot

Another recent demolition was the pedestrian bridge that ran between the Terminal 5 parking garage and the terminal. You can visualize where it was by connecting that empty square frame in the middle of the shot with the pieces of plywood atop the parking garage at the bottom of the shot.
No construction here, just a view of the heavy vehicle traffic coming into the airport on the night of July 3. Every road into the airport was jammed for two or three hours. While I took this shot on the eve of the Independence Day holiday, this is a nightly occurrence. The controllers who come in to work the mid shift are often unable to get to work on time because they have to fight their way through this just to get to the tower:

And now, lest you forget that this is really an airport, some gratuitous airplane shots:

Finally, we bid good-bye to TT, who retired at the end of May; and give congratulations to EL and TM, who recently got signed off on ground control. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer time!

An old friend recently got in touch after running across the blog, which made me realize that you're overdue for a new post. As I started working on it, I saw that this is the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. Here in LA, our summer starts with a low overcast, known as a marine layer. Popularly called "May Gray" and "June Gloom," this low layer keeps daytime temperatures moderate but also gives a gloomy cast to photos. Nonetheless, I have a few interesting shots to share:

With the exception of FedEx, we don't get that many MD-11s anymore. Here are two that did pass through recently:

These guys want to make sure that you know who they are!

And these guys want to make sure that you don't!

Several of the Lakers fans in the tower scolded me for taking this shot of a JetBlue Airbus in Boston Celtics colors, so I figured that I was obligated to share it with you!

Friday, May 10, 2019



I thought about calling this post "Before & After" but it doesn't really fit, since today's shots are more accurately described as "Then & Now." In this case, "then" was about two months ago in early March, and "now" is this week in early May. In the opening shot is a United B737 Max that has been interned here for the duration of the grounding of the 737 Max series aircraft. Now we have two of them here:

A couple of months ago, this was the status of the Midfield Satellite Concourse construction:

In this shot taken this afternoon, you can also see that there has been progress on the people mover project between the parking garages. I don't know where all the palm trees went, but they're not here anymore.

Here are a couple of views of the progress on the southern end of the MSC. Notable is the control tower for the ramps and taxilanes. As things stand now, this "ramp tower" will not be staffed by the FAA, but will instead have city employees.

The southern end of the MSC itself has gone from a steel framework in March to nearly dried-in:

This pair of shots looks at the Terminal 1.5 project. Again, we see March followed by May:

Besides all the progress in the hole, take a look at the parking lot just beyond Terminal One. This is the beginning of the Concourse Zero project. I'm not making that up - that's what they're calling it!

And now, for something completely different: 

I grabbed this shot of our ground radar display at a quarter to three in the morning a few days ago. It's somewhat surreal to discover that at the busiest airport on the west coast, one of the top-ten busiest airports in the world, there are moments when there is absolutely nothing moving. No planes, no trucks, no tugs, nothing. The only vehicles at all are the construction crew on the closed runway.