Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekend update

Well, it's not quite that bad . . . not yet, anyway. As I'm typing this we are nearing the end of day 23 of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government. On Friday, many of the nation's air traffic controllers received paystubs for $0.00. There are many others besides the controllers; TSA agents and the Coast Guard are just two. All of us are working because we have to for the safety of the public, with the promise that we will get paid eventually. Whenever that is.

Meanwhile, nonessential government employees are not at work and not getting paid either. In the past, these folks have gotten paid (eventually) even though they were not allowed to come in to work, but there is no guarantee that will happen again this time. Because they are not required to come in, they could (theoretically) go find temporary employment elsewhere to tide them over, although a few weeks after Christmas is hardly an ideal time to go searching for a job.

In the first full week after New Year's, the traffic at LAX has subsided a little as we head into the winter slump. Our next busy period will be around Spring Break, with perhaps a little bump for Valentine's Day weekend. In other news:

In the wake of the failed acquisition by Icelandair, Wow Air will be leaving LAX later this month as it reduces operations and restructures in an attempt to stay alive. Wow Air will also be pulling out of San Francisco at the end of March. Wow had been running the Los Angeles - Reykjavik route with Airbus 330-200s, but when two of the three they had were returned to the leasing company we started seeing them in Airbus 321s instead. The A321s have to make a fuel stop in Canada before continuing on to Iceland.
Norwegian Air Shuttle was thought to be in danger of shutting down at the end of 2018, but has managed to find the funds to continue operations. We get several Norwegian flights a day at LAX, all in -8 and -9 Dreamliners.

Speaking of Dreamliners, El Al brought this one wearing retro paint through LAX a few days ago

The recent weather in California brought us some unusual visitors when they had to divert from San Francisco. There were others, but these two were photo-worthy:

We get Air China flights everyday at LAX, but not in the B747-8

Likewise, British Airways doesn't normally bring a B777-200 to LAX

And now for some shots that are worth sharing just because I like them:

British Airways is one of the last carriers operating the B747-400 for passengers at LAX.  This one wears a Remembrance poppy on the tail.

KLM is the other regular operator of passenger B747-400s at LAX.

Atlas Air mostly operates cargo flights at LAX, but we occasionally see this passenger B747-400

To wrap up, let's have one more look at that KLM B747 in their new livery. This was taken on Christmas Day from the little park on the top of the hill in El Segundo. That's the Hollywood sign on the far left. The controllers who were on duty that day have yet to get paid for it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


All I'm going to say here is that this is one heck of a way to start the new year.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Last post of 2018

It's almost 2019, but there's just time enough for one more post to wrap up 2018. This has been a busy holiday period at LAX; we've been averaging about 2,000 flights a day for the last couple of weeks. Once we make it into the first full week of the new year, that volume will taper until we spool up for the next busy period around spring break.

The opening shot was taken on Christmas day, which was an absolutely perfect day for photography. My actual target that day was this aircraft:

I have seen the new Lufthansa logo only a few times at LAX, almost exclusively on cargo aircraft. There have been scant opportunities to actually photograph the new logo however, so when I spotted this A340-600 parked on the Imperial Terminal ramp, I made a special trip for these shots.

While it looks nice in an inoffensive sort of way, I personally feel that this new logo lacks the iconic appeal of the former yellow circle. The flying crane logo itself is 100 years old; it was created in 1918 by Otto Firle. The circle of "Lufthansa yellow" was added about 50 years ago in the 1960s by Otto Aicher. The new livery is an unfortunate addition to the "Eurowhite" trend of white aircraft with the only color being on the vertical tail.  Dezeen article

Fortunately, Air Tahiti has not seen fit to follow the Eurowhite trend with their new Dreamliners. We have seen one or two of these at LAX; by the end of next year they will have completely replaced Tahiti's current fleet of A340-300s.

Speaking of new airplanes, the B737 MAX is becoming more common at LAX as more carriers add the MAX to their fleets. Southwest was the first, followed by American. Here we see United, WestJet, and Copa MAX's. United was the first to bring in the -9; now Copa has them here as well.

I couldn't end 2018 without one more round of construction photos:

The southern half of the MSC, as seen from the control tower. In the distance, the new Qantas hangar and, adjacent to it, the new Delta hangar under construction

The northern portion of the MSC appears externally complete

The D-8 alley, now with gate 12B open for business.

Another view of the West Airport Maintenance Area, aka "WAMA"

Before I go, I'd like to congratulate our newest journeyman controller, JP, who passed his final checkride this morning. Now the real work begins!

Thank you for following along with me thus far; my new year's resolution is to be a bit more consistent with my postings in 2019. Stay tuned -- and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 12, 2018

I get by with a little help from my friends

On occasion I'll come up to the tower cab and someone will tell me "Oh check your camera - I took some pictures for you yesterday!" Today's post is courtesy of UR and TT, who took these shots last week.

When I first looked at the opening shot, I didn't catch on. Then I took a look at the next one:

There are just four Boeing Dreamlifters in the world, and LAX is not one of their usual stops. As far as I know, this is the first time we've had one drop in. The late afternoon sun and haze made lousy conditions for photography, but I'm glad UR took one more. How often do you get to see these two types together?

California has been in the news lately thanks to another round of wildfires. As I write this, some two dozen fatalities have been reported. The one small benefit is that we're having some amazing sunsets; TT took these shots:

Thanks again to UR and TT! 

Here in US, we're observing Veterans Day; in some other parts of the world it's known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. Thank you to all of the men and women who have served or are serving in our armed forces!