Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Tails

I've got a friend who lives under the finals, about ten miles east of LAX. A regular plane watcher, he's got a great view from his back patio. A while back, he asked me about a red-tailed airplane that he'd seen. I don't know that I was able to answer his question, but it got me to thinking about how many airline paint schemes feature a large amount of red on the tail. A fair number use blue as well, but that'll keep for another day.

This Airbus 320 sports a special Air Canada scheme; I like it better than their regular one.

A Swiss (formerly SwissAir) Airbus 340-300, pulling into gate 101.

This is Virgin Atlantic's old paint scheme; the new one has different lines and less blue.
Virgin 747's are actually becoming a rare sight at LAX;
Virgin Atlantic mostly operates Airbus 340-600's into LA these days.

Virgin America Airbuses. The new Virgin Atlantic scheme is similar.

Northwest's old and new schemes both feature red tails. Northwest has had red-topped paint schemes for quite some time; the company's origins up in snow country were the impetus: It was thought that a red plane would be easier to spot, particularly in the event of a crash. A lot of Alaskan and Canadian bush planes to this day carry reds and oranges for similar reasons.

All three of these Airbus A330-200's are LTU, a German airline.
I have no idea what 'LTU' stands for.

MD-11's are popular with cargo carriers. The upper shot is of Shanghai Cargo; the lower is Martinair. Fedex also has a lot of MD-11's, but the tails aren't red.

Japan Air doesn't have much color on its planes; what little there is appears on the tail.

Here's a gaggle of 747's, a couple with red tails. In front is a Connie Kalitta freighter, with an Air Pacific (Fiji) sandwiched in between the Qantas in back.

This shot shows an Avianca 767 and a Philippines 747. Avianca only recently resumed service into LAX. Philippines, like Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa, brings in both B747's and A340's.

Two Air India paint schemes. The upper one is the one we usually see; I've only seen the lower one once - As they're only here a few times a week, I don't know if it's a new scheme or a special. That's another Swiss A340 in the background at the recently re-opened gate 123A, which is one of the gates that's been reconfigured to handle the Airbus 380 which is expected to begin service here later this year.

Airlines aren't the only ones who like red tails; this shot, taken at a local general aviation airport, shows a couple of the resident flight school's Cessnas. This particular school's choice of a red tail paint scheme is in commemoration of the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII.

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