Friday, July 11, 2008

Blue Tails, part Deux

As I mentioned before, I've been surprised at the number of paint schemes that feature blue on the tail. There are also a modest variety of all-blue or nearly all-blue paint schemes; you'll see a few this time, but that'll be the subject of yet another future post.

Delta had the same basic paint scheme for most of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Then in the 90's, they went through two changes. Now, post-bankruptcy, they're changing again. I don't have any shots of the original scheme, and the first change is pretty rare these days. The shot above shows the two 90's schemes: Change one, in the background, which is fairly reminiscent of the original 'widget' design, and change two (flying flag) in front. The shot below illustrates the flying flag in the background, with the latest leaning widget design in front.

Alaska's navy blue eskimo design looked bigger on the older 737-400's; the newer -700's, -800's and -900's have a taller tail with more white space above the logo. Last time I showed a new Sun Country scheme; here's the more commonly seen blue and orange sunburst scheme, which I prefer - I like lots of color. Alaska: boring (at least this design); Sun Country: good.

Here's a better illustration of the old and new United paint schemes. That's a 757 in the new 'white top' scheme on the runway, while a 767 in the previous scheme waits in sequence.

Another view of Continental's blue tail with the golden globe on a 737 just airborne off of runway 25 right. Looming in the background is the new Airbus A380, on a publicity visit last November. We're supposed to start seeing the 380 in scheduled service here later this year; Singapore, Qantas, and Emirates have all announced intentions to bring the A380 to LAX.

Two big Boeings: A Korean 747-400 on departure roll and an All Nippon 777-300 taxiing out. The 777-300 is longer than the 747; in fact it's so long that it can't hold between the 24's on the most popular exit (taxiway AA) - a restriction that also applies to the Airbus 340-600. When either of these lands on runway 24 right, it has to be started across runway 24 left before the next arrival for 24 right crosses the threshhold. We actually had an operational error last month because an All Nippon 777-300 showed up with a new identifier (B77W) that we hadn't been briefed on; another aircraft landed behind it and rolled to the end of the runway while the B777 was holding on AA. Afterwards, it was determined that the 777 was sticking nearly ten feet into the safety zone for the runway - the incident was classified as a minor runway incursion.

All Nippon's cargo operation is Nippon Cargo, seen here rolling out on runway 25 left - you can tell that it's on landing roll because the thrust reversers are engaged: see the open slots in the engine nacelles compared to the previous picture.

More cargo, in this case a Fedex MD-11 just lifting off runway 25 left.

Another oddball: An Antonov AN-124 climbs away off the south complex. We don't see these too often thankfully, as they sit on the runway for three or four minutes before starting their takeoff roll. I have no idea what they need that long in position for, and none of their crews speak sufficient English to explain it.

A TACA A320 at Terminal 2, sandwiched between an Aviacsa 737-200 and an Air Canada Embraer 190. As I mentioned before, we haven't seen Aviacsa in a while. TACA and LACSA share the same paint scheme (like Lan Chile and Lan Peru), but they do label their aircraft with "TACA" or "LACSA" on the front of the fuselage. It's hard to tell in this picture, but the Air Canada paint scheme is all-over eggshell blue, with a bit more blue shading on the tail around the maple leaf. The Air Canada blue is even lighter than the Korean Air blue seen above. Air Canada also has a version that has a white fuselage with the same blue tail.

Big and bigger, again: An Air France 777-300 and an Air New Zealand 767-300. Air France used to bring in 747's, but nowadays they bring in 777's (-200's and -300's) and Airbus 340-300's.
New Zealand brings in 747's, 767's, and 777's.

Not quite blue, but close enough: Like Air New Zealand, AirTran (callsign: Citrus) has aqua-colored tails, except more so. The engine nacelles on this 737-700 are definitely blue. AirTran, which started out as ValuJet, also operates B717's (nee MD-95's), but they don't bring them here anymore. I did see them daily when I was in Memphis.

ATA is now defunct, but they had a variety of blue-tailed paint schemes, two of which are seen here on a couple of 757's. The upper shot is a 757-300; the lower a 757-200. Midwest (formerly Midwest Express) is another of the solid-blue contingent.

Another extinct operator: Champion had a small fleet of 727's; this was the last one we saw at LAX.

An AeroMexico trio: A better shot of the bare-metal scheme (it's hard to get a good picture of a bare-metal airplane), followed by the all-over paint scheme and a better shot of the AeroMexico Connect ERJ. The pink tail in the first shot belongs to Delta's Breast Cancer Awareness 757.

Alternative paint schemes: The Star Alliance was a international group of airlines that were code sharing and cross marketing. Lufthansa and United were among the members. Here, a Lufthansa 747 touches down on runway 24 right. This paint scheme could be confusing for controllers, as it was hard to tell who the airline was by looking out the window. Fortunately, I think it's being phased out.

I seem to recall that this North American 757 was somebody's presidential campaign visiting LA last December, but I don't remember whose it was.

A corporate 767-200 about to touch down on runway 24 right.

Another corporate airliner, but this one is 'just' a 737. Those stripes on the tail make my eyes hurt!

Another Memphis flashback: I shot this Baron on the Signature ramp about three years ago. It was operated by AirNet Express (callsign: Star Check), who was primarily a check hauler for the Federal Reserve. There used to be a big business flying checks at night, but as the banks transition over to entirely electronic systems, this segment of aviation is fading away. AirNet has diversified by also handling small packages, particularly lab samples. Not all of their planes have blue tails; ala Braniff, they also have red tails and yellow tails. That control tower in the background is the Fedex Ramp Tower.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I want a copt of your aifliner ID chart. So many different models, and such impressive contrast in scale.