Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sports fans

Some of you may have heard about a little sporting event coming up this weekend in Tampa, Florida. Featuring the Arizona Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Superbowl is the biggest thing in American football. We see some sports-theme paint jobs pass through LAX, along with various visiting teams. Most of this has nothing whatever to do with the Superbowl, but then I'm not a football fan:

The favorites this year are the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have several Steelers fans in the tower, and they can't seem to let us forget it.
I apologize for the quality of this shot, but this was the one and only time I've ever seen this airplane in LA.

This US Airways Airbus sports the logo of the Arizona Cardinals, the underdogs in this year's Superbowl. Out of sheer contrariness, I hope they kick @$$!

The Philadelphia Eagles lost out to the Cardinals this year.
The Steelers beat somebody else, but I don't have a picture of an aircraft featuring that team's logo.

The sports motif isn't limited to football.

Nor is it limited to professional sports. (Is there a Texas A&M plane? I haven't seen or heard of one, but then Aggies in airplanes . . . )

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

View from the tower

Earlier this week, somebody asked me the title of the blog, and that's today's theme: Views from the tower. All of these shots are from the tower, with no other particular topic other than I think they're neat pictures. Enjoy!

We get to see some incredible sunsets over the Pacific.

A while back, I mentioned that Cathay Pacific had started bringing B777's to LAX. This is the only shot I've got of one so far, and they seem to have gone back to all B747 service here.

I never get tired of this view: All those pinpoints of light are airplanes on final for LAX.

This month's full moon rising. The standing lenticular clouds are an unusual sight here, and indicate some strong winds aloft.

Northwest 2, in Delta colors, has just arrived on runway 24 right. That's Santa Monica bay and Malibu in the background.

The full moon setting in the west. In the second shot, the moon is behind a cloud bank, but the reflection can still be seen on the water.

A fallen soldier comes home.

A couple of smoky pictures. In the upper shot, there's a fire on the back of one of the hills, creating a smoke cloud above the ridge. Santa Ana winds pushed the smoke offshore, creating the waves seen in the second shot.

A couple of sunrise shots.

Another early morning arrival, with downtown LA in the background.

Nighttime views of Terminal One and Terminal Four.

Outside of a control tower, you're not likely to get to see a B757 from this angle.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just call me Anthony

It's Monday in my world, so for today's edition I'm serving up a recap of my weekend. No more cat attacks, so overall it went well. Despite my still sore paws, I did manage to get some chores done:

The roses got their annual winter pruning. This reduced some of them from nearly six feet tall to less than half of that. I also cleaned up a lot of the underbrush that some of them had accumulated with low lateral canes and suckers. The resulting plants look denuded in comparison to what they were, and it took four trips to the dumpster with my muck bucket to clean up all the detritus.

The next day I spent puttering about in the hangar, doing some work on the Baron and some general cleaning up. About a year's worth of stuff I'd accumulated for Goodwill got loaded into the back of the Rover and delivered. Goodwill, I learned, will not accept used computer printers - even if they're still packaged in their original boxes with manuals. So those went to the electronic recycling place near the airport. While I was there, I saw a huge warehouse, easily the size of a Costco or Super Walmart, filled with pallets of old computers, monitors, printers, and TVs. All of it now destined to not end up in a landfill somewhere. As an aside, a developer in the LA area is now developing a site that was once a landfill. Apparently the hundred acres of real estate with about a half-mile of freeway
frontage was too valuable; they're now reclaiming about half of the area for development. What was once a large hill has been reduced to grade level. I wonder where it all went . . .

And yesterday, after having lunch with a friend and giving him his overdue Christmas present, I headed home for an evening of watching the latest season of Mythbusters (thanks Pop!). It was while I was washing dishes (after first replacing all the guts in the faucet) that I realized that I still had another friend's Pyrex dish from our New Year's Eve get-together. A quick call ascertained that she would be at the theater for rehearsal, so we coordinated a meeting there. I have a bit of history with the Long Beach Shakespeare Company, so I stuck around to meet the show's director and watch the rehearsal. The show in the works is the last of the successful Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas, The Gondoliers. They were working on the blocking, which is where people enter, where (and how and when) they go, and where they exit. Or at least that's how it started out. There was also some work done on lines and lyrics as well as costumes. The director was a little thwarted by the absence of one of the principals, though, and in a moment of directorial frustration he turned in my direction and said "Steve, would you mind standing over there as Giuseppe please?" While my name isn't Steve, I obliged - after all, the guy had eaten some of my birthday cake (the one I didn't get) and signed the card. A short time later, while working through a scene in the second act where Giuseppe actually is supposed to say something, he asked "Matthew, can you read lines?" So then I had a script in my hands as well. A bit further on, we got to a scene with a song and dance. Since I don't know much about dancing and they hadn't yet choreographed the dances anyway, I had to make it up as I went. And while I had a script, I hadn't the song lyrics. Fortunately the song in this particular scene was a choral number; I discovered that the words "chiquita banana" fit nicely in lieu of whatever they were supposed to be, and everyone seemed happy with that! At the end of the evening, as the director was finishing up with his notes to the cast, he said "And thanks to Anthony for stepping in tonight - Great job!" So, call me Anthony . . .

And now, for all you aviation folks, something new: My first attempt at video. My current camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ18, has the ability to shoot video as well as stills (and probably a whole plethora of other features that I have yet to stumble upon). I dabbled with this a bit the other day, and managed to catch a few arrivals on the north side. Here's the best of the lot, the arrival of a Korean Air B747-400 on runway 24 right:

Okay, maybe not the most exciting thing to see, but hopefully not too bad for a first attempt at both capturing video and incorporating it into the blog.

And that's the news. Here's another link for more about The Gondoliers

Monday, January 19, 2009

Old to New, part tres

Rummaging through the iBook's photo archive, I've found enough shots to barely justify running one more installment in this theme.

Alaska's current and heritage schemes together.

Another shot of the current Alaska livery, albeit with the red lei on the tail.

One more shot of Alaska, mainly for the unusual angle.

Two views of American's heritage livery B737. In an odd bit of coincidence, there's a fire truck in the first shot; this aircraft came into LAX with a minor emergency a week or two ago.
And here's another B737 with American's standard scheme. The Brasilia in the background is wearing Skywest company colors instead of the parent airline scheme, which would in this case be United. That'll be the subject for another day.

And there you have it: All the old and new, along with various commemorative heritage schemes that I've caught with the camera at LAX.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Old to New, part deux

As I'm still dealing with a virtually useless right thumb, today's going to be another photo spread continuing the paint scheme progressions that I've caught with the camera:

Air Canada's current livery is an all-over eggshell blue, with darker shading going up the tail.
Seen here on an Airbus 321 in position for departure off runway 24 left.

An alternate version uses the same tail markings on a white fuselage, modeled for you here by an Airbus 320 being towed to the terminal for its first flight of the day.

An Air Canada heritage scheme on an A319.

A reprise of the new US Airways livery, seen here on Airbus A320 & A321. The aircraft that ended up in the Hudson river earlier this week was an A320 like this one.

An A321 with the old US Airways scheme on the runway, while a B757-200 in United's new livery waits its turn. Another opportunity to compare these two similar-appearing aircraft.

More Airbuses: This time, United's old livery is on the runway in the form of an A319, while the final Northwest scheme is seen on a waiting A320.

Another A320 shows the previous Northwest colors as it touches down on runway 24 right.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old to New

Yesterday's pictures of the retro paint jobs got me thinking about a theme that could be continued, so here goes:

We'll start with US Airways, which is currently transitioning from the dark scheme seen on this Airbus 321 to the white scheme on the B757. This is part of the merger with America West. The dark-topped scheme, which although it appears black is really a very dark blue, was part of the rebranding from "US Air" to "US Airways" in the mid-1990's. These two aircraft models are easy to mistake for one another when seen alone; seeing them here together makes the distinctions easier to pick out. While the A321 is the largest of the narrow-body Airbuses, the B757 is larger still. Other detail differences: the shapes of the noses and tailcones; the winglets (all of the small Airbuses have the same vestigial winglets, while Boeings will either have none at all or great big ones as seen here); and the main landing gear (Airbuses have single-axle main gear, while the B757's have dual-axle units). Sadly, the Boeings are gradually being replaced by the Airbuses.

As I mentioned yesterday, this was America West's last scheme prior to the merger with US Air. This scheme appeared after America West's bankruptcy in the early 1990's.

US Airways has some of its Airbus A319's painted in heritage schemes: This one is the original America West scheme.

Another heritage scheme: US Air acquired Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) in 1987.

One more heritage scheme: The airline was originally named Allegheny before rebranding itself as US Air in the late 1970's.

As I mentioned yesterday, Northwest is now part of Delta, and the aircraft will be repainted accordingly. Before Northwest's current silver scheme was the red-topped scheme; a few of these are still around. Here are new and old schemes seen on Airbus A320's.

Delta has gone through several schemes since I started controlling airplanes in the early 1990's. Sadly, I don't have any shots of the original widget scheme they used all through the 1970's, 1980's and early 1990's. The B757 in this picture shows the scheme that replaced it in 1997 only to be quickly replaced itself in 2000 by the tricolor scheme seen on the B737. The last of these 'old new' schemes was repainted in the summer of 2008, while I continue to see the tricolor scheme (my favorite of all the Delta schemes I've known) daily.

Here are all three Delta schemes together. Unfortunately the airport's physical plant is just west of the tower, and thus the steam that obscures this shot.

In 2007, following Delta's bankruptcy, the latest 'lazy widget' scheme appeared, seen here on a trio of B757's with the former tricolor scheme on a B767.

One more before and after: After several decades of their original mustard brown/gold paint scheme, Southwest updated their livery to 'canyon blue' in 2001, with slightly adjusted lines. Even though this started nearly a decade ago, there are still aircraft with the 'classic' paint around.