Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adios Mexicana

Mexicana Airlines announced Friday that they would cease flight operations by midday Saturday because the company didn't have the money to continue further. At LAX, flights appeared to operate normally through the afternoon yesterday (Friday), but the usual evening arrivals did not appear. We have one US-registered Mexicana Airbus parked on the south ramp, awaiting developments.

Mexicana filed for bankruptcy on August 2nd, and a group of investors bought most of the company three weeks later. Significant reductions in work force and wages were sought from pilots and flight attendants, but unions were reluctant, citing previous concessions made in 2006.

Mexicana had been the busiest of the foreign airlines at LAX, serving a dozen cities in Mexico nonstop from Los Angeles. Some of those destinations were served (from here) solely by Mexicana. About a half-dozen other airlines offer service from LAX to various destinations in Mexico; I'm betting that their planes will be full tomorrow.

Here's a couple of Mexicana shots from happier times:

A Mexicana A319 in the new paint scheme, seen here with a Horizon Dash-8

The previous Mexicana livery on an A320, sandwiched between an arriving Lufthansa B744 and a Midwest E170

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seen 5!

I think I've shown you an Antonov 124 before, but here it is again; with an American B757 in the first picture

In an earlier segment, I mentioned that American Eagle had relocated on the field. This is their new terminal, adjacent to Taxiway Charlie and the Delta and United maintenance ramps. That's a United (Skywest) E-120 Brasilia at Terminal 8 in the foreground

Also mentioned in that previous segment was the Coast Guard station at LAX; here is another of their Dolphin helicopters

Jet Blue has the largest fleet of A320's; this is their 100th

One upside to the fires we have every year about this time is the beautiful sunsets

I can't seem to get away from B737 pictures

It's very rare to see a tail dragger at LAX; this Cessna 180 is only the second or third I've seen (the DC-3 in the first An-124 shot was the first, and I think I've a shot of a Stearman that was here a year or two ago)

Bounce! More than that, actually - this was the first of two, immediately followed by a go-around

I've been hoping to get another opportunity to shoot this StarCraft promo Korean B747, but so far had no luck. This was taken the one and only time I've seen it, about ten at night.

Special promo schemes from south of the border:

This Lufthansa B747-400 may celebrate 50 years of collaboration between Boeing and Lufthansa, but for every Lufthansa B744 we see at LAX, we get two of these:

This one is for one of the guys at work: An Air Force C-17 made a pass over a Santa Monica earlier this summer for a graduation ceremony or Memorial Day (I forget the occasion). It was a bit of a goat rope, as the C-17 approached from the west, against the flow of traffic off of Santa Monica and LAX airports, during a busy departure push. As you can see, visibility wasn't all that great, either. I lucked out getting this shot, as the fly-by was visible through the haze and low clouds for about three seconds.

This Virgin America A320 has two names: on this side it's Air Drake; on the other side it's chic mobile

A B767 arriving on Runway 24 Right, as seen through the approach lights

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meanwhile . . .

Lest you get the impression that all I do is talk to and take pictures of airplanes, let me put in a plug for some of the non-aviation-related things I'm involved with:

Are you a blood donor?
American Red Cross

Everyone needs a home
Habitat for Humanity

One of the public radio stations I support with my time and money. KCRW is one of the things I missed most during my hiatus from California a few years ago (Trader Joe's and In-N-Out Burger were the others). Thankfully there is now the ability to listen online. During the most recent pledge drive, I took calls from listeners in San Francisco, Tennessee, New York, and London! Support your local public radio station.

Live theater is not at all the same as TV or the movies, especially in a smaller theater. Some of the best productions I've experienced were in 99-seat-or-less theaters. While I work with the Long Beach Shakespeare Company, the works of the bard are not all we have on offer. We just wrapped the world premiere of an absurdist play that was a hoot, and A Christmas Carol and War of the Worlds are perennial favorites. Coming up later this season will be one of my personal favorites, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Remember: Think globally, Act locally!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seen 4!

I'm still cross-eyed from assembling the B737 Spotters's Guide, so this time around you get a montage of nifty shots that I ran across while looking for 737s.

A recent commenter asked about Lockheed Tristars, which evoked some memories. The last regular Tristar visitor at LAX was the one flown by the Saudi Arabian Royal Flight. This B772 replaced that aircraft. Seen here rolling out after landing on Runway 25 Right.

Do they eat doughnuts in Mexico?
Apparently Krispy Kreme hopes so . . .

Another view of a SuperTug - It's a big piece of equipment

Speaking of big, check out this dirt pile where the American Eagle terminal used to be. This is part of the on-going work on the west side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. I think I've mentioned this project before: Taxiway Quebec was permanently closed and Taxiway Sierra is going to be moved west of its present location to accommodate the addition of gates to the west side of the TBIT. The American Eagle terminal was moved to the former Skywest ramp adjacent to the Delta and United maintenance ramps - a location that most controllers find rather inconvenient compared to the old, I might ad. Especially because now the Skywest aircraft are in the same terminals as the mainline United and Continental jets. Great move for the passengers, I concede, but operationally it doesn't help the taxiway congestion around the south-side terminals. Okay, rant over. You may now resume your normally-scheduled blog.

There aren't many aircraft actually based at LAX, and this is one of them - one of four US Coast Guard Dolphin helicopters based here, this example in special anniversary paint. I got a ride in this helicopter a year ago, and it is freakin' LOUD inside, even with a helmet and ear plugs.

The same helicopter is in this shot, too - look above the construction area that will become the next piece of Taxiway Delta

Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles is hidden from the tower by the big hangar I've shown you before where Qantas services their aircraft; here you see the smallest and largest aircraft regularly operated at LAX. The USCG has 102 of these Dolphin helicopters, and the entire fleet together weighs less than that Airbus 380!

This is the first cargo B777 I've seen at LAX

Qantas group shot: One of each of the aircraft types that Qantas currently brings into LAX.
Left to right: A330-200; B747-400; A380.

Another group shot, this one a family photo: US Airways uses most of the A320 models; here we see (again left to right) an A321, A320, and A319. Air Canada, Lacsa, and Taca also bring in all three of these models. Meanwhile Mexicana shows up with A320s, A319s, and the even-smaller A318s. Expect to see this photo again if I ever succumb to the temptation to do an Airbus 320-series spotter's guide (not happening anytime soon!)

The LA Country Sheriff's Department stopped by the other day. I've ridden in one of their AStars, and they're a much nicer ride than the Coastie's Dolphins.

Oh no! Not another B737! I should've retroactively added this to part 3 of the spotter's guide, but I'm still burned out from looking at that one (maybe I'll do it some day in the future). Miami Air (callsign: Biscayne) has B737-800's like this one as well as a couple of B737-400's, one of which should have appeared in an earlier segment (but looking back, I see that it didn't, so maybe there will be a revision to the revision . . . ) Miami Air flights into LAX are charters, and so they don't park at the terminals, meaning that all the shots I have of them are long-range and kinda fuzzy.

Another helo shot, this one a civilian R44. Robinson helicopters are built just a few miles south of LAX in Torrance, California, and we see a lot of them. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was taking a picture of him, taking a picture of me . . .