Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving week, Part 2

To all my readers in the states, here's hoping that you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend. The day itself was really quiet; we ran with a skeleton crew and still had more folks than we needed. Our union local sprang for a turkey, and everyone brought something in, so we had more than enough to eat. Not many airplanes to talk to, though: I think our traffic count was down by about 500 operations for the day. Not to worry: it definitely picked up for the rest of the weekend.

Thanksgiving night, and the scope is empty: Those are ten-mile range marks, and not a plane on any of the finals!

But this was what the traffic into the airport looked like at six in the morning on the Sunday after: backed up way down Century Blvd.

A while back, a reader asked about Tristars at LAX. Lockheed 1011s are few and far between these days, but this one passed through during the week. Notice the immense difference in having the sun behind the camera as opposed to in front of it!

Shortly after my last post, in which I mentioned that Qantas was going to resume A380 service on the Sydney-Singapore-London route, all three of the A380s on the ground at LAX were flown out to Sydney. I didn't see them go, but coworkers told me that they all went out as non-revenue flights. Qantas has said that they are limiting the power used on their A380 engines, pending further testing. The reduction in available power means that the A380s are not able to operate on the LAX flights because of the heavier required fuel loads. So in the meantime, we get to see more sights like this:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving week

It's a big week in the US as we observe the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, which leads right into Black Friday, the first day of the Christmas shopping frenzy. Traditionally two of the busiest traveling days of the year are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. Despite the recent loss of Mexicana, we're seeing a bit of a bump in our traffic count, as is usual for the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years season. Come January, we'll be in the doldrums again until Spring Break.

We've had some lousy weather, which in LA means rain. In this case, about three days' worth. Nothing too serious, but we did get to go east for a few hours this past Saturday. I didn't get any east traffic photos this time around because I was working with a trainee on ground control for his first taste of east traffic. It drove him nuts, but I'm glad he got to see it before we cut him loose and he's on his own.

From the A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words Department: We're starting to get an idea of what the remodeled Tom Bradley International Terminal is going to do to our view of Taxiway S; namely we won't have any. As I've mentioned before, LAX has taxiways that the controllers are responsible for but can't actually see, and it appears that S will join R and AA in the blind spot club. For those of you following along at home, the earth-moving equipment in the the photo above marks the location of Taxiway S, which runs north-south between the two sides of the airport.

Here's an earlier view, showing the monster crane that's being used. This crane is expected to eventually be taller than the control tower, and is already so tall that it restricts the use of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) to the 24 runway complex. Also seen here are two of our resident Qantas A380s, one of which can be seen waiting for a replacement engine. Qantas has announced that they will resume A380 service this coming Saturday, although on the Sidney-London route; I guess the LAX half of their fleet will have to wait a bit longer.

An interesting view of the United maintenance ramp: An A320, with a B752 directly behind

I expected some sort of response from November 9th's bonus points question, but nobody spoke up. While I didn't think many American readers would get it, I thought for sure some of you in Europe would recognize this former Jetairfly aircraft. This airplane actually wore Sun Country colors and a US registration few years ago before being returned to the leasing company, whereupon it went to Jetairfly in Belgium. Here's an earlier photo, taken in Brussels, that I borrowed from

Boeing 737-86Q aircraft picture

If the New York team was called the Propellers, would they have to put the name on a different airplane?

A couple of weeks ago, this Horizon Dash 8 took a bird strike and made an emergency landing at LAX. No injuries except for the bird and the airplane's right wing. Reportedly, the damage was severe enough that it's being classified as an accident. That said, the airplane is expected to return to service. Here's another Horizon Dash 8 wearing some new University of Idaho colors:

Other interesting recent LAX visitors:

After the recent weather, some nice shots with no airplanes:


Downtown rarely looks so good

The full moon setting behind the Malibu hills

Friday, November 12, 2010


It's homecoming season here in the states, which for many folks means school dances, rallies, and football, basketball, or hockey games. In this post, however, I'm marking a very different sort of homecoming: The return home of a fallen soldier. We see this at LAX from time to time, as we did this past Thursday. The return is marked with a certain amount of ceremony. What made the event that much more poignant this time was that it was also Veterans Day.

The arriving aircraft is met at the gate by the hearse and a phalanx of Fire and Rescue, Airport Police, and others who assemble to pay their respects. Others watch from the terminal windows.

Those in attendance salute as the flag-draped casket descends from the aircraft . . .

. . . and is carried by the Honor Guard to the waiting hearse.

The hearse and escorts form a motorcade and pull away from the gate.

The motorcade turns and passes behind Terminal 8, then exits the field.

While I am not myself a veteran, I have a deep respect for those who have donned a uniform to defend our country. While many of them do so for more reasons beyond patriotism, the fact remains that they do so by choice, with full knowledge that they may be called upon to pay the ultimate price for their country and our freedom. Sadly, it can seem a thankless sacrifice for a sometimes uncaring nation. It shouldn't be. If you're a current service member or veteran reading this, please accept my gratitude for your service. This country could not be what it is without the dedication of its service members. If you're not a service member or veteran, please take the time and effort to let them know that they're appreciated. No one wants to come home this way.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Early morning fog

Sunrise: Looking to the east, all clear

After last month's epic posting about the marine layer, it may seem like overkill to even mention that subject again. Except that exactly one year ago, I took this neat collection of early-morning shots. This entire sequence happened in the space of about five minutes.


As we look to the south, though, Redondo Beach is hidden beneath a layer of fog

Looking southwest, it seems that Redondo isn't the only place with fog!

And now looking west towards the beach, the west end of the airport is already hidden

As is most of the runway 24 complex

In almost no time at all, the southwest portion of the airport also begins to disappear

By now, the northern end of the International Terminal, along with Terminal 3, are quickly being hidden

And then the International Terminal is gone

As is Terminal 3

Terminal 2 seems to hold out in a little bubble . . .

But not for long: Soon, Terminal 2 begins to disappear as well. While the runways are hidden, we can still just barely make out the aircraft on Taxiway E, waiting to depart.

The fog continues to snake its way over the north side of the airport. Here, we can still see the D-8 alley and Terminal 1, but the 24 runway complex is hidden; the fog continues eastwards over Terminal 1

Meanwhile, back on the south side, Terminal 4 is rapidly being overtaken

The fog continues its progress towards Terminal 5. By now, the west half of the runway 25 complex is also no longer visible.

Looking back towards the east and the rising sun, we can see tendrils wafting over Terminals 6 and 7.

And then they too are gone.

Here, a departing Delta pops up above the fog

Soon it's all gone - hidden beneath 250 feet of fog

An unusual view from the tower - it's as if we're floating on a sea of fog

By lunchtime, all clear again!