Thursday, March 31, 2011

Say what?

As air traffic controllers, our stock in trade is communication. All day long we listen and talk. As you might imagine, periodically something is said that makes us look at one another and ask "Did he really say that?" This question is often followed by the observation that "You can't make this stuff up." Naturally, I have a few examples; all the callsigns have been changed to protect the guilty:

AAL2621: "Tower, American 2651, final 25 Left"

LAX tower: "American 2621, LA tower, wind 230 at 5, Runway 25 Left cleared to land"

AAL2621: "Cleared to land, 2261"

LAX tower: "Verify that's American 2621"

AAL2621: "Affirm, 2631"

* * * * * * *

LAX tower: "Execjet 594, following B737 traffic on a 2-mile final, Runway 25 Left cleared to land"

EJA594: "Roger, cleared to land. Is he arriving or departing?"

* * * * * * *

This last one needs some illustration:

LAX tower: "Delta 798, preceding traffic is a heavy Boeing 747, report him in sight. Runway 24 Left, line up and wait. "

DAL798: "Looking"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Construction Update and Hey - What's that?!

After over a week of gray and wet weather in LA (most of which I missed out on thanks to a strategically-timed Texas trip), the sun came out again and so here are some new photos of the construction at the Tom Bradley International Terminal:

Here's the north end of the TBIT. In the background can be seen the Taxiway Delta extension and Taxiway Sierra relocation construction.

Here's the southern end of the TBIT. We've been told that the big crane is as tall as the control tower; when the weather gets bad they have to take it down. Behind the crane is the other end of the Taxiway Sierra relocation and the . . . HEY! What's that behind the crane?!?

Here's another look

The first Korean Airbus I've ever seen at LAX; in this case an A330-200

The Korean A332 sandwiched between a pair of B777s: On the left, an El Al B772; on the right, a V Australia B773.

And here's another look at the Taxiway Delta and Sierra project, with one of Air New Zealand's new B777-300s on Taxiway Echo, along with an Asiana B744 and a Qantas A380 at the TBIT. For now, I'm only seeing one Qantas A380 per day at LAX. Meanwhile, I've heard the Singapore A380s destined for LAX are on indefinite hold. It sounds like the next carrier to bring A380s into LAX is going to be Korean Air, starting in October. The A380 will replace the B744 Korean currently uses on its mid-day flight to Seoul. Korean's other flights are serviced with B772s and B773s (and now, apparently, A332s).

One other news item that sadly lacks a photo (sorry): Today, Iberia started nonstop service to Madrid, Spain, using Airbus 340s. It's been over ten years since Iberia offered service into LAX; they're operating three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Link to LAWA News Press Releases

Friday, March 18, 2011

A visit to the archives, and a call for your requests

As you've no doubt noticed, things have been pretty slow here lately. Most of the blame for that goes to my being out of pocket a good bit recently and not having the time or internet access to post new entries. So in the meantime, I'm going to turn the tables and give you guys an opportunity to make suggestions for future posts. So here's your chance: If you've been wanting to read about something I haven't covered, submit your comments, concerns, requests, and suggestions via the comment form. While I don't publish all reader comments, rest assured that I do read each and every one of them, and some have been (and will be) the impetus for post topics.

In the interim, I offer some shots from my archive. Unlike the spotters guide series, all of these shots feature things no longer seen at LAX:

This photo, from May of 2008, shows the Northwest "red top" livery that was replaced by the all-silver ("silver streak" perhaps?) scheme seen below. Air France no longer brings A340s into LAX either (nor B747s, for that matter); we now see them here exclusively in B777s, and they are beginning to appear with Air France's new livery, which is nowhere near as big a change from the old as was Northwests'.

The last Northwest livery before Delta took over. I think I've heard this referred to as "compass" (although I suggest "silver streak" as an alternative), here modeled by a pair of B757s - one with the new (at that time) winglets.

I caught this Air India B747 in April, 2008; it wasn't too much after that time that Air India disappeared from LAX - the summer of 2008 was not a good time for air carriers. As recently mentioned in another post, we don't see Horizon CRJs at LAX anymore either.

Aer Lingus, seen here in May, 2008, also disappeared from LAX at the end of that summer.
LAN is another carrier that no longer brings in A340s. We see them today in B767s.

Delta's Song brand operated from 2003 to 2006; this shot was taken in September of 2007 after the Song aircraft had been returned to the mainline Delta fleet. The last one was repainted in Delta colors in early 2008. The Delta Connection E145 is also extinct; ExpressJet operated here as Delta Connection from June, 2007, through the end of summer, 2008, after which time ExpressJet shut down its Delta Connection operation as well as its own airline, seen below in early 2008:

ExpressJet still flies as Continental Express (although not at LAX), and is now a subsidiary of Atlantic Southeast Airlines, who is in turn a subsidiary of SkyWest. Delta Connection flights at LAX are now all operated by SkyWest Airlines, using various CRJ models.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LAX aircraft spotters' guide: de Havilland Dash 8

The LAX aircraft spotters' guide series continues, this time with the de Havilland Dash 8. The Dash 8 entered development in 1980 as a follow-on to the Dash 7, a four-engined STOL (short takeoff and landing) regional airliner. Whereas the DHC-7 concentrated on short runway performance and low noise, the DHC-8 was designed for efficiency. The twin-engined Dash 8 is thus faster than its predecessor as well as less expensive to operate and maintain. As a result it has become much more popular with regional carriers, with over 1,000 delivered so far since it entered service in 1984. In 1986, de Havilland was sold to Boeing, who subsequently sold the company to Bombardier Aerospace in 1992. Bombardier made improvements to the Dash 8 that resulted in a jet-like cabin environment, and the Dash 8 remains in production, now known as the Q400. The DHC-8's primary competition comes from the French-Italian ATR series of turboprops (which we don't see at all at LAX) along with the various models of regional jets. The Dash 8's cruising speed is over 400 mph (670 kph), making it very competitive with regional jets on shorter routes of 350 miles (500km) or less.

While there have been several smaller versions of the Dash 8, originally known as the series -100/-200/-300 (and later the Q200 and Q300); the Q400 (originally -400) we see at LAX is the largest, with a maximum seating capacity of 78 (so far - a stretched 90-seat version is being contemplated). Just as we see only the one model at LAX, we also see only one operator: Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, who is also the parent company of Alaska Airlines. Alaska has announced that they intend to retire the Horizon Air brand; Horizon aircraft will be repainted with the Alaska name and Eskimo logo on the tail. Horizon has a fleet of forty Dash 8s, with more on order. The Dash 8s are configured with 76 seats, and are replacing 70-seat CRJ-700s. As of this writing, Horizon still has some CRJ7s, but we don't see them at LAX anymore; I do occasionally see one pass over my house as it departs from Long Beach.

Taken just the day before publication, these shots show a Horizon Air Dash 8 re-branded as Alaska Horizon - the first that I've seen at LAX.

The retiring Horizon Air livery, seen here modeled by Dash 8s, along with (a couple of years ago) a CRJ7 (no longer seen at LAX)

Gallery of Dash 8s seen with other aircraft of various sizes:

It's a small world: The Canadian-built Dash 8 with an Air Canada B767-300; at one time Boeing owned de Havilland

Horizon crosses the threshold for runway 24 Right as US Air prepares to depart runway 24 Left. The US Airways A319 wears one of the America West retro liveries.

Almost the same shot again, except this time it's an Air Canada A319 wearing Trans-Canada retro colors

Horizon exits runway 24 Right behind a Volaris A319; in the foreground is a Cathay Pacific B777-300 bearing the Oneworld livery

Seen here with something smaller: A Gulfstream G-II business jet

At LAX, American Eagle operates 44-seat E140 regional jets; the Horizon Dash 8s have nearly twice that capacity, but the jets are about 100 mph faster

Another B767-300, this time in the old United "gray top" scheme

The Southwest is a 122-seat B737-500, the smallest of the aircraft in Southwest's fleet

Another retro US Airways A319, wearing the last America West livery

Face off!

Two out, one in: Outbound Dash 8s with an inbound Virgin America A320

Horizon arriving on runway 24 Left, while Virgin American and Southwest wait to go

Horizon sandwich! Virgin America A320 and an Alaska B737-900

AeroMexico B737-700

Mesa Airlines (callsign: Air Shuttle) flies as US Airways Express out of LAX; seen here in a 90-seat CRJ9, also built by Bombardier

Asiana B747-400

British Airways (callsign: Speedbird) B747-400

Virgin Atlantic A340-600 and an Air France B777-200

Horizon has a number of special paint schemes. Many of them feature public universities in cities served by Horizon, some of which previously appeared on Horizon's CRJ7 fleet:

University of Montana Grizzlies

Boise State University Broncos

Washington State University Cougars

University of Oregon Ducks

Oregon State University Beavers

University of Washington Huskies

Montana State University Bobcats

University of Idaho Vandals

In addition to the school colors aircraft, Horizon also has a couple of Dash 8s painted in the "Comfortably Greener" livery, which highlights the economic and ecologic advantages of their turboprop aircraft:

With the "Lone Star" Southwest B737-300

With a Volaris A319

With an American Eagle E140

With a Hawaiian A330-200

These shots show the second green Dash 8 before the lettering was applied, along with the Oregon State University Beavers CRJ7.

There's one more special paint scheme I've seen on Horizon's Dash 8s:

The party plane: Horizon's 25th Anniversary (1981-2006)

References & Related Links:

Bombardier Q400

Wikipedia: Bombardier Dash 8

Horizon Air history

Wikipedia: ATR 42

Wikipedia: de Havilland Dash 7

Wikipedia: Horizon Air

Wikipedia: Alaska Airlines

YouTube: Horizon CRJ7 gets Ducks paint

YouTube: Horizon CRJ7 gets Huskies paint

YouTube: Horizon CRJ7 gets OSU paint

YouTube: Horizon CRJ7 gets WSU paint

Previous spotters' guides:

Airbus A330

Boeing B737

Boeing B747-300