Friday, July 29, 2011

Birds of a feather

LAX serves as a hub or focus city for a number of airlines, and so it's not anything special to see a number of one airline's aircraft here at once; Air Canada, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Fedex, Qantas, Southwest, United, US Airways, and Virgin America all regularly have a gaggle of airplanes here. But for some of our other carriers it's not so common to have more than one plane here at once, or it may only happen once during the day. Here are some:

Friday, July 22, 2011

A380 pushbacks

When I first showed the Singapore A380 early this month, a comment was posted in which the movement of the A380 off the gate and to the runway was questioned. Specifically, the comment related to towing the aircraft all the way to the runway, since most of the photos I showed included the Supertug with the airplane. While the idea has been suggested, it has not been put into practice at LAX. However, the size of the A380 in conjunction with taxiway restrictions (and construction) at LAX means that the aircraft doesn't just push off the gate. Instead, it gets pushed off and towed to some more convenient spot for the disconnect and engine start. Until Singapore's midday A380 arrived, I couldn't really make a video of the pushback operation because the Qantas A380 flights all depart after dark.

This video shows the Singapore A380 pushing off of gate 123A at the TBIT, for departure off Runway 24 Left. The video runs about seven minutes. The video starts about two minutes after Singapore has been cleared for the pushback - you'll notice that the aircraft is still stationary at the gate. It takes nearly twenty minutes from the time that they call for the push for the aircraft to start down the runway on its takeoff roll.

There is no sound with the video, and I apologize for the relatively poor quality: In order to keep the file size manageable, I shot at 10 frames per second. Since I was working on position at the time, I wasn't able to pan the camera to follow the action and instead had to set the field of view wide enough to catch the entire pushback operation in one frame. Thus, you'll have to look closely to see the tugs when they're separate from the airplanes. It is shot in real time, however - there's no time lapse. It really does take this long to move these big airplanes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Random Shots - updated

The theme for today is that there is no theme. Instead, here's a selection of shots taken during the past week or so. I'll start out with a construction update:

Here are a couple of views of the taxiway construction on the south side of the terminal complex. What's happening in this area is the tie-in of the relocated Taxiway Sierra with taxiways Bravo and Charlie.

Meanwhile, on the north side, the Taxiway Delta extension is nearing completion. The relocated Taxiway Sierra also ties into Delta.

Running concurrently with the taxiway project is the Tom Bradley International Terminal project. There are now four or five big (correction: I just counted seven - see the added shot below) cranes on site, and the new roof design is well defined.

The north end of the TBIT. This shot also shows the first framework for the new roof over the terminal's center section. Compare the new roof to the heavy jets at the gates; it's clear we won't be able to see anything on the back side of the terminal - including taxiway Sierra.

Additional shot of the entire TBIT, taken today: Count the cranes!

Here's an unusual visitor: a Short 360. We see a Shorts at LAX maybe two or three times a year; this model is different from most in that it has a single vertical tail. Seen below with an American B738.

The Orbis DC-10 arrived for maintenance, courtesy of FedEx. This aircraft is a flying eye hospital and classroom. For more about Orbis, check out their website:

The late afternoon sun highlights the smoke from the tires as this Virgin Atlantic A346 touches down on Runway 24 Right.

I caught this US Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter on the ground at a local airport, where they had dropped in for a static display. This particular LAX-based aircraft is painted in a special anniversary livery, commemorating the model's 25 years in USCG service.

The Wallabies is the Australian national rugby union team. Notice the tail logo!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The big news in LA this weekend: Closure of a ten-mile stretch of the 405 freeway for demolition of a bridge and other construction work. They're calling it "Carmageddon", and authorities have been warning motorists for weeks of the scheduled closure and expected massive delays. Earlier this week, Jet Blue announced special $4 fares on flights between Long Beach and Burbank - airports on opposite ends of the closed section of freeway. Now, a local bicycle club is going to race Jet Blue across town!

LA Times: Carmageddon: Bicyclists challenge JetBlue to crosstown race

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Caption this!

Here's your caption photo of the week. Since there are no winners or prizes, I think I'll stop calling it a contest. Also, instead of holding off for a week, I'm considering publishing submissions as they come in. If you have an opinion about that, I invite your input. Have fun!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, Compass Airlines began daily service into LAX from Kansas City. While the destination is not new (Frontier and Southwest also serve this route), the carrier is. Compass was a regional partner of Northwest (flying as Northwest Airlink), and is now flying for Delta (as Delta Connection) out of Minneapolis-St. Paul. They use Embraer E-175s configured for 76 passengers. This brings the number of Delta Connection operators at LAX up to three; besides Compass, we also have Mesaba and SkyWest in Delta colors.

This is the first Continental B737-500 I've seen wearing the United name. Continental uses the B735 to Leon, Mexico, a route that was previously flown by Mexicana. Curiously, Continental opted to install winglets on their -500s, while our other B735 operator, Southwest, has not.

AeroMexico has recently brought in this B737, which they added to their fleet earlier this year. A lease aircraft (notice the US registration), it formerly flew for Air Berlin and Hamburg International. Included here because of the nonstandard paint on the tail; compare to this shot from the B737 Spotter's Guide: