Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year-end turn around

As it often does, it starts out peacefully enough. The evening before:

Red sky at night, sailor's delight . . .

By sunrise, things look a little different:

Red sky in morning, sailor's warning

Then a lot different:

The wind shifts . . .

Next thing you know, the airplanes are going the other way!


Here's a clue to the strength of the wind. In this shot, the aircraft is not yet under power; look at the rudder:

And now, with the engines running:

Obligatory departure shot:

 My favorite shots of the day:

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

To all of you around the world, my best wishes for a safe and happy holiday, regardless of what you call it. As you can see, my editors are already hard at work on next year's posts:

Friday, December 14, 2012

On the road photo quiz

Your faithful scribe is on a quest to rediscover his sanity.  Along the way he took this shot; not at LAX.  Any guesses what this is?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our latest arrival: Lufthansa's B747-8

We've had B747-8s at LAX for a year now it seems; Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Korean, and Nippon Cargo all have been parking them on the freight ramps. But today LAX received its first passenger B747-8, in Lufthansa colors. 

Lufthansa, who operates thirty B747-400s, has ordered twenty of the new B747-8s. Their B744s seat 344 passengers, while the new B748s accommodate 362 passengers.

The new B748s are longer and have a greater wingspan than their B744 predecessors, and not surprisingly, also have a greater takeoff weight. While the old and new aircraft have similar speeds and fuel capacities, the new model has a 300-mile greater range.

Having ordered twenty, Lufthansa is currently the biggest customer for the B747-8I; the next largest order is from Cargolux, who has ordered thirteen of the B747-8F freighter model.

Besides LAX, Lufthansa plans to operate the B747-8I from Frankfurt to Washington Dulles and Chicago O'Hare -- thus making LAX the only place on the west coast to see the B747-8I. Besides the factory, that is!

References:  Lufthansa fleet
                     Wikipedia: Boeing B747-400
                     Wikipedia: Boeing B747-8
                     Boeing: 747 family
                     Seattle pi: Lufthansa Brings the B747-8I to LAX
                     USA Today: Lufthansa to introduce new 747-8 to Los Angeles and Chicago

Special note: Happy Birthday Pop!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foggy arrival

Lately, some of my best shots have come from leaving my camera in the tower when I go home. Credit for this series goes to XX - nice job!

On the subject of cool photos, check out Jon Proctor's collection entitled "LAX Through the Years"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dreamliner arrives at LAX

LAX has entered the age of the Dreamliner:  United has introduced the Boeing 787 on a few flights from Houston. So far, they're in the introduction stage, and we're getting one flight late some evenings; thus the dark and grainy photo. The most noticeable traits seem to be the shape of the nose, the upswept wings, and the engine cowlings. I've only personally worked it once so far, so I don't really have any observations about the aircraft's performance. Proportionally, it looks like a B767-200, only larger, and yet smaller than an A330-200. United's initial B787s are configured for 219 passengers; a larger version will come on line later. By comparison, the B767s at United seat between 174 and 244 passengers, depending on variant. United doesn't operate the A330, but at LAX we do see Delta A330-200s, which accommodate 239 passengers. Delta has also ordered Dreamliners, and I believe is currently the only other US airline to have done so, but their aircraft deliveries are still a few years away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

American Eagle changes at LAX

Lots of you guys caught the appearance of SkyWest in American Eagle colors last week. I haven't yet taken any better shots, so here's the other side of that plane:

As several of you mentioned in the comments, AMR, the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines, has chosen to use 50-seat SkyWest CRJ200s at LAX in place of the 44-seat American Eagle E140s. The larger American Eagle CRJ700s will continue to be operated by American Eagle Airlines. The American Eagle Airlines crew base at LAX will also be closed at the end of the month; American Eagle CRJ7s will have crews from the Chicago base. These changes have been brought about, at least in part, by a bankruptcy judge throwing out an American Airlines pilot contract provision that limited American's use of regional jets.

Following this story is made more complicated by the fact that "American Eagle" is the brand name for American Airlines' commuter/feeder service as well as the company name for the AMR-owned regional airline that has been providing most of that service. American Eagle Airlines (callsign: Eagle Flight) is expected to adopt a new company name next year, which may make it a bit easier to keep track. In the future, American Eagle will be the marketing brand for American's regional feeder service, regardless of which contractor is providing the service (be it Eagle Flight, SkyWest, Mesa, etc.)

AMR has moved the E140s to DFW; we saw a number of them ferried out late the eve of the change-over on November 14th. These shots are of the last before-dark E140 arrival at LAX:

An unexpected discovery was the white tail on this E140. Shots taken on November 14th - the last day of American Eagle E140 operations at LAX

Here are a couple of better E140 shots, taken a few weeks earlier:


AINonline:  SkyWest to fly as American Eagle

Dallas Morning News:  SkyWest signs on with American Airlines

Dallas Morning News:  Garton talks about SkyWest

Flight Global Airline Business blog:  SkyWest's quiet takeover of LAX


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of you in the states: Happy Thanksgiving!  For those of you around the world who don't see this as a day to over-eat and watch sports: Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Something new

I caught this B777 at the International Terminal a few days ago. I'd previously heard about it earlier in the week from a couple of the other guys in the tower. Bonus points if you know who it was!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

The title is a bit misleading, as strictly speaking there's nothing really wrong with this picture. But there definitely is something unusual here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

And Now We Have Six*

Seeing as how it happened last month, this doesn't quite qualify as news anymore, but I wasn't there when it happened. Thanks to enterprising cohort TB, however, I now am able to bring you photos of the first arrival of LAX's sixth daily A380 flight. China Southern is Asia's largest airline, and has been present at LAX for some years now in the form of a daily B777-200 flight from Guangzhou (formerly Canton), China. Earlier this year, I noticed that they had added a cargo B777-200 flight, also from Guangzhou. In October, the daily passenger flight became an A380. As the flight schedule hasn't changed, this is now the last of our six A380 arrivals each day, generally appearing sometime around 6 pm. With our transition back to standard time, this flight now arrives after dark, so better photo opportunities will have to wait until next spring. 

Special thanks to TB, whose resourceful use of binoculars and iPhone made these photos possible.

* - With apologies to A. A. Milne