Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year!

We've got an extra day this year, and in celebration I've got a couple of aviation extras for you:

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive switch in an airplane is?

Here you are; this is it:

The Landing Gear switch. Trust me: airplanes that don't have one of these cost much less to purchase, maintain, and insure.

And how about the most expensive gauge in the cockpit?

The hour meter, better known as the Hobbs Meter, records the billable time in hours and tenths. On most airplanes, this runs anytime the engine is running.

Now you know!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still here

Back in December, I showed you one of the few remaining Continental-marked aircraft in the newly-merged United fleet, and wondered if it would be the last we'd see. The answer has been a resounding "No." In the last couple of weeks, I've seen several Continental hold outs at LAX; at one point we had two or three here at once, so I know it's not just the same aircraft coming back again and again. Here's the latest sighting, above, taken yesterday. Below, what I guess will be the last aircraft bearing the Continental name, also taken yesterday:

It's been a while since we've seen any mainline Delta aircraft with tail-mounted engines, but just this month MD-90s have reappeared at LAX, operating back and forth from Minneapolis - St. Paul:

Saturday, February 25, 2012


A number of you have lately commented on the lack of new content here on ye olde blog. Let me simply say that I've been busy elsewhere (hint hint: Long Beach Shakespeare Company) and that regular posts will gradually resume as we make it into March (oh wait, then it's tax season -- Bother!)

In the meantime, enjoy this recent shot taken by a couple of my cohorts (thanks HR!) whilst I was working on the other side of the tower cab. Nice job guys!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

LAX aircraft spotters' guide: Airbus 320-series, Part 2a: A319

The spotters' guide series continues with the second-most popular member of the A320 family: the Airbus A319, which as of this writing has secured nearly 1,500 orders. With a length of 111 feet (34 meters), the A319 is some 12 feet (slightly less than 4 meters) shorter than the original A320 model, but is still 8 feet (2 meters) longer than the A318. Airbus lists the standard seating capacity as 124, although up to 156 passengers can be accommodated in a high-density layout. Primary competition comes from the Boeing B737-300 and B737-700. By my count, we currently have ten scheduled carriers using A319s at LAX. To keep things manageable, I'll divide them into groups.

Air Canada

Air Canada started out in 1936 as Trans-Canada Air Lines, and now has a total of 37 A319s. Most are configured for 120 passengers, but a couple have a single-class seating arrangement that accommodate 132. We usually see Air Canada A319s on the Toronto and Montreal routes. Flight times to Toronto are around four hours; Air Canada's longest flights out of LAX are to Montreal, which can run as long as five hours, and are almost always flown with A319s.

With an Alaska B737-400

With an Air France B777-200

This is the other side of the aircraft seen in the first picture

From the archives: With an ExpressJet E145 in Delta Connection colors

Another from the archives: With a Northwest A320

Air Canada Fleet


Delta got its Airbuses when it took over Northwest; it has 49 A319s that accommodate 126 passengers, and another eight, used for sports team charters, that seat 54. We don't see Delta A319s all that much at LAX (witness my lack of photos), although Northwest operated them here daily. I have seen Delta A319s mostly on flights to Phoenix (hour or less), Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia (four-and-a-half hours).

Delta A319 between a B757-300 and a CRJ7

Delta Fleet

Wikipedia: Delta Air Lines fleet


More than half of Frontier Airlines' fleet consists of A319s. Frontier currently has 41 in service, each configured for 138 passengers. We see Frontier A319s on routes to/from Denver (2 hours), Kansas City (2.5 hours), and Milwaukee (3.5 hours).

With a United Express (SkyWest) E120 Brasilia

From the archives: With a Northwest A320

With an Emirates A380

Frontier Airlines fleet

Wikipedia: Frontier Airlines


Spirit Airlines has the highest-density A319s at LAX; they have 26 of them with seating for 145 passengers. From LAX, Spirit flies A319s to Las Vegas (1 hour), Chicago and Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale (4 hours).

Wikipedia: Spirit Airlines

Monday, February 6, 2012


As no doubt happens to anybody with a camera, there are those times when the desired subject and the camera are not present at the same time, or they are but conditions are not conducive to actually getting a usable picture. Today, I get to show you three of my recent elusive subjects.

The first is this new Air New Zealand B777-300 in "All Blacks" livery. It's reportedly the largest commercial aircraft to be painted black. We've been seeing this aircraft at LAX for the last couple of weeks, but up 'til now I've only seen it parked at the terminal (see the opening shot) or at night (what's the point of trying to photograph a black airplane at night?!?). We have previously gotten to see this livery at LAX, on a couple of new Air New Zealand A320s as they passed through on their way to New Zealand. Funny thing is that this livery kinda looks like fish bones to me (it's not - those are fern fronds).

Since around Christmas, we've had two cargo carriers bringing in the new B747-8F, but they tend to do so after dark. This Cathay Pacific is the first B748 I've been able to catch with the camera during daylight. For comparison, the Polar seen in the second shot is a cargo B747-400.

I actually saw pictures of this Volaris A319 on the web long before my camera caught it at LAX; Volaris started flying into Chicago's Midway airport in December, 2010.

And here's my next target: Air China has started to bring in B777-300s, but so far I've only see them on their evening flight; the mid-day flight has so far continued to be a B747-400.