Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shot of the day: NYFD

Although I am somewhat colorblind, even I can tell that this airplane isn't blue. Perhaps it should say jetRed instead.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Revealed: What's wrong with this picture?

As you can probably tell from the freeway flyover ramps in the background (curiously devoid of traffic, as a couple of you pointed out), this is a view of the southeast corner of the airport, specifically the Imperial Cargo Complex, which we shorten to ICC (it's the government; we have to have an acronym or abbreviation). Although several of you noted it right off, a bit of inside knowledge might be required to realize that a FedEx tail isn't typically seen there. After all, FedEx has their own ramp just down the taxiway. The really sharp-eyed among you may even notice that it's not a normal FedEx tail.

The ICC ramp is one of the many areas of the airport that we can't see from the tower. We do, however, have a remote-control camera with a display in the tower cab. Here's a shot of the screen:

Lo and behold, it's a FedEx B777: I was told that this is the first one to appear at LAX. FedEx has two dozen B777s, with more on the way. I've heard that this one may operate between LAX and Honolulu.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

It's time once again for everyone's favorite feature: What's wrong with this picture? These seem to be popular, so it's rather a pity that I haven't found many to share with you recently. I saw this on Sunday though, and something about it caught my eye. Can it catch yours?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shots of the day: unusual arrival

It's not everyday that we get an Airbus A310 anymore. Nor do we get a visitor from the Spanish Air Force. Even more rare when we get both in the form of one arrival.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shots of the day: Jose Cuervo Express

I caught the go-around sequence from yesterday as a result of wanting to get some good shots of this airplane: Volaris' Jose Cuervo Express. Just in time for the weekend!

Public service reminder: Please don't drink and fly!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Shots of the day: Going around!

LAX has go-arounds every day. Many, like this one, are initiated by the pilots because the airplane is too high or too fast (or both). Other causes may be some sort of equipment issue, generally landing gear or flaps. Controller-initiated go-arounds are generally for separation, usually because something, such as the previous arrival, is on the runway. I happened to be outside when this EVA B777 went around. My first indication that something was up was when I realized that I could see an awful lot of the belly of the B777 on final. By the time I got the camera up, they had already started bringing the gear back up (above). A moment after taking the opening photo, I went for a wide shot:


We don't normally get to see them from this angle: level flight over the runway

Crossing the beach in a turn to the west for spacing with the previous departure

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shot of the day: We're outta here!

As you can see, it's been really hazy lately. This shot is apropos of nothing in particular; I just thought it looked neat. Think how neat it would look if I'd managed to avoid the antenna mast!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shot of the day: Three of a kind*

An early-morning shot of the American maintenance hangar, where three B737-800s await their turn to reposition to the terminal to begin another day of flying. Between them and the roof of the TBIT can be seen the new Taxiway Tango under construction on the site of the old American maintenance hangar, which was also the location of the American Eagle terminal. If you look closely, you can see that there's already somebody parked on one of the new TBIT gates, most likely Qantas.

At first light, American has a good deal more than three aircraft on the maintenance ramp waiting to start the day. Here's a wider shot:

And here's a shot of the former TWA maintenance ramp, where another gaggle of Americans are staged:


 * - This started out as the usual shot of the day, but the theme seemed to be three, so you get two more photos for no extra charge. My original working title was "Tic tac toe, three in a row," but I suspect that some of you are from parts of the world to whom that will make no sense whatsoever.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Allegiant goes to Hawaii

Allegiant has had a small presence at LAX for several years, operating out of Terminal Six, then Five, and now Three. Nearly all of their flights are to less-served destinations, and in many cases Allegiant is the only carrier going there from LAX. Until a week ago, every flight Allegiant operated at LAX used some variant of the MD-80, which has been the staple of Allegiant's fleet for years. Last week saw the appearance of both an A319 and a B757-200 in Allegiant colors. I've yet to catch the Airbus with the camera, but I did snag a shot of the B752 this afternoon as it taxied out for departure to Honolulu. Allegiant has been flying to Hawaii for a couple of years now, but service from LAX is new -- and, unlike most of Allegiant's routes, is in direct competition with several other carriers: American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United all operate flights to Hawaii out of LAX.

Today is Veterans Day in the United States: A day to commemorate and honor all of those who have served in our armed forces. Thank you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Delta's new B737-900s have arrived

Delta has started receiving new B737-900ERs, and we've been seeing them at LAX for the last week or so. Most of the ones I've noticed have been operating between LAX and Detroit. Today was my first chance to catch one with the camera, so despite the haze, here are two of Delta's new B739s. Delta is the third carrier to have B739s at LAX; the first two were Alaska, with the B737-900, and Continental (now United) with the B737-900ER. The ER version can be distinguished by the additional exit door mid-way aft of the wing; the now-discontinued -900 just looks like a slightly longer -800, and is harder to distinguish at a glance. Boeing is marketing the B737-900ER as a competitor to the Airbus A321, as well as a replacement for the B757-200 series.

A Delta B739 next to a B752, which it will gradually replace in the Delta fleet. In the background, an American B738.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shot of the night: Behind the scenes

Well, sort of:  When you go to the airport and look out the terminal windows, you see (besides the airplanes) dozens of various pieces of ground support equipment (known as GSE in the industry) scurrying around like so many crazed ants. Did you ever wonder where they get their gas?  Well now you know!  This is a nightly ritual at LAX, where much of the GSE uses propane or natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel because it burns cleaner -- as do many of the shuttle buses and taxis. At least one airline (Southwest) also has some battery-operated equipment.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


It's been a couple of days now since the shootings at Terminal Three. Things at LAX are, for the most part, getting back to normal. A few media satellite trucks still remain, but at least on the outside, it's business as usual. Friday was an absolute mess. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and pretty much all the rest were delayed -- sometimes for many hours. Despite the nation-wide ground stop that was announced, there were thousands of LAX-bound passengers already in the air. Some flights were diverted to other airports, but there were still dozens of airplanes on the ground at LAX with no place to go. Taxiways were closed to make room to park airplanes from around the world. Some of those planes had to wait over four hours before making it to a gate.

In the wake of the shooting, the airport was closed to all street traffic. Both of the adjacent interstate highways became choked with cars that were unable to exit because all the airport exits were closed. Surface streets were also completely jammed. Stranded passengers were allowed to walk out of the airport, but no one was allowed in -- and that included flight crews. A number of the airplanes sitting on gates couldn't leave because their flight crews were not able to get onto the airport. Meanwhile, arriving airplanes were expecting to park at these same occupied gates. There were several instances I personally saw in which more than one airplane was waiting for the same occupied gate. We had all three ground control positions open all afternoon, and all three were talking non-stop, trying to get any airplane with an open gate to their terminal, while juggling many more with no available gate. 

About seven hours after the shooting occurred, foot traffic was allowed to enter the terminal area. It was some time after that before vehicle traffic resumed. It will probably take most of the weekend for the airlines to get their planes and crews back to where they're supposed to be.

Terminal Three

Terminals Two (left) and One

The 105 freeway parking lot

Possibly the hardest-hit airline was Virgin America, the primary operator at Terminal Three. I think nearly all of their LAX flights were cancelled. At least four of their aircraft ended up on the Atlantic Aviation ramp.

The incoming wave of pedestrian traffic

For many passengers, this corner of Century and Sepulveda was as close as they could get. Taxis were dropping their fares here.