Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Odds and ends

Here's something I saw that I thought was kind of interesting in a geeky sort of way. This is a flight plan strip; one of these will print out at the Clearance Delivery position for each aircraft planning to depart LAX. The interesting thing about this particular one is the callsign: AAL1050, and its assigned transponder code: 1050. There's no correlation between an aircraft's registration or callsign and the squawk code assigned to it, so this is a rare coincidence. I probably see this myself once a year or so, and it always causes me to look again at the strip to make sure that I didn't transpose or imagine the numbers. A similar sort of thing will happen occasionally in which a flight crew will input their flight number into the transponder instead of the assigned squawk code. This usually causes minor havoc until we can get it sorted out as it usually means that their transponder target appears as some other flight on the radar until they can input the assigned code.

In other news, Delta has become the third airline (after Hong Kong and Asiana) to bring the Airbus A350 to LAX, operating it between Los Angeles and Shanghai:

Meanwhile, Alaska is planning to phase out some of the Bombardier Dash 8s flown by their regional partner Horizon. In their place will be Embraer 175s. We have already started to see Embraer 175s in Alaska colors at LAX flown by SkyWest, although so far primarily covering routes not currently served by the Dash 8. This particular Dash 8 bears the colors of the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves:

A Horizon Dash 8 and a SkyWest E175 - the airplane that will be its replacement
The Dash 8 and the E175 have similar seating capacities (76 passengers), although the Dash 8 has single-class seating while the E175 offers three classes of seating. The Dash 8 is more fuel efficient, but the E175 is faster.

Time for another construction update photo:

I deliberately took this photo under the cloudy sky because the construction near the American hangar has reached a stage where there is a great deal of exposed shiny sheet metal that glares terribly in the sunlight.

On a personal note, some of you may be aware that I am also a pilot. The CaptainVector airfarce currently consists of a tired Cessna 172. I mention this because I will soon have to bring this airplane into compliance with the FAA requirement for ADS-B. I am currently considering either a Stratus ESG or a Lynx NGT-9000:
Stratus OUT 
Anybody who has experience with either of these units is invited to comment with your thoughts and experiences. These comments will not be published unless you authorize; I merely seek input before spending a large percentage of the aircraft's worth on new tech.

And finally, apropos of nothing relating to aviation, this happened:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Random thoughts

For those of you in the US, happy Independence Day. To everyone else, happy Wednesday. That said, today is actually Monday in my world. Since I have the late-late evening shift tonight, I'll take a few minutes to post a little something before heading to the tower.

For those of you residing outside the US of A, the 4th of July is a national holiday that is generally observed by going to the beach/river/lake/pool/campground, having barbeques, drinking beer, eating watermelon and/or making ice cream, and fireworks. Even though fireworks were not invented in this country, we Americans really love our fireworks. Legal, smegal, who cares - everyone (it seems) sets off fireworks. My neighbors certainly have a fascination with fireworks, so even though it's not yet really hot enough to necessitate running the air conditioning, for the sake of the critters the house is closed up with the a/c going and the radio playing just to shelter them from the worst of the noise.

Here are a couple of interesting things I've learned about this blog lately:

This blog pretty much fails the xkcd Simple Writer test:  https://xkcd.com/simplewriter/

On the up side, however, this blog seems to pass the Great Firewall of China test

Now for a little consumer advice. If you like chocolate, avoid these:

I sampled these so that you don't have to. Trust me, they're horrible. The things I do for you guys . . . 

And now, a gardening tip. If you don't harvest your artichokes, this happens:

This artichoke flower bears an amazing similarity to a sea anemone

More on the subject of gardening: Over the last year or so, I've converted my front lawn into drought-resistant, all California native (except for the awful palm tree) plants. So have some gratuitous flower photos:

Aromas Cleveland Sage

Trish Monkeyflower

Shasta Sulphur Buckwheat

Apache Plume

White California Fuchsia

San Luis Obispo Coyote Mint

White Sage

Coast Sunflower

Red Buckwheat

Conejo Buckwheat

St. Catherine's Lace

California Buckwheat

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a blog about airplanes at LAX. So for those of you who've made it all the way down to here, a shot of one of our recent airline additions at LAX. VivaAerobus (callsign: Aeroenlaces) operates one flight a day at Terminal 6 in the late afternoons:

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Uncommon visitor

An uncommon visitor passed through LAX last week. At one time, the B727 was the backbone of the domestic airline fleet. Everyone flew B727s: American, Braniff, Continental, Delta, Eastern, National, Northwest, Pan Am, TWA, United, Western, and many others all relied upon the trusty B727. Even when the mainline carriers phased them out, B727s still flew for charter operators and as freighters.

These days, however, the B727 is a rare bird. The last scheduled B727s flying out of LAX were operated by FedEx, and the last of those was retired in 2013. Since then, the B727 has become a rare sight; a few are still operated by corporations and sports franchises and occasionally put in an appearance at LAX.

This particular B727 is a bit unusual because it is the short -100 model; most B727s that pass through LAX are the larger -200. Another noteworthy detail is that this aircraft has winglets, which came on the scene as most B727 operators were looking to get rid of the airplane instead of upgrade it.

Today's regional jets aren't much smaller than the B727-100; seen above is an Embraer 175, and below a Bombardier CRJ-200.