Monday, November 21, 2022

Dual taxi in the D-9 alley

A recent comment asked about dual-taxi in the D-9 alley. This photo illustrates the D-9 alley with a dual-taxi operation taking place. The alley is marked with a taxi centerline, as well as east and west lines. This feature allows two flows of traffic in the alley, such as seen here, with one coming in and another heading out. It is also possible to have two lines of aircraft outbound or inbound. The restriction on this operation is determined by the aircraft types involved; A320-series and B737-series are the largest types that can safely use the east and west lines. Anything larger, such as a B757, has to use the center line:


 Here's another shot that better shows the three taxi lines:



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Another look at ITA's "ghost" livery

I have to admit that I like ITA's paint scheme. Nowadays, nearly all air carriers have gone to boring white airplanes with a logo on the tail. ITA is one of the notable exceptions, with their bright blue Airbuses that sport the Italian tricolor stripes on the tail. The inspiration for the blue comes from the Italian national football team, the Azzurri (the Blues), who wear blue in honor of the House of Savoy. Besides the tricolor stripes, the tail section also features a faint pattern that is reminiscent of a Louis Vuitton handbag. I know that's not what it actually is, but I have yet to find any official reference to it beyond the photos in the company's press materials. This pattern is hard to see, even in daylight, and I've had very little success catching it with the camera. These shots show it, but I've borrowed an official photo that shows it much more clearly.


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Cargojet lands at LAX

 Yet another new name at LAX is Canadian cargo carrier Cargojet. You just gotta love no-nonsense airline names!

Friday, November 18, 2022

There's a Breeze at LAX

 Another new name at LAX this year is Breeze Airways, who flies A220-300s in configurations of either 126 or 137 seats. Destinations from LAX include Provo, UT, and Charleston, SC.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Flair moves to LAX

 Flair Airlines is a new arrival at LAX this month. Flair, who bills itself as the only ultra low-cost carrier from Canada, had previously been operating at the Hollywood-Burbank airport. Flair flies into LAX from Edmonton and Vancouver using the B737-8 MAX in a 189-seat configuration, as well as B737-800s that are being phased out in favor of the MAX. I borrowed this artwork from Flair's official site:


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Air Premia arrives at LAX

 Air Premia is a new airline from Korea that has begun service between Seoul, South Korea, and Los Angeles, using 309-seat B787-9s.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

What is a Heavy?


A common question is what exactly is meant when controllers and pilots use the term "heavy." I've discussed wake turbulence previously, and perhaps will again, but for today I'll limit myself to the FAA's definition of a heavy jet.*  The FAA (and ICAO) define a heavy as an aircraft that has a Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) of at least 300,000 pounds (136 tonnes). This is higher than when I first talked about wake turbulence; when I first started out as a controller, a heavy jet was one that could weigh 255,000 pounds (115 tonnes) for takeoff. The aircraft weight categories were adjusted a few years ago to bring the US standards more in line with what was happening in the rest of the world. 

A simple rule of thumb is that if an airplane is a wide body, it's a heavy. There are some variants of the B-707 and DC-8 that qualify as heavies, but these are pretty rare nowadays.**  It is worth noting that an aircraft is classified as a heavy if it is capable of weighing 300,000 pounds at takeoff; the term does not reflect what the aircraft actually weighs at any given moment. We see this sometimes when a B-747 gets airborne just a few thousand feet down the runway when it more commonly requires most of the runway to get into the air.

When talking to or about a heavy jet, air traffic controllers are required to append the term "heavy" to the callsign or aircraft type in radio communications. This serves as an alert to other pilots in the area who need to be aware of the possible wake turbulence encounter. While many of the pilots of heavy jets will refer to their aircraft as a heavy, they are not required to do so; it's an ATC rule.


* - Nearly all of the heavy aircraft are jets. The Russian Tu-114 is a four-engined turboprop airliner that has a MTOW of over 360,000 pounds (164,000 kg). This aircraft is better known to the west in its military form, the Tu-95 "Bear" long-range bomber.  A new prop-driven addition to the list of heavy aircraft is the Airbus A400M Atlas. This is a four-engined military transport turboprop with a MTOW of 310,000 pounds (141,000 kg).

** - As LAX is a civilian airport, served almost exclusively by commercial airlines, I'm not including military aircraft in this discussion. Some military heavies include the B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers, along with the C-141, C-17, and C-5 transports. Also the B-707's military cousins, the C-135, KC-135, and E-3.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Surf City

When Jan and Dean sang about surf city, I'm not sure this is what they meant


Friday, November 11, 2022

Terminal 3 update

During the past months of September and October, Delta has opened up many more gates at Terminal 3. While a few have yet to enter service, it sure is nice to have most of them back. In the process, all the gates have been renumbered from what they were previously. It's a sufficiently major change that we've installed a quick reference guide at the ground control position:


The newly-renumbered gates at Terminal 3. When everything is back open, there will be the ability to accommodate five widebody jets or fourteen narrowbodies. The dashed outlines show the location of widebody positions. Note that each widebody requires the space otherwise occupied by two narrowbodies. The gate flexibility is a great feature, but could be quite a challenge for scheduling.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022


One of the up sides to the changing time and season in Los Angeles is the sunsets; we don't get sunsets like this one during the summer


Monday, November 7, 2022

Current Avianca paint

This is a follow-up on the first post in this year's No-Effort November series, in which I showed you a surviving old Avianca livery. This is the current Avianca paint scheme, which we see on aircraft using any one of these callsigns: Avianca, LACSA, or TACA. The Aviancas tend to be B787 or A330-200 wide bodies, while the LACSAs and TACAs use Airbus A319/A320/A321 narrow bodies.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Rare bird

Boeing B737-200 lifts off from Runway 25 Right

As the airline world transitions from the NG 737s (B737-600/700/800/900) to the MAX, we hardly ever see Classic-generation B737s (-300/400/500) anymore. It's very uncommon to see any of the original B737s at LAX these days.


Saturday, November 5, 2022

Cranky Dorkfest 2022

 Cranky Dorkfest 2022, as seen from the control tower. This is a casual meet-up of planespotters from around the world, held in the park across the street from the In-N-Out at the northeast corner of LAX. Organized by the Cranky Flier, this year's Dorkfest was held in conjunction with NYC Aviation's SpotLAX, a weekend-long plane spotting festival. Estimated attendance at this year's Dorkfest was between 400 and 500 aviation enthusiasts. Next year's Cranky Dorkfest is set for September 9, 2023. See you there!

This shot, clearly taken later in the morning, appears to be the raffle drawing.
Photo credit to JG

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

C-5 at LAX

It's particularly obvious in this picture, but this crew somehow managed to keep their Galaxy in the cloud shadow all the way down the taxiway and onto the runway - sneaky!

I think it's neat how the rear main landing gear can turn to help the plane get around corners

This is a horrible shot, but I include it to show how little runway the C-5 requires. None of our regular air carrier aircraft are anywhere close to being airborne at this point on Runway 24 Left. We're looking at Taxiway W under the C-5's nose and Taxiway E-10 just behind the tail; that's approximately 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) down the runway

Finally found a sunny spot!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Welcome to No-Effort November!


Yes, it's time once again for No-Effort November. The name is somewhat silly since the plan is to give you a post for each day of the month - which bears a shocking resemblance to actual work. The rules are that there will be a post for each day of the month, although some may be posted in arrears out of consideration for things like my not getting off work until after midnight. There may or may not be any sort of effort put into captions or actual text, but there might be some semblance of editing. 

This is Avianca's old livery, which we used to see once a day on their widebody flight from Columbia. I don't recall us seeing it on a narrowbody other than an occasional B757 in place of the usual B767 or A330, as all of the narrowbody flights were flown by LACSA or TACA. We still get the LACSA and TACA flights. These are all Airbus narrowbodies but they're now usually wearing the new Avianca paint scheme while still using the LACSA or TACA callsigns. We do still get a widebody flight, usually a Dreamliner but occasionally an A330, and using the Avianca callsign.