Klausrl’s Weblog

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

One more post on the 747-8

Just in case there was any doubt about the new 747-8 being possibly the prettiest big airliner ever. Case closed.

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June 23, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Airline Stories, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

747 called A-380s ugly Cousin?

Some time ago, I ran across a blog where the newest version of the Boeing  747 was referred to as the Airbus A-380s “ugly cousin”.

I submit photos of both, you decide.

OK the A-380 is bigger, but wow.

The 747-8 photo I found is of the freighter prototype that will be tested then delivered to Cargolux.  I my humble opinion the freighter with the classic 747 upper deck is by far better looking the it’s passenger carrying stablemate the 747-8 Intercontinental.

How anybody could prefer the looks of the Airbus, I can’t understand. I mean this is real Corvette verses Mack Truck stuff.

And really, 25 years from now. Which plane do you think will still be flying?

Hint:  There are still first generation 747s, most now converted to freighters in the air at any given moment.

I’ll be expanding this post in a day or two. Just got to get some head to head figures for the two planes. Yes the Airbus is bigger, but you might be surprised by the “Seat mile costs” of both.

As always comment away.

Just a quick additional note:  If it’s possible I’m going to be in Everett, Washington for the “First Flight” next month. Will know for sure once the date is set.  If so I’ll have a ton of photos of the event.

December 31, 2009 Posted by | Aircraft, Airline Stories | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Airline fuel prices

Quick post:
For those of you that are interested. Average fuel price for Jet-A, that’s the stuff they burn in Airliners, is now $3.77 per gallons.
That makes it $180,000 to fill a 747.

It must be noted that many airlines bought fuel on the futures market, and have prices locked in at considerably lower levels.

May 18, 2008 Posted by | Airline Stories, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Two coolest takeoffs I every saw.

In the days before the end of Eastern Airlines, at the hands of Texas Air Group, I happen to push out a retirement flight.
The pilot was taking his last fight, from Portland back to Miami. 7 AM departure, non stop back to Miami and he was done. Well not exactly, as he was planning to buy a flying boat, move to the Dominican Republic, and fly tourists around.
In any case, we said our goodbyes in operations, I fueled the Airbus A-300, and got ready to push the big bird out.
When the Pilot called for push, the tower surprised us.
Tower :” All aircraft hold your position Eastern has the airport. Taxi, runway, and departure are at pilot’s discression. Eastern, pick your runway.”
The pilot picked 21. This is very unusual, the normal departure runway being 10 left putting the plane on a heading to the east. 21 heads south over the city, and he wanted to see Portland from the air once more.
I pushed the Airbus back, turning the tail to the south as I went, this put him in position to taxi to the north end of 21, without making any tight turns.
Now runway 21 is kind of on the short side, about 7000 feet long, so the big Airbus was going to use every dimes worth of pavment.
While he was taxing to the end of the runway, two of our big fire trucks pulled onto 10 right on the east and west side of the interesction with 21.
As the Airbus lined up, back to the Columbia River and Marine Drive, both fire trucks started an arch of water shooting over runway 21.
As the Airbus crossed the intersection it ran under an arch of water, just before rotation.
Pretty cool for a last flight.

The other one was a United 747, or I should say two, the first setting the need for the second.
Portland has two primary runways, 10 left and 10 right, also of course 28 left and right when you’re landing from the east. While 10 right is huge, 11,000 feet long, 10 left is somewhat shorter about 8,000 feet.
Well, United was running a 747 to Tokyo, and it came time to resurface 10 right/28 left.
The first week 28 Left was unusable the 747 used 28 right. Well a 747 with a large passenger load, a lot of freight, and 336,000 pounds of fuel, weighs quite a lot. Actually it weighs so much that the mains used a bit of the overrun before the plane got into the air. Ron Reese and I were both headed for our fuel trucks, we thought we where going to be helping find people from this one. The 747 did clear the dike and slowly climbed out over the Columbia River, and headed for Japan.
The next week when the time came for the Tokyo trip, the construction equipment was pulled from 28 left, and the runway opened for this one takeoff. I got on the radio to the other ramp workers, and told anybody that could get away “You got to see this, is goinna be great.”
The United 747 made the long taxi to the east end of 28 left, and turned it’s tail to 82nd Ave.
Mind you, this runway has had dump trucks and bulldozers running up and down it for a week. It was checked and any rocks removed, but still covered with dust.
As the throttles were run up, the area around 82nd Ave disappeared behind a 700 foot tall cloud of dust. As the 400 ton plane rolled down the dust covered runway, the Air Force Reserve base was hidden by the cloud.
When the plane was moving fast enough to generate some lift, two tornadoes formed at the wing tips, then on rotation all the thrust of the four engines blew the runway clean.
It took about 15 minutes for the dust to settle.
The one thing I regret is not having a camera with me that day.

May 17, 2008 Posted by | Airline Stories, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

R.I.P. Morning Light/ Pan Am 103

It’s a cloudy October day in 2007. The last few days of a wonderful vacation. We went to London, then back to Manchester to pick up a rental car. A week in Wales, then up to Scotland for another week.

On the drive back from the Loch Ness area, I took and exit off the motorway, June gave me a quick glance, but said nothing. She knew that this would be a very private moment for me.

So I took the Vauxhall up a hill above the little town. Finding the field near a stone church in Tundergarth, Scotland. The grove of trees is a little taller, and a small flock of sheep wander the hillside now, but there was “The Spot”.

27 years ago the Clipper Morning Light was the Pan Am 747, that my mother and I rode to London from Seattle, on my first, and what would as it turns out be her only trip to England. A big beautiful plane, that made it’s way transporting people the world over.

Fast forward eight years, and a great deal of tension in the world. I had taken a job in the airline support business, gotten married. My mothers health was failing, to the point that another trip to England is out of the question. Still have to thank the Department of Defense for that. It seems mother was an unlisted casualty of the cold war.

The 21st of December 1988, I was taking the day off, it being our wedding anniversary. The news was slow picking up the story, for a few hours there was some confusion, but by that evening the image of the fallen cockpit with “Maid of the Seas” painted on the side was etched in my mind.
Years later while researching my first trip to England, I wondered what had ever happened to the “Morning Light”. A quick check with a Pan Am historical site found the entry (Morning Light renamed Maid of the Seas ).

Where I sit in Tundergarth, it’s quiet, and a few miles to the west Lockerbie has recovered. A few buildings are newer than their neighbors, having been built to replace the homes that were vaporised by the wing sections impact.

Little known is that a few people survived the fall, but died before help could reach them. It seems that the Captain” Jim MacQuarrie” was still trying to fly the 747 when the nose section struck the field next to the gray stone church.
Now I know that there are those that will point out, the Pan Am 103 was a target in a war of conflicting societies.

I come from a military family . My father an Air Force pilot, my mother served in the Air Force, my brother and myself both Air Force, my brother for a great many years more than I. In a real war mistakes happen, and innocent people are hurt. But when real men fight real wars, the targets are not third parties.

Giving your pregnant girlfriend a radio packed with explosive, and send her off on a passenger plane is the act of a coward, backed by a group of men unfit for a place in this world. I guess I just have a problem with people that think that I must follow their path or die.To quote the talk show host “Phil Hendri”. “When they strap bombs on their own children, you know there are no real men left in the Arab World”. Probably a gross overstatement but something to think about.

Anyway, I thought that that day in October 2007, with that visit to Lockerbie, I could put the Morning Light to rest. Maybe next trip….Maybe next time I’ll spend a little time, walk the field, and stand at “The Spot”. I’m not a religious person, but maybe this is something I need to do.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Airline Stories | , , , | 1 Comment