Archive for the 'airbus' Category

Flight Review: easyJet

Route: BUDAPEST-London/Gatwick
Travel Date: 05OCT2008

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.easyjet.com, which was very simple and straight forward. After selecting your departue city on the homepage, it narrows down the list of destinations which are directly served from there. Also there is an option to indicate if you’re flexible about your dates. As I was on a business trip, this was not an option for me, I had to leave on a Sunday as the Monday schedule from Budapest to London pretty much destroys the full business day, thus it’s not an option… (I think with the winter 2008 timetable this flight has been rescheduled as an evening flight.) The Search Results still show 3 days, even though I have opted not to be flexible with my dates…

The least fair step of the booking process, comes after selecting your flight, where additional services are already added to your flight by default and the price of course is increased. This page looks very crowded, with loads of information presented in a number of different stlyed boxes below each other, making it hard to read and find the important information (“I’m charged with extra stuff”), which seems to be lost among the colored text and symbols. Third party taxes are of course OK, but why do I have to be automatically opted-in to Travel Insurance and 1 checked-in luggage with their associated costs? I can somewhat understand the luggage as probably the average traveller takes 1 larger, non-carry-on bag with them, but the insurance is really something that should not be opted-in by default! I can still add other items to the service, such as Speedy Boarding, additional luggage, and special sports equipment. This is the step when I can also opt-in to compensate my CO2 emmissions of the flight(s) booked. After having actively removed the Travel Insurance and the Checked-in luggage fee, I can continue to the next page to provide my traveller details, etc. Based on my preferred credit card type, I’m again charged with the extra Credit Card Transactional Fee. Only Visa Electron is transaction fee free… Once paid, I can already check-in if my flight is within 3 months from now! This is a very nice solution!

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

Offsetting Carbon Emissions is very easy and simple with easyJet. As I already mentioned after selecting your flight you are presented with a very loaded page where you can opt-in for extras. One of those is the CO2 offsetting schema, that has already calculated the amount you should pay for this “service” and you can opt-in with just one simple click.

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

Check-In

I chose to check-in online, immediately after finishing my booking. It opens 3 months before the actual flight, it’s very simple, and you can print your boarding pass at the end of the process. It is very convenient as you can proceed straight to the gate with that piece of paper. The only worry I would have is that if I’m checked in 3 months in advance for a flight, I may simply forget about it… 🙂 As easyJet is using “Open seating“, there are no seats assigned to the passengers, you can look for a free seat you like and just take it once you’re on the aircraft. With the internet check-in, one is placed in boarding group “A”, that supposedly gets on board after those who have purchased the “Speedy Boarding” service – to guarantee themselves as among the first people to enter the airplane. There is another group following “A”, which is “B” and includes those who checked-in at the airport. They are the last ones to get on the plane and can only select from “left-over” seats.

1. BUDAPEST – LONDON GATWICK (EZY 5444)

Aircraft: Airbus A319 (G-EZBU)
Class: Economy (one class layout)
Punctuality: Flight took off 2 minutes late, arrived exactly on time.
Boarding: By bus, thus the above described boarding groups were hard to coordinate I think. As I took the aft door of the plane after getting out of the bus, I probably entered the plane with my “A” group Boarding pass earlier than some of those going through the front door and having “Speedy Boarding”… I got a window seat without any problems. Flight was less-than half house, with plenty of free seats, I was the only one in my row on my side.
Seats: Regular seats with less-than average legroom
Flight Attendants: There were 4 of them, 2 young girls and 1 guy plus 1 older purser. Two of the girls were good looking, all of them were very friendly.
Meals: Meals are offered at an additional cost, you can select from a range of sandwiches and drinks including alcoholic drinks. Those who selected a warm sandwhich, had to wait about 20 mins before they got their heated up food.
In-Flight shopping: In-flight shopping contains a selected range of items. I have purchased a limited series easyJet model plastic aircraft only, as the parfume I wanted to buy for my wife has already ran out.
Entertainment: No LCD screens or such, only the In-Flight magazine of easyJet plus the In-Flight Shopping guide of course. Bring your own reading material and music player!

Onboard easyJet

Onboard easyJet

Overall Experience

It was exactly what I paid for: transportation from Budapest to London Gatwick, in a timely, correct manner without any frills. I would take this flight again, but only if I ever want to leave on a business trip on a Sunday afternoon as the schedule is not really good for travellers originating in Budapest. Totally wrong schedule for any Hungarian business travellers, as the flight leaves in the afternoon and returns from London in late morning, but probably suits London business people just OK. The pricetag: this one way flight costed HUF 41.400 or USD 255, with the purchase taking place 10 days before the departure.

by balint01

Video Of The Qantas A380 Naming Ceremony

The first A380 of Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia has been named after Nancy Bird Walton, a pioneer of aviation. The video tells everything about the event and why the giant Airbus was named after her.

She also speaks at the ceremony and after the champagne is broken on the plane, she just says like a worried grandma: “I hope she didn’t scratch it”.

It is a very nice, touchng video and I think everybody who watches it feels a little bit what Qantas’ employees feel now.

I remember when I worked for Malev and we received our first next generation Boeing, there was an internal hangar party for the workers. We were chatting, talking in the hangar, when suddenly the band stopped playing and the Malev song started from the loud speakers. The door of the hangar opened up and there was this beautiful plane standing in front of the building facing us with its Mickey mouse-like blue nose. I looked around and I saw people standing there proud, most of them having some teardrops in their eyes. Believe me, it is a very touching moment in the life of an airline.

Well done, Qantas, good PR job!

Here is the video and if you have time, watch the commercial that introduces A380 at Qantas.

The commercial:

By Szafi

Aircraft Winglets

Many of us who fly regularly have most probably seen a so-called winglet or wingtip device at the end of the wing of an airliner at least once. It is showing up more and more often on more and more types of aircraft, thus we felt it’s time to give an overview to our readers about these sometimes funny, sometimes cool and stylish looking aircraft parts.

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

History, Reason and Benefits

The initial theoretical concept goes back to times before even the Wright Brothers first took to the skies in 1905, but it was picked up and developed by Richard T. Whitcomb of NASA after the 1973 oil crisis – in order to reduce fuel consumption. The first tests were carried out in 1979/80 in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force. At almost the same time, but independent of any U.S. military organization, a private jet producer, LearJet exhibited a prototype in 1977: the LearJet 28 that featured the first winglets on a jet and a production aircraft. Flight tests made with and without winglets showed that the winglets increased range by about 6.5 percent and also improved directional stability for the LearJet- these two factors are the major reasons behind using this facility at any fixed wing aircraft ever since.

Airflow around the wingtip with or without a wingletA winglet is a (near) vertical extension of the wing tips. The upward angle of the winglet, its inward angle as well as its size and shape are critical for correct performance – this is why they can look quite different. Air rotating around the wing strikes the surface of the winglet that directs it in another direction – thus creating an extra force, basically converting otherwise wasted energy to thrust. This is a small contribution but can save a lot for an operator in an aircraft’s lifetime. Another potential benefit of winglets is that they reduce the strength of wingtip vortices, which trail behind the plane. When other aircraft pass through these vortices, the turbulent air can cause loss of control, possibly resulting in an accident.

Winglet Types

In general any wingtips that not end the wing simply horizontally are considered as some kind of a winglet. Even though in strictly technical terms Wingtip Fences are not real extensions of the wing, and Raked Wingtips do not have a vertical part, they are still widely considered as winglet variants.

WINGTIP FENCES are a special variant of winglets, that extend both upward and downward from the tip of the wing. Preferred by European plane-maker Airbus, it is featured on their full product range (except the A330/340 family and the future A350). The Airbus A300 was actually the first jet airliner to feature this kind of solution by default, but it was a very small version of the tool. Provided that most of the Airbus planes (including all A320 family jets) feature such wingtip fences, this may be the most seen and most produced winglet type. Even the new Airbus A380 double-decker features wingtip fences.

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets seen from onboard

Airbus Winglets as seen from onboard

BLENDED WINGLETS (the real “Winglets”) are the most popular winglet type, leveraged by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier but also by Russian Tupolev and Iljushin. Blended winglets were first introduced on the McDonnel Douglas MD-11 aircraft in 1990 with launch customer Finnair (it also features a smaller winglet at the bottom side of the wing). In contrast to Airbus who applies the wingtip fences by default on most of their aircraft (and the winglets on the A330/340 family), blended winglets are considered by Boeing for example as an optional extra feature on their products, except for the Boeing 747-400. For some of the older Boeing jets (737 and 757) such blended winglets have been offered as an aftermarket retrofit, these are the newer, tall designs and do not connect to the tip of the wing with a sharp angle, but with a curve instead. These winglets are popular among airlines that fly these aircraft on medium/long haul routes as most of the real fuel savings materialize while cruising. Longer flights mean longer cruising, thus larger fuel savings. And they also server as marketing surface for airline logos or web addresses usually.

Just recently the Boeing 767-300ER has received 3.4 m high (!) winglets produced by Aviation Partners Inc. with American Airlines as the launch-customer with Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines following with orders of 5 and 8 aircrafts respectively. 141 shipsets have been pre-sold already as the forecasted fuel savings range around 4%-6% for medium/long-range flights. Airbus earlier tested similar blended winglets designed by Winglet Technology for the A320 series, but determined that their benefits did not warrant further development and they stayed with the wingtip fences instead. Aviation Partners Boeing claims that winglets on 737s and 757s have saved a collective 1.2 billion gal. of fuel since they were introduced and 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 while reducing those types’ noise footprint by 6.5%. It has sold winglets to 140 airlines and 95% of all 737NGs are fitted with them. It is working on four winglet concepts for the 777 and hopes to finalize a design for that aircraft type by December, 2008.

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

RAKED WINGTIPS are the most recent winglet variants (they are probably better classified as special wings, though), where the tip of the wing has a higher degree of sweep than the rest of the wing. They are widely referred to as winglets, but they are better described as integrated wingtip extensions as they are (horizontal) additions to the existing wing, rather than the previously described (near) vertical solutions. The stated purpose of this additional feature is to improve fuel economy, climb performance and to shorten takeoff field length. It does this in much the same way as “traditional” winglets do. In testing by Boeing and NASA, raked wingtips have been shown to reduce drag by as much as 5.5%, as opposed to improvements of 3.5% to 4.5% from conventional winglets. Airliners to use raked wingtips: Boeing 747-8, Boeing 767-400ER, Boeing 777(-200LR; -300ER; and freighter versions) plus the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350. The 747-8, the 787 and the A350 will have special, new kind of wings, which do not have a separate winglet, but have raked, and blended wingtips integrated – without a sharp angle between the wing and the winglet.

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

As you can see, wingtips/winglets have developed and changed very much over the last 30 years, but are becoming the standard, which is not proven better by anything else than the wing designs of future aircraft by the largest airplane-makers that feature a built-in winglet at the tip of their new, revolutionary wings.

(Most of the winglet pictures in the montage images taken from airliners.net taken by several photographers.)

by balint01

Finnair Celebrates 85th Anniversary

Finnair -one of the world’s oldest airlines established in 1923- has turned 85 years old this year and is showing the airline world how such a birthday should be celebrated in true style.

Retro and Current Logos of Finnair

Retro and Current Logos of Finnair

1. Retro Flights in Retro Livery Airplane

First of all painting one of the fleet (an Airbus A319) in the original livery from 85 years ago and naming it “Silver Bird” for years to come:

Finnair Airbus A319 in Retro Livery (c by Teemu Heikkonen on airliners.net)

Finnair Airbus A319 in Retro Livery (c by Teemu Heikkonen on airliners.net)

Finnair is flying the “Silver Bird” from its home Helsinki-Vantaa airport to a number of locations all around Europe, but some of those flights between July 30 and December 31, 2008 are classified as Retro flights, with the crew wearing retro dresses as well. (if interested, read our earlier post about sexy stewardess uniforms.)

2. Retro Marketing on a Dedicated Retro Website

Setting up a special dedicated retro website for a month that looks like it was made out of paper and pack it with video commercials from earlier days (which still advertise the current brand…). Add the list of the above mentioned retro flights to it, (the list may change due to operational reasons of course) together with classic Retro style Destination Guides to the planned destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London, Manchaster, Milan, Oulu, Paris, Rome, Stockholm.

Retro Style Finnair 85th Anniversary Website

Retro Style Finnair 85th Anniversary Website

Link to Finnair Retro Commercials

Link to Finnair Retro Commercials

Turning the main Finnair cover website to a Retro looking page with a single banner to the Retro site and a search module – to still allow people to get on with their business and make a booking.

Main cover page of Finnair in Retro Style

Main cover page of Finnair in Retro Style

3. Celebrate the 10 year Alliance Membership with Further Special Livery Airplanes

And finally follow LAN Airlines and be the first European oneworld member to feature a special oneworld livery on the latest Airbus A340 addition to the longhaul fleet as well as on a shorthaul Airbus A319 – to celebrate the 10 year membership in oneworld.

Finnair special anniversary oneworld livery Airbus A340 (c by oneworld)

Finnair special anniversary oneworld livery Airbus A340 (c by oneworld)

Very well done Finnair, this marketing campaign should be copied by others!! Besides the website and the retro commercial videos, having three special livery aircraft at the same time will have all plane-spotters around the world looking out for anniversary Finnair airplanes!

by balint01

1,000 Airbus A380 Flights at Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has announced yesterday that it has completed its 1,000th Airbus A380 commercial flight on Monday, when its scheduled service from Singapore to London Heathrow touched down in the United Kingdom as flight SQ 322. Singapore already operates five of the superjumbos, and claims that all aircraft have performed “remarkably” since entering service last October. In reality there were a few incidents indeed, but nothing major – and these kind of small glitches are normal in airline operations, especially when rolling out a new type into everyday operations.

Singapore Airlines A380 arriving at London Heathrow - c by Allan Huse on airliners.net

Singapore Airlines A380 arriving at London Heathrow - c by Allan Huse on airliners.net

The five airplanes have accumulated 8,500 flight hr. and carried nearly 400,000 customers. More than 220,000 have traveled on the Singapore-Sydney route, with the rest shared between Singapore-London and Singapore-Tokyo. This is really good news after the scandalous road of the Airbus A380 entry into commercial services. The sixth A380 is scheduled to arrive in September, with a further 13 to follow in the coming years. Singapore Airlines has options on an additional six and has been the first and only operator of the type until last week, when Emirates took their first Airbus A380.

by balint01

First Airbus A380 Delivered to Emirates Airlines

First Airbus A380 delivery to Emirates Airlines (c by Airbus)
First Airbus A380 delivery to Emirates Airlines (c by Airbus)

The first of many Airbus A380 SuperJumbos has been delivered to Emirates a few minutes ago. Emirates will start flying this aircraft to New York in just a few days (see our earlier post) and will receive many more in the coming years. Currently Emirates has 58 Airbus A380’s on order, which is by far the largest order from any airlines of the world for this type of Aircraft.

The first Emirates A380 has the following seating arrangement:

Besides all the brand new seats across the three classes, and the first class suites equipped with electrically assisted sliding doors and massaging, full lie-flat beds (seats), the A380 will have very impressive commons areas, such as a lounge bar at the rear-of the upper deck (where First and Business class seats are located) and a luxury-hotel like bathroom in First class (with two showers available). The “Shower Spas” can be attended upon contacting the purser to make an appointment. The dedicated Shower assistants will prepare the Shower Spa prior to each appointment! Even though the bar has been planned before, the Showers seem like a brand new (and very nice) idea!

Emirates A380 Bar (c by Airbus)

Emirates A380 Bar (c by Airbus)

Detail of Emirates First Class Lavatory (c by Airbus)

Detail of Emirates First Class Lavatory (c by Airbus)

 

Shower on the Emirates A380 (c by Emirates)

Shower on the Emirates A380 (c by Emirates)

The Emirates A380 is the first to use the GP7200 engines (Singapore Airlines – the so far only operator of the superjumbo – has been using Rolls Royce power).

The plane will be flying the inaugural flight between Dubai and New York JFK on August 1 and 2, while it will enroll into normal service starting August 8, 2008. Emirates expects to receive 4 more of the aircraft this year.

by balint01

TACA Airbus A320 Overran Runway in Honduras

At 9:45, 30MAY2008, TACA flight 390 operating from El Salvador to Tegucigalpa, suffered an accident upon landing at Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. According to the latest news, “The plane inexplicably circled the city twice and it ran out of runway because it landed more than halfway down” the length of the strip, airport manager Carlos Ramos told the Channel 7 television network. Upon landing it could not stop before the end of the runway and crashed into a ravine, and a road, finally coming to rest broken into three parts while its nose crashed into the roadside embankment.

TACA Airbus A320 after the accident - c by Mercopress.com

There are 3 people reported dead by the airline: captain D’Antonio, of Salvadoran nationality, captain of Flight 390 (with an accumulated 11 thousand flight hours and a TACA employee since 1993); and Mrs. Jeanne Chantal Neele, and Mr. Harry Brautigam, passengers. There were 124 passengers on board, 5 crew and 5 more TACA crew flying for repositioning purposes. On Saturday, 45 of these people remained hospitalized, the rest could be released immediately after the incident (or have simply walked away).

NATIONALITY NUMBER OF PAX
Argentina 9
Brazil 2
Canada 2
Colombia 2
Costa Rica 17
El Salvador 3
Georgia 1
Germany 1
Guatemala 8
Honduras 60
Italy 1
México 3
Nicaragua 5
Spain 2
United States 7
Uruguay 1

 

You can access the full passenger list here: taca-flight-390-passenger-list as provided by TACA on their website.

But as the aircraft hit a road, there were two more lethal tragedies on the ground, as the plane crumbled upon cars that got trapped under the wings. One of them reported to be a motorbike rider.

Here is the BBC link showing how the passengers were escaping, and how the cars got trapped under the wing.

According to the TACA website, the aircraft is an A320-233 Airbus, Irish plate EI- TAF, series number 1374 built on January 4th 2001. Until May 29th it had accumulated 21,957 flight hours and 9,992 landings. (Picture of the plane on airliners.net: http://www.airliners.net/photo/TACA/Airbus-A320-233/1232265/L/)

Location of the crash (link posted on flightlevel350.com)

Following the crash, officials acknowledged that the runways of Tegucigalpa’s aging Toncontin International Airport are short and its approach paths are dangerous. The airport is ringed by hills, posing a special challenge for pilots.

There was no official cause given for the crash yet, but weather may have also been a factor. The runway was wet with rain from Tropical Storm Alma.

by balint01


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