That time of the year… Avgeek Heaven

It’s Friday.  All over the USA (And some parts of Europe as well) people are hopping onboard aircraft, jetting their way towards Seattle.  I am sure there are many people heading here for business or for the Seattle Food & Wine Expo or for Alton Brown Live this weekend.  But some people are heading their way towards Seattle for some Avgeek time.  This weekend is the Annual Aviation Geek Fest (AGF) and this will be the third year running that I will be helping out.

Although this year I didn’t help as much as the past for planning (since I believe a lot of it was done behind the scenes) I will still be there over the weekend, running around like a crazy person I am sure.  But the weekend is also great for the fact that I get to meet so many people.  I get to share my passion for Aviation with many like minded people, and also get to just be open about all of it.  No need to hide the fact I like planes when everyone else at AGF does too!  Catching up with friends on this annual visit is also fairly handy and I can’t wait to do that.

Although this year I won’t be able to make the social gathering on Saturday night (since I will be at the aforementioned Alton Brown Live.  Heidi & I bought tickets last May) it means that social time with everyone won’t be as great as last year, and my first AGF as a married man will be spent without Heidi around (she will be working most of the time).  It doesn’t change the fact that I will be having a heap of fun but it would have been nice to have her around, so she can experience some things for the first time.

It’s a big weekend, I can’t wait to get up to Everett tomorrow and get on that factory floor again, have a blast with everyone  and just enjoy myself.  Everyone who is coming to Seattle for AGF should have a really good time, and if you don’t, well… take a look at yourself!

Working towards another tick on the bucket list

A while back i wrote my bucket list.  I put it up online and slowly but surely have been ticking things off.  One of the things I put on there that was aviation related was to take a photo of every airline that flew to Australia.  Well that task is getting closer and closer.  Now i don’t want to put up that full list with photos yet (since I am 1 off) but I will put up a list of what I have worked out with help from a few others (though open to additions if people know):

  • Qantas
  • Virgin Australia
  • Air New Zealand
  • Jetstar
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Qatar
  • Hawaiian
  • China Airlines
  • Air China
  • China Southern
  • China Eastern
  • Sichuan
  • Scoot
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Australian
  • United
  • JAL
  • Thai
  • Air Asia X
  • Air Asia
  • Royal Brunei
  • Our Airline/Nauru Airlines
  • Norfolk Air
  • Air Vanuatu
  • Air Calin
  • Air Austral
  • Air India
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LAN
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Cebu Pacific
  • Air Canada
  • Air Niugini
  • Delta
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Air Mauritius
  • EVA Air
  • Fiji Airways
  • SilkAir

Now that is a pretty big list.  But I am pretty sure I have all but about 2 of those.  Well it was 3 till the other day.  Previously I was missing Scoot, Cebu Pacific & Sichuan.  Now I can strike Scoot off that list as I got it on Sunday afternoon:

<table style=”width:auto;”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/47cPjzh5yFAD4sjR616uHtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-l0moUY0pSPU/VMXQs0GZ-XI/AAAAAAABs-0/3uxhNCG-Mf8/s640/scoot1.jpg” height=”479″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/109346098513022744611/SeattleSpotting2015?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite”>Seattle Spotting 2015</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto;”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9T7mckguB5ot6fiyHgQTAtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-uSxw6Y1tQLo/VMXQvBrXQgI/AAAAAAABs_Q/3EEVwRvsZRI/s640/scoot5.jpg” height=”478″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/109346098513022744611/SeattleSpotting2015?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite”>Seattle Spotting 2015</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto;”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bWAXBq6dd9q3fv59LY0JONMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-wXeNIBmN3GU/VMXQwGP8DbI/AAAAAAABs_k/EzkSovXB2Vw/s640/scoot7.jpg” height=”479″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/109346098513022744611/SeattleSpotting2015?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite”>Seattle Spotting 2015</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto;”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/SlwHlbtc49jeN6Z26bvyzNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OTvudj3T1j4/VMXQtluZt7I/AAAAAAABs_A/Lf2H1DtubRo/s640/scoot3.jpg” height=”479″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/109346098513022744611/SeattleSpotting2015?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite”>Seattle Spotting 2015</a></td></tr></table>

I managed to get some shots of their yet to be delivered 787-9 while it spent 4 hours on Sunday working the pattern in Everett.  Even though I didn’t plan on doing any spotting, I still managed to get some good shots :D

Now where can i find Cebu & Sichuan with easy access ;)

2014 Travel Look Back

2014 was a light year for me for travel. With a changed life and different priorities, I think I spent more time driving than I did flying. Looking back though at the stats, it was a little bit shocking. I only flew a total of 13,090 miles! That is not much at all! Last year I did at least 4 times that, if not more! Without any trips across the ocean either, it was kept at a real minimum. Let’s look at the stats:

My 2014 Flight Map

My 2014 Flight Map

Total Flights: 14
Total Miles: 13,090
Total Airlines: 4
New Airlines: 0
New Aircraft: 0
Most flown Airline by Segments: Southwest (6)
New Airports: San Diego, Anchorage, Denver, Albuquerque, Dallas Love Field

All of the flights were in Economy, but this year it was a toss up between either award flights, paid flights, non rev tickets and stand by buddy flights. The trip to San Diego was my first experience at Buddy Passes and it was interesting (don’t know if i could handle the whole stand by thing). But my favorite flights of the year where those I was able to spend with Heidi. 3 simple flights and yet they were the most fun. My trip out to Dallas was the most amount of flights in such a short period of time. It was not the most amount I have done in a day (what is it about me and flying to Dallas with 3 segments in each direction?).

Next year doesn’t look as big either unfortunately. We are planning on heading to Australia but other than that, there isn’t much at all. I would like to get on an innagural flight and tick at least one new state off my list, but will see how that works out.

Christmas Eve Avgeekiness

I was going to title this the second half of the Honeymoon Avgeek photos, but it is Christmas Eve so it is appropriate to celebrate.

From Honeymoon Spotting

A New Livery Southwest 737-700

From Honeymoon Spotting

A Fiji Airways A330 heading to the parking spaces after a long flight from the South Pacific

From Honeymoon Spotting

A MasAir Cargo 767 (never seen this before)

From Honeymoon Spotting

A JAL 777-300ER

From Honeymoon Spotting

A Mesa Airways CRJ, flying for US Airways Express, painted in the American Eagle Livery (confused yet?)

From Honeymoon Spotting

A United 737-800 with Scimitar Winglets

Merry Christmas to you all!!! May you Christmas Day be full of Avgeekiness

Honeymoon Avgeekiness…. Pt 1

Since it is a Sunday night, time to share some avgeek porn. Lots of planes from the trip with some spotting in Vegas, Tucson and also LA.

I managed to get some avgeek time at the PIMA Air & Space Museum (and you can read about it here) but the first half of the trip the most spotting I got to do (apart from some while we waited for our helicopter flights) was in Las Vegas. My shots during our helicopter flight were pretty crap (Bernie can you teach me your tricks?) so all I have from Vegas is from when I first arrived where I had about 45 minutes or so getting some arrivals as the sun set.

From Honeymoon Spotting
From Honeymoon Spotting
From Honeymoon Spotting
From Honeymoon Spotting

Other than that, the best I got was in Tucson while parking the car at our hotel (which was right by the airport mind you) we managed to score a flight of Arizona Air National Guard F-16s doing circuits. But this is about the best of that set

From Honeymoon Spotting

More later in the week!!

Getting Hitched… Part 2!

With the wedding fast approaching and the cake plans fully covered, we had just small bits and pieces till the wedding itself. The main thing was that Heidi was going to keep the tradition of not seeing me till the wedding from the night before. I wasn’t all that happy about it, since my friends were working pretty much the day off and the day before, so I settled in to an night alone on the couch. My last night as a legally single man, spent on the couch, watching tv, with Heidi’s teddy bear Bigfoot for company (yeah I am sure you have seen a few photos of the culprit floating around). Thrilling!

Wedding morning rolls around and I spend the morning taking a run around the streets to clear my head. A quick oatmeal breakfast and it was time to get the cake transported. I barely had time to breat with that done to head over to a friends place to iron my shirt (since we don’t have an iron) and then by the time that was finished I had under 90 minutes before I had to get some flowers, head home and get ready for the wedding and be out of the house. Heidi wanted to use our apartment as the staging ground for getting ready, fine with me but traffic on the 405 and a failed attempt at getting some flowers meant I had to rush to get ready :(

I made it out of the house by the assigned time and headed over to the Museum of flight. I was able to calm myself down by meeting the designer of the 747 and the Boeing Chief Pilot who were there to give a talk on 747 day. Unfortunately they wouldn’t have been able to be present for the wedding (how amazing would it be to have the designer of the 747, sign my wedding certificate as a Witness!), but just getting a chance to meet them was truly an honor.

I was able to take that time to shock a few friends who didn’t know about the wedding as here I was at the Museum in full suit & tie. Truly loved shocking people with the whole “I’m getting married in the first 747″, lots of fun! After the talk it was only a short time before Heidi arrived and we were off to get our photos taken. We wanted to do our photos before the ceremony due to light. The moment I saw Heidi, I was gobsmacked…. I had never seen her look so beautiful in my life. I wanted to take in that moment forever! With the wedding photos about to get started, I had not expected someone else to show up but an Aviation Journalist colleague of mine, Jeremy turned up. It was a shock to him as I said to him “What are you doing here” “Shooting a wedding for USA Today” “O, I guess that’s my wedding you’re shooting!”

We spent the next while getting photos taken all over the museum, with planes, with statues, goofy, serious, everything you would expect. We slowly and progressively moved our way from one side of the museum to the plane itself. The museum shut at 5pm and once that was done, we had free reign of everything in the Air Park and RA001 for an hour. We had a blast getting some photos, but there was serious business. We got set up on the main deck, in the nose of the aircraft and the ceremony began once Heidi and worked her way up the stairs:

The wedding went off greatly, we read our vows (which we had written obviously) from Safety cards (we couldn’t find any 747 ones, so went with what we had, two Southwest 737 cards) and we signed our marriage certificate on the original design model of the 747. After some more photos of everyone and our first as a married couple, we headed away from the museum to Dinner at a restaurant in Columbia City. Nothing huge just a small family style dinner to celebrate the day. Cake was had, food was consumed (which for Me & Heidi was some of the first that day) and much fun was conducted. Heidi & I finished our wedding night off by walking across the street for ice cream at Full Tilt, because nothing says the end of our day like Ice Cream.

Getting Married in a 747

Number 2!

So this week I managed to get Air Force 2 when it was visiting Seattle. I have spotted Air Force Once twice before (once in MSP and the other in SEA earlier this year, or was it last? I don’t remember) and getting the USAF’s 757 had been elusive. I have shots of their 737s (unpainted) but never the C-32 (which is the Military designation for the 757). I was a bit worried that since it was a South Flow out of Boeing Field that the photos from the Museum of flight (where I had a meeting before the flight took off) would not be any good. Thankfully due to the pilots holding it on the runway until the very last minute, I got some fantastic examples of a typical 757 take off. If it was a fighter it would be called a “Zoom Climb” i reckon.

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Unlike the VC-25A (which is the military designation for the 747 that acts as “Air Force One”) the C-32 is a straight 757 bought as if it was a commerical aircraft. No modifications for Air to Air Refueling or jamming equipment & the like. So sorry VP Biden, you are just rolling on a standard 757, albeit a pretty one!

Some Plane Porn for you all

Been doing a lot of Plane Spotting lately so here are some pretty things for you:

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Avianca 787-8

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Avianca 787-8

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Virgin Atlantic 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Air China 747-8i

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Etihad 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Air China 747-8i

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Virgin Atlantic – 787-9

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Ethiopian Cargo – 777F

From Seattle Spotting 2014

Dassault Falcon 2000

More to come later in the week!