Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Airbus A350-1000 Maiden Flight

On Thursday November the 23rd, the new Airbus A350-1000 made its maiden flight at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse Blagnac, France. The aircraft took of at 10:42am local time with two Airbus test pilots and four engineers. Though the weather wasn’t great, spectators and planespotters gathered to watch the first takeoff of the new aircraft. Watch the official video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDY7oPUti8I

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The first A350-1000 lifting off on its maiden flight – Photo from Airbus press release

 

Cathay Pacific Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Russia

cathay pacific 777-300

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300

Cathay Pacific Flight CX250 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong was forced to make an emergency landing in Novosibirsk, Russia after the crew received warning of a fire in the aft cargo hold 6 hours into the flight. The aircraft was a Boeing 777-300ER, registration unknown. The crew made a safe landing at Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport with 214 passengers and 18 crew on board. The flight took off from London at 6:02pm local time (GMT) and landed in Novosibirsk at 7:20am local time (GMT+7). There was no fire detected in the cargo compartment after landing. The passengers of the flight were accommodated in hotels for the night and a replacement aircraft has been dispatched to shuttle them to Hong Kong.

Why Airlines are Cramming More Seats onto Airplanes

In the past month or two, Cathay Pacific and British Airways both announced plans to shift from a 9-abreast to a 10-abreast Economy class seating layout on their Boeing 777 fleet. Essentially this means that there will now be 10 seats per row in Economy class and opposed to 9, which allows the airline to cram more passengers into the same aircraft than before. Cathay Pacific and British Airways will be joining Emirates, China Airlines, Air France, American Airlines, and Air Canada among others, all of which operate 10-abreast seating configurations on the 777. This leaves competitor Singapore Airlines as one of the last airlines operating a 9-abreast configuration.

Update 2: Cathay Pacific 747 Farewell Flight


It’s 9:30 now; one hour down, one more to go. The places are filling up now, looks like people are really sad to see the 747 go. I’m still perched on top of a rock, good thing I was able to nab this spot while I could. 

Update: Cathay 747 Farewell Flyover

It’s 8:30am, and here I am at Victoria’s Peak waiting for the Cathay Pacific 747-400 Farewell Flyover. Even though I got here two hours in advance, the place is already jam-packed with spectators. I managed to find a nice spot on the rock, and now the waiting begins. The total value of all the camera gear people have brought here today? Beyond me. I’ll have pictures from today uploaded as soon as possible.

10 Abreast Seating Confirmed for Cathay Pacific 777

After a good amount of speculation, Cathay Pacific has finally revealed plans to switch to a 10 abreast economy class seating on its long-haul 777 fleet. This means that the cabin will be changed to a 3-4-3 instead of the current 9 abreast 3-3-3 configuration. While this means that aircraft will have more seats and can carry more passengers, it also equates to decreased passenger comfort as there will be less space for each passenger. As a result of the new configuration, seat width decrease from 18.5 inches to 17 inches while total capacity of the aircraft will increase by up to 35 seats. Seat pitch, which is the distance between two front-and-back rows of seats, will not change with the new configuration.

EVA Air’s Sketchy Operations During Typhoon Megi

On September the 27th, Typhoon Megi struck Taiwan and caused most flights in and out of Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Songshan (TSA) airports to be cancelled. Taiwanese EVA Air, on the other hand, decided to brave the storm. On that day, EVA Air had 45 flights scheduled to land at Taipei, 30 of which were able to successfully land (including those that diverted and refuelled before carrying on to Taipei the same day). Winds were reported to be at around 30 knots gusting to 41, with a maximum of 50 knots gusting to more than 70. While there are no real headwind limits for landing, typical crosswind limits are around 35 knots. Passengers on board the EVA Air flights experienced really bad turbulence, with some of the reportedly having used their phones to type their wills. Not sure if this is true or just a really big hyperbole, but it goes to show how bad it must’ve been and also how scared people generally are of flying.

How the DC-10’s Faulty Cargo Door Design Killed 346

Last night, as per my typical Friday night chill-out routine, I watched an episode of the popular television series Air Crash Investigation. Yes I know this is not really what normal people do with their Friday nights, but who said avgeeks are normal people. This week’s episode centered on Turkish Airlines Flight 981 and American Airlines Flight 96, both of which were operated by the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

5D Mark IV – Real World Experience

Last week, I had the opportunity to take my new Canon 5D Mark IV out to the airport to put it to the test doing some aviation photography. After receiving it the mail a few days before I only had the chance to take a few test shots of my dog, so I was really excited to try it out for real. I had to buy a new CF card (as I don’t think SD cards do the camera justice), but I was able to use my 70D’s spare batteries on the new Mark IV. Before heading out I slapped on the Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto lens that I’ve been using been using with my old 70D, and I was all good to go.

Air China Magazine Scandal – Why I’m Not Surprised

Normally quite a low-key airline, Air China has been receiving a lot of heat this past week for a racist article published in its inflight magazine. A travel tip at the bottom of the cover story on the city of London warns passengers that “precautions are needed when entering areas mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people”. The racist magazine excerpt was first discovered by a CNBC journalist who posted it online and caused quite a ruckus. Virenda Sharma, a member of parliament, actually felt very offended by the article and wrote to the Chinese ambassador demanding an apology. Doubt he’s going to get a response.

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