Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

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.

Canon 5D Mark IV Unboxing

After too long a wait, the Canon 5D Mark IV is finally here. Though the first consumer batch only started shipping this week, I was lucky enough to have gotten my hands on a pre-order model before they were sold out.

I placed the order for my Mark IV on Tuesday of last week (August the 30th), and I took delivery of it yesterday (September the 8th). As I was one of the first people in Hong Kong to pre-order the camera, I also receive a miniature Hansa Canon model, an 8GB USB in the shape of the EF 16-35 2.8L III, and a SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SD card as freebie gifts.

Canon 5D Mark IV Release – Good for planespotting?

Just this week on Thursday the 25th of August, Canon publicly released the long-anticipated 5D Mark IV full frame DSLR body, the successor to the popular 5D Mark III. The 5D line has always been popular amongst wedding photographers, product photographers, fashion photographers and photography enthusiasts, but not so much amongst planespotters. Instead, the Canon 7D series has long been the camera of choice for aviation photographers, mainly because of its superior speed and AF tracking system. But as the 5D Mark IV is bringing along some features that will give it some of the speed of the 7D, perhaps it could be the new camera of choice for aviation photography.

Dragonair Business Class A330 Review HKG-PEK

Dragonair is a lesser known carrier that is the regional sister airline of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Using an all-Airbus fleet of A330-300’s, A321’s, and A320’s, it flies from Hong Kong to various destinations in Asia. This week I was able to sample the Dragonair business class offering on a flight to beijing, so I decided it would be nice to share my experience.

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