Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

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.

CXcitement 1:200 Boeing 747-400 Model Unboxing

Yesterday I welcomed the newest addition to my 1:200 model airliner collection, which as of right now only consists of 2 aircraft (so realistically it can’t quite count as a collection). It is the CXcitement (not sure how to pronounce this? excitement? see-ecks-citement? Cathay-citement?) 1:200 Boeing 747-400  in Cathay Pacific Asia’s World City special livery (link to product page). I bought it for exactly 600HKD (or 77USD) at the big toy store near the check-in areas of Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1. As you can tell from the name, this 747-400 model is the official Cathay Pacific branded version, which they sell on their online store for the exact same price. While I wished for a 1:200 747-400 model in the standard Cathay livery, they are no longer produced and the only one I could find on sale was a second-hand version going for around 1380HKD (link to it here in case you’re interested). Not really worth it if you ask me.

cxcitement 747-400 model front of box

Front of box

Spotting the Cathay and Finnair A350’s

As someone that goes planespotting a lot (as in so often that I feel like my hearing is worsening), I often get bored of having to watch the exact same flights come in and out the airport every time. Though HKG is a really big and busy airport, the flight schedules are pretty much the same each day and things can get real bland real fast. That’s why I get pretty excited about special liveries or non-typical aircraft movements, in this case the arrival of the Cathay and Finnair A350’s.

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Finnair A350 OH-LWC

Singapore Airlines 777 Engine Fire?

Early in the morning of Monday June 27, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER (registration 9V-SWB, 9 years old) operating flight SQ368 from Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) to Milan-Malpensa International Airport (MXP) suffered an engine fire after an emergency landing back at Singapore that was warranted by an engine oil warning that the crew received shortly after takeoff.

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Extent of damage to the right wing – Photo from Channel New Asia

How Cargo is Saving the Boeing 747

A topic that can get any planespotter or aviation enthusiast to tear up on the spot is the retirement of the Boeing 747. Seriously, movie studios should consider getting planespotters to act in roles where crying is needed. It’ll be much more genuine that some of the crappy fake crying that we see in movies. What was once comparable to a queen on her throne is now more or less a prisoner of war. The Boeing 747 has reached the end of its lifespan as airlines are switching over to more efficient twinjets or perhaps the Airbus A380. The 747-8 remains an overall failure, while earlier versions such as the 747-400 are being phased out due to their age.

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