Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

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.

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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.

Qatar Airways A380 Can’t Get Gate at ATL

In an embarrassing turn of events during Qatar Airways’ inaugural service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), their Airbus A380 Super Jumbo operating the flight could not get a gate at the airport’s main terminal, and had to park at a remote stand, forcing passengers to deplane via airstairs (those mobile stairs mounted on top of a truck) before being shuttled to the terminals in buses.

Cathay Pacific A350 delivery set for May 29

After more than three months of delays due to issues with seat manufacturing, Cathay Pacific’s first Airbus A350-900 twinjet airliner is set to be delivered on Sunday, the 29th of May 2016. 

The aircraft completed its maiden flight and tests last month and was scheduled to perform its first passenger flight on May 1st after after it was realized that the original February deadline (that was set last year) could not be made. 

The delivery date has already been postponed twice (see my post “Cathay Pacific A350 delayed again”) but it is guaranteed that no more delays will occur as the aircraft has already been prepared for delivery.

Why airfare is so expensive

Recently, I watched a short 10 minute educational video on YouTube explaining why airfare is as expensive as it is. Here is the link to it in case you want to watch it. In short, the video uses an example of an Airbus A320 fully loaded from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) just south of Washington D.C. to illustrate the costs that go into a commercial flight. The video makes the conservative consumption that the aircraft is fully loaded with 154 passengers (which is rarely the case) and that each ticket for the flight costs around 80 dollars (which is what they were selling for online).

5 tips for Airliners.net photo acceptance

Most beginning plane spotters and aviation photographers struggle to get their first photo accepted on to online aviation photography databases such as Airliners.net or JetPhotos.net. This is no surprise at all as these websites are very strict when it comes to image quality and reject the majority of images that pass through the screening and selection process. Therefore you shouldn’t feel discouraged when your first couple of uploads are rejected. It took me nearly a dozen attempts before I was able to get my first photo accepted on the Airliners.net. With some persistence and practice, eventually the right photo will come along. Here are my five tips to help you improve your aviation photography and increase your Airliners.net photo acceptance rate.

17 hurt on Hong Kong Airlines flight

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Hong Kong Airlines – Photo by Christian Junker CC 2.0

On Friday the 6th of May, Hong Kong Airlines flight HX6704 from Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) carrying 204 passengers and 12 crew members encountered severe turbulence while flying over northern Indonesia, resulting in the injury of 17: 14 passengers and 3 crew members. The aircraft returned to Denpasar, and landed back in Denpasar two hours after diverting. Twelve people were rushed to the hospital, one with serious injuries. It was reported that some of the passengers were immediately flown to Hong Kong aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight, while others remained in Denpasar for the night.

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