Archive for the ‘airports’ Category

Primary Colors, Western Addition: Green Suitcase, Purple Suitcase, Red Pants

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

As seen on Octavia:

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I’ve Never Seen an Aircraft Flying Around Without a Registration Number – And Yet This Was Over the Stanford Game

Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is new on me:

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Boy, this aircraft/banner combo seems familiar:

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Here are some of my other beefs against the flying banner ad biz in the bay area.

A380 Superjumbo Update: Where’s Your Messiah Now, SFO? Things Just Aren’t Working Out with the Big Airbus

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Even back six years ago, even back in aught-eight, this kind of press release from SFO seemed more optimistic than average.

Anyway, we spent a lot of money getting ready for the Airbus A380 double-decker and we do get a handful of flights* every week, but things just haven’t worked out.

Oh look, it’s a Lufthansa A380 filled with German tourists going home after their summer vacations in the bay area, high above Daly City: 

7J7C6438 copy

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I’ll tell you, the reason why we still use a lot of four-engined Boeing 747-400 jumbos at SFO is because we already have them. They’re there, hundreds of them. But they guzzle a lot of fuel, so, not too long ago, the A380 was considered to be The Future. But it’s a guzzler too. So The Future now belongs to large twin-engine aircraft like the Boeing 777 models (present and future) and the slightly smaller twin-engined Airbus A350 line.

So all that hype coming out of SFGov about the A380 being “green,” well that was a lot of hogwash. The A380 was/is just another jetliner and SFO took steps to accommodate its massive size and that’s fine, but it wasn’t/isn’t/will never be a game changer the way the people at SFO were hoping for (or lying about – I still can’t tell why they were so excited as late as 2008, when the promise of the A380 was already being questioned).

Anyway, here’s the update:

A380 Continues To Pose Challenges For Heathrow – The A380 was tapped to help capacity-strapped airports, but could it end up hurting them?

Arguably, the A380 was specifically designed for Heathrow, which has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbour problem. So great, here’s a giant plane that’s really quiet – isn’t that great? Well, read the link above to see how things are working out when the rubber meets the tarmac.

SFO also has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbor problem, but our airport is a lot smaller and, as stated, those A380′s aren’t really working out and nobody’s really buying them anymore, so we’re not going to have to deal with Heathrow’s problems. No no, we’ll just muddle through.

But the skeptics have already been proven correct, after just six years.

One wonders what SFO’s next overhyped fad will be…

*More so in the summer, when the French and the Germans really pine to come here, so they can stay “Near Union Square” in a fleabag hotel only to get bitten by bedbugs, only to be told that said fleabag hotel doesn’t have bedbugs so GTH. On behalf of San Francisco, I wish to say, “Sorry, French and German people.”

Little-Known Fact: It’s Currently ILLEGAL for TNC’s Like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to Pick Up or Drop Off Passengers at SFO

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Sidecar driver Eric of Baghdad By The Bay has the deets.

Now here is where San Francisco Police Department Commander / fully-license CA attorney Richard Corriea distinguishes betwixt picking up and dropping off, but I don’t know how operational that distinction is currently.

I mean, for example, a cabbie out of a non-San Francisco locale such as Daly City is currently allowed to drop off fares legally but is not allowed to pick up anywhere at SFO. To do so is a misdemeanor. (Even San Francisco hacks are prevented from picking up at SFO without first paying a fee* and waiting in line.) So I guess there’s still a distinction, but Eric is saying there isn’t one anymore as far as TNC’s are concerned.

Here’s what I didn’t know, from Eric’s report of July 16th, 2014:

“Some of the TNC’s are being a bit passive aggressively defiant in that they are telling drivers they will cover the cost of the ticket [which I have heard runs between $220-$600 depending on what they write you up on], but they aren’t telling drivers not to take people to the airport. This makes some of these TNC’s look bad to the CPUC who has given them the right to operate in California. Sidecar has officially told all of it’s drivers to not accept rides to or from SFO and that is easy because riders have to put in their destination when they request a ride. Sidecar is also working on blocking requests to the airport until they can resolve the problem with SFO. Those other TNC’s aren’t doing this.”

If I were a TNC driver, I don’t know how happy I’d be after getting $600 from my employer as compensation for a misdemeanor rap.

I’ll tell you, I don’t know how proud SFGov should be of the existing taxi system.

For example,  here’s a fully-licensed and insured and regulated San Francisco taxi taking tourists from SFO to SF in 2010. They died.

Will TNC cars end up catching on fire and killing people? We’ll see.

I’m sure that this sitch will sort itself out sooner or later, but things are pretty messed up right now…

*Back in the 1990′s, some SF taxi drivers would also pay a bribe to get to the front of the line. At SFO, there are SFGov employees called “starters” who organize taxi operations. A system was set up to allow drivers who paid a $5 bribe to improperly get into the “short” line of drivers waiting to pick up arriving passengers. So a driver might end up paying $60 in bribes but get in exchange receive twelve or so lucrative “airport runs” in just one shift. So I guess this was a win-win for the bribe offerer and bribe receiver…  

Checking In on a Typical Mayor Gavin Newsom Press Conference a Half-Decade Later: Who Lost Qantas?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Well, nobody really “lost” QANTAS, but SFO used to have the big Australian carrier like for a half-century and now it doesn’t so that’s what SFGov was upset about back in the day. Let’s review.

Here’s 2009, from Qantas:

“In 1954, San Francisco became Qantas’ first US mainland destination and we have a long association with the city. We are delighted to showcase our new aircraft to the people of San Francisco.”

And here’s 2009, from Newsom:

“San Francisco International Airport was designed to accommodate the new A380 aircraft, and we are extremely pleased today to welcome Qantas Airways in the first commercial A380 flight to SFO,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “This state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new aircraft provides yet another bridge of friendship between San Francisco and Australia, and we look forward to continuing our long and successful partnership with Qantas.”

Now IRL, the Airbus A380 was and is just another airplane in the sky. And IRL, the state of the art of large commercial aircraft would be to use two large engines instead of the A380′s four smaller engines. And calling it “environmentally sensitive” was and is a bit of a stretch and, in fact, these days it’s considered a guzzler and so much so that Airbus is considering certifying completely different engines.

Anyway, what happened soon after this press conference in 2009 is that Qantas shut down operations at SFO and went to Texas. So instead of upgrading airplanes coming into town, they just upped and quit on us, they couldn’t wait to get out of here.

Why? Because it made sense for them to do so and also the airport people at Dallas Fort Worth came up with millions of dollars to throw at Qantas.

Who knows, Qantas might come back to SFO at some point (but it doesn’t really matter all that much).

Pretty much everything he said at his press conferences turned out to be wrong – this is just an example.

How to Watch the NTSB Board Meeting on the Asiana 214 Crash at SFO – Today, Starting at 6:30 AM PDT

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well fundamentally, this accident was due to pilot error, if you had to sum things up in two words. But the NTSB has been looking into everything that led to that error and now it will present its findings, in English, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.

Is it possible that the people who died weren’t belted in for landing? It’s hard to believe, but yes. And how will SFO operations fare in the NTSB’s assessment?

Here’s the link – they are providing many different kinds of connections

(more…)

POINT / COUNTERPOINT: TechCrunch on “AirPooler is Lyft for Private Airplanes”

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

AirPooler is Lyft for Private Airplanes

“Law prohibits private pilots from profiting from passengers so you only pay for your share of the cost of the flight plus a 20 percent fee to AirPooler”

UH, THE PILOTS _ARE_ PROFITING FROM PASSENGERS, ARGUABLY.

The Federal Aviation Administration also bars private plane pilots from advertising flights, which is why AirPooler is careful to never promote any specific flights.

THIS IS STARTING TO READ LIKE A PRESS RELEASE, TECH-CRUNCH!

It’s hired as its general council the former assistant chief council of regulation of the FAA to make sure it doesn’t break the law.

ALTHOUGH OF COURSE IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT AIRPOOLER WILL BE FOUND TO BE OUTSIDE OF THE REGULATIONS – OF COURSE HIRING ANY PARTICULAR PERSON DOESN’T CHANGE THIS FACT. ALSO, “assistant chief council” SHOULD BE “COUNSEL,” AS THE DUDE COUNSELS PEOPLE – THAT’S HOW YOU REMEMBER THE DIFFERENCE

So why the hell would you want to get in a stranger’s airplane? Because the alternatives, namely driving and commercial air travel, can be a nightmare.

OF COURSE CRASHING AND BURNING CAN BE A GENERAL AVIATION “NIGHTMARE” AS WELL, RIGHT?

It says to fly from Palo Alto to Tahoe using AirPooler it would take about an hour and cost $50.

ABOUT AN HOUR _AND SOMETHING_, MORE CORRECTLY, RIGHT?

Fifty-five percent of pilots in a small survey in Boston said they’d even add additional flights to take AirPooler passengers.

UH, THIS IS STARTING TO SOUND LIKE AN AIR TAXI TO ME

Lewis admits the core challenge will be gaining consumer mind share and convincing them AirPooler is safe and simple, which it might not be.

WELL, HOW REFRESHING. YES, GENERAL AVIATION ISN’T ALL THAT SAFE, INDEED. PLUS FIVE FOR GRYFFINDOR!

Luckily, prop planes are relatively safe compared to other transportation methods, and the planes can glide back to the ground in case of an engine failure.

WTF? MINUS 20 FOR GRYFFINDOR HOUSE! PROP PLANES ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT SAFE COMPARED WITH OTHER TRANSPORTATION METHODS. IN MOST GA MISHAPS, THE AIRPLANE AINT “GLIDING” WHEN IT TOUCHES GROUND. GENERAL AVIATION IS AT LEAST AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE _LESS_ SAFE THAN DRIVING ON THE FREEWAY*

Still, accidents are most common with pilots with fewer than 100 hours of experience.

WRONG! IRL, ACCIDENTS ARE MORE COMMON WITH PILOTS WITH _MORE_ THAN 100 HOURS OF EXPERIENCE.

As more of our formerly prized possessions like albums and photos get digitized, society is putting a higher and higher value on experiences.

WHAT?

ALL RIGHT, THAT’S MOST OF IT.

*OF LOVE, IN A PINK CADILLAC.

The First Boeing 787 Dreamliner I’ve Ever Seen – JAL JA821J – To SFO from Haneda Tokyo International Airport

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

One thing’s for sure, Boeing didn’t do a good job with the introduction of lithium-ion batteries.

OTOH, if you want to get to the city of Tokyo, it’s nice to be able to fly on in to Haneda instead of big old, far away Narita International.

Presenting your fuel-efficient, little-giant, wide-body Boeing 787: 

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SFO Departures: Wingpeople

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Iceman: You can be my wingman any time.

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Maverick: Bullshit! You can be mine.

Know Better Your Bay Area Air Traffic Control Towers: NASA – Meatball Insignia 1958 to 1975 and 2002 to Present

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Read and learn about the past and present NASA insignias.

Whenever I ask permission to buzz the tower, Air Boss Johnson is all, “That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. The pattern is full.” You know, or some other excuse. I hate when that happens.

Someday, I’ll be Air Boss.

NASA Color Insignia Colors:

NASA RED

PANTONE® 185
Process 0C,100M, 100Y, 0K
RGB 252R, 61G, 33B

NASA BLUE 

PANTONE® 286
Process 100C, 060M, 0Y, 0K
RGB 11R, 61G, 145B