Posts Tagged ‘boeing’

Say Good-Bye to Boeing 747 Passenger Jet Service Over Frisco – Only 18 Left at SFO – All Gone by Oct 29, 2017

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The Queen of the Skies above Coyote Point last month:

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United’s old birds flying out of SFO, only 18 left now, are skedded to leave us by the end of October 2017.

Now that’s just the plan, and it depends on United getting enough replacement aircraft. And the cargo version, well those will keep flying until after you’re dead, Gentle Reader, sry. And it’s possible there could be a 747-8 (the unloved replacement for the aging 747-400 seen above) flight in SFO’s future, who knows.

And IDK, Donald Trump’s Air Force One, that’s sort of a 747 – I can’t think of a reason for him to visit, but anything’s possible. And I guess some foreign carriers might still do something with passenger 747’s who knows.

But the fundamental point is that 2017 will mark the End Of An Era, an entire hubsworth of United 747 will disappear, so if you see a four-engined jet near SFO, it’ll be the even larger Airbus A380, (which is, already. becoming a kind of flying dinosaur itself oh well. You see, they made the wings too big, to facilitate the inevitable stretched cabin that was supposed to come in the future, but whoops, no stretch is coming after all. So all these A380 airplanes you see have too much wing for no good reason. Plus the wings are too short, owing to the sort of arbitrary limit of an 80 meter wingspan, which was necessary to limit the amount of re engineering required to get them to fit into airports. And Airbus could have opted for Boeing-style folding wingtips, but no, they didn’t, oh well.)

No fatalities in the long history of 747 jumbos at SFO but there was United 863, which almost plowed into Mount San Bruno in 1998 and also Pan Am 845 – check the YouTube –  video footage starts about halfway through:

I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t have jumped from the front part of a jumbo jet with its tail on the ground, but you have flight crew yelling at you to go go go, so off you go.

Anyway, adieu, 747.

Recalling (Again) the Close Call United Flight 863 had with Mount San Bruno Back in 1998

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Here’s an excellent report from the WSJ back in 1999.

And here’s a more better photo than I had in back in aught-nine:

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Same mountain, same antennas, same general direction for the plane (except the 1998 incident occurred at night and with fog/clouds).

Anyway, United Airlines took things seriously and aviation is the better for it…

Frisco Loses “Hometown Airline,” “Thousands of Jobs” – Let’s Look at Excessive Hype for SFO the Past Decade – QANTAS and Vaunted A380

Monday, April 4th, 2016

1. Here’s the news:

Alaska Air Agrees to Buy Virgin America for $2.6 Billion

Does this airline deal “make sense?” IDK, we’ll see.

But let’s now take the chance to take a look at the hype over Virgin America nine years ago, when the Mayor of SF boasted of the “thousands of jobs” what would come from our “hometown airline.”

Flip to the next page to see that.

2. What else, oh the already-failed Airbus A380, the “green” plane what was “going to change everything.” From 2006:

These (A380) aircraft are also very efficient.

But no, not at all, not really. Actually, that’s the problem – A380’s aren’t all that efficient.

Now, did it make sense for SFO to prepare for the arrival of the A380 starting 10-20 years ago? IDK, perhaps, since the feds were paying for most of the work. But this plane certainly was not the future of air travel, as should have obvious to anyone a decade ago.

3. What else, oh, QANTAS.

The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

Hey, did this work out? No, not at all. In fact, QANTAS completely abandoned SFO a short time later. It preferred Texas(!) and, of course, Los Angeles, for various reasons.

(And that’s the way it’s been since the 1950’s – QANTAS comes to SFO then starts losing money and then it leaves us and then it comes back to us. This really isn’t under the control of any local Mayors.)

Anyway, that’s how things have gone at SFO the past decade.

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Turns Out that Donald Trump’s Vaunted Personal Jet Came from a Bankrupt Mexican Airline – But Look at All that GOLD!

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Take the tour:

And then compare Air Trump One with Air Force One.

And then watch as this quite narrow narrow-body airliner bounces from one bankrupt airline to another.

That’s not too baller, huh?

And Donald, Rolls Royce jet engines have NOTHING to do with luxury cars. I’ve never heard anybody ever make this connection, AAMOF. RR engines are no more or less “luxurious” than anything from GE or Pratt & Whitney or anywhere else.

Basically, what this long since out of production 757 is is a super Boeing 737. That means that it has a narrow width (which comes from a decision made in the 1950’s with the ancient 707) by today’s standards. Donald could have gone with a used 767 widebody, as other billionaires do. Of course, there’d be some downsides with this decision, but it would have been the ballier choice, one that would have been made by a baller. (And if you wanted to go fishing in some small out of the way place, you could have a small, regular corporate jet.)

And oh yes, you’ll never ever be President, Donald Trump, despite what people say.

Play us out, actual baller jet:

Shadowy “SF Environment’s” [SF Dept. of the Environment, IRL] Cryptic Bus Ad: “DO YOU REALLY WANT THE CITY 7x7x7?”

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Now I say shadowy ’cause all you see coming out of this official SF department is “SF Environment,” which I suppose the SF Dept of the Environment people think looks better than “SF Dept of the Environment?” (Compare that with the SFPUC calling itself “SF Water” and the claim from at least one of its employees/contractors that the term PUC must surely apply to the CAPUC and not the SFPUC.) Moving on…

And I say cryptic because:

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So let’s see here, instead of recycling all my crap what I actually do, apparently, is find a hole and throw it in there, and if everybody did that, then SF County would become a giant cube of garbage going all the way to the troposphere.

This sitch is what I want, and the SFDE wants me to reconsider.

I get it. It took me a while, but now I get it.

(One supposes this SFDE message goes down better than, say, a reckless SFMTA operator lecturing me about transportation safety, or Mayor Willie Brown lecturing me about lobbyist ethics…)

How the Giant Airbus A380 is a Fuel-Hungry Dinosaur and How Smaller Mammals are Eating Its Eggs – The 80 Meter Box

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Here you go, let’s take a look at two recent flights out of SFO.

An Airbus A380:

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And here’s a Boeing 777, which is an older design, but it’s not yet a flying dinosaur:

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Here’s why. What are the differences you see? Doesn’t the A380 look sort of stubby to you? Part of that has to do with the 80 Meter Box, which is the reason why the wingspan is 79 point-something meters. The wings were made as long as possible, so they just barely fit inside that box. The result is a design that isn’t aerodynamically efficient. Also the wings were made too big and too strong* in order to accommodate anticipated future stretched models. So that means that if the A380 never gets stretched, then it will be burdened by too short, too strong wings for its whole life. (And look at the A380’s huge tailplane in the back – that’s another sign of its stubbiness. It’s too close the wings, so it needs to be bigger and heavier, ala the even-stubbier Boeing 747SP.) Future 777s will have folding wingtips, the better to be long and thin in flight, but easier to move about the gate area. Mmmm…

Also, four engines vs. two. Well, if you want to build big big big, then four engines is the way to go, but why would you want to build so big? Well, efficiencies, but landing slots at big international airports aren’t as precious as Airbus anticipated. If you think that international flight will grow spectacularly and that the hub and spoke system will dominate, well then, yeah, it’d be nice to get as many passengers as possible into the limited number of flights you’re allowed. But that’s not the point we’re at now, so maybe Airbus built the A380 “too soon?” It’s sure looking that way. And then Airbus is stuck with four older-style engines sucking up fuel. Unless, they want to hang newer style engines off of the wings, but that change would take a long time and cost a lot of money. But then it’d still be too stubby.

It’s incredible how it is was billed as some kind of revolutionary “green” aircraft just eight years ago. Anyway, that’s the fuel-hungry dinosaur part.

Now, where are the smaller mammals? Well they’re coming, they’re the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. Look at what you can do with them – you can more easily avoid those those big, crowded airports, right?

So we’ll just have to wait and see how things go for the A380. Maybe the world will change soon enough for the A380 to start making sense, despite its shortcomings. But until that happens, the A380 is nothing but a superjumbo jobs program, something the Euros can waste $20 billion of development money on, to put workers to work, all over Europe and in a few American states as well.

(It’s like the Concorde program all over again, spending big bucks to sell thirsty four-engined aircraft at less than cost.)

Oh well.

IMO, if Airbus wanted a big hub and spoke airliner, it should have built a big big twinjet, which would have fit into the 80 meter (or whatever) box more efficiently.

Boxes are efficient for watermelons, but not for jetliners – that’s how it works.

It’s halftime for the A380 and it’s down by three touchdowns.

Oh well.

Maybe it was just a bad idea…

*Or I should say designed too strong. The wing crack issue is there, but it doesn’t go to show how the A380 was fundamentally a bad idea for its time. It was just something that happened. My point is that the wings on the current and only A380 don’t really match the rest of the current and only A380, even leaving aside the 80 Meter Box

It’s Finally Happening: Emirates Airlines Launches Daily Airbus A380 Superjumbo Service Between SFO and Dubai December 1st

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Well I just saw a banner ad, so consider that confirmation that, as of December 1st, 2014*, Emirates is finally offering daily flights to and from Dubai out of SFO on its shower-stall equipped** Airbus A380 double-decker superjumbos.

So, chalk that up as a victory for SFO.

Here’s your Emirates A380, equipped with a horseshoe bar in the back, upstairs, for Business and First Class passengers only:

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It was back in 2008 that Emirates brought a then-new A380 to town, to show it off. Get all the deets on that visit right here.

But, IRL, they ended up using the smaller Boeing 777-300ER twinjet instead. When asked, the Emirates people said they were “considering” the A380 for daily flights to and from SFO. Well, six years later, the day has come.

Oh, here’s my take on SFO + A380 readiness right here. IMO, the A380 was, is, and will continue to be Just Another Airplane. Sorry.

Oh well.

*The writer is saying that the new, longer-range A380’s are lighter?  Uh, I think he should have said heavier instead. More fuel = more range, right? That’s the case here. It’s still a very heavy aircraft, one that’s still heavier than designed…

**What happens to your used shower water after your five-minute-max spritz is over? Emirates wanted to dump it out in-flight but I don’t think they got permission to do that. So, there’s a holding tank that gets emptied out after landing. So, Emirates needs to burn more fuel to carry a useless load of soapy water waste water. Not too “green,” huh? Oh well.

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: 

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Click to expand

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.”

Ahora Más Que Nunca: “Hawaiian Airlines to Launch Daily Non-Stop Service Between San Francisco and Maui”

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

United will soon have competition, once again, on SFO-OGG and OGG-SFO.

(I’ll tell you, I’ve flown to Oahu, you know, on bidness, using Continental and United and all and that worked out I s’pose, but one time I had to go to Maui for a wedding and I didn’t realize that not giving United an extra $20 for Economy Plus meant that I was going to end up sitting in Economy Minus (effectively – United calls it Economy but it’s def less roomy than the old United Economy) and, to boot, first-world problem, this was on a old Boeing 757 narrow-body Flying Pencil. Man, my butt was all the way back but my knees were hard up against the seat in front of me – it was no picnic. Since then, one time I got upgraded to Economy Plus for free and that was a triple beam lyrical dream in comparison. Otherwise, in all my years, I’ve always flown Economy / Coach (except for the Emirates excursion flight I took for 60 minutes SFO-SFO on an A380 complete with shower stalls) and man that United flight to Maui really stands out. My point is that Hawaiian’s newish A330 widebodies have got to be better than what United used to offer SFO-OGG and OGG-SFO.)

All the deets:

“Hawaiian Airlines to Launch Daily Non-Stop Service Between San Francisco and Maui

HONOLULU, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — In a continued effort to expand its service in the Bay Area, Hawaiian Airlines today announced it will offer non-stop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Kahului Airport (OGG) beginning November 20, 2014, allowing more access to the Hawaiian Islands from one of its largest North American markets.

“This year we’ve brought back our San Jose to Honolulu service, offered new seasonal non-stop flights from Oakland to Kona and Lihu’e, and now we are launching daily service between San Francisco and Maui–all in response to the robust demand we’ve received from the Bay Area,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “We are very pleased to connect two existing gateways in our network together, offering Hawai’i residents another way to travel to the Bay Area, and Northern California travelers another reason to visit the Hawaiian Islands.”

The non-stop service between San Francisco and Maui will begin with flights four times a week from November 20, 2014 before moving into daily service beginning December 17, 2014. The new daily service will add a total of more than 210,000 seats to both San Francisco and Maui travel markets per year, and will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Airbus 330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 passengers, with 18 in First Class and 276 in the Main Cabin.

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Aviation Writer James Fallows Commits the MSM Blunder of the Year with “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines” in the NYT

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Hoo boy: “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

“Was this disaster somehow the airline’s fault? The answer is no — but to understand why, you have to look at the complex realities of modern commercial aviation.”

My isn’t this a touch patronizing? Well, obviously the primary fault is with the crew and commanders of the Gadfly missile system used to shoot down the plane. But Malaysian Air Systems is partially to blame for its negligent operation.

“Malaysia Airlines, already world famous because of the still-missing flight MH370, appears to have been following all normal safety rules.”

Is anybody suggesting that this flight was somehow illegal? I don’t think so. So talking about Malaysian following the “rules” is pointless.

“…explicit prohibitions are critical, because the entire aviation system works on the premise that unless airspace is marked as off-limits, it is presumptively safe and legal for flight.

OK again, Jimmy, the flight was unsafe but legal. Nobody’s suggesting that the flight was not legal.

“…when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe.”

Again, Jimmy, why are you harping on what’s “legal” to make your point that Malaysian wasn’t negligent? It’s as if the New York Times has turned into the Public Relations arm of Malaysian Air Systems or the government of Malaysia.

All right, it’s time to review. Here’s a partial list of airlines that were specifically avoiding this part of eastern Ukraine before the shootdown:

Asiana Airlines

Korean Air Lines  

China Airlines

Air France

British Airways

Air Berlin [Germany’s second-largest airline]

The operators of these airlines would have been able to fly over eastern Ukraine legally, but they chose not to. Why’s that, Jimmy? Why would these airlines spend more on kerosene for no reason?

Mr. Fallows continues in The Atlantic:

Somehow I suspect that if it had been a Lufthansa plane that was attacked, there would be fewer starting-point assumptions that the carrier had somehow been cutting corners at the cost of its passengers’ safety. 

This sounds like it came straight from Malaysian Airlines, this racism (or whatever) argument he’s pushing. In any event, corner-cutting at the expense of passenger safety is exactly what occurred here.

And here’s the stinger:

“If a government or rogue faction shoots down a commercial plane, is that really an “air safety issue?” 

Well, hell yes it is, Jimmy. It’s exactly an air safety issue. That’s why all those airlines cited above, plus others, were avoiding the area. For safety.

Comes now aviation writer Christine Negroni to offer views contrary to that of flyboy fanboy James Fallows:

So while Malaysia is self-evidently correct it its statements; the airspace was open and hundreds flights between Europe and Asia were using it every day, it is a weak reply to a valid question of responsibility

Indeed.

Why James Fallows wants to shut down the conversation about the question of responsibility is a mystery to me…