Monday September 9, 2013
So this is a little odd:
“Pavement failure” has closed 34L/16R at Sydney airport, the longest runway here (3962m, or 13,000 feet), typically used for heavy departures (and, in my flying experience out of YSSY, exclusively).
We were literally at the door of UAL870 (YSSY-KSFO) when they turned us back (hello, AirNZ Lounge, again).
There is a thumping breeze out of the West, so 25 seems to be the only active runway. I just saw a Virgin A340 get off 25 (2530m or 8300 feet), which was a little spectacular from the vantage point of the AirNZ Lounge overlooking the west end of 25:
Oh, and note that temperature reading in the ATIS, above. 33C. What the hell? Apparently there is a southerly change coming our way shortly, which will be most welcome.
No word on the prognosis… Can a 744 loaded with pax and fuel for 12-13hrs get off in 8300 feet with a thumping headwind?
Update: So this is cool. So I’m sitting in the upper deck of this flight now, got to visit the cockpit and asked the crew what’s up. 34L is repaired and we intend to go out on that runway. The UAL LAX flight is going out ahead of us on that runway right now.
The LAX and SFO bound 744s carry too much fuel for the shorter runways here at Sydney; over 300,000 lbs of fuel.
An A380 headed for Singapore did get off 25 just before (nice of that from the cockpit). The UAL guys said that they can get off 7/25 in the 744s if they are only going to Melbourne.
Monday July 8, 2013
So the Asiana crash landing at SFO reminded me of the following weird coincidence.
One week ago, on July 1, I flew SFO-LHR on UAL 930. The pilot piped through ATC on Ch 9 (one of the nerdy things I like about flying United).
Just before we were given our takeoff clearance, SFO tower alerted an incoming flight to 28L that it was too low. The flight in question was UAL 1601 (IAH-SFO).
28L is the same runway that Asiana was trying to land on, with ILS out this summer; they’ve being doing some work on the runway there.
I went to the liveatc.net audio archive to download the KSFO tower comms from that day and time (mp3). Note that liveatc.net timestamps in Zulu time and stores 30 minute archives.
At about the 23:38 minute mark comes the low altitude alert from SFO tower to UAL 1601:
TWR: “Low altitude alert United 1601, check your altitude. San Francisco altimeter two niner eight three”.
A brief response follows, presumably from UAL 1601.
At the time I thought “wow, you don’t hear that often”. And I forgot all about it until the Asiana crash.
Pretty cool you can go recover that from liveatc.net.
Friday January 18, 2013
This happens to me so often. I’ve developed a Pavlovian hesitation when reaching for my laptop after its been through the X-ray scanner.
I wonder if its socks interacting with floor or something, since I’m usually still shoes off when it happens (I think).
Just another thing for the TSA people to giggle at…
Sunday May 27, 2012
Janet got back this morning from visiting family in Brisbane. She went on Star Alliance miles, with the return we could find being via Singapore and Narita (not the most direct BNE-SFO routing).
Janet flew over 20,000 miles flown on this trip. That is the equivalent of 4 SFO-JFK roundtrips, or about 2 SFO-LHR roundtrips. And this is the West coast of the US to the East coast of Australia. NYC – Perth via DFW and BNE is 11,940 miles, which is an awful long way for a family visit.
Interesting coincidence that BNE is basically on the GC route between AKL and SIN, and that NRT is close to the SIN-SFO GC.
Tuesday March 6, 2012
Awful. So we get some nicer planes on UAL from CO (738s, in seat-power in Economy Plus). But the UAL web site looked at least half-decent.
My quick sense is that they’ve imported a lot of elements from the CO site, and it looks awful, IMHO, at least compared to the old UAL site.
How many different typefaces have been jammed onto this page? And images? Even the word “United” appears in FOUR different typefaces.
Screenshot below (click to open up thumbnail), with my personal details blocked out:
Wednesday February 29, 2012
“Hello old friend.”
The United flight from Sydney comes in around about 10.30am every morning. If the 28s are being used SFO arrivals, we get an overflight or close to it: the flights from Hawaii, Auckland or Sydney typically arrive via the Woodside VORTAC (OSI) to intercept the 28 localizer, almost always on a vector that tracks right over Stanford and Palo Alto or Menlo Park.
Screenshot from PlaneFinderHD; click on the thumbnail.
Friday September 16, 2011
Cargolux was due to take delivery of a freighter edition of the new 747-800 on Monday. There was much fanfare scheduled up in Everett to celebrate the 1st delivery of the 748s. But today Cargolux has announced it is refusing to take delivery. No details as to why: “unresolved issues” are what the parties are saying in press releases. But are the issues performance-related, or something else?
Horrible news and images from Reno.
And a photographer dropped a Canon lens from a sightseeing flight of some kind over Petaluma, with the lens punching a hole in the roof of a house. Terminal velocity for a Canon lens?
Thursday September 1, 2011
In a 10 min span I saw a 747-800 and a 787 fly low in-bound to Boeing Field. 787 in ANA livery. Pure luck, happened to look up while out and about for lunch; grabbed my iPad to verify what I was seeing (PlanePlotter, Flightaware).
Friday August 26, 2011
United Continental announced plans to upgrade the interiors of some of their aircraft:
United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL) today announced it will invest more than a half-billion dollars in its onboard product as it takes another important step in becoming the world’s leading airline. These product improvements include:
- Adding flat-bed seating on 62 additional long-haul aircraft, bringing total aircraft with flat-bed seats to 185, more than any other U.S. carrier
- Adding Economy Plus seating and Channel 9 air traffic control audio to more than 300 aircraft
- Nearly doubling the overhead storage space on more than 150 aircraft
- Installing advanced broadband Wi-Fi on more than 200 aircraft
- Introducing streaming wireless video onboard its 747-400 aircraft
- Completely retrofitting its p.s. fleet with flat-bed seats, Economy Plus, on-demand audio and video and Wi-Fi
These and other planned product changes come in addition to the 25 new aircraft – including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – that the airline will introduce to its fleet next year. United and Continental have each made significant product and service improvements over the past several years and since the airlines closed their merger Oct. 1, 2010.
I have 1M+ miles on UAL and almost always fly them, but after traveling with SIA and ANZ (and even a IAH-SFO flight on a CO 738), I’m struck by how old and run-down the UAL interiors are. It isn’t just the absence of personalized, on-demand video in coach on a 744 (for instance), or no in-seat power in coach on a 777: lavatories, seats, trim, finishes, everything tends to be older and tired looking on UAL equipment, save for the improvements they’ve been making with the business class product.
2 years ago the WSJ reported the average age of UAL 747s as 13 years, 757s as 17 years (!) and the 777s as 10 years. It shows.
At some point, old planes are simply old planes — so it might make sense to spend a little on making the economy class experience a little less horrible, but thats about it.
I remember being on a brand-spanking new UAL 777 out of ORD many moons ago — the captain invited us up to the cockpit to check it out, on what was like revenue flight #3 for that aircraft.
Bring on the 787s please.
Thursday August 18, 2011
This sad news struck a little close to home. Janet had worked with Paul Lockyer at A Current Affair in Sydney back in the 1990s, and had also worked with the camera operator John Bean in Canberra.
We’d really enjoyed the way Lockyer had scoped out the regional/environment beat with the ABC, showing city people (and the world) amazing stories and images from the bush. The stories and images of Queensland flood waters working their way south into the Murray-Darling and west to the Channel Country and down into Lake Eyre were wonderful (some samples here).
The news of the crash got us off to a sad start today here in Brisbane. Janet was saying she thinks that Locyker is the 2nd journalist from her A Current Affair days to have died in a chopper crash.
Screen shot from the ABC web site: