Aviation history

Souvenir Sunday: 747-themed amenity kits on United

United Airlines is going to retire its Boeing 747 fleet on November 7 and to mark the occasion the airline is giving out 747-themed Polaris amenity kits starting Monday, October 23, through January 2018.

Silver kits go to first class customers, while blue kits will be handed out to business class fliers. In addition to the usual amenity kit items, each kit contains a pack of five 747 trading cards, so you can swap with your friends.

Passengers on United’s premium transcontinetnal routes (EWR-SFO, EWR-LAX, BOS-SFO) will receive (smaller, but just as charming) commemorative kits as well.

 

Thanks for visiting StuckatTheAirport.com.  Subscribe to get daily travel tidbits.

Fun, fast facts about London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport, The Beatles depart from Heathrow on their American tour. August 13, 1965.  Courtesy Heathrow Airport

Next time you’ve got some time to spend at London’s Heathrow Airport, take a moment to read some of the commemorative signs the airport posted to mark its 70th birthday in May, 2016.

There are 70 of factoid-filled signs throughout the terminals, marking everything from where the The Beatles were met by screaming fans (repeatedly) in the 1960s to where film scenes were shot and where the Concorde last landed at Heathow in 2003.

You’ll find a list of the contents and locations of all the signs in Terminal 2, Terminal 3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 on the Heathrow website.

The copy on the signs ranges from cute and corny to cheeky.

In Terminal 2 departures, one sign marks the spot where actor and pilot John Travolta landed his Boeing-707 in 2002. “He had recently completed his flight training. Fact, not pulp fiction,” the sign notes.

In Terminal 4 departures is  the spot from where Muhammad Ali flew, “like a butterfly,”  in 1974 to fight George Foreman in The Rumble in the Jungle.

And in Terminal 3, a sign notes the spots where the opening sequence in the film “Love Actually” was filmed.  “Think of here whenever you feel gloomy,” Heathrow advises..

Thanks for visiting StuckatTheAirport. Subscribe to get travel tidbits just about every day.

 

Exquisite airplane models on view at SFO Museum

Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”) model. Courtesy SFO Museum

A new exhibition from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport features almost  three hundred 1:72 scale (one inch = six feet) models of pioneer, sport and commercial aircraft made with plastic, wood, metal, wire, string, and epoxy and detailed with paint and decals.

Air France Concorde SST (Super Sonic Transport) model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

The models come from the collection of Jim Lund, a Bay Area native who made aircraft models as a kid and returned to the practice as an adult.

“Numerous models were constructed or modified from kits produced by manufacturers worldwide,” exhibit notes tell us,  and “In the many instances when no kit was available, Lund crafted the model parts from scratch based on manufacturers’ plans using the ‘vacuform’ process—a method that creates plastic parts from his hand-carved wood forms.”

Aviation Evolutions: The Jim Lund 1:72 Scale Model Airplane Collection is on view pre-security on Depatures Level 3 through May 13, 2018.

Here are some more examples of what’s on view.

 

American Airways Curtiss Condor T-32 airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

 

SCADTA (Sociedad Colombo Alemana de Transporte Aéreo) Junkers F.13 airliner model aircraft . Courtesy SFO Museum

 

Dornier Do X flying boat airliner model aircraft. Courtesy SFO Museum

Getting ready for the eclipse

 

Courtesy NASA

Like everyone else, I’m pretty darn excited about the Great American Eclipse taking place on August 21.

I’m luckier than most. Not only do I live not far from the path of totality, but I’ve been invited to join Alaska Airlines on a special flight that will leave Portland International Airport early Monday morning and head out over the ocean to meet the eclipse as it heads towards the west coast.

The plane will be filled with astronomers, airline employees, special guests and media representatives. And while I won’t have one of the highly coveted seats on the right side of the plane where passengers are promised a straight on view of the eclipse from their seats, I’ll have a front row seat for the festivities leading up to the flight and at least a sliver of a galley window during the flight.

There won’t be WIFI on the flight, so I won’t be able to do any live reporting – but my story and some of my photos from the adventure will be on USA TODAY, here on StuckAtTheAirport.com and on social media soon after we land.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready by watching this video taken by a passenger on Alaska Airlines Flight #870 in 2016, when astronomers convinced Alaska Airlines to change the course of the  course of a flight from Anchorage to Honolulu just a bit so that eclipse chasers – and regular passengers booked on the flight – could get  a view of an eclipse taking place over the Pacific Ocean.

 

CVG celebrating National Aviation Day – with hot dogs, ice cream

Courtesy Henry Ford Museum

 

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is celebrating National Aviation Day (Aug 19), which commemorates the history and Orville Wright’s birthday, with ice-cream, chili and aviation-themed giveaways.

 

More than 2,000 arriving passengers will be treated to Gold Star Chili cheese coneys (hot dogs) and Graeter’s Ice Cream. There will also be a band, giveaways and other surprises at the Welcome Point of the CVG Terminal.

 

CVG will also host a scavenger hunt on social media for passengers to find Wilbur Wright in the Terminal and two Concourses. Hints will be shared on Twitter and prizes will be awarded to the first passengers who spot Wilbur, snap a photo with him, and share on CVG’s Twitter account.

 

And what’s National Aviation Day without some plane spotting? At 2 p.m., there will also be free Mr. Softee ice-cream (first-come, first-served) and aviation-themed treats out at the airport’s airplane viewing area (1459 Donaldson Hwy, Erlanger, KY).