Airplanes

Miss flying? Make your own paper airplane

It will be a while until you can visit a United Polaris lounge and order the specialty cocktail that comes with a little cut-out of a paper airplane.

But you can use your at-home time to make your own paper airplanes.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport’s (RNO) Kindness Takes Flight Home Edition has this handy downloadable paper airplane design that includes numbered instructions.

The Fold ‘n Fly site offers a database of paper airplane designs, with instructions and videos, that can be searched by difficulty and type, i.e. acrobatic, time aloft, etc.

My favorite is the one that is designed to fly like a bee.

And, once you’ve made your paper airplane, you might want to download instructions for making a paper airplane launcher, courtesy of Scientific American.

And let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that since 2017 the paper airplane has been a soaring member of the National Toy Hall of Fame housed at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Here’s part of the Strong’s ode to the paper airplane:

… The success of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903 fostered renewed hope of powered flight and no doubt contributed to the purported invention, in 1909, of the paper airplane. The principles that make an airplane fly are the same that govern paper versions. Paper’s high strength and density make it similar, scale-wise, to the materials used to construct airplanes...

…Play with paper airplanes is far from formulaic and constrained. Where some toys require financial investment, paper airplanes start with a simple sheet of paper, coupled with dexterity, to produce a toy with infinite aeronautical possibilities. 

Airlines reassure us that planes are clean and germ-free.

All the news about coronavirus is pretty scary for air passengers who worry about getting sick from the germs on a plane.

Even before this scare, some travelers used disinfectant wipes to clean their tray tables and armrests before and during a flight.

Now we’re being told that this is something everyone should do.

Airlines are doing their part to try to reassure travelers that airplanes are clean and cleaned regularly between flights.

On Wednesday, for example, American Airlines shared a statement outlining its aircraft cleaning routines and efforts to upgrade cleaning.

American says international flights and aircraft with additional time on the ground receive a detailed 30-point cleaning package each day. The airline says all aircraft also undergo deep cleaning procedures on a regularly scheduled basis.

Now, American says it is enhancing cleaning procedures on international flights and aircraft that remain overnight at airports.

“This move, which will touch the majority of our aircraft each day, includes a more thorough cleaning of all hard surfaces, including tray tables and armrests,” American said in its statement.

On its blog, Alaska Airlines shared a video explaining how its airplanes get cleaned.

The airline notes that its crews are paying extra attention to sanitizing the ‘high touch’ parts of that plane. That includes armrests, seat belts, tray tables, overhead controls for air vents, light buttons and call buttons, and the interior and exterior handles to lavatories.

Take a look and let us know if this makes you feel better about flying right now.

Airplane of the future? It may be the “Flying-V”

The airplane of the future may be shaped like a big V.

And it may be super sustainable.

On the heels of its announcement of an investment in a biofuel plant set to open in 2022, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced it will partner with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) to fund the development of an innovative flying machine known as the “Flying-V.

The new-fangled, aerodynamic aircraft design incorporates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks into the wings of a V-shaped aircraft.

As designed, the unusual shape would reduce an aircraft’s weight and use 20% less fuel than current airplanes. But it would allow the plane to easily land at airports and pull up to gates designed to welcome Airbus A350s.

Designers say the Flying-V will be able to carry the same number of passengers – 314 – and the same volume of cargo as an Airbus A350. But this new plane will be smaller than an A350 and more aerodynamic.

Although the Flying-V will initially fly on kerosene, it is designed make use of innovations in the propulsion system, such as electrically boosted turbofan engines.  

Designers say not only will the Flying-V look different and be energy-efficient, it could offer a better passenger experience, with seating in the wings and with a unique new design for seating and lavatories.

A flying scale model and full-size section of the interior of the “Flying-V” is set to be unveiled in October, during KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, as a potential aircraft design of the future.

I plan to be there!

(Images/video courtesy TU Delft)

Alaska Airlines shows off first retrofitted Virgin America aircraft

Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Just about two years after acquiring Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is showing off the first retrofitted version of the fleet of Airbus aircraft the Seattle-based carrier inherited in the deal.

The makeover was revealed this week on an Airbus A3121neo (new engine option) airplane during a short demo flight out of San Francisco International Airport. These retrofitted interiors will eventually show up on all of Alaska’s Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321aircraft and on its Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing MAX 9 planes.

Alaska Airlines

The new cabin features include upgraded seats, Alaska blue (not Virgin pink) mood lighting for boarding, a refreshed cabin color palette and space-saving tablet holders at each seat.

Device holders are on the seatbacks of premium and economy seats. Photo Alaska Airlines

Additional upgrades range from more conveniently positioned power outlets (USB and 110V) at every seat (no more sharing) and the elimination of those space-hogging electrical boxes on the floor under the middle seats.

There are also ingenious pull-out cup holders in the tray tables of the premium class seats and, for everyone , Gogo’s faster high-speed satellite Wi-Fi.

And, in a nod to the hip Virgin America brand many customers still miss, the makeover includes an board and de-planing music playlist that Alaska has programmed to have a “cool West Coast vibe thatcomplements the relaxing and modern ambiance.”

Here are some more snaps of the plane’s new features:

photo: Harriet Baskas

Aircraft seat manufacturer Recaro has created first class seats that include memory foam, a 40″ pitch, tray tables with tablet holders and bonus footrests.

Photo – Harriet Baskas
Mesh pouches on seat backs have an extra elastic to make them easier to use. Photo Harriet Baskas
Seatback screens are gone – replaced by device holders and easier to access USB power ports. Photo Harriet Baskas

Joshua Rappaport, Executive Cheft at LSG SkyChefs was on site – and on the plane – sharing details of a new, refreshed menu that leans heavily to healthy, seasonal, West Coast-sourced and fresh.

Seattle-based fashion designer Luly Yang was on site as well, showing off the line of uniforms passengers will soon see on the Alaska Airlines team.

Icelandair welcomes its first 737Max

Icelandair took its first new Boeing 737 MAX 8 on a celebratory flight on Saturday, flying north from the in-city Reykjavík Airport for a one-hour special flight over stunning mountains and landscape before returning to the airport for a welcome party that included tours of the aircraft for hundreds of invited guests.

I was fortunate to go along for the flight.

All Icelandair planes are named after Icelandic volcanoes, glaciers or other areas of Iceland’s landscape and this new Boeing 737 MAX 8, is named Jökulsárlon, after a glacial lagoon.

Here are some more snaps from the flight:

Invited guests on the flight got to taste a special 737 Transatlantic Pale Ale, which will be available for purchase onboard Icelandair flights, starting at the end of May, for a few months.

 

Sigurður Helgason, Icelandair’s past CEO and Bjorgolfur Johannsson, the current President & CEO, toast the new plane with cans of the special 737 Transatlantic IPA.

 

Hundreds of invited guests came to the airport to welcome the plane and lined up for a tour. But first the red carpet had to put out.

 

This is the first of 16 737 Max airplanes Icealandair will receive over the next four years, so keep an eye out for them in the skies and at your airport.