Wild photo: American Airlines plane lifted over highway

Take a good look at this photo of the MD-80 jet that American Airlines recently donated to the George T. Baker Aviation School in Miami.  The school is just across the highway from Miami International Airport, but they couldn’t just fly the plane over. So the airline partnered with the Odebrecht construction and engineering company to move the 39-ton plane from the airport to the aviation school. They used a 500-ton crane equipped with a 400-foot telescoping boom.

The photo was sent to me by Miami International Airport and was taken by Joe Pries whose website is filled with really great aviation photos.

Boeing Factory Tour: Aviation Geekfest report

On Sunday I was pleased to be able to join 46 other folks on an tour of the Boeing factory in Mukilteo, Washington as part of Aviation Geekfest hosted by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and the Future of Flight Aviation Center.

In a testament to the power of social media – or the fact that aviation geeks are quick on the trigger – the free tickets for the event “sold out” in less than a minute.

Part of the attraction: attendees were promised a chance at winning gift cards from Alaska Airlines, a spiffy model of an Alaska Airlines 737-900, and – get this – two tickets on the 1st 787 flight.

No one was allowed to bring cameras or telephones with cameras on the tour. So I can’t show you photos of new 787 Dreamliner airplanes in production.  I did take a notepad along.  But sadly, I can’t draw.

Geekfest sketch

Next time, I’m taking a sketch artist along, but in the meantime, here’s a better drawing of the airplane, courtesy of the CD that tour guide Mike (friendly, smart, informative and no where near as corny as he could have been given his audience) handed each of us at the end of the tour.

ScreenHunter_05 Dec. 07 06.25

And here’s a photo of the 787 Dreamliner plane that should be taking off any moment now. Photo courtesy Aviation Geekfest attendee and Twitter user @imperfectsense.


Great spots for plane-spotting

I recently put together a column highlighting some of the observation decks at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI), and other North American airports.

Minneapolis - Observation deck - wide

Today I’ve got a column about plane-spotting sites outside airport terminals.

The sites listed range from Millbrae, California’s Bayfront Park, which offers great views of take-offs and landings at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), to Gravelly Point near Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), and a few unusual but, we’re assured, legal spots nearby Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

For a photo-gallery and a list of other highly-recommended plane-spotting sites  around the country, please see the full column on

RDU Observ Park  - courtesy RDU Airport

(Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Observation Park)

And of course, please share your favorite plane-spotting sites.