It’s like Disneyland for aviation nerds. Seriously.
Last week I had some time on my hands and found myself near the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles airport. I needed to burn about two and a half hours, but still found that I didn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted. One thing I did focus my photographic endeavors on was the newly installed Space Shuttle Discovery that replaced the Enterprise in the space hangar. And man, was it awesome.
I wanted to hate American’s new look. The boring grey. The arial font. The apparent lack of imagination on the part of the designers, lazily draping the word “American” across the fuselage instead of stylizing it. But despite a style that might be more at home with other stellar designs such as the Yahoo! home page, I find that I hate it less and less every time I see a plane all dolled up in the new colors. It’s clean, modern, and hopefully over the years the scuff marks from the apron of the jetway won’t be as apparent as it is on the current fleet.
I still think they should have gone all retro and gone back to the 1930’s design . . .
As I was checking in for my flight to Tulsa this morning, the computerized terminal spat out an extra slip of paper. There were the customary two boarding passes (one to Dallas, one to Tulsa), but where normally I would expect a receipt for checking my guns and gear (except there wasn’t one, because I was traveling sans firearms for once), there was a voucher for a “premium beverage” on my flight today — and expiring as soon as I stepped off my flight in Tulsa. There’s just one slight problem: neither of my flights today serve “premium beverages.”
There’s a reason that I prefer American Airlines. Several actually, including the nicer terminal in San Antonio and the Dallas hub being only a 40 minute fight away. But when other people are footing the bill, I don’t have much control over which airline I’m flying. Which is why I recently found myself on a Delta flight, feeling a little like a cheating lover . . .
Naturally, Lockheed wants to pimp the F-35B. They’re the manufacturer of the thing, and their continued profitability depends on the F-35 being purchased by the government — despite the planes being over budget, behind schedule and slightly dangerous. The best way for them to keep the attention on their new bird positive is to make it look sexy, which this low-light video definitely does.
I was riding on a train from Dallas to San Antonio recently, and somewhere along the line we passed by this pretty cool looking airstrip. I believe it was just outside Fort Worth, but I was pretty heavily into my next beer at the time and can’t recall for sure. While the strip itself is reminiscent of the typical rural strips you’d expect to see in the middle of Texas, what I wasn’t expecting was to see one where the runway is so close to the brand new looking houses. And as if that isn’t challenging enough, especially if there’s a train rolling by next to the strip, I can imagine that landing becoming a little more interesting than, say, a clear day at KSAT.
I knew it was going to be close when I packed the bag, but I didn’t expect it to be quite this close. The bag read 53 pounds as it sat on the scale at the check-in desk, but the agent didn’t seem all that bothered. I didn’t even want to think about what the rifle case weighed, but my guess is somewhere in the 80 to 90 pound range. Needless to say, I didn’t let that one anywhere near the scale. I had barely squeaked under the weight limits, but in doing so I left behind a relatively crucial piece of equipment — my laptop computer.