AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3661 posts, RR: 13 Posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12288 times:
So here I am writing my second long trip report in a month. Once again I am going out to Long Beach California to take delivery of a brand new 717-200. The last trip was special, but this one is going to be even more so. If you recall from my last trip I had one hell of a time meeting with the men and women of Boeing, and then taking delivery of aircraft 751 N937AT. This time we are picking up aircraft 752 N939AT, “The Last of the Mohicans” is what I have come to identify her as. I made my hotel arrangements the week before, and once again I am staying at the Comfort Inn on East Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. The one thing that is different this time is how I am getting to California. I had originally scheduled myself on DL routed through ATL to LAX, but in the last few days before my trip all of the LAX flights completely filled up. I got a bit creative, and planned out my trip. I will be taking Midwest Airlines flight 830 from MKE to PHX. From there I will travel on HP/US flight 1881 from PHX to SNA. I have never had to use the Orange County airport for travel to the Los Angeles area, but from the quote I received online it should cost me $35.00 for the Super Shuttle from SNA to my hotel. Now, on with my newest and latest trip report.
I woke up Monday morning at 0500. My flight on YX is scheduled for 0730, plenty of time to shower, pack and drive to the airport. I took a quick shower, watched some television, checked Airliners.net to see if anything had happened over night (damn Emirates for possibly delaying their 787/A350 order), ironed a shirt, grabbed my keys, laptop, and bag and was out the door. I threw my stuff in my car and headed off to the airport. It is usually a twelve minute drive from my house to the entrance to the airport, but this morning I did it in 10, traffic was light and I got green lights all the way. With a quick scan of my SIDA badge, and a quick verification by the local sheriffs department I was out on the ramp. I love being able to drive my car on the ramp. It’s nice to check out the airplanes as the sit idle on the flight line waiting to fire up their A.P.U.’s and begin another day’s work of patrolling the friendly skies. The weather was great, and as I came around the YX gates on the D Concourse I had to put on my sunglasses to shield myself from the blinding morning light. All of the usual airplanes were on the ramp this morning. A few YX MD-80’s, YX 717’s, an HP 737, a Skyway B-1900, CoEx ERJ’s, two AirTran 717’s, and various NW 757’s and Airbus’ as well. I parked my car in my spot below gate E-61, grabbed my bag, and made my way across the rap to the terminal and then to the Midwest ticket counter. I entered the queuing line at the ticket counter and was number five in line. I checked in, and received a seat request card. I knew the flight was wide open because I checked the night before. I took my stuff over to my office at AirTran and hung out a bit before heading to the gate.
I went upstairs to security and as usually the D Concourse in MKE always has a huge line in the morning. The nice thing is that they also have an airline employee line, so I went from number 100 in line to number 5. I showed the ticket checker my airline/airport I.D. and made my way to the magnetometer. I didn’t show anyone my boarding pass because it had the wonderful selectee icon on it. I know full well that as an airline employee I am exempted from being a selectee, but the TSA doesn’t always remember that, so rather than fight with them, I chose not to show them my ticket and to find someone at the YX gate who could selectee exempt me. When I arrived at gate D-45 the courtesy boarding process was under way, so I made my way to the podium to get a seat assignment. The gate agent gave me seat 20E which I had planned on changing because middle seats suck. I was able to be deselected, and boarded the aircraft. The first officer was greeting us all in the jetway, we exchanged greetings and then I boarded the aircraft. I made my way to 20E to discover it was an exit row seat. I sat down and waited for boarding to end. The aisle seat next to me ended up being open, but the guy in front of me wanted it because his exit row didn’t recline. I let him have that seat, and then moved one row ahead where I would have row 19 all to myself.
Departure was scheduled for 0730, and we left about two minutes late. Not too bad I thought. We pushed back and made out way out to the runway. We were number three in line for departure behind an America West 737 (which I had wanted to go on but it was oversold) and a Skyway B-1900D. We turned onto the active runway which was 19R this morning, the pilot applied the throttles, and we were soon screaming down the runway and rotated after about thirty seconds. The whole way down the runway I could hear my exit row window whistling while it waited to seal itself. Seconds after takeoff it had sealed, and the world once again made sense. We took off to the south, and made a turn west. Looking out my window I could see some of my VFR reference points. I quickly found the Fox River airport, the day before I was practicing emergency engine out landings there. We turned north, stayed that course for a few minutes, and then made our way west. Looking out my window I could see the Madison area, and the Dane County Airport. We the made a turn tot the southwest and we on our way to Phoenix. Our cruising altitude today was only slated to be at FL320, which being lightly loaded we were able to reach in a relatively short amount of time. Our en-route time was scheduled 3 hours 17 minutes from wheels up to wheels down. I’m still amazed that a journey that takes us three hours today once took pioneers three months or more to complete.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3661 posts, RR: 13 Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12288 times:
After 21 minutes of climbing we hit our cruise altitude the flight attendants came around the cabin selling Dig-E players for the flight. They come loaded with ten movies, television shows, and some other stuff as well. I brought a few DVD’s so I wouldn’t need a Dig-E player for the flight. The F/A’s then came around selling breakfast. I elected to buy the meal and being that it was only $5.00 it was well worth it. A strawberry muffin, peach yogurt, fresh fruit, and two crisp wantons. I was also given a granola fruit bar. I ate my meal, and to be honest it was very good. I enjoyed the peach yogurt. Once finished I took out my laptop, and typed some of this report, and began to watch the movie Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Farris, and Chris Klein. I enjoyed my movie, and then had a minute to take a picture of the wing. After two hours and thirty minutes at altitude we began our descent into the PHX airport. It took approximately twenty nine minutes from initial descent to touchdown. We landed on runway 7R with one hell of a crosswind. Technically the left landing gear landed twice before the right one touched down. It was a rough landing, and when we finally had both sets of the mains down a few people clapped. We taxied to terminal 4 gate 9 and parked. It took about ten minutes for the passengers to deplane in front of me, and I was on my way. Once again my window was letting every bit of noise in, I have never been on a Mad Dog that was so loud in the exit row, I’m not sure what this old girls problem was, but she was a noisy old bird.
A view of the wing at FL320
Routing of YX 830
I got off my YX flight, and headed up the jetway. This was easy; I hope that the next leg is like this. I took the shuttle to Terminal 4, called US/HP Reservations to book my flight to SNA, and then headed to the ticket counter. When I got to the counter the agent couldn’t find my reservation. After searching for a while she still couldn’t find it, and told me she would re-list me for my flights. As she was listing me she had a puzzled look on her face. It was then that she had informed me that all flights to the Los Angeles area were either full or oversold. I was pissed; the agent in MKE had told me that everything looked good. I told her I’d buy a ticket if I had to, but she suggested that I go across the hall to the WN ticket counter and check with them. This is something that I have done before when someone needed to get somewhere fast, and it was the first time that someone had done it for me. I called WN on the phone and got in the queuing line. The rep gave me a price of about $125.00 for the one way from PHX to LAX. Not too bad of a price for a walk up, so I went ahead and purchased the fare. When I hung up the phone with him it was my turn at the kiosk, I printed my boarding pass hoping for anything but the dreaded Zone C. I got zone B, so I was somewhat happy.
I made my way through security and up to gate D1. I grabbed a salad at Wendy’s, and sat down at the end of the D Concourse to update my trip report. One thing that I was glad about was that by flying Southwest I would be able to keep my no Airbus policy intact. I almost had to give it up by flying HP to the Los Angeles area. The spotting in PHX kind of sucks, everything is either Southwest, or America West/US Airways. I did get to see Texas One and the Shamu plane as well, so that was a bonus. HP seems to have a lot of planes re-painted in the new scheme, they were everywhere. I continued to spot for a little while hoping to see something interesting, but nothing too good came up. I was on WN flt 1330 @1200 so at 1100 I decided to shut down my laptop and head to the gate, Checked in at the gate to find out that the flight was oversold by ten people. I put my name on the volunteer list. Being that I had to pay for a ticket I figured that I may as well try to re-coup some of my loss. Boarding began at about 1145, Zone A rushed down, and soon I was on my way also. I was able to get seat 9D which was pretty decent. Due to our late boarding we left the gate a few minutes late. Our late departure didn’t affect us all that much because we were number one for departure. We preformed a position and hold maneuver, held for about ten seconds and were then n our way. The take off was quick and smooth, within thirty seconds we were on our way to LAX.
Spotting in PHX
More spotting in PHX
It took approximately ten minutes from lift off until we reached out cruising altitude of FL320. The climb out was smooth, with a few bumps along the way. As soon as we leveled off the captain came on the P.A. and told us “You are now free to move about the cabin.” How cliché I thought. We stayed at FL320 for approximately twenty minutes, and then began our descent into the LAX area. From initial descent to touchdown it took thirty two minutes. The pilot greased the landing, and we were on our way to the gate. On the way to the gate I wished I had my camera handy. There were some great planes parked at the gate including; CX 747-400, AF 777-200ER, NZ 747-400, JAL 747-400, and a host of others. I disembarked, and headed to catch the Super Shuttle to my hotel in Long Beach were I was meeting up with my friends. I did manage to snap a picture of the NZ 747-400 which was cool because it was my first time seeing that airline in person.
Routing for WN 1330 PHX-LAX
Air New Zeeland at the gate getting re-loaded for the long journey home
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3661 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12286 times:
I checked in at the hotel, logged onto the internet to look at flights for my return trip, and then got into the shower so I could get ready for the evening. At about 1700 we hopped in the car, drove to a close by hotel and picked up our Chief Pilot and his wife. The busses were leaving the Marriott for the Boeing hangar, so we parked our car there, had a drink in the hotel bar, and boarded the bus to Boeing Building 80. When we got to the Boeing plant there was a large tent in the parking lot. We proceeded to the check in area, got our badges, and then went into the reception. The tent was made of clear plastic, and along the walls were pictures of the lineage of Long Beach. There were some great pictures of every type of airplane that has rolled out the doors of this great facility, 15,599 airplanes to be exact. During our time in the tent I was able to sneak a minute with Boeing President Alan Mulally. I was excited to meet him because he has long been someone who I admired. We talked for a minute or two. I introduced myself, and told him that I look forward to the pending results of the Singapore/Emirates 787/A350 contest, as well as seeing a QF 777-200LR. He laughed and said there may be an announcement out of Singapore this week, which I was excited about. I thanked him for throwing a wonderful party, and for supporting a truly magnificent airplane. I reminded him that without the 717 AirTran would have shut its doors long ago. After that meeting I chatted with our CEO Joe Leonard, and then it was off to Building 80 for dinner.
The Boeing tent
Alan Mulally and I in the Boeing tent
Dinner was simply amazing. Boeing had a replica of the Fly DC Jets sing on top of the stage, and the room was decorated beautifully. There were banners up highlighting the various 717 customers (TWA was absent) and there were also banners up saluting the various vendors and suppliers who helped make the 717 program a reality. For dinner we had a nice steak, with mashed potatoes, lobster tail, and lobster claws. Desert consisted of a chocolate cake, with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle. Each plate had a 717 one it that was made of chocolate. Our host for the evening was Pat McKenna VP and General Manager of the 717 Program and Long Beach Site, he told various stories of his career at Boeing, and introduced the various speakers. Joe Leonard CEO of AirTran spoke, as well as Tim Hoeksema CEO of Midwest Airlines. Various others spoke, including Jim Philips a retired Boeing exec, Steve Barker President of Boeing Reality Co. Mr. Barker stated the objective of the Boeing company to see Douglas park all the way through, and said that if Building 80 is no longer able to be used that the “Fly DC Jets” sign would be taken down and moved to Douglas park. At the end of the night Alan Mullaly had his turn, and he once again declared the 717 to be the best airplane in its category which brought a rousing round of applause from the audience. When the speakers were done Joe Leonard and Tim Hoeksema came to the stage to present Boeing a gift. On behalf of AirTran Joe presented Boeing with a Clay Lacey picture of one of our 717’s in flight. Tim Hoeksema presented Boeing with a frame, and in that frame were 25 Midwest Airline chocolate chip cookies, one to honor each of their 25 717’s.
Boeing dinner in Building 80
Alan Mulally speaking
Once dinner finished we went back to the hotel and had a drink. One of the members of our party was Pat Gaines, who come to find out was the President of Alteon. He told us of how the Alteon name was formed, and about how he was the very first employee of the company. There was much more to the conversation, but for the spirit of keeping it short I will continue with the story. It was quite an interesting conversation to say the least. We decided at about midnight that it was time to call it an evening, so we all went to our rooms and decided to get some rest. I got to my room, checked my mail, and then was off to sleep. I needed the rest, the time change always messes with my body, and having a long day coming up wasn’t going to help. I got my good nights sleep and woke up at about 0600. I took a shower, packed, and ran downstairs to check out. We drove our rental to the airport, got a cab and were then off to the delivery center.
717 Banner at the Delivery Center
When we arrived at the Delivery Center it was already teaming with throngs of people. We talked to various people for a short time, took some photos in front of the airplane, and then found our seats for the ceremony. The speakers were the same as the night before, and the message was the same, but this time there were a lot more Boeing workers around to receive the “job well done” that had been given to them. During the delivery ceremony, Tim, and Joe sat down at the head table to sign for the last two airplanes. When that was completed, they all went back on stage, and Alan brought back an old Douglas tradition. Alan got out the scissors, and proceeded to cut off Joes tie, and Pat McKenna proceeded to cut off Tim’s tie. The Joe and Tim took turns cutting off Alan, and Pats ties. The ramp at the Delivery Center included three special guests. UPS was kind enough to fly a DC-8 back to Long Beach, Dream Flight brought their DC-3, and Northwest Airlines brought back a DC-9, a true return to glory for all the folks at the plant. The bread and butter of the Douglas legacy had returned home for one last visit.
The area for today’s events
Competitors face off
Signing for the airplanes
Our flight crew, Floy Ponder, and Greg Brown
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3661 posts, RR: 13 Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12277 times:
After the delivery ceremony we went back into the delivery center and hung out while the Boeing ramp workers re arranged the ramp that way both Midwest and AirTran could depart. We stayed inside for about a half an hour, and then were told that we could clear Boeing Security planeside. I went out to the ramp, dropped my bags off at the side of the plane and proceeded to join in some group photos. When the photos were finished I cleared Boeing Security and climbed onto the airplane. I went to the back and too seats 22A and 22C for myself. There were only about 40 of us coming back on the flight so there were plenty of seats for everyone. I disembarked the airplane, and then took a few minutes to watch Midwest fire up the engines and taxi away. I am a very competitive person, but I will admit that when Midwest taxied by us that I clapped for them, as well as waved to them. The 717 has been such an instrumental part of the success of AirTran, and will help Midwest return to profitability someday. Midwest then taxied out to runway 30, and began her take off roll. When she rotated the pilots waved the wings to everyone two times, and then came around for a fly by. The Midwest flyby was amazing. The came in at less than four hundred feet, you couldn’t see that plane over the blast wall when standing on the ramp. Midwest then pulled up, rocked the wings a couple more times and headed for home.
Dave and I just prior to boarding
Midwest pulls out from the ramp
Midwest on the way to runway 30
Midwest rocking the wings
I took my seat; we started the engines, and were soon on our way. When we broke the wheels loose I saw a lot of Boeing workers waving, clapping, saluting, and a couple were crying. I waved out my window, and took a couple pictures. There were so many emotions from the Boeing workers. The only thing I could liken it to would be is how a parent must feel when their kid is all grown up, and moves away from home. Even though their kid will still be around, you know that they won’t ever come home again. On our taxi out there were a host of people outside wishing us well. The two Northwest captains who brought the DC-9 to LGB were standing in front of their plane, one waved, and the other gave a tip of his cap to the classy lady that was passing in front of him. Just like Midwest we made our way from the delivery center to runway 30. The taxi took about ten minutes because of other traffic that was landing. When we lined up on the active runway we were all eagerly anticipating what was coming. The pilot applied the throttles and we soon screaming down the runway. I began to do the callouts as best as I could estimate them. V1, V2, Positive rate, and gear up. Upon rotation we climbed a few seconds, and then began to wave our wings for the folks on the ground. We mad a climbing right hand turn, and headed back around the airport, it was our turn for a flyby. The set up for the flyby was rather intense. There were a series of step turns, but then we leveled out at 700 feet with an airspeed of 200kts and gave the wonderful current and former workers one of the best flybys that I have ever seen. As we began to ascend we waved the wings four more times at the ladies and gentlemen on the ground. The last commercial airliner to ever be built at the wonderful Long Beach Aircraft Division had slipped the surly bonds of the Earth, and was now on her way to her new home. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us; anyone who has worked for AirTran for a few years understands exactly what the 717 means to our company. It is an airplane that has allowed us to grow as a company and develop quite a bit of leverage in our markets.
Northwest Captains pay homage to the 717
DC-3 Drivers wave goodbye
NW DC-9 returns home
Rocking the wings after takeoff
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3661 posts, RR: 13 Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 12277 times:
As we continued our climb out we made a direct path for Catalina Island, and then made a left turn back towards land. I was able to get a few great pictures of the harbor, and two last shots of LGB. We leveled out at our cruising altitude of FL350 after 17 minutes, and we stayed there for approximately two hours and minutes. The flight was very smooth, perfect flying conditions the whole way. During the flight we ate our lunched that Boeing provided for us. The lunches consisted of a hoagie, chips, fruit, and a slice of cheese cake. They also fully stocked us with a ton of pop. We had Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Dr Pepper, and bottled water. After eating my lunch I popped in a DVD, but got distracted after a bit, so I went and chatted with some of the guys on the flight. It was a fun atmosphere on the airplane; we were all laughing, joking, and telling stories the whole way. Being that this flight was Part 91 the flight deck door was able to be open the whole time, and everyone took turns going up front to check out the view, naturally being an avid aviation guy I spent my fair share up there.
Last view of Long Beach
Long Beach again
Basic routing, used on previous delivery flight
Near Albuquerque at 35,000 ft, air temp in -50 C, 1101 miles left and an estimated landing fuel of 7,000 lbs.
After three hours we began our descent into the Atlanta area. We were going to be landing on runway 26R and going to the hangar to fuel up, and to let a bunch of us off. Being that we were a part 91 flight we were not allowed to park at the gates. Greg greased the landing, taxied to the hangar, fired up the A.P.U. and shut down the engines. Thos of us who were getting off the plane gathered our belongings, and said our good byes to those who were continuing the journey to MCO where that airplane was going to the hanger to get fitted with XM Radio and to be fitted the rest of the way for its entry into service. The AirTran bus took us to the North Terminal, and we got off and went our separate ways. I went right through security. There was no line and I was in and out in about five minutes. I jumped on the tram and headed for the C Concourse to find out what gate my flight would depart from. I got to my gate, charged my laptop for a bit, added a bit more to this report, and then checked in for flight FL flight 636 ATL-MKE. The agent took my I.D. and gave me seat 2A, not my favorite seat, but I’m a non-rev and that’s a business seat so I don’t really care.
Twenty minutes before landing
Descending through 13,000 ft
Landing on 26R in ATL
We boarded the flight on time, but when it came for departure we left minutes late due to holding for connecting passengers. We pushed the gate and headed for the runway. The agent turned us the wrong way during the pushback so we had to whip a u-turn in the middle of the ramp. I’m sure that’s a fun experience for the flight crew having to do that in the dark, and in such a congested area. We got to runway and we were number two in line for departure behind a Chautauqua ERJ that was already lined up and ready to go. When it was our turn the take off was very quick, we were off the ground just past the E Concourse. Then climb out was rather quick. The flight was pretty standard. I fell asleep within ten minutes of departure, and didn’t wake up until we were in the final phases of our flight descending past the Chicago area. When we landed I mad a break for my car, got home and fell asleep within twenty minutes. In a period of thirty six hours I had logged approximately 4,450 miles in the air which is quite a bit for a quick trip like that.
AirTran 636 ATL-MKE
My trip routing
This was a wonderful experience for me, and all of the other employees of AirTran who were able to come as well. Once again the employees of Boeing showed themselves to be a class act. I was able to meet so many wonderful people, and hear some amazing stories. I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of something that will continue to serve as a memory for so many people for such a long time. I will always remember my two trips out to Long Beach, and am eternally indebted to the people who made the trip possible. Once again thank you to them men and women of the Long Beach facility for building the best 100 seat jet that there is. We will continue to enjoy or working relationship with all of you, but the relationship has changed. I wish all of you well, and that you for the memories.
Our flyby as seen from the ground
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
LTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12668 posts, RR: 13 Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11283 times:
An excellent report of a very special event. I have always liked the 9's for their sports car like grace on the ground and in the air. Condider this: there are DC-9's made almost 40 years ago still in revenue service. Let us hope these newest ones are in service as long too - for a total time of almost 75 years for a model series. Maybe DC made them too good....
SATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 8 Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11076 times:
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 14): I dont understand. I only have about 880 pictures on Photobucket. I dont know why i am being given this message.
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 15): I dont understand. I only have about 100 pictures on Photobucket. I dont know why i am being given this message.
I'm not sure if you have 880 or 100 photos, but you could still get the same message even if you only had one photo in your collection if enough people tried to view it in the same month. After the monthly bandwidth has been exceeded you need to wait until the next month (based on when you joined).
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
NZ8800 From New Zealand, joined May 2006, 425 posts, RR: 2 Reply 21, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10646 times:
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 1): I did manage to snap a picture of the NZ 747-400 which was cool because it was my first time seeing that airline in person.
Maybe one of these days you'll be on an Air New Zealand 747-400 as she makes the long journey home from Los Angeles to Auckland
Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 3): The last commercial airliner to ever be built at the wonderful Long Beach Aircraft Division had slipped the surly bonds of the Earth, and was now on her way to her new home.
The magic of words, the pictures they draw in the mind, and the miracle of lift combined with thrust that is flight.
A very moving description of the end of the long and venerable line of Boeing 717s, MD-80s, and the venerable Douglas DC-9 that started it all - a magnificent aeroplane.
I was lucky enough to fly on a Boeing 717 in 2001 on the now gone Impulse Airlines BNE-SYD-BNE. There aren't any in NZ, and JetStar are selling theirs in favour of A320s across the ditch (Tasman Sea) in Australia.
You'll always remember you took part in a day in aviation's history, AND you got to share it with another A-netter to boot Thank you for the fantastic trip report, and the wonderful photos.
MDZWTA ~ Mobile Disaster Zone When Travelling Abroad
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11443 posts, RR: 78 Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9343 times:
I know you posted this a while back but I really enjoyed re-reading that. A good number of aviation firsts happened in Long Beach and your observation and participation in that moment in history is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was envious of your experience.
Well put together and great photos.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
25 JayDub: I jumpseated BWI-DFW on ship 752 on Thursday evening. She's amazingly still looking pretty close to the day she left Long Beach.
26 JamesJimlb: to me the 717 has made such a HUGE different in the aviation industry, one of my favorite aircraft!