ha763
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Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 4:38 am

Has Virgin America been conducting ETOPS tests? According to the story below, they have been flying ETOPS test flights to Hawaii. I haven't seen anything on FlightAware either.

http://www.jaunted.com/story/2012/5/...ing+Up+to+Launch+Hawaii+Flights%3F
 
flyiguy
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 4:45 am

I can see them flying A319s but the 320s don't have the legs for it without weight penalties. They will have to wait for the Neo's to get a 320 there. I can't see them using 112 seat aircraft to Hawaii. There would be no profit. This is why most airlines to Hawaii either fly 737-800s or bigger. Anything smaller and flights lose money.

Fly
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gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 4:54 am

They can do fine.

If a 737-900ER can go LAX-HNL, then a brand new A320 will have no trouble at all.

United just never chose to do so.

NS
 
murchmo
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 5:02 am

Hmmm. Yes please! Saturate this market more please! I'd just like some tv to watch for the 5 hr trip. I knew the 320s had etops but never knew why nobody used them to come out here. I suppose the only airlines that fly here just used their proven 737s.
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HAL
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 5:21 am

The 320 may be ETOPS certified, but it doen't have the range to fly to Hawaii with a profitable load because of the ETOPS regulations. There's a lot more than just ultimate range involved (as I've posted numerous times in response to threads about aircraft range & ETOPS), and you have to carry quite a bit of extra fuel along because of those regs. The 319 could probably do it from SFO, but not the 320. And as someone already pointed out, flying a 319 to Hawaii wouldn't work because of the small passenger load, and associated small revenue stream. One other point is that (I believe), the Virgin America inflight entertainment system wouldn't work over the water, as it's out of reception range. From what I remember, the satellite coverage only works over the continental USA, and fades out away from land. Take that away, and you're left with just another narrowbody flying a long route to Hawaii.

HAL
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RWA380
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:49 am

In other threads I read that VX was looking for an ETOPS program manager, but even though the 319 or 320 may have the range, as HAL pointed out already, the current Airbus flying in the 320 family, are not ETOPS certified to operate a route to Hawaii. Apparently the 320NEO will be the first aircraft that will allow VX to make it's way to the Hawaiian Islands.
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yeogeo
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):
the Virgin America inflight entertainment system wouldn't work over the water, as it's out of reception range. ... Take that away, and you're left with just another narrowbody flying a long route to Hawaii.

Tosh! You've still got the mood lighting!  

yeo
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B757capt
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 12:05 pm

ETOPS would help them with their florida-west coast and west coast-mexico flying.
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b6flyboy
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 1:01 pm

Think arrival of sharlets on the 320 as the true beginning of ETOPs proving runs...then the 320 can actually make it to Hawaii with a full payload. However, since ETOPs is such a massive undertaking for any newer or non-ETOPs airline the work has begun. It is not something that just turns on from one day to the next and takes time to get the right people in the right positions and to develop the programs/training that is required.
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tdscanuck
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 1:12 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):
The 319 could probably do it from SFO, but not the 320. And as someone already pointed out, flying a 319 to Hawaii wouldn't work because of the small passenger load, and associated small revenue stream.

This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?

Tom.
 
JAAlbert
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:06 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):
This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?

Who would utilize it? I don't know that there is much market for such a service to a leisure destination.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:08 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):

This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?

Tom.

They could also launch service to the moon from Hawaii with Virgin Galactic  I'm not sure which would be more viable.
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n7371f
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:25 pm

Quoting b757capt (Reply 7):
ETOPS would help them with their florida-west coast and west coast-mexico flying.

You don't need ETOPS for that flying.
 
sq_ek_freak
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:29 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):
One other point is that (I believe), the Virgin America inflight entertainment system wouldn't work over the water, as it's out of reception range. From what I remember, the satellite coverage only works over the continental USA, and fades out away from land. Take that away, and you're left with just another narrowbody flying a long route to Hawaii.

There was a VX cabin crew who was commenting on another recent Virgin America thread (subject was their financial health) who mentioned that the airline is in the process of completely revamping their RED IFE, so maybe this has something do with that?

Otherwise I really don't see VX having a place in the Hawaii market. There's so much capacity to begin with, and with UA and AA FF bases VX really has their work cut out for them on this one.
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mogandoCI
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:39 pm

Quoting sq_ek_freak (Reply 13):
Otherwise I really don't see VX having a place in the Hawaii market. There's so much capacity to begin with, and with UA and AA FF bases VX really has their work cut out for them on this one.

Mostly UA. AA's SFO network has shrunk to pretty much cornerstone-only (if not for JFK transcon flagship, SFO would look like any other spoke).

Other than HA, everyone else avoids direct competition against on SFO-HNL. In fact, UA gets a free pass on SFO to Maui, Kona, and Hilo. There's definitely some untapped potential for a 2nd player on SFO-OGG, for example.
 
catiii
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 2:50 pm

Quoting b757capt (Reply 7):
ETOPS would help them with their florida-west coast and west coast-mexico flying.

Huh? How so? Why would you need ETOPS to go over the Gulf of Mexico or down the west coast?
 
bohica
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 3:08 pm

Quoting b757capt (Reply 7):
ETOPS would help them with their florida-west coast and west coast-mexico flying.

It's not ETOPS but overwater requirements which would affect the routes you mentioned. Whether or not the plane is equipped with life jackets or life rafts will determine how far it can fly away from land.
 
laca773
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 3:43 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):
This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?


Tom.

That's what I was thinking as well. Perhaps, they are going to offer premium vacations to Hawaii versus regularly scheduled service.

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 14):

Other than HA, everyone else avoids direct competition against on SFO-HNL. In fact, UA gets a free pass on SFO to Maui, Kona, and Hilo. There's definitely some untapped potential for a 2nd player on SFO-OGG, for example.

UA really has those markets pretty well covered. Does SFO have the demand for additional OGG, KOA, or LIH service?
Today, 15 May 2012, SFO-OGG has 2x 763, KOA, 1x 763 and LIH 1x 752 and HNL 2x 777, 1x 764 (73H on Tues), 1x 752.
 
mogandoCI
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 5:02 pm

Quoting laca773 (Reply 17):
UA really has those markets pretty well covered. Does SFO have the demand for additional OGG, KOA, or LIH service?
Today, 15 May 2012, SFO-OGG has 2x 763, KOA, 1x 763 and LIH 1x 752 and HNL 2x 777, 1x 764 (73H on Tues), 1x 752.

I'd venture to say that a meaningful chunk of that capacity is due to UA's extensive hub at SFO that feeds in from all over the country (and up and down the west coast).

I don't have hard numbers, but if the east coast can support dozens of Caribbean destinations, it can't be that hard for SF to support just a handful in Hawaii (and few alternatives). VX doesn't need extra demand either - just those willing to consider an alternative to UA.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 5:06 pm

Quoting JAAlbert (Reply 10):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):
This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?

Who would utilize it? I don't know that there is much market for such a service to a leisure destination.

Never heard of the Kona Shuttle?
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CV880
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:15 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 14):

Other than HA, everyone else avoids direct competition against on SFO-HNL

DL still has a 752 in the market and a 753 on the summer sked, effective 08Jun.
 
Sevensixtyseven
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:19 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 14):

What about HA's and AS' services to OAK and SJC? I know those aren't the same airports, but they feed from the Bay Area also. I'm sure that takes away from the need for others to compete from SFO.
Will that ex-HP 752 get delayed...again?
 
toltommy
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:21 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 5):
In other threads I read that VX was looking for an ETOPS program manager,

It's still posted on their website.
 
QANTAS747-438
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:22 pm

If VX were actually doing ETOPS proving runs, would there be a MX flight number to track? Wouldn't at least a few of the HNL spotters have seen it? Not sure I believe it.
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AAMDanny
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:25 pm

I don't know if this help's those who might not understand fully some of the penalties that are involved in making an Aircraft ETOP's worthy but here's some of my experience from retrofitting aircraft to ETOP's standard.

My previous airline turned a couple of it's narrow bodied aircraft into ETOP's aircraft and some of the changes made huge difference's in weight before you even take into account payload restrictions.

First of all, all the entry/service doors had the Escape Slides removed, and replaced with heavier Escape Slide/Raft's (detachable slides that can also be used as raft's) These are a lot wider

And on other aircraft where there was no slide/raft added (e.g. on an emergency overwing exit) we saw Raft's being installed into the overhead bin's, these also where fairly heavy and if I remember rightly our safety manual said you would need about 3 adult's to get these out the bin and launched out there escape hatch safely. So were looking at adding a lot of KG in weight to the fixed equipment of the airframe.

We also saw survival kit's added. Which housed canopy's for the raft's and survival gear the raft (I won't go into details because we could be hear for hours)

To make an aircraft ETOP's it's adding a lot of extra weight onto the aircraft before you even start calculating how much fuel + payload you want for the route.

I really don't see a point in doing this to an A319, the cost per seat would be so high it would be unable to compete at the cost/price of competitors who have larger, more economical aircraft available for the mid-haul market.

You then also need to take into account, that if you was going to kit out a couple of aircraft ETOP's, they will be doing flights and missions where ETOP's are not required, and you need to add up the extra cost in weight and fuel for these missions.

I think Virgin America should just for know focus on improving it's frequencies on it's current routes before they start jumping into new ventures.
 
highflier92660
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 7:40 pm

If JetBlue has annual winter problems with flying BOS-SFO and BOS-LAX with their A320s, I can't image Virgin America flying to HNL from the west coast with that same aircraft given the fuel reserves necessary on that over water route.
 
asteriskceo
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 9:25 pm

And let's not forget that WN will be entering the market soon with the -800. I don't really see VX making much of a profit with the 319.
 
drerx7
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 9:47 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 9):
This is Virgin we're talking about...any chance they're trying to make a go of an all-premium Hawaii service?

This would be the perverbial shotgun to the face pull the trigger with the toe move for VX for more reasons than I even have time to type.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 11):
They could also launch service to the moon from Hawaii with Virgin Galactic I'm not sure which would be more viable.

The funny thing is...in all honesty I think the Virgin Galactic would be the more viable SMH.

Quoting laca773 (Reply 17):
That's what I was thinking as well. Perhaps, they are going to offer premium vacations to Hawaii versus regularly scheduled service.

I don't see how this would be sustainable for a season or two. More money could be made leasing those planes out or figuring out how to make money with their current model. If they don't get their costs in order they won't be around long enough to start an ETOPS program.

Nobody flies the 319/320 to Hawaii at present because it can't be done profitably with those birds and those yields.
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gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 10:21 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):

The 320 may be ETOPS certified, but it doen't have the range to fly to Hawaii with a profitable load because of the ETOPS regulations.

I am just not buyin it. Previous 739ER comment stands.

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):
From what I remember, the satellite coverage only works over the continental USA, and fades out away from land.

They have a massive AVOD library.

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Reply 23):
Wouldn't at least a few of the HNL spotters have seen it?

They're photographers, not a missile defense system.  

Plus, the A320neos are just 4ish years away. May not be too early to start your ETOPS program just for them.

NS
 
drerx7
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 10:51 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 28):

Quoting HAL (Reply 4):

The 320 may be ETOPS certified, but it doen't have the range to fly to Hawaii with a profitable load because of the ETOPS regulations.

I am just not buyin it. Previous 739ER comment stands.

Why has no carrier attempted ETOPS 320s?

[Edited 2012-05-15 15:52:57]
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gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:16 pm

There are lots of ETOPS A320s in this world.

Why haven't they flown them to Hawaii? Because the only one with a fleet of them and a hub to fly them to Hawaii from is United, and theirs are amongst the less capable ones out there.

VX's are brand new.

NS
 
drerx7
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:18 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 30):
Why haven't they flown them to Hawaii?

I know that part.

Quoting gigneil (Reply 30):
There are lots of ETOPS A320s in this world.

Which carriers and long range ETOPS routes?
Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
 
gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:22 pm

jetBlue's planes are ETOPS, to start. So are more than one of Air Canada's. Jetstar's are and so are NZ's.

NS
 
eaa3
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:35 pm

If they have ETOPS then they could also fly those A319's to Iceland.
 
flyingcat
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Tue May 15, 2012 11:47 pm

Im not sure about B6 but I think some may be confusing EOW with ETOPS.

Even more complicated is the ETOPS rating. 90 minutes is less stringent than 180.
 
drerx7
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 12:14 am

Quoting flyingcaT (Reply 34):
Im not sure about B6 but I think some may be confusing EOW with ETOPS.

Exactly what I am trying to decipher. I know the FAA granted the 320 type 180mins ETOPS which is non restrictive for most oceanic routes, but do any airlines use these birds in that manner? Barring the CJ, 318, and 319 flights we all know about. Air NZ comes to mind as gigneil pointed out.
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gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 12:25 am

B6 requires ETOPS to fly to SXM.

They may not have 180 minute ETOPS, but I'm uncertain about the actual rating process beyond 60 minutes.

Now what people order for their planes in terms of takeoff weight is something else.... B6 has planes that could fly to Hawaii from SFO. I do not know if VX's can or not.

Sure, United's cannot. None of them are the max gross weight option.

NS
 
D L X
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 12:55 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 28):
Quoting HAL (Reply 4):

The 320 may be ETOPS certified, but it doen't have the range to fly to Hawaii with a profitable load because of the ETOPS regulations.

I am just not buyin it. Previous 739ER comment stands.

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You should buy it.
 
laca773
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 1:18 am

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 18):
I'd venture to say that a meaningful chunk of that capacity is due to UA's extensive hub at SFO that feeds in from all over the country (and up and down the west coast).

I don't have hard numbers, but if the east coast can support dozens of Caribbean destinations, it can't be that hard for SF to support just a handful in Hawaii (and few alternatives). VX doesn't need extra demand either - just those willing to consider an alternative to UA.

I agree an alternative to UA would be nice on all these routes. If you want an alternative, both SJC & OAK have AS & HA service. I feel AS offers a better product than UA by a wide margin.
 
gigneil
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 1:21 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 37):
Occupation: Airline Pilot

Dude. I know many airline pilots that know nothing about anything but the frame they fly.

HAL is well respected by me and I'm sure he's aware of it. But that doesn't mean I buy everything he sells and vice versa.

NS
 
lax25r
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 1:28 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 36):
B6 requires ETOPS to fly to SXM.

They may not have 180 minute ETOPS, but I'm uncertain about the actual rating process beyond 60 minutes.

It's not needed for the Caribbean. The FAA grants waivers for Caribbean flying that allow an operator to fly up to 75 minutes from a suitable airport without ETOPS certification. This closes the "gaps" as it were and allows them to serve SXM without ETOPS.
 
HAL
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 2:21 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 36):
but I'm uncertain about the actual rating process beyond 60 minutes.

I think that right there is why you misunderstood what I was saying. There's a world of difference between 60 minute ETOPS and 180 minute.

Quoting gigneil (Reply 36):
.... B6 has planes that could fly to Hawaii from SFO. I do not know if VX's can or not.

B6's 320s are not 180 minute certified, and probably can't be as currently configured. All of this discussion here and in many other ETOPS threads often is based on the published range figures as seen here on A.net and elsewhere. What most don't understand is those figures are for no-wind, perfect day conditions with a max fuel load. With the 320 and others, that published range is severely limited by headwinds, extra ETOPS required fuel reserves, and the extra weight of the required equipment. I flew 320s and 319s for America West while on furlough from Hawaiian, so I do understand their capabilities. And again, I stand by my statement that under most conditions the 319 could do west-coast to Hawaii, but the current version of the 320 would be limited to the point of being unprofitable in any configuration.

Quoting gigneil (Reply 39):
HAL is well respected by me and I'm sure he's aware of it. But that doesn't mean I buy everything he sells and vice versa.


I do respect much of what you post, gigneil. I hope you do realize though that I've been flying the 767 and now A330 ETOPS for more than a decade, as well as having a couple of years with the 320 series. We have a detailed course in ETOPS rules, regulations, and procedures drilled into us with every recurrent training session, as well as frequent memos from the training department, and regular reviews of our Flight Operations Manual. I feel comfortable in my knowledge of this area, and of the capabilities of these aircraft.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
D L X
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 2:37 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 39):
I know many airline pilots that know nothing about anything but the frame they fly.

HAL is well respected by me and I'm sure he's aware of it. But that doesn't mean I buy everything he sells and vice versa.

Be that as it may ...

Quoting gigneil (Reply 28):
I am just not buyin it.

... is not a good argument. I would not be so dismissive of an airline pilot explaining the operation of an airliner.
 
Jetmarc
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 4:23 am

Our (B6) 320s are not ETOPS, but are EOW certified with rafts, lifevests, and crew training, thus permitting more direct Florida and Carribbean flying.
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ha763
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 5:22 am

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Reply 23):
If VX were actually doing ETOPS proving runs, would there be a MX flight number to track? Wouldn't at least a few of the HNL spotters have seen it? Not sure I believe it.

This is why I am asking. I do work at HNL, but have not seen anything. Nor have I seen anything on Flightaware. When Alaska and Allegiant did their ETOPS flights, they did show up on Flightaware.

Quoting gigneil (Reply 2):
If a 737-900ER can go LAX-HNL, then a brand new A320 will have no trouble at all.

CO's 737-900ERs, which do not have any of the 2 optional aux fuel tanks installed, needed weight restrictions that blocked seats and sometime even denied boarding to revenue pax on top of that. They barely made it with all these restrictions. The 737-900ER needs the optional fuel tanks to make West Coast-Hawaii with little to no weight restrictions.
 
barney captain
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 5:47 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 32):
jetBlue's planes are ETOPS, to start.

Incorrect.

Quoting gigneil (Reply 36):
B6 requires ETOPS to fly to SXM.

No, they don't.

Quoting jetMARC (Reply 43):
Our (B6) 320s are not ETOPS, but are EOW certified with rafts, lifevests, and crew training, thus permitting more direct Florida and Carribbean flying.

Exactly.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
rgreenftm
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 6:29 am

Didn't Alaska originally want ETOPS for their CUN flights? Since VX doesn't have any suitable aircraft for HI, would VX be taking a similar approach and getting ETOPS for their Mexico flights - specifically CUN, and when NEO arrives, they will be ready for HI, should they feel the market can support such flights?
 
flyPBA
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 4:29 pm

Virgin America is doing ETOPS proving runs ... costs are apparently being underwritten by Airbus
 
barney captain
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 6:58 pm

Quoting flyPBA (Reply 47):
Virgin America is doing ETOPS proving runs ... costs are apparently being underwritten by Airbus

Can you provide some sort of proof? I still don't see the current A320 with adequate range for HI, and the there are enough spotters on Flightaware and the islands themselves that a "proving run" would likely not be kept quiet.
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RE: Is Virgin America Conducting Etops Test Flights?

Wed May 16, 2012 8:17 pm

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 48):
Can you provide some sort of proof? I still don't see the current A320 with adequate range for HI, and the there are enough spotters on Flightaware and the islands themselves that a "proving run" would likely not be kept quiet.

Exactly, but I don't expect them to come to Hawaii until the NEOs come. The ETOPS birds will be good for Mexico/Caribbean right now.
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