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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

American Airlines now offering WiFi on flights

American is now offering WiFi on its 767-200's which fly domestic transcons. Specifically, the article mentions NYC-SFO/MIA/LAX. This is the same service Delta will be using, so it'll be a good barometer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Planespotting at PDK

I was over near PDK yesterday and decided to take the camera for a few shots. It's been maybe a couple of years since I stopped by. They've really done the place up. The venerable Downwind Restaurant is still there of course, but the airport has built a park right next door to the restaurant. It's fun for the whole family. A playground, bathrooms, shady shelter, and an observation platform that gets you above the fence for photography, right at the intersection of RWYS 16/34 and 2L/20R. Parking is free, and you won't want for activity: PDK is the 2nd busiest airport in Georgia after Hartsfield-Jackson.



A half-decent aircraft photo from the platform:
N914CR - Raytheon (Beechcraft) Bonanza G36

The weather turned pretty crappy pretty quickly so the photos aren't that great. But if you want to see the rest of them, they're here.

Note to self: Do NOT fly into powerlines

I'm not a pilot, nor do I play one on TV. But I do intend to get private pilot's license one day. As such, I'm blogging this as a simple reminder of what not to do once I get up in my own airplane.

Dragnet! I can't embed the video. Anyhow, here's the link from the BBC. It's worth the click.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7568045.stm

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cliché

These two establishments are in a shopping strip near my house. I've actually eaten the restaurant's food before. I'm not sure why though. Actually, it wasn't bad. But I'll be damned if I take my pets to that vet.
ChineseVet

Friday, August 15, 2008

Photographers are terrorists

Slashdot has just published a link to some blogs/articles regarding photographers who have been harassed, ejected, threatened, etc for doing nothing other than taking what I believe most would argue are benign pictures. While the Slashdot posting doesn't contain any specific references to aviation photography, this type of nonsense is par-for-the-course for planespotters, especially post-9/11. I mean, holy crap! That guy has a (gasp!) CAMERA! Quick! Call out the National Guard!

I've been lucky (if that's what you want to call it) so far in that the only harassment I've gotten whilst planespotting is from the courtesy officers at the south parking deck at ATL. I was told several times that I could not photograph planes from that location for "security reasons". I'm not sure what leg they have to stand on: I'm a paying customer, I'm not breaking the law, and they usually have no problems with people who just stand there watching. I guess legally I could be asked to leave at the risk of a trespassing charge if I persisted, but I've never pushed it. I do know what would likely happen if they called the cops though. A friend relays this from an August 10th, 2006 outing:
[A friend] and I were taking pics from the top level of the South Daily parking deck at Hartsfield. I was there all of about 10 minutes before we were confronted by the cops. We were not aware of the happenings of the day nor of the terror threat level being raised [admittedly, this was the day a plot to bomb transatlantic flights using bombs made from liquids was revealed to the media], so we were happily talking and taking pictures. This did not please the cop, and we were told to immediately stop our picture taking. He had asked us if we had obtained a letter of permission to take pictures, and we told him we did not know we needed one.
As for me, I did ultimately end up getting written permission from Airport Ops, and that seems to satisfy them every time now.

Still, I've often wondered what it must look like to people driving past me on the side of Sullivan Rd. There I am on the curb with my camera and 300mm lens, scanner, chair-in-a-bag, and a bottle of water taking pix of planes landing 9R. But seriously. Is what I'm doing not obvious? Do drivers feel it totally necessary to call the cops? And do the cops feel it totally necessary to check your background, take your fingerprints, and arrange a visit from the FBI? Same friend as above, this time in Feb 2007:

Well, another off day for me (from work), so I decided to go down towards ATL to shoot pictures of airliners. Find a great abandoned warehouse with a large parking area, so what do I do? I park and start shooting. Time until Forest Park Police Department shows up? About 30 minutes! Not one, not two, but THREE cars come to investigate me! Two officers and a sergeant! Pretty thorough check on me! Complete NCIC check (full background history), check out the truck, take my photograph and a fingerprint! Good thing was that they let me continue to take photo's....

And then from the same person a few weeks later....

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Wife calls me today to let me know the FBI showed up at our house to interview me! Way Cool was my expression (she said she told the agents that is what I would say!). Then visited me at work and conducted an interview with me concerning my taking pictures of airplanes. Lasted about 20-30 minutes....

I guess my time will come. But I wish aviation photographers and planespotters didn't have to deal with this kind of nonsense. I suppose I have the real terrorists to thank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

VMWare Date Bomb

This isn't really my usual fare, but I suppose it won't hurt to help get the word out. VMWare has a nasty bug in ESX 3.5 Update 2 that causes any power on, resume from suspend, or VMotion attempt to fail with the following error:

This product has expired. Be sure that your host machine's date and time are set correctly.
There is a more recent version available at the VMware web site: http://www.vmware.com/info?id=4.
--------------
Module License Power on failed.
VMWare has a KB article that it is updating with the latest info, and is promising updates by noon PST tomorrow (8/13). In the mean time, there are some suggested workarounds in the VMWare Communities.

This will totally nail you if you do maintenance on a VM. So if you have ESX in your business, this is very much worth noting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Delta to offer WiFi on domestic flights

Big news for Atlanta travellers: Delta will soon offer WiFi Internet service on its entire domestic fleet. And sooner than you might expect!

Utilizing the GoGo service from Aircell, they'll offer WiFi beginning this fall on MD-88's and MD-90's (great choice, since the MD-88's currently offer ZERO entertainment), expanding to include the rest of the mainline domestic fleet by the end of 2009. The cost will be reasonable: $9.95 for flights less than three hours, $12.95 for more than three hours.

I'm pretty excited. I totally see myself using this on flights of 2 hours (wheels up to wheels down) or more. How cool will it be to track my own flight at FlightAware? Or listen to my ATC traffic at LiveATC.net? Or post photos of my flight on Flickr while I'm still on it? If there's a downside to this, it's that companies may begin to expect that employees be available and responding to email/IM/etc. during business travel...

AA MD80 LGA-ATL diverts to JFK on one engine

Well there's an interesting discussion going on over at Airliners.Net as to whether or not disaster was narrowly averted yesterday by American flight 2393, an MD-83 (N592AA) whose starboard engine went kaput at the worst possible time for an engine to do such a thing: during or just after rotation (i.e. the nosewheel lifting off). Personally? Based upon what I've read in the past, this type of thing is supposed to be a non-incident (since two engine aircraft are required to be able to continue a takeoff and climb over any obstacles on one engine), and I suspect it was this time as well. Still, very scary.

The plane involved: