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Ever packed heavy for a trip, only to have the airline check-in agent weigh your bag with a scowl on her face? Overweight/oversize luggage is nothing compared to what FedEx has to deal with.
As you may know, Reddit hosts Q & A sessions called an "AMA" (Ask Me Anything), to essentially allow anyone to ask questions of celebrities, politicians, and those with incredibly unique careers.
We can't believe we missed it but, back in 2012, an AMA was conducted with Dave Lange, Managing Director of the Aircraft Charters Department at FedEx Express. That vague title hides what is perhaps one of the most intriguing job descriptions in the aviation industry. Lange is in charge of shipments which require the use of an entire plane, be it exotic sports cars or satellites and top secret containers or live whales. Yes, whales can fly.
Welcome onboard Flight 101 from Newark to San Francisco, a 5-hr, 45-minute journey. It's a route flown by thousands of travelers every day, and yet the newest itineration of the flight is actually a simple video, depicting the mind- (and butt-) numbingly dull environment of the average trip on a legacy airline, the fictitious BLAH Airlines in this case.
The fact that the film was uploaded to Virgin America's channel gives away the powers behind it, but what's most shocking is that the eye-gougingly lengthy video has managed to attract over 75,000 views in its first 24 hours.
The campaign, which AdWeek pegs as the work of Eleven in San Francisco, stretches beyond YouTube to create an entire presence for BLAH Airlines (slogan: "You will get there"):
Videos / Awesome Stuff / Swiss / Switzerland Travel / Aviation / Travel Photography / Air Shows / Patrouille Suisse / → All Tags
Talk about Swiss precision!
On August 30 and again on September 6, a SWISS International Air Lines Airbus A330, flanked by six Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighter jets of the Patrouille Suisse, whizzed above a crowd of approximately 50,000 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swiss Air Force and 50th Anniversary of its aerobatic division. It was only one flying display within the AIR14 PAYERNE air show but, for such an occasion, SWISS brought out the big cameras (38 in total!) to create a short "pilots' view" film.
The videography and editing which went into the production of the video is simply spectacular, and it seems the internet agrees; the video has only been posted to YouTube for a couple days, and already it's just short of 50,000 views.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Iceland Travel / General Aviation / Akureyi Travel / Awesome Stuff / Tours / Cessna 206 / Myflug Air / Wow Air / → All Tags
While commercial air traffic has been giving Iceland a wide berth over the past week or two, a few Icelandic airlines are eager to capitalize on the action.
For a start, an Icelandair pilot opted for a scenic routing and extra circle over the volcano, which provided passengers with a good view of the most active zone. A resulting smartphone photo quickly went viral.
Now the Iceland-based low-cost carrier WOW Air (yes, that's really their name) is promoting travel on their cheap fares from European airports to not only visit Iceland, but the eruption in particular. Fly to Reykjavik on Wow from one of their many destinations from 39 EUR each way (we paid $150 for a flight from London earlier this year on Wow), and then make your own way to the north of the country to connect to a sightseeing flight on Mýflug Air.
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This Monday is Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. With the close of the sunniest season comes a finish to the bulk of the year's Air Show program. There's still the Red Bull Air Race in Dallas, TX to look forward to next weekend, but we're wishing we had known about another event earlier in the year, over in Budapest, Hungary.
Red Bull's Aerobatics team was out in full force over the Danube River back in May for the capital's Air Show, but they weren't even the highlight! Budapest's air authorities allowed for some maneuvers that outshown these dare devils, beginning with a grand opening of a plane taking off from the roadway of a bridge (view it above).
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Fun fact: BBC's Top Gear is the most popular automotive show in history, broadcasting in about 170 different countries. Hundreds of millions of people tune in and watch the ragtag trio of presenters race, destroy cars, and chide each other in the process every week, so there is a pretty good chance you're one of those fans. If so, good news! The Top Gear Test Track is now open to the public, for a price of course.
That’s right. You can drive on the same track at Dunsfold Park (near Guildford in Surrey) where they do most of their tests and challenges, visit the Top Gear TV Studio, and catch a glimpse of that looming Boeing 747 in the process. The Top Gear Track Experience, as it's called, offers 8 different options ranging from the “Star In a Reasonably Priced Car” timed laps to off-roading in a Land Rover Defender.
Events / AvGeek / Wisconsin Travel / General Aviation / Airplanes / Awesome Stuff / Summer Travel / Midwest Travel / OSH / Festival Travel / → All Tags
For one week this summerJuly 28 - August 3the busiest control tower in the world will be the one at a small regional airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
What's so cool about Oshkosh, exactly? Well, all that week runs the "world's greatest aviation celebration," called EAA AirVenture (colloquially just "Oshkosh"), and tens of thousands of participating aircraft take to the skies and ground at OSH. The impressive numbers of flying machines and visitors (nearly half a million!) bestows upon Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport that superlative title and, for a brief summer week, all eyes are on the Midwest.
Although we flew in 2 years ago, last year we road-tripped up from Chicago to see if doing Oshkosh in a day would be possible. And it totally is. Three hours driving each way, $35 in gas, a pit stop to buy cheese curds, $10 in parking at Oshkosh and lots of listening to Sirius radio was all it took to spend the day amongst fields of aircraft (from brand new Honda private jets to vintage warplanes) and under loop-de-loops of the nearly constant aerobatic action.
We don’t usually talk about video games, but thanks to the release of Mario Kart 8 for Nintendo Wii U we have reason to celebrate—and to pick up a controller.
The Mario Kart franchise has some new tracks, new levels, and new characters, but the one in which we're most interested is known as "Sunshine Airport." Think cartoon jumbo jets soaring over the track and the ability to drive in and around the baggage carousel. Signage for airlines—like GalaxyAir—dot the virtual property, and there’s even the usual airport signage as scenery. Bottom line is that you’re racing through a video game version of the airport, and it’s pretty darn awesome.
FurthestCity is a simple site with the function of sharing exactly which cities, large or small, are most distant from each other. Enter a location, and view a small list of such places categorized by population size. We recommend trying it with your current location, then your hometown, and then your dream vacation destination.
Don't be shocked when Australia or New Zealand frequently show up in the results; they're far from just about everywhere but themselves.
We're currently in Reykjavik, Iceland, so we thought it'd be cool to use the site to calculate the farthest city away from our position. The results (below), which pinpoint Dunedin, NZ and Hobart, AU as most distant, are particularly funny because we were just in that region. It's not even half-way through 2014 and already here's proof that we've gone from one end of the world to the other.
What else is there to see in the sky this season? After today's first solar eclipse of 2014 (visible only in Australia and Antarctica), thirst is high for more nights spent with an eye to the sky. For a clue or two, we turn to one of our favorite Facebook pages, i fucking love science (IFLS). The page, which describes its mission as existing for "the funny side of science...quotes, jokes, memes and anything your admin finds awesome and strange," has over 13 million "likers."
Filed in among those memes and jokes is some spectacularly useful information, good enough to inspire summer travels. For example, take their quick guide to dates with celestial events (above) and meteor showers (below).
Vodafone recently began a brilliant campaign to showcase communication technology as it relates to improved quality of life. One video has members of a refugee camp making the first call home, while another details the creation of the first "color-conducted" orchestra concert. Without a doubt, however, their masterpiece is "An & Ria's #First Flight," a 9-minute short film following two elderly women as they embark on what is not only their first flight, but their first experience abroad.
Head to 4:00 for the beginning of their airport experience, where they marvel at airplanes ready to take off for exotic destinations. Rememberneither of these women (aged 78) have been more than a drive or train away from their homes for their entire life, vacationing near so as to avoid air travel.
Awesome Stuff / Legos / Toy Travel / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Social Media / Airlines / AvGeek / Pilots / → All Tags
Lindbergh. Earhart. Yeager.
Let's face itaviators are the epitome of cool. Heck, even fictitious pilots like Top Gun's Maverick get all the girls, so frankly we're shocked it's taken so long for the internet generation to devise a character as brilliant as The Lego Pilot.
Jetting around the world in his perfectly pressed uniform, The Lego Pilot spends days sharing his "office views" and favorite layover locations with fans on social media. Though his body may be made of plastic building blocks, his personality is very much alive on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He's essentially a fully conceptualized and storified version of Lufthansa's "Pilot Diary" Instagram series from August 2013, which we heralded as "a revelation for airline social media."
Recent travels have transported The Lego Pilot to London, Hong Kong, Spain's Costa del Sol, Dubai, and Marrakech...and that's only since the beginning of March when the accounts initiated.
We won't spoil all the fun for you (follow him!), but below are a few of our favorite The Lego Pilot moments. Enjoy!