• Troll Research Station: how to operate an airport in Antarctica

    Before 2005, getting personnel to the Norwegian Polar Institute’s Troll Research Station (AT27/QAT) in Antarctica involved a weeks-long boat ride followed by a 250 kilometer trek over snow, ice, and rock. But in 2005, the research station opened its 3000 meter blue ice runway. With the summer season coming to a close and most personnel …   Read More

  • A brief history of the jet bridge

    Have you ever flown a low-cost airline out of a major airport and had to board by bus, even though dozens of gates were clearly unoccupied, their jet bridges hanging unused? That’s likely because airline management didn’t want to pay up for the proper gates. As fun as the airport tarmac bus tour can be …   Read More

  • The Irkut MC-21: an introduction to Russia’s latest jetliner

    Yesterday an Irkut MC-21 undergoing flight testing overran the runway at Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport (ZIA). No one was injured and it looks as if the aircraft avoided any major damage. Initial reports from Irkut, the company making the MC-21, indicate this happened during a simulated engine-out test. It also said no system failures were involved. …   Read More

  • How to get an IATA code for your airline or airport

    We’ve written before about all the fun there is to be had with IATA codes for airlines and airports. Not only are they great for their occasionally unusual origin stories, they also provide a useful shorthand for avgeeks. For example: “I’m flying BA from LHR to LAX“. (Never mind that autocorrect may wreak havoc with …   Read More

  • Zulu and UTC: the story behind aviation’s time zone

    When it comes to time zones, if you’re still talking about Greenwich Mean Time there’s something you should know: it’s old news. Okay, that’s not...

  • Just what on earth is wet-leasing?

    Wet-leasing: it’s an aviation term that tends to make ears perk up because it sounds, well, odd. Just what part is wet exactly? The plane? Hopefully not the interior because that sounds like a hassle. And a typical follow-up question: so is there dry-leasing too? The answer to that is yes.   Read More

  • Flight 1 round 2: which other routes get top billing?

    Last week we covered some of the more high-profile routes that carry (or once carried) the flight number 1. The first round included Concorde flights,...

  • ORD, FRU, MSY: how odd airport codes came to be

    There are plenty of airport codes around the world that are good for a laugh. Think of most words you’d avoid uttering in polite company...

  • Stuff of legend: airline code origin stories

    Let’s face it: airline codes are boring. Or so it seems at first. BA is British Airways, AA is American Airlines and so on. Others are random. IATA will assign available codes to airlines as needed and it is not necessarily a creative process.   Read More

  • Which routes carry flight number 1 and why?

    In commercial aviation there’s no flight number quite as prestigious as flight 1. Flight numbers don’t often follow a readily apparent logic, but it’s usually different with flight 1, or as it’s often written alongside an airline code, 001.   Read More

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