Wednesday, February 22, 2006

China Trip II - Inbound Travel

Return travel after two weeks in China.

My inbound travel itinerary was:
Japan Airlines 767, Beijing to Tokyo, then a 7 hour layover to catch the
American Airlines 777, Tokyo to Chicago (13 hour flight).

Due to flying across the International Date Line, my flight would depart Beijing at 8:30 am on Wednesday and arrive in Chicago at 3:30 pm the same day, 21 hours later, gaining 10 hours on the clock. For the outbound travel, I left Chicago at 11 am on a Wednesday morning and arrived at Beijing the next day at 9 pm, whilst only 20 hours had passed, losing 14 hours on the clock. Fun to think about.

Onboard: breakast on Japan Airlines to Tokyo. The breakfast sausage wasn't all that great.

Mt. Fuji on approach to Narita

Just landed on Runway 34R, going to Taxi way B7

A Korean Airlines Airbus A300-600B4

Spot the odd one out. The Japan Airlines 747's tail on the left is very similar to the Northwest livery. Not suprising, considering that NW actually helped start Japan Airlines after WWII, by loaning it some planes and crew. The surrender and agreement after WWII allowed US carriers (NW and United) to use Narita as a base for commercial operations, that exists till today.

A China Southern 777 marked with ETOPS signage.

A little aviation general knowledge:
ETOPS stands for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards and is a global law for commerical aviation stating that two-engined aircraft like the 777 have to stay within a certain flying time from an airfield at all points of its flight to ensure the safe landing of the plane, in case one of its engines fail. On a twin-engined plane, if one engine fails, the plane has to land at the nearest available airport, since it can't risk having the other engine fail. If a plane is certified for ETOPS 180, that means it can fly on one engine for a maximum of 180 minutes to safety.

This rule doesnt apply to four engine aircraft like the 747 and Airbus A340 and thus gave Airbus an advantage in the early days of ETOPS when aircraft were only certified to 90 minutes flying from an airfield. On a 4-holer, if one engine fails, it can safely continue on 3 engines, albeit at a slower pace and reduced altitude, but if another engine fails, it will be forced to land. Just recently, a British Airways 747 blew an engine on take-off from Los Angeles, but continued on with 3 engines all the way to England. However, it is advised that the plane should have landed.

When crossing the Atlantic, airfields that are used for ETOPS are located in Nova Scotia, Greenland and Iceland. When crossing the North Pacific, airfields in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the Midway Atoll are used. To help certify its planes, Boeing actually subsidised the construction of the airport at Midway Atoll to handle an emergency landing of its 777.

Two-engine aircraft are preferred as they are more fuel efficient than four-engined ones. But with ETOPS 180, 95% of the Earth's surface is accessible to twin-engined aircraft.

Dark blue represents areas that are off-limits to ETOPS flights

However, there are several commercial aviation routes that are still off-limits to ETOPS flights. This mainly applies to routes on the South Pacific, Southern Indian Ocean (Perth to Johannesburg) and Antartica (Auckland to Buenos Aires). These routes are currently flown with either A340 or 747 aircraft.


phiri50 said...

mpressive knowledge about aviation, i didnt know u were that interested. i like the cool bit son history, makes reading a blog all the more interesting. keep it up

Anonymous said...

The ETOPS picture is actually a China Southern Airlines 777, not ANA.

Just pointing it out.......

Jammin said...

Thanx for pointing that out. I can't read Chinese or Japanese, :p