Category Archives: Aviation


Analysis: Is the wind in the right direction for Amazon to snap up Atlas Air?

(Updated August 2019)

The Loadstar, a much respected and often analytically correct Air Cargo magazine has published an opinion piece on the ongoing drama and negotiations at Atlas Air, Southern Air and ATSG and Amazon.

The peculiar case of Atlas management and its increasingly poor relationship with its pilots is indeed confusing – unless, that is, it turns out to be a strategy that allows its executives to cash in big time via a smart trade sale to a key client, Amazon.

Read the entire article here…

Analysis: Is the wind in the right direction for Amazon to snap up Atlas Air?

944332E0-2455-4BF9-9327-811F2232A6E4The Amazon 737-800 Passenger to freighter conversions are finally being operated by Southern Air.

Growth would seem to be assured, except for the annoying part about paying pilots a fair wage. The bitterness amongst Southern Air and Atlas Pilots has reached new lows as it’s clear the mediocre attempt at “parity” last year was just another sleight of hand in a grand scheme to prevent a new contract at Atlas and Southern Air for the foreseeable future.

It is inconceivable that a large corporation would forfeit their entire work force by attrition unto their competitors staffing formulas but this is where things are at today. The Loadstar article written last year only seems more accurate than ever before.

Atlas / Southern 777Fs are reportedly being parked because of lack of crews. Meanwhile Atlas Air’s closest competitor is hurriedly staffing an entire 777F operation which is being launched with 4 tail numbers. Compare that to the 8 airframes under Southern Air‘s operation and that is half their fleet.

So to spell this out in laymen’s terms, the appearance on the surface is that Atlas is under marching orders to keep the 767 and 737 Amazon operations staffed while allowing their wide body fleets begin to go idle.

20170325_LDD001_0SOMETHING must be more valuable to Atlas’ executives than actual revenue flying airplanes. In this business, when the executives pass up assured GROWTH, that’s usually a signal that a bankruptcy or a merger or a sale is around the corner. Since in this case Atlas is very cash rich now, the smart money says it’s another merger or a sale vs. any kind of bankruptcy.

So the Loadstar basically just published what many of us have been observing now for the past 6 months or a year now. These are still great opportunities out there in Air Cargo for anyone else who can read the ti leaves.


I for one have adjusted my course. The first airline to deploy pilot-less drones will be Amazon. Plan accordingly my friends!

/pau for now

Aerosucre 727 accident video from Puerto Carreño

Not too sure what happened here yesterday but these videos are crazy. It reminds me of at least two other recent incidents that thankfully did not crash.

The spotters on the ground had enough sense to get out of the way. Thankfully nobody was run over by what was somewhere near 190,000 pounds of not exactly flying aluminum. My prayers go out to the families of all involved.

A single engine failure should not have caused this airplane to crash. The investigators will probably focus first on the cargo manifests and maintenance records and move on from there if the obvious reasons get ruled out early.

These videos below will certainly help investigators quickly rule out “dead ends” as they investigate what happened yesterday in Colombia.

Here is the first point of view video shot from the departure end of the runway and port side of the Aerosucre 727.

Here is a second video shot from the other side of the dirt road, starboard side of the aircraft in view, also shows the crash.

The people are saying “the airplane lost a tire on the road” in the videos.

This airplane’s Colombian Registration # was: HK-4544 its serial number was CN: 21105. This was an ex Kitty Hawk airplane. Here is an old picture of it in Kitty Hawk colors before it was sold to Aerosucre.

These old Kitty Hawk 727s used to fly through Honolulu back in the 1990′s. They used to haul the fish out of Micronesia before Asia Pacific would take that business away. Here’s a picture of another Kitty Hawk 727 (not the one that just crashed in Colombia) parked next to another Kitty Hawk L-1011.


Honolulu South Ramp in the 1990′s

It’s always hard for pilots to see airplanes we once flew in accidents. I have flown at least 5 airplanes that would go on to be crashed (that I know of). It is possible CN 21105 may have come through Honolulu but I still don’t have any photos of it.

Thats all for now

Much Aloha


boeing-737ng-cargo-cutawayThis morning Spectre Air Capital has announced they are ordering 15 conversions from Israeli Aerospace Industries IAI for deliveries beginning in 2017.

Of the 15 airframes, three are confirmed to be going to Air Incheon. The other 12 remain a mystery. Air Cargo News and American Shipper both have reported the same news.

Aircraft leasing giant GECAS has also entered the 737-800 passenger to freighter conversion market with an announcement of their first placement of two 737-800 P2F with Dublin, Ireland based ASL Aviation Group.

I have officially stopped keeping a tally on how many 737-800 freighters are on order now. This must be somewhere near the 50 airplane mark and is estimated to go into the hundreds over the next few years as there really is no other narrow body freighter that will be able to do what the NG Boeing narrow body can.

According to Jordan Jaffe from Spectre;

Spectre’s large B737NG freighter commitment follows its 20-aircraft Boeing 767-300ER programme collaboration earlier this year with aircraft trading partner Jetran, the majority of which will become freighters and be operated in support of e-commerce giants such as Amazon’s Prime Air and China-based Alibaba.

Jordan Jaffe, Spectre’s chief executive and co-founder, said: “Demand for express freighters is at an all-time high, with hundreds more required in the coming years to meet the demand created by rapid growth in e-commerce and expansion of the global middle class.

“The classic freighter feedstock is becoming increasingly scarce and overly expensive for their age. We intend to leverage our ability to purchase in fleet-sized transactions to offer next-generation freighters with attractive economics.”

What he is saying is exactly what this blogger has been saying all along. This airplane will effectively render all other 737 freighters obsolete, not to mention any still operating 727s and even the 757 which are all getting very very old. DC-9/MD8X freighters never really made a big impact. The old Pratt engines are fantastic but the corporate pencil pushers will always prefer the CFMs in the newer Boeing airplanes.


already obsolete, possible future as an “Aloha Tacos” lunch wagon?

Another big problem for these old airplanes will be the ADS-B requirements which will be mandatory by 2020. I am curious to see who the rest of these unannounced customers will be, or where they will find the pilots to fly all these airplanes.

Much Aloha

Kelly Slater and Bob Hurley start #dontflyhawaiianairlines scrap on instagram, Hawaiian Airlines responds!

dontflyhawaiianPro surfer Kelly Slater and Hurley International founder Bob Hurley have publicly begun to roast Hawaiian Airlines over baggage fees and policies they describe as “ridiculous and a default profit racket.”

Slater and Hurley have both called for a boycott of Hawaiian via their Instagram pages with the hashtag #dontflyhawaiianairlines

GrindTV and The Inertia have both run headlines on this story, in what appears to be support for the surfers call for a boycott of the airline.

Hawaiian Airlines, the only large passenger airline actually based in Hawaii nowadays, initiated a quick response on their own on Instagram, explaining and defending their policies. KHON and other local news agencies have also picked up the story.

I have never met either Kelly Slater or Bob Hurley, but one has to wonder if their hashtag is a nod to the the last major airline protest campaign in Hawaii some ten years ago. “dontflygo”

Oddly enough, the “dontflygo” boycott was started by a now retired Hawaiian Airlines pilot and focused on the interloper carrier go! and their parent Mesa Airlines. That protest continued from 2007 through 2008 until actually it would be Aloha Airlines that would shut down, not Mesa/go!. The shutdown of Aloha Airlines set off the largest layoffs ever (2000 plus employees affected) and the worst recession ever seen in the State of Hawaii. Many former Aloha Airlines employees would eventually find employment with Hawaiian Airlines now, many others would leave Hawaii and never come back.

#dontflyhawaiian now?

Hawaiian is what is known as a low cost carrier (LCC). Passengers like Slater and Hurley who dislike the LCC experience can always choose an actual legacy carrier like Delta or United. United still has the largest presence in Hawaii and the Pacific as they are the current operators of the old Pan American Airlines routes, however they are not free from complaints either. It is understood that ALL airlines actually go out of their way to agonize their customers BY DESIGN as described by the New Yorker magazine in this 2014 article. Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer


While Bob Hurley can probably afford his own jet, the rest of us will be forced to embrace the suck whenever we need to fly somewhere. Especially those of us out here in Hawaii. I don’t know what other choice anyone has out here except to just deal with it or stop flying entirely.

This is your “free market”

My family was recently faced with the prospect of paying exorbitant change fees on Hawaiian Airlines. After a funeral for her grandfather earlier this year, my older daughter, fully qualifying under Hawaiian’s bereavement policy, still found it far less agonizing and about $100 cheaper to just throw away her return Hawaiian Air ticket and instead, buy a one way ticket back to California on Delta. In all fairness to Hawaiian, all the airlines gouge their passengers on change fees and it is all part of the “calculated misery” and “where the suffering begins” as the New Yorker article describes… This is your free market on drugs!

Kelly Slater, Bob Hurley and the rest of us need to face the facts, there are no more good airlines. Nowadays, any airline identified as offering too much customer service gets torn to shreds or downgraded by Wall Street analysts, or as in the case or Aloha and Midwest Express, shut down completely.

My opinion finally is this. Get over it and “embrace the suck”, or… avoid all the airlines entirely, stay home and make your next vacation a stay-cation! The only way the airlines will change is when we as the traveling public, refuse to fly on any of them anymore.




Amazing Job by Asia Pacific Airlines Guam 727 Drivers

One of the last 727 operators in the USA just made a picture perfect emergency landing on Guam a few days ago. The pilots did everything they could to get the nose wheel down and locked before landing. After exhausting all attempts to lock the nose gear down, the pilots brought the old classic “three-holer” to a graceful stop on Guam with only the main gear available. Impressive videos have made USA Today, England’s Daily Mail, even Russia Today.

Guam’s own Pacific Daily News has the best photos.




Guam Daily Post has the best video I could find.

Excellent work Captain R! They should put you in charge of all operations immediately and double your salary. You are a positive example of how to save the day when things fall apart around you. GOOD JOB!

A nose gear up landing is not the worst thing that can happen to an airplane. This airplane can be repaired and be returned to flying rather quickly. Asia Pacific Airlines has crashed and fixed airplanes before. Back in May 2008, Asia Pacific’s N319NE overran the runway on Pohnpei and ended up on the reef in the lagoon. No video of that crash exists that I am aware of but first hand accounts from the engineer who was (in my opinion) wrongly blamed for the runway excursion, were quite dramatic to say the least. He told me that from his back seat, it looked like he was in a submarine diving under water. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in that crash either.


This airplane was quickly repaired and still flies for Asia Pacific Airlines to this day although, as of this writing it is AOG on remote PTKK (Chuuk Island FSM)

Asia Pacific Airlines now has zero operable aircraft flying. Their third 727 (N705AA) is undergoing an engine change and FAA certification for their replacement 757′s still eludes the airline.

The 737-800 freighter will be the perfect airplane to serve these Island Nations essential air cargo lifelines. Unfortunately, that airplane won’t be available until late 2017.








Crossing the Rockies and the Sierras at 30,000 Feet

These are some photos from a flight across the USA from the Midwest to California.

In the first few the Earths shadow is still visible. The wind on this morning is so strong the snow is being blown off the mountain tops and that is clearly visible in the first few shots. You may recognize several central Colorado Ski mountains along the I-70 corridor. The last few are a series of Pictures over Lake Tahoe as the flight crossed the Nevada/California border.

Leave a comment if you recognize any of the spots. Some will be easier than others!


Hopefully somebody else enjoyed those!

Much Aloha

Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter

I could have waited a day or two with that last post updating the 737-800 freighter.

Just today, Boeing is officially announcing production of the 737-800BCF with confirmed order up to 55 airframes so far. Some nice new high quality images are available as well!


Boeings new fuel saving extended range narrow body freighter is here to replace the aged 727 (1960′s-1970s) 737-2/3/4 (1970s-1980s) also the 757 (1980s-1990s) freighters.

The press release is available from several sources. ADS out of the U.K. is also providing some details which are a little more revealing that what we knew yesterday.

Boeing has won a total of 30 firm orders and 25 commitments for the 737-800BCF:
•    YTO Airlines, based in Hangzhou, China, has ordered 10 conversions with commitments for 10 additional conversions
•    China Postal Airlines, based in Beijing, has ordered 10 conversions
•    GE Capital Aviation (GECAS), which will provide the initial airplane for conversion, has ordered five conversions
•    An unannounced customer has ordered five conversions with two commitments

In addition, Boeing has secured 13 commitments for conversions from:
•    SF Airlines, based in Shenzhen, China
•    Cargo Air, based in Sofia, Bulgaria
•    An unannounced customer

Thats about it for now. This won’t change things much in the long haul freight market but shorter domestic runs can expect to see the 738 sooner now, rather than later.

If anything new comes up or any new customers are announced I’ll put out another update then.

Much Aloha

737-800 Freighter Update

Several developments over the past few months have prompted me to do an update post on the 737-800 Freighter. See my original post from 2014 here 737 Freighter Conversions.

Boeing 737 Passenger to Freighter Conversions

Boeing 737 Passenger to Freighter Conversions

Since the writing of that article, several STCs have been launched, Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI), IAI Bedek, Pemco and Boeing will all be producing 737-800 P2F conversions.

Best I can tell, AEI is leading the pack with 15 orders from Aviation Capital Group and 20 more orders from GECAS.

Boeing’s version of the 737-800 Freighter has two firm customers at this point. China Postal Airways has ordered ten, another Chinese start up YTO Express is buying the Boeing version but I can’t find any published numbers.

IAI Bedek has also applied for a license for the 737-700/800 however they have yet to announce any orders.

PEMCO has not announced any orders either but I do like that PEMCO may be offering a QC which have been very popular in the past with both scheduled and charter operators.

I will keep this site updated as any more orders are announced and especially when deliveries actually begin. I really like the 737-800 for several reasons such as ETOPS out of the box, and superior range and efficiency. The 737-800 Freighter is the ideal replacement for the 737-2/3/4 and 727-200′s currently doing the majority of the narrow body cargo work all around the world.

In Hawaii for example, Asia Pacific’s intended “upgrade” was to be a pair of 20+ year old Boeing 757s but FAA certification still eludes the operator eight months after delivery of the first bird. The 757 is not by any definition a “new” airplane and to be fair, some 737-800 P2F conversions will be only slightly younger, in the 15 to 18 year old age range. The 757 is overall a remarkably capable airplane, but they are not true next generation aircraft. The 738F will carry comparable loads to the 757 while using tons less fuel.

Sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words and instead of me going on and on and on, Boeing has produced some high quality images on their 737-800BCF page. I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.


The 3700km max payload is roughly 2300 miles.


737-800BCF range rings are at max revenue payload.

GCmap is a great place to make your own range rings using any variety of parameters such as payload or locations such as KCVG or PHNL.

I suspect more announcements to be forthcoming in this arena. I know it is kind of a niche interest but if anyone else shares my enthusiasm for it, feel free to leave a comment and check back here often for any more updates.

Much Aloha





Amazon Is Making a Big Play to Bypass UPS and FedEx

Several news sites have ran this story over the past two days. Spencer Soaper from Bloomberg has leaked documents showing Amazon Is Making a Big Play to Bypass UPS and FedEx. The story was also on Bloomberg TV here is a link to the video.

Anyway this news is in dramatic contrast to statements made by Amazon at the end of January saying basically the opposite that Amazon not looking to replace the likes of UPS and FedEx

Okay that was a dramatic contrast to the rumors going around in November and December of 2015 saying things like…

A Secretive Air Cargo Operation is Running in Ohio and Amazon Seeks Cargo Planes for Air Freight Operation and Is Amazon Plotting an Air War on FedEx? It just wouldn’t be a rumor without Amazon talking directly to Boeing which is what the Seattle Times reported here Amazon in talks to lease Boeing jets to launch its own air-cargo business.

We have all seen this before. I have been suspicious for a while that what we are witnessing here is a winner take all game in play here. I have not had any evidence to support my theory and Amazon straight out denied it in their January 29th statement but now here we have some hard evidence. I suspect the actual airlines involved are taking this very seriously.

The Public has a short to medium term amount of time to enjoy dramatically lower air freight costs. (free shipping!!) This might not turn out how anyone thinks. Air wars have a way into turning into scorched earths. Anyway I am watching this intently as I have a direct interest. I hope everyone stays safe and calm as our entire industry may be getting tossed into the fray here soon. For now,

Much Aloha!


Northrop Grumman Super Bowl Ad 2016

The Northrop Grumman YouTube channel just uploaded this years Super Bowl advertisement.

At 8 seconds into the ad, they tell us they are now “invisible”. At 14 seconds they tell us this is “not the future it’s the present”. At 20 seconds they say “our dream has become reality” and we should “just wait” to see it. That is also what they name the video, “Just Wait”.

This isn’t the first time Northrop Grumman has advertised during the Super Bowl. This is a similar commercial they ran last year. It appears they are only updating us. It is my opinion prototypes of these next generation stealth aircraft are already flying. Here is last years Super Bowl Ad. Notice they use the word “invisible” again.

I am a regular visitor to Tyler Rogoways “Foxtrot Alpha” blog and he posts here that this is the “6th Generation fighter” Northrop Grumman wants the Pentagon to buy. It is speculated by Foxtrot Alpha and many others that this aircraft has next generation stealth, laser targeting, defensive bubbles, offensive turrets and other sci-fi like technology.

Oddly enough Chris Carter and gang are back at the X-files as of a week ago. Episode 1 of the new 2016 X-files features their version, albeit a bit more fantastic version of how companies like Northrop Grumman could have a cloaking technology and other futuristic weapons systems ready to go. If you are one of the “hidden in plain sight” conspiracy type then you might think we have had this technology since the 1940s. Chris Carter has nailed a few things before, and Science Fiction as a genre has always been predictive. I just thought I would throw this in with the timing and all. That being said, I don’t believe in Aliens or the X-files / Chris Carters version of his-story. Personally, I think it’s just really fun television.

Of course the Nazi’s had the carbon skinned, incredibly stealth, batwing shaped Horton 229 flying already towards the end of WWII. You can watch this last video and decide for yourself which of the “modern” stealth aircraft or demonstrators the Horton 229 most looked like. It’s difficult to conceptualize that the Nazis figured out stealth on their own with pencils and slide rulers but the evidence is clear, that exactly what happened.

That’s about all I have, enjoy your Super Bowl and keep an eye out for these really revealing commercials and show them to your friends.

Much Aloha