Video: Inside the cockpit of Lufthansa flight to LAX

Lufthansa Airlines is relatively comfortable with having cameras in its cockpits. As a result, we get some great video, like one above, from Lufthansa flight 456, which at the time of this recording was a Boeing 747-400 flying from Frankfurt to Los Angeles.

Some of the best parts of the video are also the most mundane. The two pilots spend a lot of time making wry comments in English and German about the flight. You’ll also notice that the pilots effortlessly switch between the two languages. English is the language of international aviation, so most of the official parts of the flight – like checklists and radio transmissions — must be conducted in English, even though German is the national language.

This is one of a series of in-cockpit videos produced by Pilots Eye TV. Another one, which I posted on the blog earlier this year, showed a Lufthansa A380 landing in San Francisco. 

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L.A. Council Member Mike Bonin wants to see LAX ground transport center — and soon

PowerPoint Presentation

The process is still ongoing, but Los Angeles Council Member Mike Bonin has made his decision. He wants Los Angeles International Airport to build a new ground transportation center about a mile east of the terminals, one that will connect with two Metro trains — the Green Line and the Crenshaw Line.

The center, pictured above, would connect with an people mover built by the airport that would take passengers to terminals. But passengers could actually check in and drop their bags at the center. They wouldn’t need to lug them on the people mover.

The major problem is that both Metro trains would have to be re-routed from their current paths to reach the center. It’s certainly possible, but Metro officials told me recently that such an exercise is difficult. And Metro has to go through a whole process, mandated by the feds, before it can choose how it will connect its trains to LAX. (A cheaper option would be for the airport to build a people mover and have it go to where there is already a Metro station.)

On Monday, Bonin and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in Washington to discuss the ground transportation proposal. Bonin said it went well.

“It was good to talk to the Secretary of Transportation to make sure that we have partners at the federal level who can help us navigate this and make sure everything goes smoothly,” Bonin said. “They understand that L.A. has historically failed to make the common sense connection to the airport through rail. They seemed eager to support us in our efforts to correct that mistake.”

A ground transportation hub has always been in the airport’s plans, but under former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, no one talked about it, and it was always considered something that would happen far in the future. Now, however, it seems urgent.

Bonin told me city officials hope they can break ground by the time President Obama leaves office in January 2017. Considering the hurdles Metro must clear before then, that seems ambitious. But who knows?

Whatever happens, Bonin said city officials want to make sure the project is done right.

“I think one of the things that the mayor and I have in common is a shared agenda in transportation and a shared desire to make sure that the mistakes that have been made in the past are not made again,” Bonin said. “We don’t want to have a reputation as the city that almost does the right thing in transportation. It’s not good enough to almost get to the airport. We have to connect.”

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BTS releases August 2013 on-time stats by airport

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics on Wednesday released August on-time departures numbers. How does your favorite airport compare?

Rank August 2013 %
1 Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) 87.59
2 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP) 86.62
3 Washington, DC (DCA) 86.05
4 Portland, OR (PDX) 85.43
5 Seattle, WA (SEA) 85.10
6 Detroit, MI (DTW) 83.42
7 Miami, FL (MIA) 82.04
8 Charlotte, NC (CLT) 81.80
9 Tampa, FL (TPA) 80.96
10 Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) 80.70
11 Houston, TX (IAH) 80.33
12 Boston, MA (BOS) 79.87
13 Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 79.63
14 Philadelphia, PA (PHL) 79.33
15 Orlando, FL (MCO) 78.70
16 Washington, DC (IAD) 78.33
17 Los Angeles, CA (LAX) 78.01
18 San Diego, CA (SAN) 78.01
19 Atlanta, GA (ATL) 77.72
20 New York, NY (LGA) 77.54
21 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) 76.12
22 New York, NY (JFK) 75.58
23 Newark, NJ (EWR) 74.61
24 Chicago, IL (ORD) 73.70
25 Baltimore, MD (BWI) 73.37
26 Las Vegas, NV (LAS) 72.79
27 Denver, CO (DEN) 72.66
28 San Francisco, CA (SFO) 68.53
29 Chicago, IL (MDW) 61.98
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A United Airlines word change pleases some grammar nerds

Calling all grammar nerds. Do you know notice anything different about United’s new advertising campaign?

It is true! United has changed how it refers to the number of destinations it serves.  Before, as you see below, United said it flew to “over” 370 destinations. Most grammarians might call that a misuse of the word, “over.”

The old United advertising.

The old United advertising, circa 2011.

But take a look at the new advertisement. Granted the number of destinations has dropped by about 20. But the correct phrase “more than” is subbed for “over.” To borrow a hashtag, that’s #unitedprogress.

And the new ad, circa 2013.

And the new ad, circa 2013.

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