Posts Tagged ‘Aviation Geek’

Free JetSmarter Helicopter Transfers in NYC

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Boarding the helicopter transfer at the West 30th Street Heliport

My husband got me a JetSmarter membership as a present recently and it’s officially become my favorite luxury travel app. Like all private aviation, JetSmarter does not come cheap (rates are going up June 1st, but you can get membership until the end of May for $$9,675 annually plus a one-time initiation fee of $3,500. Details at bottom of this post).

Some video of my Blade flight over the Hudson River

While this may seem steep at first glance, it’s a bargain if you are used to paying full fare for first class travel between New York and Los Angeles. One way First Class airfare on American Airlines costs $2019. If you regularly fly bi-coastal, JetSmarter can be a great value for money.

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Cool view sitting next to the pilot

One of the best things out of the best things about being a JetSmarter member is the free helicopter transfers to and from Teterboro and Westchester airports to the West 30th Street Heliport in New York City.

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Helicopter pilot at the controls

JetSmarter also offers helicopter transfers to the Hamptons from Manhattan and from Chicago airports to the Loop.

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Above the Hudson

If you ask nicely, you can sit next to the pilot when you take off from the West 30th Street Heliport. Keep in mind, this side of the chopper is away from the NYC skyline when heading out of the city.

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The view through the passenger side door

JetSmarter is raising rates in June to $10,000 annually plus a one-time initiation fee of $5,000.

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Headed to HPN Airport in Westchester

I’ll do a post in the future detailing the LA to NYC JetSmarter shuttle experience.

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The View after dark into NYC is dramatic and beautiful

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Obligatory helicopter selfie

JetSmarter

500 East Broward Blvd., 19th Floor,
Fort Lauderdale, USA, FL 33394

+1 (888) 9 VIP JET

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(Please mention Jen Pollack Bianco when contacting JetSmarter) 

JetSmarter App on iTunes

 

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Exploring the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash Site in Southern Iceland

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Wreckage from the 1973 DC-3 on Sólheimasandur Beach plus a red coat and a rainbow

The Sólheimasandur plane wreck in Southern Iceland is a must-see destination for aviation geeks and photographers alike.

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Moody clouds and rainbows add Icelandic atmosphere to the U.S. Navy Douglas Super DC-3

Located on the black sand of Sólheimasandur Beach, on the coast of Southern Iceland, the wreckage of the US Navy DC-3 plane is worth exploring.

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The DC-3 fuselage adds an unexpected element to Iceland’s already dramatic landscape

The Sólheimasandur plane crash site is not morbid — all the crew members survived the crash landing which was caused due to extreme icing that forced an emergency landing on the black sand of Sólheimasandur beach.

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Left: You can still faintly read the United States Navy on the fuselage Right: wires dangling from the cockpit

Rarely can you get this close to plane wreckage. You can even climb inside.

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The Sólheimasandur plane wreck has been hit by graffiti artists. I don’t think the pink works.

According to Jórunn Sjöfn Guðlaugsdóttir, our photo guide in Iceland, the plane wreck site is much easier to reach since markers have been placed on the beach to guide tourists to the site. But you definitely need to be driving a 4×4 since the sand is soft in some parts.

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It’s amazing that you can actually walk up to (and into) the DC-3 wreckage

the Sólheimasandur plane wreck site can be reached off the ring road. Between the Skógafoss waterfall and Vik. The GPS coordinates are 63.459523,-19.364618.

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Sólheimasandur is a popular stop for aviation geeks and photographers visiting Iceland

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Dramatic clouds, rainbows, and black sand at Sólheimasandur wreck site

Visiting the wreckage on Sólheimasandur Beach is a bit surreal. The plane feels like a leftover prop from a movie shoot.

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Anastasia’s red coat adds a nice pop of color against the black sand of Sólheimasandur beach

 

 

 

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Retro 70s Aviation Fun: The Pan Am Experience at Air Hollywood

One of the lovely stewardesses aboard The Pan Am experience at Air Hollywood

Since I flew over 100,000 miles in 2014, it might seem a bit odd that I spent one of my non-flight evenings aboard a fake flight to nowhere.

My boarding pass for the Pan Am Experience

But it’s not every night you get a chance to “relive the magic of flying onboard a luxurious Pan Am 747” circa the glory days of air travel, even if it’s in a soundstage in Pacoima.

My friend, Mike, rocking 70s polyester slacks, outside Air Hollywood studios

Fortunately Air Hollywood offers the Pan Am Experience a few times a year and I had a few aviation geek friends willing to join me. Upon arriving at Air Hollywood, you’re greeted with a mockup of the LAX sign and a red carpet for “boarding” the event.

Left: red carpet at the boarding gate Right: getting ready to board the Juan T. Trippe

Air Hollywood is an aviation-themed movie studio. They have standing sets of plane interiors and mock ups that get rented out for filming feature films, television shows, commercials, and music videos. This is where you’ll find the plane from Lost and the cabin from Bridesmaids. Check out this list of projects shot at Air Hollywood.

My friends boarding the Juan T. Trippe for the Pan Am Experience

The Pan Am experience is 70s themed. So I channeled my inner Sharon Tate and had my hair teased with so much hair spray I might have been flammable. There is a dress code for the event, since Pan Am customers did not fly with full size pillows and pajama pants that say PINK across the bottom.

Checking in for the Pan Am Experience

Once you’ve checked in for the event, you get to relax and grab a cocktail in the Clipper Class Lounge, complete with a bar stocked with classic cocktails (Tom Collins anyone?) as well as modern faves.

left: enjoying a classic cocktail in the Clipper Lounge prior to boarding Right: Vintage Pan Am playing cards

There is a lot of really cool vintage Pan Am memorabilia on display. Once you board the plane, the evening gets a bit surreal. The crew gives you safety directions prior to fake take off. Once you’ve reached fake cruising altitude, the stewardesses serve Pan Am nuts and cocktails. This experience is just wacky enough that everyone loosens up and starts having a good time.

One of the Pan Am Experience stewardesses working the main deck

After a cocktail or two, you start to forget you’re on a fake plane. The whole experience is fun, unusual and a good time is had by both passengers and crew members alike. On the Main Deck, they show a documentary about Pan Am.

Here’s a time lapse video I made of the event from the Upper Deck:

Pan Am Experience Upper Deck Time Lapse Video

First glimpse of the Upper Deck

Next comes the meal service, which is better than actual airplane food but “airplane food inspired.” There’s shrimp cocktail and Heirloom tomato salad. For the entree, passengers have choice of roast chicken in peppercorn sauce, Chateaubriand tenderloin, or vegetarian pasta. I went for the beef since it seemed the most 70s.

Left: Meal service begins Right: shrimp cocktail appetizer

The whole event is an evening of retro aviation themed goodness.

Chateaubriand tenderloin with demi-glace sauce

The cheese and fruit card with Port wine for dessert

Some of the Pan Am Experience Crew

Air Hollywood Founder & CEO, Talaat Captan, was on hand to give us a tour of some of the other sets at Air Hollywood after our Pan Am Experience was finished.

Captain Anthony in the cockpit for the Pan Am Experience

Left: a standing set at Air Hollywood Right: a cabin set

The highlight of my evening was meeting Otto the Pilot from the film Airplane!.

Meeting Otto the Pilot from Airplane!

You can buy tickets for upcoming dates of the Pan Am Experience here. Even better, book out the entire plane for a unique private event or party.

The Pan Am Experience at Air Hollywood

13240 Weidner Street
Los Angeles, CA 91331
Phone: 818.890.0444
Fax: 818.890.7041

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US Navy Blue Angels at Seafair Weekend in Seattle: a Photo Essay with GIF

 

The US Navy Blue Angels look cool and… sound expensive

Today and tomorrow is Seafair Weekend in Seattle. It coincides with Marine Week and there is a lot to see and do around town. The US Navy Blue Angels have been practicing and it’s been incredible to watch, especially if you’re an aviation geek.

The Blue Angels practice over Queen Anne in Seattle

I’m not a great telephoto shooter and it’s tough to capture the US Navy’s flight demonstration squadron in their full thunderous glory. You hear them first, and they sound powerful, impressive and very expensive. It reminds me of hearing the engines roar at the start of the Indy 500.

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Then you see the six planes flying in formations over the city. I thought I’d share a few photos (and a GIF) I got yesterday while they were practicing.

Seeing the Blue Angels fly by the Space Needle is incredible

The Blue Angels will be performing at the Boeing Seafair Airshow at 1:40 pm on August 2nd and 3rd.

If you’re not in Seattle for Seafair, you can check out the US Navy Blue Angels schedule here.

 

 

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