Tag Archives: B737

American Airlines Boeing and Airbus jets


This is a great picture taken by a pilot while taxiing to Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

A nice mix of the old and new when thinking about today’s American Airlines.

The Boeing 737 and Airbus A319 and A320 jets are parked in the East Hold Bay while waiting for their respective gates to open up.


The New Boeing 737MAX and Aerodynamic Efficiency

I spent nine years flying the Boeing 737–100/200/300 series for America West Airlines based out of Phoenix.

The B737 (Baby Boeing) is a wonderful airplane, very well designed for its mission, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the left seat.


America West B737 picture courtesy of airliners.net

A recent Yahoo article highlights some of the latest aerodynamic and propulsion upgrades to the Baby Boeing as it strives to compete with Airbus and its latest version of the A320, the A320neo.

The newest B737, named the B737MAX, will continue the great legacy of Boeing and become a very successful aircraft enjoyed by pilots and airline management.

For additional information please click on the link here.

America West – The Can Do Airline

I spent more than 18 years flying both the Boeing 737 and the 757 for America West Airlines (AWA). As such, I can certainly agree with the sentiment expressed in this AZ Republic article regarding the airline.

Courtesy AP
Courtesy AP

I started working for America West in January 1987 as a B737 First Officer. Two years later I upgraded to captain. I now currently fly the Airbus A319/320/321. Like many other employees at AWA, I thoroughly enjoyed working for the airline and always felt like I was part of a close-knit family. We always had that can-do spirit.

B1Now we’re all a proud part of the new American Airlines, with more than 100,000 employees flying around the globe, yet the original AWA crew will always remember where we started.

O'Hare Airport
O’Hare Airport

In my 18+ years with AWA, I’ve flown from Boston to Mexico City to Kauai, worked with a lot of great people and look forward to working with American.


Airline Food is Now .. Mmm Good!

You never thought it would happen, but your dreams have come true. The days of sodium filled, overcooked chicken and rolls hard enough to put a dent in the emergency exit are coming to an end.

American Airlines is now introducing an upgraded inflight menu that’ll knock you out of coach into first class! Beginning July 1st, your appetite will arrive at its destination satisfied.

Here is more information on American’s new Inflight Menu.

Photo courtesy of airwaysnews.com

Bon appetit! Safe travels.

Cactus vs. American

I started with America West Airlines (AWA) in January 1987.

I never thought I’d admit this, but I will miss the “Cactus” call-sign!

AWA B737-200 Courtesy - airliners.com
AWA B737-200
Courtesy – airliners.net

Many years ago, we switched from the “America West” call-sign to Cactus. At the time, I thought this was one of the dumbest things I had ever heard. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. I was somewhat embarrassed. However, one does gets used to it. Always the rebel, I’ve grown very fond of the call-sign and will certainly miss it! Who knew. Oh well..

Why Cactus?

This came about due to several airlines having very similar FAA call-signs such as America West, Southwest and SkyWest Airlines, which would occasionally cause the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) and airline pilots some communication problems on the very busy ATC enroute radio frequencies. This was certainly a possibility throughout the southwestern USA where America West operated the vast majority of its flights in those days.

The adoption of the Cactus call-sign by AWA was their attempt at resolving the issue, which it did, the problem was solved!

Please see the AWA route map from 1991 below where one can see the concentration of flights throughout the southwest.

AWA Route Map - 1991 Courtesy - airliners.net
AWA Route Map – 1991
Courtesy – airliners.net

Come the day, (estimated to be on April 8th), I can almost guarantee there will be a few missed radio calls by the now former Cactus pilots simply due to human nature. After all these years of being primed to listen for our call sign, Cactus, it’ll be an adjustment to our senses. There will be some second guessing, who was that for?

AWA/US/AA Airbus A321
AWA/US/AA Airbus A321

I do feel sorry for our ATC partners in the sky as there will suddenly be an additional 1,000+ daily US Airways flights on their radar screens now answering to the “American” call sign. An adjustment for the both of us.

Glad I’m not flying that day. 

For additional information on the call-sign and the latest American / US Airways merger news, please click on this article.

Speaking of Cactus vs American, below is an Airbus A320 aircraft I recently flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport painted in the new American Airlines livery.


I took these two similar pictures (below) of Airbus A321 aircraft, which help to demonstrate the difference between the new exciting AA livery and the current US Airways livery.

US Airways Airbus A321 parked at PHX
US Airways Airbus A321 (AA livery) parked at PHX
US Airways Airbus A321
US Airways Airbus A321

AA/US Merger Officially Cleared

20131127-172939.jpgJudge Lane officially cleared the American Airlines & US Airways merger and American’s exit from bankruptcy yesterday morning.

I was scheduled to fly PHX to Orlando shortly after the news became public. The FO and I found it ironic to taxi for takeoff, from PHX’s runway 07L, right behind one of AA’s B737-800 jets!

For more information on the news, please click on the link.