Trip to Houston - new things, experience, and problem solving!

Updated: Dec 16, 2018


Boeing 787-9 - N35953 - UA285 | This was my flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ---> George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

This was my second time on a 787, the first time I have been on an American 787! I love how united is always first to adapt new planes! I also like how Boeing's planes are really easy to spot. For example, 787s have this wavy cockpit window (marked on the image below)

The curved angle of the cockpit windows is a huge sign that you are on a 787. All 787s have this.


Photos from the Houston Space center.

While I am not a huge space fan, the space shuttle flight deck is highly similar to the cockpit of an airplane. Speaking of an airplane, the airplane that holds the space shuttle, a Boeing 747-123 (Customized Boeing 747-100). It has 3 reinforced struts, which holds the space shuttle. It also has upgraded engines, a strengthened fuselage, and upgraded vertical stabilizers.



Cockpit of the Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar

I also got to visit the 1940 Terminal Museum, which was actually a fixed up 1940's airport terminal. It is surprising how little security there is. I got to visit the Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar. This old bird is no longer air worthy, because of a hanger door that fell on the left engine during a hurricane. It is really amazing how much airplane cockpits have digitized over the years.


Me in the first Southwest simulator (a 737-200 converted from a 727)

This was my first time actually being in an simulator, I actually was so used to the digital cockpits that I did not know how to read the altitude! I did not expect how hard it was to move the different switches and controls at first (it could be just old). That was I think the only problem with getting to know an aircraft through online simulators on computers is that you don't know the actual feel of the airplane, how to move the flaps specifically. Ex, I did not know who to work the flaps, because everything was just click clicks on the computer. I had to get used to moving the flaps lever up first and then moving it.




I also visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where on the 5th floor (the energy floor) it is incredibly dark. So that gave me an opportunity to try out the Pixel 3 Night Sight feature in the camera. The photo on the left is with Night Sight and the one on the right is without Night Sight. I was incredibly surprised by the end result. Even though it did add details that was not there before under the windmills, it brightened the image up overall, and enhanced the amount of color that was in the picture.



Shell's Energy Pathways Board @ San Jacinto Museum of History Special Exhibition

WOW! Oh my gosh! Even though I am an electricity person (who just arrived in an "oil" state), and this board does not talk much about electricity, I really enjoy the design, the clarity, and the amount of background info that this board provides! More companies should do this. Personally I think the more we as users know, the better. Really cool!

Close calls:

We nearly got stuck in the elevator at IAH, the elevator jolted a couple of times, but eventually continued to the desired floor. I ended up calling the airport about it anyways. It was a KONE traction elevator, which after a quick search on YouTube, was the same set as in 2012. So that somewhat could explain why they were faulty (if they were not maintained well since 2012).

Situations:

We had a couple of break-ins at our hotel, and our rental car's window was smashed. Luckily the window did not break, and the hotel had insurance. However, I had to make a couple calls to explain our situation.


This all happened on the last day...


Trip back:


United 737-800 - N77539 - UA204 | This was my flight from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) ---> San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Personally I would say that the 737, especially the NG (New Generation) series (700, 800, 900 737s) are pretty boring, as they are like the main short trip airplanes. They are built like a tank, very reliable, easy to fly, and a very standard airplane.

Spotting an 737 is easy, first the their engines are kind of flat on the bottom, and they have this "bump" on the top of the fuselage. This is were the "life boat" is stored. The engines are flat, because the 737 sits extra low, therefore the engine had to be a little bit flattened for the ground clearance. This was how it was on the first 737s.

So that was my trip to Houston! Very excited about getting to sit in a working simulator for the first time! Also I feel like we did not run into as many problems as we usually do... However, everything worked out, and we had a great time!


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©2018 by Jim Fang.