Travel News – May 7, 2014




Former Pan Am Employees from Around the World to Gather In New York
On July 31 – August 3, 2014 employees, family and friends of America’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways (1927-1991) will gather from all over the world on Long Island and New York for Pan Am’s Worldwide Family Reunion celebrating the memory of the pioneering airline and the people that built it. From the first historic Pan American “Flying Boats” that pioneered Trans-Atlantic flights off the nearby shores of Port Washington in Nassau County 75 years ago this year, to the Art Deco delight of Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia, to the iconic techno-modernist structures of JFK – no other place in the world can compare the indelible marks Pan Am left on it than New York. The Host Hotel for the four day three night weekend is the beautiful Long Island Marriott Uniondale, only minutes from JFK or LGA in Nassau County, an area known as “The Cradle of Aviation”. The event will bring together the largest number of employees representing dozens of bases and positions from every division of America’s iconic aviation company since the closing 23 years ago. The Reunion agenda includes PAA themed Lectures, Tours, Receptions, Presentations & Parties. The reunion highlight will be a Gala Dinner Saturday August 2, 2014 at The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City inside the museums awe inspiring three story glass Reckson Center Atrium. The museums renowned Phillip Stone Catering is even getting into the spirit, serving Pan Am’s famous Cherries Jubilee for dessert.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Offers Two-Mile Fitness Trail
Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport has launched a two-mile walking trail around Terminal 4 that provides travelers with sights of Phoenix seen only from inside the airport, including views of mountains, parks and man-made wonders. The airport has produced a free brochure for the PHX Fitness Trail that features a handy map, points of interest, mileage and photos. The airport has also installed seven free bottle filling stations past security near the entrances to all of the Terminal 4 concourses. The Sky Harbor Fitness Trail complements the city of Phoenix Fit PHX initiative, a comprehensive program intended to get Phoenix residents into better shape. The Fit PHX campaign will help increase Phoenix’s rankings in the American Fitness Index by better connecting the community to city health-related programs and services and by encouraging participation in physical-fitness events and other activities promoting personal wellness.

Disney Unveils Seven Dwarfs Ride at Magic Kingdom
Disney inaugurated what they are calling the “crowning jewel” of the five-year Fantasyland expansion, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. Officially opening to the public on May 28, the Mine Train ride marks the culmination of an overhaul of Fantasyland that more than doubled the size of the themed land at the Magic Kingdom, Disney World’s most visited theme park. Intended to be a focal attraction of the New Fantasyland area, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a family-friendly thrill ride that while full of twists and turns, does not feature any steep drops or dark-and-scary music or scenery. It is largely upbeat, focusing on the sights and sounds of the Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Guests board a train of mine cars that soars along the rails through mountainous and forested scenery as they ride in and out of the mine and past the movie’s characters to the soundtrack of some of the film’s famous music, including of course “Heigh-Ho.” In addition to the forward motion, the cars rock back and forth, a new feature for a Disney roller coaster. Guests must meet the 38-inch height requirement to ride. The New Fantasyland is the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom, which opened in 1971.

FAA Computer Malfunction Caused by Data from a Single Plane
The failure of the primary air traffic control system around Los Angeles last week happened because electronic data from a single plane’s flight plan confused the system’s software, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. When that system failed, a backup helped safely guide flights already in the air, but hundreds of planes across the nation headed for Southern California were ordered not to take off Wednesday as an air traffic control facility north of Los Angeles effectively rebooted. The Pentagon confirmed Monday that an Air Force U-2 spy plane was conducting training operations in the area. It is not unusual for a U-2 to operate in the region, and the necessary flight plan had been submitted for the high-flying plane. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford would not specify whether the flight plan that caused the issue was that of the U-2. “It was an individual flight plan and the issue had to do with the way it was coded,” he said. Since the incident, the FAA has been analyzing what went wrong with its En Route Automation Modernization system. The computer system, known as ERAM, allows air traffic controllers at several dozen “en route centers” around the country to identify and direct planes at high altitudes. The Los Angeles en route center is located at the Palmdale Regional Airport, about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. It controls high altitude air traffic over southern and central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and western Arizona – except airspace designated for military use.

Vancouver to Close Ballantyne Pier
This will be the last year that some cruise lines dock at the Ballantyne Pier. Starting in 2015 all cruise lines will dock at Canada Place. Ballantyne currently handles fewer than 4% of cruise visits and lacks modern capabilities, including shore power. Ballantyne Pier (also called the Ballantyne Cruise Terminal) is a commercial and passenger dock of the Port of Vancouver. The dock was gutted in 1992 and rebuilt after a period of disuse. Modern Teflon sails and steelwork erupt from the original, beautiful Beaux Arts facade. It is now used as an overflow for Cruise Line vessels. Direct to cable TV productions like Captain Courageous have been filmed there, uranium ships and the liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien have docked there. The dock is equipped with two automatic gang-ways and terminal building with baggage handling and customs areas.

News is courtesy of ARTA Online.