Gerry Wingenbach

Gerry Wingenbach

Contributor for: The Gate The Tarmac

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Gerry Wingenbach is a veteran journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries. The author of three books of non-fiction, he is a dual citizen and longtime resident of Vancouver, Canada, and Washington, D.C. When not traveling, he now winters in Park City, Utah, and spends the summers in Banff, Alberta.
Recent Articles

Airbus Outsells Boeing at Farnborough Airshow

There’s more demand for Airbus and Boeing aircraft than production rates can handle. At last week’s Farnborough International Airshow, Airbus and Boeing increased their backlogs with $115.5 billion in combined jet deals.

In the new order category, Airbus beat rival Boeing, amassing more...

Is a Nerve Agent the Best Way to Rid Airports of Birds?

Those tarmacs spooling off into the horizon are like a tranquil river whose course is predetermined. Unless there are birds, which is unsettling if you dwell on them too deeply. It’s a big enough issue that the FAA is evaluating portable radar systems for tracking birds.

United Airlines took...

Why Didn't Malaysia Air Avoid Eastern Ukrainian Airspace?

Here is what we know. Let’s slow it down to 14 frames a second. Downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was in Ukrainian airspace used by airlines every day. Flight plans aren’t something you dream up on a cocktail napkin. It’s not map-in-hand exploration.

Singapore Airlines and Air India were...

Leasing Companies Buy 400 Aircraft at Farnborough Airshow

There’s always another story to top the last one. In a professional world dominated by middle-aged men, on the second day of the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, eight leasing companies ordered more than 400 aircraft at list prices valued at around $35 billion.

One leasing company,...

Can Malaysia Airlines Survive Another Tragedy?

It’s not good for any airline. It’s not good for aviation. Period. But the shooting down of a passenger-filled Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine could hardly have come at a worse time for Malaysia Airlines. There isn’t even a runner-up.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 departed Amsterdam just...

Boeing Adds Seats to 737 Max 8

There was a time when hell was a stylish shoe. Now it's the new variant of the 737 Max 8. Boeing says they’re adding 11 knee-scrapping seats, shoehorning us to a place where physical experience is the only reality.

I find the skinny woman in the crowd and invite her to sit down. That’s what...

Farnborough Airshow Sales

For the most part, aircraft age quickly and die young. The revolving door is spinning them out. Orders for the 20-year-old A330 would have dried up by 2016. With a longer view, Airbus waited until this week’s Farnborough International Airshow to announce a revamped A330-800neo and...

How’s the Dreamliner Doing?

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has been around for three years. It was supposed to be the next-generation aircraft for next-generation passengers. Its appeal lies in fuel-sipping economics. Punching below its weight and making new routes profitable. Avoiding hubs. Flying non-stop at near capacity to...

Boeing Builds Bigger Bins

I ask you. What’s more important than overhead storage bins? All the available information, the numbers and research and chatter told Boeing to build a bigger mousetrap. Call them Space Bins. They’ve just been announced – bigger bins beating the system of checking bags.

Boeing says each...

It’s Airshow Season

You better believe it’s airshow season. The show calendar is swelling like a zucchini in August. Next week in England, the Farnborough International Airshow takes off. It happens every two years, alternating with the Paris Air Show. This Hampshire happening is one of the doyennes of...

Captain, Turn Off That Device

I’m not saying the pilot of the Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus was texting while parking last night—you know how we amp the iPhone on landing—I’m just saying you've got two pilots with more onboard-computer power than Apollo 11, who wing it from Buenos Aires to Miami and then have a...

Dreaming about the Dreamliner

“There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I'm dreaming the hardest.” ― Marilyn Monroe

Maybe there are a lot of dreamers out there. And maybe nobody is dreaming harder than amped and jittery Boeing. Maybe dreaming so hard that the 787...

Ranking Airline Safety

The thing is, safety records are so one-dimensional. You go x number of years without a crash and you’re top shelf. But screw up once, your safety record is toast. There’s no unified theory of safety, but a European agency has named Finnair the world’s safest airline.

Europe's Jet Airline...

The Comings and Goings of Air Traffic Control

A USA Today headline asks how many air traffic controllers handle each cross-country flight, say from LAX to JFK. Handoffs happen all over the map. Controllers carve out slices of space and/or time and leave behind jet-fuel smelling backwash. There are plans to improve traffic control with fewer...

TSA Begins Testing Behavior Screening

“Hey, girlie, are you smiling at that full-body scanner or are you just hoping for a pat down? You, big boy, you come here often? All the security lines in all the airports in the world and you walk up to this one.” TSA officers have a new high-tech tool beyond the logic of computers and...

Delayed Opening at new Berlin (BER) Airport

The fire safety system does not meet standards demanded by building permits. So the opening of Berlin’s new $5.7 billion international airport (BER) is delayed. Again. Construction costs have doubled. Officials touting hip Berlin’s “poor but sexy” image are stone-faced and repelled and...

United Airlines Hikes Fares, Others Soon to Follow?

Airline analysts warned us airfares would climb in the new year. And there goes United, lacking a comedian’s sense of timing and sprinting away from the peloton with a $2 to $5 each way, domestic fare increase. With more than a million fares affected, a few bucks are a quick way to rack up red...

Boeing is (Again) World’s #1 Airplane Maker

Boeing is booming. Airbus is second. Last year Boeing penciled in 1,203 commercial airplane orders, the second highest number in their history. They delivered 601 aircraft, the most since 1999. And they’ve got 4,373 airplane orders to fill, the most in their nearly 100 year history, which...

Putting on the Red Shoes at Virgin Atlantic

To celebrate launching UK domestic routes between London Heathrow and Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Virgin Atlantic is running a heart-smacking, fanciful, soulful all-in-one video advertisement labeled ‘Flying in the Face of Ordinary’.

‘They were born different.’ So begins Virgin...

Bag Fees Keeping Airlines Aloft

Well, did you fly enough to get that top-rung status you’ve been chasing? Up there where the air is thin and keen and you’re in your cabana-chair while your checked bag flies free. Third-quarter numbers posted a few weeks ago and the top 10 airlines (ranked by total number of passengers) all...