While I of course love miles and points and travel, I’m also obsessed with aviation. Oddly my fascination is limited to commercial aviation, and to some extent, private aviation. Talk to me about military planes and I’ll start falling asleep. However, I could spend hours on end learning every little detail of the history of an airliner.
People often ask me about my favorite airline/travel apps and websites, and the truth is that I don’t have that many. Even though I work primarily online, I’m bizarrely low tech. Probably my two favorite aviation geek related websites and apps are FlightStats and Flightradar24, which I’ve written about before.
However, I have another site that I have an unhealthy obsession with — airfleets.net.
What makes Airfleets awesome?
Basically, Airfleets tells you everything you need to know about the history of the commercial airplanes you’re flying on. On the most basic level, you can see:
- How many planes and what type of planes an airline has in their fleet
- How old the planes , what airlines they used to fly with, etc.
- You can see a ranking of how old a carrier’s planes are in comparison to other airlines flying the same type of plane.
My favorite way to start playing around with the site is to search by airline. You can either go to this page to search an airline by name, or more often than not I just Google the name of the airline followed by “Airfleets.”
It’s always interesting to see how many active planes they have, how many they have stored, how many they’ve written off (fortunately none in this case, though the same can’t be said for airlines like Korean Air), etc.
In the very right column you’ll see “age” listed. When you click on that, you can see how that carrier’s average fleet age compares to others. For example, you can see that Ukraine operates one of the older 767 fleets out there, as it ranks #74 out of 106 airlines operating the plane.
But I’m more curious specifically about the details of the 767 I flew between Kiev and New York, so I clicked on the “4” next to 767. That brought me to a page showing all kinds of info about these planes, including whether they’re leased or owned, their line number, their delivery date, etc.
For example, the flight I took from Kiev to New York was operated by UR-GED (I know that because it was written underneath the tail of the plane, as usual).
So to see the full history of the plane, just click on the number under the “MSN” column — in this case it’s 25536. That brings you to a new page. As it turns out, this plane started flying in 1993, and has operated on behalf of Royal Brunei and Vietnam Airlines before flying for Aerosvit, which is Ukraine’s predecessor. Fascinating!
Anyway, those are the very basics. I know this sounds ridiculously lame, but I could spend hours just looking at the history of every plane. Not only do airplanes bring together the world, but it’s amazing how in many cases planes have operated for airlines based on three or four continents.
If you’re as much of an airplane nerd as I am and haven’t played around with Airfleets yet, you’re missing out.
Anyone else as obsessed with Airfleets as I am?