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    Is for anyone fascinated with planes or aviation.  This online publication has a diverse audience, from airline management to frequent air travelers to aviation enthusiasts. There are over 300,000 photos -- the largest aviation photo database in the world.

    Photos from have appeared in thousands of publications. It is a source of aviation photos for the global news agencies, as well as many local news stations, magazines and newspapers.  What's cool is that the photographers get paid for the photos used.  So if you have some great aviation photos, submit them to My favorite are the most popular pictures.  Take a look at some of these shots -- are they amazing or what?  Check out Philipsburg / St. Maarten - Princess Juliana airport in the Netherlands Antilles.  When I was there my jaw dropped when the monster 747's flew directly overhead.  You can get almost as good a view by going over to the In and Out Burger on Sepulveda next to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).  I am sure you will find those pictures in the airport overview section.

    The database is organized in different categories.  You can see the inside of cockpit's, airline cabins, or just tails and winglets.  There is also a database on planes with special paint jobs.  They have photos of cargo planes, and pictures from inside the belly (I always wondered what it looked liked down there), as well as pictures taken from the air (called Air to air).  They have everything from the classics, government planes, military planes, and helicopters, to blimps and airships (like hot air balloons). Unfortunately, they have pictures of plane accidents.

    Besides photos, they have forums where professionals and amateurs come together to discuss the latest happenings in the industry.  A section on Aircraft Data and History covers close to 400 aircraft types, and includes data like power plants, production, performance and capacity, along with a detailed history on every aircraft type. They even have a  Electronic Postcard Service, which makes it possible to create a postcard out of any of their aviation photos.

    They host a number of additional sections too, like articles, aviation polls, a store, and a chat room that is active 24/7.  As you can see has it all when it comes to aviation -- especially the best photos in the world.
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Welcome back! I hope you had a merry Christmas and/or great holiday week.  I did, and I will tell you all about it in this week's Johnny Jet.  But before I tell you where I spent Christmas, let me catch up with a quick recap of events from the past two weeks.

When I was growing up, the week before Christmas was always my favorite time of the year. I remember that to make the month go faster I would create 25 paper rings, and hang them from the wall.  Every day from December 1 on I pulled off a ring, but it still took forever to get to the last one.  These days it's the opposite:  There are never enough hours in the day.  As a kid, post-Christmas depression kicked in around 9 a.m. on  December 25 (as soon as all the presents were opened).  Now I get PRE-Christmas depression. It kicks in the day after Thanksgiving, when you-know-who starts holiday shopping. 
Wait – I’m kidding!  Amber Airplane actually makes the house really festive, and bakes and packs presents for days.  Meanwhile, I’m stuck dragging all the boxes to the post office, standing in long lines with boxes stacked so high I can't even see the person in front of me.  Would you believe this year I spent well over $100 on shipping alone?  Crazy, huh?  This year, Amber Airplane’s creation for our friends and family was little packets stuffed in Christmas mugs. She included a packet of hot cocoa, a little baggie of mini- marshmallows, a Hershey kiss and a peppermint stick to stir it all, and called it Snowman Soup.  The gifts were really cute. I think she should sell them on her website,  
But Amber Airplane wasn't the only one busy with holiday stuff. Cousin Arty and his girlfriend Kim stopped by with a care package of their own.  Theirs were filled with all kinds of cookies and chocolates.  Just what I needed, right?  It wasn't bad enough that our house was filled to the brim with holiday treats. As you could predict, none of them lasted long.  

My good friend Kevin and his wife Leslie threw a great party.  The highlight was playing the gift exchange game, where everyone picks a number out of a hat.  Number 1 goes first. If the present he or she opens is "good," then Number 2 has a choice to take number 1's, or open up another wrapped gift. And so on. The key is to get a late number, so you can see all the great gifts -- then pick and choose. A person who gets a gift taken away can take someone else's, or open up a new one. However, if a gift has been in one person's possesion three times, it stays there! It's pretty funny.  The most popular gifts were Humphrey the Humping Dog, and these fuzzy glow sticks that our buddy RJ owns.  
I went to a bunch of holiday dinners, and all the restaurants were worth going to.  My friend Steve threw his at Raffaelo's Italian restaurant in San Pedro.  This place is both good and inexpensive, especially for lunch.  Raffaello Ristorante, southeast corner of 4th St. and Pacific Ave., San Pedro, CA; tel.: (310) 514-0900. My cousin AJ and Jamie had a few friends come over to Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills.  Joe Lewis had his Christmas dinner at Fonz's restaurant in Manhattan Beach.; tel.: (310) 376-1536.
Speaking of Manhattan Beach, if you’re ever there in mid-December make sure to attend their annual Christmas fireworks show. It's one big party, and everyone gathers by the pier to sing Christmas carols at 5 p.m. It's usually held on the second Sunday in December.   
As I continue to catch up with my reports, let me tell you about December 17, which as you all know was the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight.  They took off at precisely 10:35 a.m. in North Carolina.  I bet you didn't know that LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) not only had a celebration for them, but they were celebrating their own milestone too: their 75th anniversary.

The festival open to the public took place in the Central Terminal area.  It featured live entertainment, aviation exhibits and giveaways (I received a Cathay Pacific mug, peanuts from Cathay and American, and LAX coasters). They also had a children's play area with pedal-planes, and law enforcement K-9 demonstrations.  It was just okay.

The best part was on the other side of the airport.  Unfortunately, it was only open to the media and invited guests.  It was amazing, and I learned a lot.  Did you know that during World War II the airport was covered with green camouflage netting, so enemy planes thought it was just a field?  You can learn all about this (and a lot more) at the Flight Path Learning Center, a free museum that opened in October at the old Imperial Terminal.  Flight Path Learning Center , LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 West Imperial Highway.  Call before you go, because they operate on a limited schedule.  Tel.: (310)-215-7475.
The museum also had a static display of historic aircraft representing five generations of commercial passenger aircraft. (The latest vintage aircraft flew commercial operations at LAX over 30 years ago).  It was so cool to be able to get close to these close to these bad boys, and enjoy a personal tour from an aviation historian who in 1950 was a flight attendant for the very same plane behind her in the picture.  If you are interested in what type of planes they were in those hyperlinks.  Here is the order: a Lockheed Super Constellation "Connie," a Qantas 747-400, a Ford Trimotor, and  a DC3.  For more plane photos, check out this week's Website of the Week.

Unfortunately, the other day I was at a funeral mass for one of my mentors.  Dr. Thomas D. Wood was the president of Marymount College in Rancho Palos Verdes when I was a student there.  I used to meet with Dr. Wood once a week when I was student body president.  He was so cool, and treated everyone with respect.  The mass was at St. Bartholomew's in Long Beach, and the church was packed.  As the priest was giving his eulogy I noticed all of the chandeliers swinging in a synchronized manner.  I tapped my buddy Kevin on the shoulder and whispered, “Am I seeing things or what?”  He looked at me like there was a ghost causing the swaying, and we both agreed it must be an earthquake.  It turned out it was the 6.5 quake in Central California.  When I got out I had six messages from friends on my phone, asking if I was alright.  But if it hadn’t been for the chandeliers and the phone calls, I would never have known there was an earthquake.
After the funeral I headed to LAX, to go to Chicago.  I was in town to do “Chicago Tonight,” my monthly gig on PBS television.  After  appearing on the show I went to my cousin Dennis’ house for dinner and to exchange Christmas presents.  Cousin-in-law Sheridan really liked her bear claws (for salad) that we bought in Alaska.  The cool thing about traveling is that I buy most of my Christmas presents throughout the year.  The hard part is keeping them secret.  Talk about secrets: I bought my sister Georgette a present from Australia back in March, but I still can't tell you what it is because I haven't seen her this month to give it to her, and it's too big to ship.  Another cool present I bought was a Harley Davidson T-shirt from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota for my brother Frank (he has a Harley).  

It was nice to be in Chicago because it began to snow around 7 p.m.  It sure was “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.”  It seems cousin Dennis and I always travel together, but it's mostly coincidental.  A couple of weeks ago we both went to ORD (Chicago O'Hare Airport) together, and it worked out again this week.  On Christmas Eve we were both on the move again, but to separate places.  He and his family were headed south, while I was going to see my sister in Erie.  Dennis woke me up at 4 a.m. I am usually not a morning person, but I was in rare form that morning. In fact, my little cousin Willem wanted to kill me because after clearing the snow from the car with the brush I started combing his hair with it.
We arrived at ORD at 5:45 a.m.  I was flying United, and had checked in for my 6:45 a.m. flight to Cleveland online the day before (from Dennis' house) .  Did you know almost every major airline allows you to do this?  It couldn't be simpler.  Just log on to your airline's website, and follow the prompts.  Print your boarding pass, and you’re all set.  If I wasn't checking luggage I would have gone straight to security with my picture ID, but because I was checking a big ol' bag filled with gifts and clothes for two different seasons I went to the skycap. (I could have headed inside to an airline agent, but the lines were too long.)  I waited in line for two minutes, showed him my boarding pass, he tagged my bag and I was off.  Guess how long it took to get from the curb to the gate?  Nine minutes -- and the airport was crowded!  To save time, check in online.  

I was in Cleveland after a quick 47-minute flight.  My Anderson Shuttle wasn't due for an hour and half, so I hung out in the airport and talked on my cell (I had breakfast too).    As we pulled up in Erie, the passenger sitting near me on the bus said to his wife, "Here we are in Dreary Erie.” Indeed, there was no snow on the ground.  It was dreary, but fortunately not for long, because it snowed Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  Yeah!
I was there to see my sister's family and my dad.  There is nothing like spending Christmas with little ones.  After 5 p.m.  Mass we went home and tracked Santa on the computer.  My niece Amanda and nephew Johnny thought it was so cool to see Santa all around the world.  As I said, “Look -- Santa is on his way to Erie!” my sister Carol yelled, "Guess who's at the door?"  It was SANTA!  Carol had asked a local couple to come over.  They looked pretty good to me, but they didn't fool my 6- and 4-year-old niece and nephew. Amanda said " That's not Santa! He doesn't have a ball at the end of his hat!” Johnny added, “Yeah, those aren't Santa's boots.”   They went along with it though, because Santa had presents!  

Afterewards my dad came over. He, Carol and I stayed up late talking (reminiscing), wrapping gifts and creating Santa footsteps.  It was a good time.  I went to bed real late. Sure enough, the kids got us up bright and early to rush downstairs.  I wasn't fast enough to catch the  kids' expressions as they looked under the tree for the first time.  My brother-in-law Tom really liked his gift. I loved mine too. I thought it was pretty appropriate, don’t you think?  I was so tired that I went back to bed, but that didn't last long.  All I remember is hearing "Let's go wake Uncle Johnny.”  I was hoping I was dreaming, but the MTV microphone and space gun in my ear quickly made me realize I wasn't.

It was pretty funny and good timing too, because a few minutes later guess who was at the door?  Santa again!  This time it was my Dad, in a costume my brother sent him for Christmas.  He looked really good, and the kids loved it.  They yelled “Grandpa!”  We opened up more presents and had Christmas dinner together, then we all went sleigh riding. What a great Christmas!  I hope you had an awesome one too -- and that you’ll have a great New Year.  I’m celebrating it somewhere warm. Where? I’ll tell you all about it next week -- I mean, next year!

Happy and Safe Travels,

Johnny Jet

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  • I loved the Christmas Cards.  They really brightened up my day!!  Eric - Cleveland
  • I can not tell you enough how great your website is for traveling around a city.  I have been using it for Las Vegas for the past two years.  Bill - South Carolina
  • Re:  The AirTran you wrote about in this weeks column<br>  Since service does not go into Manhattan, you suggested that riders either take the LIRR or the A train on 125th Street to get downtown. I think you need to clarify  and tell readers the difference between the two experiences.  The LIRR is a commuter train  with conductors walking up and down the cars and is quite safe.  You didn't tell people that if they take the A train they're getting on the NYC subway in Harlem.  Now, in this Politically Correct world we live in, maybe you're afraid of saying they're in a "bad neighborhood".  However, I think it's only fair of you to warn people that getting on a subway - especially if it happens to be at a busy hour of the day - can be uncomfortable and loss of luggage and personal items is a real potential. As you're well aware of, tourists stick out like the proverbial sore thumb in this city and opening them up, without warning, to potential hazards just isn't fair, in my opinion. Us New Yorkers like the tourists visiting and want them to be safe. If I were traveling to another city and seeking information and a website suggested that I get on public transportation with ALL my valuables on me, in one of the highest crime neighborhoods, without so much as a warning, I'd be very angry. Thanks for listening.  Keep writing your great column!
  • Dear Johnny,  glad to hear that you and Amber had a good time in Las Vegas. Just got back last week from my sisters wedding there - cool! The Elvis guy booked for the ceremony was great, good voice, good spiel, good shtick! I'll get his details, if that'd be useful for the site. We stayed at the Luxor - OK.   Good food at Olives at Bellagio's, they coped very well with 10 of us plus 2 children/babies.  Flamingo buffet wasn't bad either (but the flamingo's seemed less happy than the penguins with the weather...). The flight to Chicago was delayed by 1.5-2 hours, so despite running and getting to the gate, a bunch of us (Scotland, England, German) missed the last flight out.  Good travels to you, happy holidays and all the best to you and yours for the New Year.  Stewart - London
  • Hi Johnny, Wanted to say thanks for the great website...enjoy getting the wondering if I'm missing there a way to "search" your prior trips and most often great recommendations for places to stay, go, see???   AND I'm looking for villas on Lake Como in Italy...I think I'm pretty savvy as far as the research goes but would be happy for any specific 'sites' you could pass along. Enjoy the safe...Jane. REPLY: Thanks Jane for the compliment! The best way to search our past newsletters is by clicking the link "Newsletter Archive" from the home page.  Unfortunately, I haven't been to Lake Como but I hope to one day.
  • I'm very impressed with your travel business, in fact a little jealous!  Kelli - Seattle
  • HAHAHHA....My wife's dad is also from "LA"....aka "Pigeon Creek, Alabama". Just two hours north of the Redneck Riviera (Pensacola)!  

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