Greetings readers! It is past time for another post about interesting and unusual travel related news since I haven’t done one of these posts in a while. These are a few recent stories related to travel and aviation that caught my attention.

Here is a weird one. Two people are buried under a runway at Savannah, Georgia’s Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV). It’s not Jimmy Hoffa or other Mafia hit victims. Graves belonging to Catherine Dotson, who died in 1877, and Richard Dotson, who died in 1884, lie under what is now the 9,300 ft (2,800m) main runway at SAV.

Savannah/Hilton Head Airport photo

During World War II, Savannah’s small airport was expanded to accommodate a training base for the Army Air Corps. The tract of land the city acquired included a cemetery containing more than 100 graves from one family. Some slaves (who also may have been recognized or unrecognized members of the family) were also buried there. When the airport expanded, the family agreed to relocating all but four of the graves. Two graves are just off the runway. Family members can visit (with clearance from the airport) but can’t leave flowers.

The cheapest “luxury” hotels in every state. A survey purports to have identified the cheapest luxury hotel in every U.S. state. The cheapest hotel on the list is the three-starred DoubleTree by Hilton Deadwood at Cadillac Jack’s in South Dakota. It claims that a room there costs around $73/night. The article says that America’s cheapest five-star hotel is the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada at $179/night. The most expensive “cheap” hotel on the list is the Four Seasons Jackson Hole in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You’d have to shell out at least $2,805/night.

The best cash deal I’ve had on a luxury hotel was several years ago at the St. Regis in Atlanta, Georgia. I paid about $175/night for a standard room (now normally at least $550). Even the reduced price is significantly more than I usually spend for a hotel room. I couldn’t resist since it was a short stay and involved a confirmed upgrade to an opulent one-bedroom suite.

What do you think about this list? Have you stayed at any of these hotels or others that were great deals?

China delivers the first C919 passenger jet. Last week state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) delivered the world’s first C919, a narrowbody jet to launch customer China Eastern Airlines. The plane is a rival to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 single-aisle jet families. This 164-seat jet is the first of five C919s China Eastern has ordered.

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COMAC C919 VCG via Getty Images

Presently, the C919 lacks certification by U.S. and European regulators and can only fly within China’s domestic market and possibly countries with close ties to China. COMAC is expected to produce 25 planes per year by 2030.

Although the plane is assembled in China, it relies heavily on Western components including engines and avionics. China is seeking to change that and become more technologically self-reliant. It plans to build more planes, engines and other components at home. China is the world’s largest commercial aviation market; so that can’t be good news for the long-term prospects of Boeing, Airbus and many other Western companies.

Commercial airliners may one day be powered by hydrogen. The commercial aviation industry has been experimenting with a multitude of ideas to solve its problem with adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Recently Rolls-Royce and easyJet announced that they’ve successfully conducted a ground test of a jet engine powered by green hydrogen.

A Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine converted to perform a hydrogen test at Boscombe Down in the UK. Image: Rolls-Royce

When an airplane burns hydrogen fuel, it produces water vapor rather than carbon dioxide.  One major problem with hydrogen fuel is it takes four times as much as regular jet fuel to go the same distance.   The hydrogen fuel used in the test is considered “green” because it was produced using wind and tidal power rather than gas. 

Birds and airplanes don’t mix well.  On November 19, 2022, American Airlines Flight 1855 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Kansas City (MCI), a 737-800 with 139 people on board, suffered multiple bird strikes as it was preparing to land.   

Damage to the pitot tubes, probes on the nosecone, knocked out the airspeed indicators on the flight deck. Nevertheless, the flight landed without difficulty.

Commercial airliners occasionally run into birds.  You may remember US Airways Flight 1549 a flight from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Charlotte, NC in January 2009. The A320 lost power in both engines at low altitude over the most populous city in the U.S. after running into a flock of birds shortly after taking off.  The pilots pulled off what became known as “The Miracle on the Hudson” when they guided the plane to a no-power landing on the Hudson River next to midtown Manhattan. Amazingly, there were only a few minor injuries.

AP Photo Gregg Lam Pak Ng

Thanks for visiting today. I hope the weekend will be terrific.