Tuesday, May 26, 2015

F/A-18 Pilot Meet & Greet Draws Hundreds to LGB

A very special holiday treat rolled into Long Beach Airport, as hundreds of people gathered for an up-close look at the flock of U.S. Marines F/A-18 aircraft stationed here over the Memorial Day weekend.

The event was hosted on the ramp at Signature Flight Support LGB, which provides space and services to the military during their time here. Those in attendance could walk right up to the jets as they rested between training exercises, and even had an opportunity to speak with the pilots. Airport personnel estimate that nearly 500 people of all ages came to the meet and greet.

Training exercises began last Thursday, lasted through the weekend and will wrap up today. Thankfully, the Marines were able to carve out a few hours of time to welcome the community on Saturday afternoon, and even with short notice the response was fantastic. There could be no better way to show appreciation for our servicemen and women this Memorial Day.

Special thanks to Signature for graciously hosting the event, the Marines for taking the time out of their busy schedules, and the community for making it all possible. Until next time!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Long Beach Airport to Host F/A-18 Military Jets Over Holiday Weekend

This upcoming Memorial Day weekend will feature some familiar sights and sounds of the United States military, thanks to the arrival of several U.S. Marine Corps jets that will conduct operations from Long Beach Airport (LGB) over several days.

Between four and six F/A-18 aircraft will fly into LGB on Thursday morning, and stay in town until Tuesday morning. The aircraft will depart each morning between 9:00-10:00am, and return in the late afternoon. One of the most widely used U.S. aircraft in combat situations, the F/A-18 Hornet is a crowd-pleaser. Its arrival at LGB is often met with crowds of aviation fans and "spotters" who line nearby parking lots for a close look.

The Marine Corps has consistently demonstrated a desire to assist Long Beach Airport in being a good neighbor, and voluntarily suggested that they limit the number of arrivals and departures to/from LGB. Daily training and refueling operations will be conducted at remote airfields.

F/A-18 aircraft are noticeably louder than other aircraft and are easily heard in neighborhoods near Long Beach Airport. The aircraft will utilize noise abatement procedures when operating in the vicinity of Long Beach. These procedures include modified arrival and departure flight profiles and minimum use of afterburners.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Long Beach Airport Flies Into 2015 Pride Parade

More than fifty people joined the Long Beach Airport (LGB) delegation at the 2015 Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade over the weekend, to celebrate with tens of thousands of people lining Ocean Blvd. for miles along the scenic coast.

Airport employees, and their friends and families, climbed onto a balloon-filled float or airplane-themed golf cart, or simply walked along the route, waving and reveling with the electric crowd. Every participant sported a powder blue t-shirt with the LGB logo on the front, and this year’s Pride slogan – “Color Our World With Pride” – emblazoned across the back. They also passed out LGB pom-poms as people danced in the streets, waved from balconies and partied on rooftops.

This was also the first Pride Parade attended by Airport Director Bryant L. Francis, C.M., after he arrived at the helm in January, and he reported that he had a great time. Special thanks goes also to our dedicated team of volunteers, who made our participation possible. LGB would also like to thank the No Toro food truck team for joining us.

See you at Pride 2016!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Restoration Work Begins On Historic Tile Mosaics at LGB

Made up of over 2.6 million tiles, the award-winning floor mosaics in the Long Beach Airport historic terminal have welcomed passengers for more than seven decades, and today, engineers are carefully hand-laying replacement tiles to renovate damaged areas.

Because the Long Beach Airport historic terminal has been deemed a Cultural Heritage Landmark, any proposed renovations must pass stringent requirements before work can begin. In preparation for this arduous project, Long Beach Airport consulted with the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission to establish a protocol for restoration. Because the original tiles are now exceedingly rare, our engineers spent six months consulting with art preservationists. Over 23 different colors were used in the original work, and experts worked diligently to match the rare tiles as closely as possible.

The restoration is an intricate process. Workers begin by cleaning the ceramic tiles to prepare the work area, and then use hand tools to remove the existing grout, while taking care not to damage adjacent tiles. The damaged tiles can then be removed, and replaced by newer tiles. In some work spaces, tiles will be meticulously cut, and the new tiles will be handset, piece by piece.

With over seven decades of wear-and-tear, the mosaics have endured the weight of tens of millions of travelers. Since the 2012 removal of carpet in the terminal, another three million passengers annually have crossed through Long Beach Airport’s historic terminal.

After all the foot traffic—and rolling bags—over the tiles, the restoration will refresh the decorative mosaic floor. During this time, some areas will be cordoned off to allow the new tiles to set.

Finished in 1941 by California artist Grace Clements, the mosaics belong to a rich fabric of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal history. To help support struggling artists in the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration hired artists like Clements, and architects W. Horace Austin and Kenneth Wing, Sr. as a part of the United States Government’s Federal Art Project.

The mosaics highlight the economic drivers of Long Beach in the 1940s—aviation, oil, and communications—that awoke a sleepy beach town and birthed a thriving urban waterfront. The pieces—on the first and second floor of the main terminal—celebrate classic Streamline Moderne design and emphasize the nation’s industrial resources as the country emerged from the Great Depression and prepared to enter World War II.

The mosaics continue to reflect the importance of industry to Long Beach’s success.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Airport Drill Will Put Emergency Response to the Test

Airport staff and security will be on high alert in the late hours of Friday, April 24, even though no planes will be scheduled to arrive or depart at that time.
That’s because the LGB Air Ex 2015 Triennial drill, held every three years to adhere to FAA requirements, will take place. The drill simulates an emergency situation and puts all levels of airport response to the test. It is vital training that provides real experience to the airport first responders.
“It allows us to exercise our mass casualty incident policies and procedures, and take our personnel and run them through a large scale exercise,” said LBFD Battalion Chief James Underwood. “We are in a position to execute some of our plans and evaluate them.”
The Triennial involves multiple agencies, and is evaluated by the FAA. Hundreds of volunteers will be on hand to play many different roles that staff are likely to come into contact with in the event of a real situation.
The last time that Long Beach Airport hosted the drill was in 2012, when the daytime simulation involved a large aircraft with 95 souls aboard crashing into a small aircraft with four others aboard. Back in 2009, the drill occurred at night, and simulated a 6.4-magnitude earthquake less than two miles away.
The Triennial is also important because it brings many players together all at once.
“You’re going to interact with so many different agencies, and it helps you put a face to names,” said Karl Zittel, Superintendent of Airport Operations.
“We also can fine tune our emergency plan if we see items that need improvement, and update with the FAA to make sure that the plan is reflective of the lessons learned.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Huge Turnout "Runs The Runway" To Reopen 7L-25R at Long Beach Airport

It had been 22 years since the public was invited onto a runway at Long Beach Airport, and they certainly made the most of the opportunity. On Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,400 people attended a “Run The Runway” event at LGB to welcome the reopening of Runway 7L-25R and participate in a one-mile fun run.

Some participants ran like the wind and completed the mile in just around six minutes. Most people, however, took their time and enjoyed the sights and sounds of being on a runway while flights continued to operate around other areas of the airport. After all, there was a lot to see. Long Beach Fire Department Station 16 brought their emergency truck, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department brought a helicopter, Catalina Flying Boats brought their historic DC-3 and several small general aviation aircraft were also on display. If there was ever an event to inspire a future generation of pilots, it was Run the Runway at LGB.

Local elected officials also turned out to celebrate the event. Long Beach City Councilmembers included Al Austin, Roberto Uranga and Stacy Mungo. Lakewood Mayor Jeff Wood also attended, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia cut the ribbon to officially mark the opening of 25R. The most coveted job of all, though, went to Long Beach Airport Director Bryant L. Francis, who waved a giant orange-checkered flag to mark the official start of the fun run.

If that wasn’t enough, local favorites MOVE brought the jams with performances before and after the run. Meanwhile, the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck offered delicious artisan treats. It was truly an all-encompassing event, made even better thanks to the enormous crowd and their excitement and enthusiasm.

Runway 7L-25R will officially open for aviation activity on April 17 as the secondary runway for commercial flights, and will handle a large portion of our general aviation activity.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Long Beach Airport Set to Star on Small Screen

Long Beach Airport Director Bryant L. Francis and Mayor Robert Garcia discuss a commitment to sustainability with Things Green host Nick Federoff.

Film crews and television stars are familiar sights in Long Beach, and recently, the airport itself has had plenty of chances for a starring role. Two different programs have visited in the last few weeks, and before long you may be able to spot LGB from the comfort of your living room couch.

Set design for Criminal Minds taping.
The first to visit was Criminal Minds, the popular CBS thriller about staying one step ahead of the bad guys. The producers needed a scene set in an airport, with very specific requests. So set designers actually transformed the baggage claim area outside of the main terminal, from Long Beach Airport to another country entirely. Passengers that were arriving and departing may have been a little confused to see signs that said “Welcome to Barbados” and “Bridgetown International Airport” hanging all around. Several enormous plants and trees were brought in for a more tropical feel. Cast members like Shemar Moore were very gracious and posed for several pictures with fans. The episode is expected to air later this year.

Only a week later, Long Beach Airport welcomed another film crew for an entirely different kind of shoot. This time, PBS visited in order to film an episode of the new show Things Green With Nick Federoff, set to launch its first season in late summer. Federoff has hosted radio shows for decades that focus on gardening and green living, so LGB was thrilled to show him a wide variety of environmentally friendly aspects of the airport. He toured the concourse, main terminal and even the airfield itself to get a glimpse of how beauty and sustainability come together to create a truly unique flying experience. We also welcomed the Long Beach Press-Telegram, who published an article about the filming, which you can read here. Federoff even spoke with Airport Director Bryant L. Francis and Mayor Robert Garcia, and we can’t wait to see them all when the episode premieres on August 22, at 9:00am on KLCS.

Nick Federoff tours the LGB airfield during taping of his KLCS show, Things Green,

Tropical plants arrive for set design during taping of Criminal Minds.