This model became a viable collectable after last years trial of a 767-300 by Hainan Airlines, twice a week during August and early September, Beijing to BHX. From July 19th this year, those will become permanent on Saturdays to Beijing and Tuesdays to Shanghai, and Hainan are running the service, though on A332’s. RLSI likes to go one better.
Hainan is actually China’s largest island, off the southern coast. It’s also home to China’s small ballistic missile submarine force and the main naval support base for China’s determination to claim the entire South China Sea, possibly one of the most dangerous potential military confrontation zones not involving Russia.
The airline was founded in Haikou, Hainan Island, China, in 1993. It’s the largest airline in China not owned by the government and the fourth largest in the country. It operates from three hubs, Beijing Capital, Haikou Meilan, and X’ian Xingyang. It also owns directly China Xinhua Airlines and Shan Xi Airlines. In addition it has a controlling 63% interest in Chang An Airlines.
This is no small player, with 110 destinations and 157 aircraft, the average age of which is under 5 years. It’s roughly the same size as Qatar Airways. This aircraft model is B-2739, the ninth 0f ten the airline ordered, (now all delivered), with four 787-9’s to come.
Delivered 28th May 2014, B-2739 is fitted with GEnex-1B’s and carries 36 Business class and 177 Economy seats. The livery is exceptionally bright, with a tendency to be almost luminescent, so it really stands out against one of the most common colours used on airlines, flat red.
Phoenix have always made a superb 787 mould, so the basics are right before you’ve gone too far.
The paint and print detail is actually the best we’ve seen from Phoenix in over a year. Crisp, neat and accurate, detail all over is first rate, no blurs, wobbles, bends, distortions or paint bleed. Finally, it seems on the 787 at least, Phoenix may have turned the quality corner. It’s the first time I’ve been truly delighted with a Phoenix model in months.
I use the word delighted because that is what you should feel, it should bring a smile to your face, please you, bring you happiness; for a purchase worthy of the money you spent and the manufacturers time and effort. Seeing and owning quality is all about delight.
2)Wings and landing gear
Faultless wings, excellent main gear. One mildly lumpy tyre. The only concern was the nose gear was not quite properly inserted. Please Phoenix, let’s not go back to that tedious old fault! It was nowhere near as bad as we’ve seen in the past, but it did need to be straightened up, after which it was fine.
Outstandingly good. Proof that it can be done is here before you. The camera and flash can highlight things unfairly, they can reveal weaknesses, but from an eyeball perspective there is nothing wrong with this set in any way.
Faultless. Really, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, all the way down to the small details and nose dome fine print. Font’s and graphics are all spot on.
Everything fits, is the right shape, the correct colours and graphics and there is nothing at all to complain about or criticize.
A triumph, they have captured the shade, the luminescence, brightness and vivacity that make what is sometimes a tedious colour, red, fully come to life. It responds superbly to camera and it does what it should do. Excellent. The orange-red-yellow is also superbly managed and the colours fully work. The base yellow flows well, the more orange-yellow that flows into the tail is good, but in fairness a bit too orange and not really yellow enough.
7)Score and conclusion
- -4 for the orange-yellow issue. It’s minor in the overall scheme of things and you’d have to be as picky as me to notice it I suspect, but there we go.
- -2 for the nose gear problem. These seem to have bedeviled all four models this month. Get a grip Phoenix, nobody wants that problem getting worse again.
- 94%! We have our first Phoenix MOTY contender for 2016!
I sincerely hope this is the start of a wholesale improvement from Phoenix. They need to keep these standards on every model now. In the meantime I happily congratulate them on a brilliantly executed and only slightly flawed model. Things are looking up!