ARMCHAIR NTSB: Squawk Codes Gone Wrong

Squawk codes are transponder settings used to identify aircraft in flight. When operating in controlled airspace, every aircraft uses a squawk code assigned to them by ATC. There are 3 codes that are universally used to signal a problem onboard an aircraft: 7500 for hijacking, 7600 for loss of radio communications, and 7700 for an emergency onboard. A jetBlue flight from JFK recently had some communications failure and, unable to use the radio to contact the tower to alert them of the problem, attempted to switch the transponder code to 7600. When ATC sees that an aircraft is having comms...Read more

BAD AIRLINE FOOD: The Importance of a Preflight Meal

The ‘airline food’ jokes are a cliche of bad comedians for ages, but these days, with the penny pinching increasing more and more in Economy class, it’s not just a meme…it’s a practical reality. In Economy class, you’re served prepackaged meals microwaved en masse. You don’t usually have many options, and if you have allergies or don’t like certain types of food, you’re just out of luck, most of the time. Sometimes, you get lucky. Whenever I fly ANA or JAL, I’m always satisfied with the meal service. To avoid the coin-flip of your meal being delicious or not, it’s...Read more

What Happens to Airports During an Earthquake?

Recently, there was a strong magnitude 6 earthquake in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan. Osaka has two main airports-Kansai International (KIX) which handles both international and domestic flights, and Itami Airport (ITM) which handles domestic flights. The epicenter of the quake this week was fairly close to ITM airport. However, the shaking was strong enough throughout the Kansai region that the transportation system was effectively crippled. Many train lines throughout Osaka were cancelled for the day and the bullet train here also suffered power outages. The airports did not report much damage. The runways at KIX and ITM...Read more

Nippon Cargo Grounding: What Happened? (Armchair NTSB)

Nippon Cargo is a cargo airline whose main base is out of Narita Airport near Tokyo. In the past the airline was partly owned by All Nippon Airways and Nippon Yusen, Japan’s leading shipping company (commonly known as NYK), however, ANA sold their stake to NYK and NYK fully owns the company. The airline operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 747s and operates around the world. Their airline codes are KZ and NCA, and in this article, Nippon Cargo will be abbreviated as NCA. What Happened to NCA? On June 17, 2018, NCA announced the airline had grounded their entire...Read more

How I Flew Home-Transpacific-for Christmas for $600

Flying home for the holidays is one of the most stressful, hair-pulling chores one can do, especially if they live abroad. It’s the same for me. I fly home twice a year – once during the spring, and once during the holiday season, and each holiday season it’s always a big chore simply flying home to visit the family. To minimize this stress and to keep your wallet from screaming at you, it is very important to plan these trips in advance. I asked my other friends that flew home for the Christmas season last year what they did to...Read more

Interviews with Experts Category

Welcome to the Aviation Expert Interviews category. Here I’ll post columns that are essentially discussions with the people in charge of making the aviation industry work: pilots, flight attendants, ground staff, ATC. Basically, this column will have interviews with anyone who works in the industry and would like to share their advice or experiences with aviation. If you’re a pilot, flight attendant, ground staff, ATC, or industry executive/manager that would like to share their story to the world, please send me an email at with the title EXPERT INTERVIEW and include what you do for your work. I want...Read more

Aviation Advice Category

Welcome to Aviation Advice, or AvAd! This is going to be my main column for SkyZach. When I fly, I often try to find the most straightforward and cost-effective route to my destination. I’ve flown transpac to expensive airports for under 1,000USD, flown with minimal connections for minimal flying time, and even can tell you how to find a great seat on the increasingly cramped economy section of a flight. I want this column to be a column related to your aviation questions, so if you have one, please send me an email at with the email title AvAd,...Read more

Armchair NTSB Category

Welcome to the Armchair NTSB Category! This category lists posts related to aviation incidents. I’m no expert on aviation safety by any bit, but I do read into the causes and patterns of aircraft accidents and incidents a lot. The posts here will be overviews of select incidents, feature plentiful links to reputable safety sources and my take as to what happened during the incidents. Please note again, this is an opinion column, and anyone quoting this column SHOULD include the sources that I quoted for the columns. I’ll only post on major incidents and ongoing issues with aviation safety,...Read more

Guest Flier Category

Welcome to the Guest Flier category of SkyZach! Here, I’ll have friends and guests post about their experiences flying, either on an airline, through a certain airport, or an experience they had that they’d want to share with the world! PLEASE NOTE this is a guest column, the views expressed by my Guest Fliers do not necessarily represent the views of myself. These opinions should be treated as opinions and should not be the only source of information you use when choosing an airline or air travel package. If you would like to be apart of this column, please send...Read more

Who am I?

Hello everyone, and welcome to my brand new aviation blog. In this blog, you’ll find posts related to my experiences and opinions as a frequent transpacific flier, interviews with professionals in the aviation industry, my take and opinion on trending topics, and guest posts by average joe fliers who want to share their experiences flying. My name is Zach Kuhn, and I’ve been around aviation for a fair portion of my life. My most crowning achievements related to aviation was writing my senior thesis on the differences between All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines (and getting the top score on...Read more