Montag, 24. Dezember 2007

Sochi - July 2007

Sochi, the Black Sea resort, is situated only a few kilometers north of the border of Georgia. The city will host the Winter Olympic games in 2014. Till then a lot has to be done, especially with the traffic situation.
Aviation wise the traffic is still very much in "the hands" of Tupolevs and Ilyushins and the terminal buildings date back to the 70s. A new terminal has been finished recently but not yet been openend for public.

Vladivostok Avia comes in low over the outskirts of Adler with their Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85689 arriving from over the sea heading for runway 06.

Rossiya operates a daily flight from Mosow-Vnukovo. The Ilyushin Il-62M RA-86466 is seen taxiing out of her stand in front of the little VIP terminal.

Samara Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85817 is thundering out of runway 24 heading out to the sea.

UT Air is seen several times a day operating Tupolev 134s and 154s to Sochi, mostly connecting St. Petersburg and Moscow-Vnukovo with the resort town. Built in 1976 for Interflug, RA-65609 is still going strong. She is seen taking off runway 24 in front of the huge radar dome erected on one of the surrounding hills.

S7 - Siberia is also using the russian workhorse Tupolev Tu-154M to Sochi, but sometimes the mighty Ilyushin Il-86 as well. While the 86 has to offer generous seating the Tu-154 feels rather cramped inside. Behind RA-85611 you'll find the city name on the hill in case you forgot where you were flying to..

To manage the huge amount of construction material used for the building of the different olympic sites helicopters are used. Sturdy Kamov Ka-32A RA-31090 of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MChS Rossii) is perfectly suited for this task.

Barcelona - January 2007

Barcelona El Prat may not have as many longhaul flights as Madrid, but some nice specials might be seen as well. Iberia low-cost daughter Click and based Vueling add to the scene. Another plus is the growing presence of Russian carriers serving the capital of Catalonia.

Fokker 100 EC-IPV of GirJet is painted up as a new logo jet promoting the real estate company Grupo Taradellas as well as Barcelona soccer club Real Club Espanyol. She's leaving El Prat for the first time for a postioning flight to Palma.

One of a few heavies serving BCN is Aerolineas Argentinas. Contrary to the 747s you encounter in Madrid, Barcelona is about the only place besides of Rome where you might be able to get pictures of those rare Argentinian Airbus A340s. LV-ZPO started live with Cathay Pacific as VR-HMR and served with Philippine Airlines before ending up in Argentina.

Promoting Rias Baixas, Galicia, a tourism region in northwest Spain, one of 32 Boeing 737-800's in service with Air Europa, comes in to land on runway 07R. EC-IYI, a Boeing 737-883, originally built for SAS, went to Italian Air One in 2002 before joining Air Europe in 2004.

Bravo Air was founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the idea of connecting the country with the outside world. Something seems to have gone wrong, as the airliner has been flying around Europe for other carriers in need, in this case for Egypt Air. EC-JOZ has had a long history after having been delivered to Air New Zealand in 1988 as ZK-NBE. She saw service with carriers like Polynesian Airlines, Transbrasil, AeroContinente and shortlived SweFly.

Cargo carriers only recently started to drop in with Jade Cargo for sure one of the more exotic (and photogenic..) ones. The flight was delayed for a couple of hours which gave the opportunity to see this regular nighttime-visitor during perfect conditions leaving BCN for Brescia.

Bulgarian Air Charter operating a flight for Airlines 400 (now renamed to RedWings). LZ-ACQ rotates rather late and shows the new terminal under construction in the background. Tupolev Tu-154M LZ-LCQ spent a great time in the Far East for Baikal Airlines, China Nortwest and China Eastern and even flying for Iran Air Tours for a while before turning up in Europe.

Freitag, 28. September 2007

Innsbruck - January 2006

Innsbruck in winter offers you beautiful scenery and nice airplanes. More and more the Russians discover the alps for their holidays - especially around New Year many aircraft can be observed.
Welcome Air in this attractive yellow/purple color scheme operates a small fleet of 3 Dornier 328 aircraft - both, the propeller and the jet version - out of their homebase Innsbruck. OE-GBB is one of 2 turboprops and offers a seating capacity of 30.

It can get really cold at Innsbruck. Nestled between mountains, the sun raises late and sets early in wintertime. This Yak42 of Tatarstan Airlines rests for a couple of days and definitely needs some serious de-icing before being able to leave.

The biggest airplane flying to INN on a regular basis is the Boeing 757. Russian airlines have discovered that it fits their needs well - VIM Avia took over this former Condor example, and 15 more, and is using it for charter flights all over Europe and domestic flights. Today RA-73008 is parked at Munich and waiting for better times.

Yak Service is specialized in executive passenger charters and operates a fleet of Yak40/42s in VIP configuration. RA-88295 joined the fleet in 2000 when it was acquired from the Polish Air Force.

Austrian Arrows (formerly known as Tyrolean) operates 10 Bombardier DHC-8-400Q. OE-LGH was delivered in early 2003 and seats 70 passengers. The -400Q version has been stretched 6.83m compared to the DHC-8-300 and is fitted with an active noise and vibration system which reduces cabin noise to a level comparable to the Canadair Regional Jet.

Smart Wings is a Czech low-cost airline, which operated 4 Boeing 737-500 at the time. Originally 2 ex Lufthansa Boeings were used but later replaced by 4 former United examples. OK-SWU arrived in March 2005 from Goodyear/AZ where it was stored for half a year after the lease to United Airlines ended. In spring 2007 the airline ceased operations and is rumored to be purchased by Icelandair.

Dubai - February 2005

Dubai has always been special as a crossroad between Asia and Europe. As homebase of Emirates Airlines it shows how it is possible to build up a substantial hub within a few years.
Sadly the local authorities don't really support the keen aviation photographer, but not having this done for the first time, one can keep a low profile if necessary..

Silkway Azerbaijan Airlines operates the trusty Il-76 in many guises. This example, IL-76TD 4K-AZ26, still shows the colors of Uzbek TAPO Avia, a company connected to the manufacturer Tashkent Aviation Production Association. Silkway operates a fleet of several IL76 and An12s from her base at Baku / Azerbaijan.

South East Airlines from Bangladesh operates this sole Boeing 707-3K1C S2-ADU on freight charters. She was one of the last civilian examples built and operated for Tarom as YR-ABA (with whom I was lucky enough to sample a flight on this aircraft from Bucharest to Bangkok in the late 80's).

AeroAsia from Pakistan has been around since 1993. They operated all sorts of aircraft, incl. Russian types. The DC9-51s were leased from Ukrainian Khors Air which obtained it from Finnair in 2003.The airline had her AOC revoked recently due to safety concerns.

Yak-42 UR-42366 of Donbassaero on final approach to runway 30L. The airline name originates of the Donbass area in the east of the Ukraine, where coal mining is the main source for income and the majority of the people speak Russian.

British Gulf International Airlines is the illustrious name of this Kyrgyz cargo airline. Registered EX-164 and proudly named "Alex" this An12 has since changed to the Sao Tome register and operates mainly in Africa now.

Saudi Arabian operates several flights daily to DXB - the MD-90 HZ-APJ is one of a fleet of 29 aircraft of the type and is not seen often outside Arabia.

Tepper Aviation Inc. is one of many so-called CIA-companies. L100-30 Hercules N4557C has a pure civilian background and has seen service for CAAC/Air China, China Eastern and Safair before showing up in the clandestine world.

Donnerstag, 27. September 2007

Corfu - August 2004

The approach into Kerkyra (Corfu) - Ioannis Kapodistrias airport is usually performed with tear drop procedure passing over Garitsa VOR and then head south-east bound for 9NM before turning right and intercept the VOR-radial 346° inbound for the runway 35 with a slope of 3.32°.

LTU operated the Airbus A330-200 into CFU from Düsseldorf. Here D-ALPG arrives out of the early morning mist. Up to 323 sunseeking tourists will arrive shortly and keep the terminal building buzzing with people.

Air Sea Lines has her base at the Gouvia Marina north of Kerkyra town. Flights to Paxos and Lefkos are offered, but charter and sightseeing flights are available as well. Twin Otter SX-BMG arrived at Corfu in July 2004, after being converted with floats at Althenrhein, Switzerland. She was built in 1973 and flew for Harbour Air, Canada as C-GHAZ.

The Greek Government and the Hellenic Air Force operate together 6 Embraer ERJ-135LR and ERJ-145SA, an early warning version. 145-209 , one of the two 135s operating for the Government, is rocketing off runway 17.

Lufthansa Airbus A319 D-AILA is operating a flight on behalf of Condor and arriving with the last rays of sunshine. She is named after the city of Frankfurt/Oder.

Futura International Boeing 737-4Yo EC-IYO has seen service all over the world before ending up with the Spanish charter carrier (again). Operating already for Futura in the 90's, this 737 operated in Brasil for Transbrasil, shortlived Nortjet, Nordic European and even Aer Lingus and Luxair.

Founded to operate charter flights for Swiss International, Swiss Sun received 3 new Airbus 320's which have been incorporated into the Swiss fleet after the experiment ended end of 2005. One difference to the rest of the Swiss fleet is, that the passengers are treated to some live footage from the cockpit, as there is a camera positioned in the cockpit - especially interesting while landing or taking off.

Austrian flight OS9164 is turning away from the mountains after taking off on runway 17. The flight is operated by a Lauda Air Boeing 737-800.

Beirut - May 2005

Beautiful Beirut, once called the Venice of the East, has troubled times behind (almost). In May 2005 I experienced a lively city with wonderful people, the best coffee in the world, and of course, nice airplanes.

F-OMEC is one of 3 Airbus A330-223s in service with Middle East Airlines, flagcarrier of Lebanon. They are mainly used for their services to London and Paris, but also to West Africa.

The short haul fleet consists of 6 Airbus A321s. F-ORMI was delivered in 2003 and is equipped with 31 business and 118 economy seats. They operate to European and Middle Eastern destinations.

The Boeing 707, once the backbone of the MEA fleet - 11 own examples of the type were operated, is waiting for better times at the maintenance area. OD-AHD was build for American Airlines in 1967. 30 years later MEA still operated the type but finally were phased out by the end of 1997. OD-AHD never got off the ground again after a sale to Air Gulf Falcon fell through.

The lucky catch of the day - this Ilyushin Il-62M is operated for Kazak Kokshetau Airways and at this occasion operating for the UN. UN-85506 was build for LOT, later passed on to Aeroflot and Air Ukraine before aquired by Kokshetau for VIP transports.

This Air Atlanta Cargo Boeing 747-236F was operating a flight for Cargolux. TF-ARJ started life as a passenger aircraft for British Airways and found her way to the Icelandic carrier in 2002.

Oman Air is rarely seen in Europe. They operate a fleet of Boeing 737s and ATR-42s. A4O-BT is a Boeing 737-7Q8 and was leased new from the leasing company IFLC.

Some bizjets find their way to Beirut as well - mainly Arab examples like this American registered Boeing 727-95 operated for Trans Golf Corporation, but still in the colors of former owner, Saudi Kingdom Entertainement.

Phuket - December 2002

Phuket is situated on the west coast of Thailand, at the Bay of Bengal. The runway 09/27 is 3000 meters long and ends at one end at the edge of the water. Up to a couple of years ago there was a really scenic spot beneath the tower. You were sitting on a rock together with the locals above the perimeter road and were watching the traffic.

One of the highlights for me at the time - Orient Thai had a daily service connecting Hongkong with Bangkok with a short stopover at Phuket. Boeing 747-246B HS-UTP, build in 1973, was taken over from JAL after a sale to Air Gulf Falcon fell through.

Another very welcome visitor was Antonov 24RV XU-375 of little known Sky Eyes from Cambodia leaving for Rayong / U-Taphao International. The Antonov was leased from President Airlines (also from Cambodia) and was originally build for Aeroflot's Kazakstan division.

Across the runway there is a little military apron with a hangar usually housing a Fokker F27. On a rare occasion 2111 of the Royal Thai Navy is accelerating for a departure on runway 27.

When runway 09 is in use some interesting photo possibilities with the sea in the background give you the chance to get some atmospheric photographs. An ATR-72 of local carrier Bangkok Airways is rotating early.

One of the main markets for Bangkok Airways is the "milk-run" from Bangkok to Siem Raep serving the tourist attraction Angkor Wat. Boeing 717 HS-PGO, one of 4 of the type and the only ones operated in South East Asia, shows the head of a Khmer god and is appropriately named "Angkor". This aircraft was delivered to Bangkok Air in 2001 passing through Zurich on her way to Thailand.

Beautiful Thai Airbus A330-322 HS-TEL is touching down gently arriving from Bangkok. She has since been repainted into Star Alliance colors.

At the end of this blog I include a picture which is history for a long time. On my first trip to Asia I passed through Phuket in 1987. In those times the small terminal had a wonderful spectators area with an unobstructed view of the runway. In those times Thailand had Thai International for flights abroad and Thai Airways (in a different attractive color scheme) for domestic services. Two Airbus A310-200s (with winglets) and 3 Boeing 737-200s were in service with the carrier. HS-TIC was taken over by Thai International when the 2 airlines merged into one and finally scrapped in Abu Dhabi in 2001.

Dienstag, 25. September 2007

Antalya - October 2006

Many Russian carriers still use their first soviet widebody airliner intensivly. Although banned in the EC, the thirsty, roaring beast carries many sunhungry tourists to holiday destinations close and far.

Pulkovo Airlines, based at St. Petersburg-Pulkovo, in the meantime rebranded as Rossiya, is operating 5 aircraft of the type, RA-86106, the youngest in the family, offering 10 business class and 317 economy seats.

Kras Air, based at Moscow Domodedovo and Krasnoyask, operate 4 examples, all build in the early nineties. RA-86121 offerering 317 seats in economy class and also 10 seats in business.

Atlant Soyuz, based at Moscow Vnukovo has a proud fleet of 9 aircraft. RA-86125 saw service with Aeroflot, East Line, Eurasia, Sibir Airlines before she entered service with Atlant Soyuz.

Another example, RA-86138, still shows her heritage proudly still wearing the Aeroflot cheat line. The aircraft only joined her sisters in spring 2006, after a lease to Continental Airways. Atlant operates the giants with a seating capacity of 350 economy seat, truly a Russian jumbo!

Again RA-86106 of Pulkovo on her way north overflying AYT. A lot of those flights operate in a triangle, connecting Moscow with Sharm-el-Sheik and Antalya.

Colorful Ural Airlines has 4 aircraft in service operating from her base at Ekaterinburg-Koltsovo. RA-86093 is a vintage 1987 example and is seen shortly before touchdown on runway 36R one early morning.

Sibir Airlines, or S7, is boosting a fleet of 10 aircraft. RA-86104 was built for Aeroflot in 1989 , but also spent some time with Turkish Active Air, Transaero and Vnukovo Airlines.