At first this sort of post was just a small idea in the back of my head, like a trip report but a spotting report with something extra added. This weekend report is what me and BA747-436 (Dan Valentine) did this weedend just gone Friday 20th September 2002 - Monday 23rd September 2002. The itinery for the weekend was to visit MAN on the Saturday, and then go to the Gatecrasher 8th Birthday party on the Saturday evening. Enough explaining, let me get streight into it...........
Saturday 21st September 2002
Our day started REALLY early, 5AM to be precise, as we wanted to get to MAN by 7:30AM so we could see most of the international traffic into MAN arrive. There was the usual struggle of getting out of bed and dragging myself to the bathroom for a nice cold wash to wake me up, but in the days events it was well worth it! Dan had come up from London and was still pretty tired from driving up on the Friday afternoon so I thought I would wake him up at about 5:30AM so he could have just that little bit extra sleep. once we were both actually 75% awake we headed out to the car with our stuff and set off from my house (In Rotherham) at 6AM.
The drive took us down the motorway and then through Snakes Pass, which is through the moors and countryside. The day started pretty nice, with a very nice sunrise, but as we got to the moors there was aome pretty thick fog waiting for us! While about halfway to MAN we saw aircraft on decent into MAN, and pretty low to be honest....or we were pretty high up in the moors! Visible were a DC-10 of MYT and a BA 734. We was coming into MAN and getting in lane to go up into the Terminal 1 Short Stay car park when our first suprise hit us! Dan pointed at an aircraft on short finals and asked what it is, I looked at it and just didnt know, but after alittle pondering over it we both came to teh conclusion it was an AN-124!!! At this time in the morning our day was already worthwhile! We made our way to the top of the T1 Short Stay and parked the car up and watched the AN-124 taxy in.
We both watched the AN-124 taxy in in awe, and the best thing is it pulled into the centeral apron so we had no obstructed view of what it was unloading. Just as the cargo doors of the AN-124 were opening our second suprise hit us. While looking towards the runway I saw a Corsair 743 (F-GSKY) land, I was VERY suprised and had to ask Dan if it was what I thought it was.....well this day was getting better and better! We didnt stay in the car park long, just loong enough to watch a few movements, see what was in, shoot a few pics and write down some reg's. Below is an early morning lineup taken just as the Virgin 747-200 TF-ATN was taxying in after arrival from Orlando.
We left the car park and thought we would go and check out a new spot to us, which was in the middle of Runway 2, for rotation shots of departing aircraft. Once getting un-lost in the small country roads we arrived where we was going to park the car, grabbed our things, along with 2 foldable cairs, and made out long 20 minute walk up to the spot. Once there we was amazed at how high the banking was above the airport perimiter fence. Right in front of us was the runway, just about at the same height as us but NO fence was obstructing any view at all! And the first departure was exactly the aircraft that we wanted to get from this spot....Air Transat L1011 C-GTSQ heading off to Toronto.
After a very eventful few hours with some great departures, including AC 767, Corsair 743, PIA 743, MYT DC-10 and CO 764, we decided to make the An-124 the last picture we would take of departures from that spot, as it was rapidly coming towards dinner time, at which Runway operations go back to 24R for landings and departures. Below is a picture of the AN-124 of Volga-Dnepr RA-82045 departing 24L, destination unknown!
After having abit of lunch (Burger King) in the terminals we headed down to the pub, which is situated just next to the threshold of 24R. The only problem was the sun wasnt in the spot we thought it was, so a few of our pictures from that spot turned out overexposed, so the only decent image I got was this MYT A330 on short finals for 24R below! We moved on and went to a spot we hadnt been to since the winter.
We got to our spot which is directly across from the pub and the sun was in teh perfect spot right behind us for our photography also after alittle exploring around the field we dug out a great spot where we coudl get a few cool shots of the fire training Trident thats the MAN firefighters use. This Trident is EX BA, if nayone knows the registration e-mail me please!
After our bad expirience in the winter with the field been waterlogged making me hate the place, I fell in love with it, It is a perfect spot for pictures of aircraft taxying to 24R for departing aircraft and perfect for pictures of aircraft holding on the threshold awaiting takeoff clearance. In the picture below you can see the size comparison between a European 747-236 G-BDXS and the Airport Pub with the beer garden full of people watching it depart.
After finishing yet another 32MB smart media card we decided to have alittle walk into another field with a pretty high mound and see if we could get shots looking down onto the threshold and un-obstructed views for landing shots. I was very impressed at the spot, where most heavies were in my camera's zoom range. Below is a picture of a Britannia 762 G-BRIF on short finals for an early afternoon landing on 24R.
The day was getting on and seen as Dan hadnt been to the Aviation Viewing park yet we decided to make a move over to it and use up the last few films and MB's of pictures we had left. It cost £3.50 for 1 car and 2 people to gain access to the Aviation Viewing park, £2.50 per veichel and 50p per person. Once we had got into the viewing park we quickly parked the car up and ran for the nearest mound as an Air Atlanta 747 had just landed and would taxy streight past us. The light, yet again, was in the wrong place so most pictures were overexposed but it was well worth the visit, as we saw a Tyrolean Air Ambulance land and taxy to the NEA ramp, where an ambulance was awaiting the aircraft to park up, the aircrafts registration been OE-GAA. The last picture of the day for me was this Britannia 752 G-BYAF taxying into the terminals after arrival on 24R.
We then made our way back to the motorway for our journey back to Rotherham where we would get ready for Part 2 of this report........
I hope you enjoyed this part of the report, and sorry if I bored any of you, I can assure you this report is just about to get MUCH better in Part 2, which I will write up and post over the next 2 days! Post any comments you like and I really hope you will enjoy part 2....
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