17th August 2007.
Flight Tom2081, Dep 0720 Arr 0805
Despite the need to leave the house at 0610, it was only a quick 15 minute drive to Coventry airport, where the Longstay car park is within two minutes walking distance of Terminal 1 (departures). For those unfamiliar with Coventry, please do not paint a mental image of some miniature version of DXB or FRA; think more a couple of portacabins, or, more romantically, a throwback to the days of travelling from the local aerodrome. Whatever one might think of the terminal facilities or the arguments for and against developing it, it is very quick to pass through- no queue at check-in or security, and a short walk out to the apron with plenty of opportunity to view the plane. The system only falls down when there is a delay of any sort, and I wouldn't like to be stuck in the claustrophobic hut for three hours, as I see from the airport website that pax this afternoon as I write this are suffering!
All the staff at check-in and security seemed in pretty relaxed and happy form, though bags were clearly carefully checked. I was amused at security to see the glee with which the officer identified some lip salve and a lighter from two passengers ahead, and having ascertained that they didn’t have a clear bag in which to put them, they would be ‘con-fiss-i-cated’!
The departure lounge facilities are, shall we say, functional and basic, and I restricted myself to a bottle of water and a coffee, which was way too hot. As I waited for it to cool, those with children, requiring assistance and then the rear seats were called for boarding- as I had pre-booked 5F I continued on coffee-watch. By the time remaining passengers were called, it was just about drinkable, but my tongue remembered this cup for the rest of the day!
A short wait beyond channel B and then we were led around the apron to G-THOC, ‘Spirit of Doncaster’, one of the original 735s to be based at CVT.
I had hoped for one of the Winglet 737s as I had seen one on final the previous day while popping into PCWorld- a very good place for watching final approaches on 23.
Airstairs at front and rear were in place, but the front stairs were having a wheelchair pax lifted up step by step so we all boarded by the rear steps and fought through the cabin. There was about a 75% load and we were soon pushed back and taxiing down the runway to turn and line up on 23 (no taxiway parallel to the runway at CVT). There was then about a 3-4 minute delay, presumably while ATC clearance was obtained- I’m not sure which runway was in use at BHX this morning, but the two towers do need to liaise quite closely as the airports are so close.
We were eventually rotating and turning south on a Compton departure. In booking my seat I had hoped for a takeoff on 05 which might give me a good view of home, but as it turned out, I was on the wrong side; however as the departure holds at 5000 feet until about Banbury, so lots of opportunity for photos of the local area.
I had idly flown the route in FS9 the day before so I could spot opportunities for doing my own ‘Google Earth’- the flight being so short there is little time for anything else (not even time for a full drinks trolley run), and fortunately there were enough gaps in the cloud, even at FL260, to be able to take some shots, especially of the New Forest, Poole Harbour and the Isle of Purbeck.
Former Beaulieu airfield
Beaulieu and the National Motor Museum
Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island
Cloud built up again in the Channel, with a glimpse of Alderney as we descended…
…routing wide of the JER beacon to line up for 27 with plenty of time to establish on the approach.
Jersey from the east
Rozel Bay- I enjoyed lunch in a harbourside restaurant here on Sunday!
?Dannemarche Reservoir- not sure, worked this out from a map
St Lawrence’s Church
End of Rw 27, seen from Rw 27…
…and End of Rwy 27, seen from St Ouen Bay.
Touchdown was smooth, with a mild breeze from the west, and a quick taxi in to the gate. A good variety of traffic could be seen…
Again both doors were used for disembarkation, and it was a quick walk to the modern baggage arrival hall, where there was about a 15 minute wait.
At last, with a whine that sounded just like the opening to ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, the belts rolled into action, and my case came through after just a minute.
So a smooth, efficient flight, and in Jersey barely two hours after locking the front door at home. Now for some sunshine, please!
Some hope for sunshine- five cloudy and at times extremely wet days followed. On my final full day I took a return flight to Guernsey with Aurigny which will be the subject of a separate report. One very wet afternoon, having already exhausted most of the wet weather tourist opportunities on the island, I spent an interesting time in my hire car at a good viewing area alongside the NE corner of the runway taking a few shots, only venturing into the rain when absolutely necessary!
G-DOCF arrival on 27
G-DOCF departing 09
G-BDTO- I was to have an adventure in this Trislander the next day!
WEDNESDAY, 22 AUGUST 2007
Flight Report JER-CVT
Aircraft: B735 G-THOD (‘The Three Spires’)
Arriving at the airport at noon, check-in was quick with three desks open and security equally efficient. I gather that the landside and airside arrangements have changed recently at Jersey, but it has to be said that they work effectively.
I was politely accosted by a chap once through security who had a brief questionnaire about my travel and stay on the island. Having answered his questions, I had just enough time to have a quick look around the retail outlets and up to the viewing gallery before being called to gate 13 at about 1235.
BE1130 to Edinburgh
This was headed for Doncaster Robin Hood
WOW304 to Plymouth, with WW 5260 to East Midlands
Boarding was from airstairs to both forward and rear doors, and I was quickly in my chosen seat, 5A. With a load of 103 pax, doors were closed at 1248 and the Captain (PNF) was soon on the tannoy to announce pushback 10 mins early and a flight time of 50 minutes. However we were kept waiting for the tug to appear after pushing back the late running Thomson Doncaster flight, and it was shortly after 1pm when we were pushed back.
With another crosswind, Rwy 09 was in use again and we took off to the east, following a standard routing over the Cherbourg Peninsula, Isle of Wight, over the mainland near Portsmouth, then to Hemel, Luton, Northampton before the CVT approach.
The FAs had time for only one run, for duty free items rather than drinks and snacks- maximising sales revenue, if I am being cynical!- and we had a useful announcement from the PF, from which I learned that cruise was FL240 and we would land on Rwy 05 at CVT- not what I wanted to hear, as I would get an excellent view of home from the approach pattern to Rwy 23. Never mind; although most of the view at cruise altitude was obscured by cloud, I was able to take a few photos of the Warwick/ Henley area instead.
Henley in Arden
Wooton Wawen- note the Stratford Canal top right
Hatton Lock Flight on the Grand Union Canal
A46 Junction for Kenilworth and Leamington Spa
Cargo area at CVT
End of Rwy 05
There was clearly some breeze on approach, and we rocked a little on approach, but were down carefully and on stand shortly after 1405, the only jet on the South Apron.
Not being in a rush, I asked for a quick flight deck visit and was obliged, having a chat with the captain (pnf) but for the the dispatcher who wanted all pax off and into arrivals, so the new crew could board, so I had to begin the walk in the Coventry sunshine! It was a good 10-15 mins before luggage arrived in the Arrivals hut, which was too long bearing in mind we were the only flight in, and the crew were through arrivals well before the belts started rolling. Anyway, once my case arrived, I was in the car and on my way home within five minutes, which you can’t do at Heathrow!
This has been a journey celebrating the advantage of the smaller airport. Coventry may have poor facilities, but it is quick if all goes according to plan, and Jersey/Guernsey I reckon have it just right- a modern terminal with hassle-free check-in and security. I'd be interested in comments from those who use the CI airports more often for their opinions.
More in another report shortly about a day trip to Guernsey with Aurigny- quite an adventure!
[Edited 2007-08-23 16:29:04]