MEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4540 posts, RR: 32 Posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 22519 times:
Airevents.de organized a pleasure flight on an Il-76 in Belarus. Although the package was a bit pricey, I decided not to let go this once in a lifetime chance. With no direct flights from Amsterdam, the travel agent involved, Merlintours, suggested an itenerary where I could fly TO Belarus in style as well; connecting in Frankfurt and continuing by Tu-154M. Let the pictures and videos speak for itself. Sorry it it takes a while to upload, I lost the program in which I could cut and shrink pictures.
Su 26-8-2007 Lufthansa Cityline ARJ-85 D-AVRP AMS-FRA sched. , actual 12.34-13.19
Although a 733 was in the schedules, the Avro was the actual aircraft. It’s a pity that they couldn’t print the boarding pass for the 2nd leg in Amsterdam yet, so I had to bother to try and get a good seat in Frankfurt, where I’d arrive only an hour before the flight, bugger. At least on this first flight I had a windowseat, 11F. Noone in the middle seat (about 65% occupied flight). After the pushback on 12.19, we had a short taxi and were in the air at 12.34.
The flight attendants rushed the regular ham or cheese sandwich, chocolate bar and non alcoholic drink service. After a right turn over Frankfurt city center we were on the ground in time.
After a bus drive, and Frankfurt airport was busy, there was no clear transfer desk and route, I had to go to the general check in area. It was already 14.00, less then an hour before scheduled departure, of course the window seats were gone. But I met some Airevents people I already knew from my earlier trips there so we went to the gate together. I was not impressed with Frankfurt. That you had to go out of sterile area and then have TWO check ups (with shoes out, confiscating of drinks as my friends bought some bottles of juice thinking we passed the last check already, etc) on the way to the aircraft seemed inefficient compared to Amsterdam.
Su 26-8-2007 Belavia Tu-154M EW-85703 FRA-MSQ, sched, actual 15.27-18.09
We were again bused to the Tupolev. I was excited to make an actual scheduled flight on a Tu-154 for the first time since 1996, it’s always nice to experience a classic airplane in everyday use compared to a pleasure flight.
The aircraft looked somewhat old and unkept from the inside. Due to some battery malfunction, see for photo’s below at my flight back on the same machine. Rusty chairs and old fashioned tray tables, peeled and torn floor carpets.
We pushbacked at 15.13. The flight attendant shouted the safety instructions on an argumentative tone thru the intercom. Two exits at thee left! Two exits at thee right! Then they passed the cabin with newspapers including the Herald Tribune and some sweets.
Take off was 15.27, on one way or another, together with the noise, the aircrafts climb seemed more dramatic then with a western aircraft. After a slow initial climb it seems the nose remained pointed high in the air for like 15-20 minutes. The flight was very smooth, the weather was nice but it also seems Russian airplanes are usually stable steamstormers in any weather.
After half an hour, a cart with soft drinks bottles, cups, lemon slices passed, and then a bag with a ham/cheese sandwich was handed out. On descent, I visited the front toilet, it was stuck, almost overflowing and dirty. I really felt lucky I was a man today and didn’t have to sit down here. Also the cockpit door seemed nothing stronger then a thin toilet door, probably it would not pass certification in the USA. During landing, some flight attendants were still walking around but the flight was smooth so probably they knew there was little risk. All in all a typical old fashioned soviet style flight!
In Minsk, we had to cue up for an obliged local travel insurance (cost 1,50 euro), and then we met the local tour leader and took the van drive to the hotel.
30 Aviation enthousiasts were there, I went for dinner with about 7 I already met but we would see the others the next morning. Typical; the group consisted of 29 men and one lady.
Next morning just after 9 we drove in a bus to the airport. Upon my request we stopped so I could buy batteries, as I discovered recharging the batteries one month ahead is not a good plan. Then the bus headed to the cargo entrance area. On the ramp, there was a big fleet of about 15 Trans Avia Export Il-76s, but many missed an engine or two, or some other parts. Closer were two operational looking machines, one white one registered ST-ATX and just arriving D2-FEW of the Angolan Air Force. We were dropped off at this Sudanese machine. So that means not only a new type in our logbooks but also a country registration probably few of us ‘had’ yet.
Mo 27-8-2007 Trans Avia Export Il-76TD ST-ATX MSQ-MSQ, 11.07-12.07
After taking pictures all around the aircraft, we boarded around 10.35 thru the back-ramp door. They had 30 side ways seats prepared for us. Luckily I could sit close to one of the four small windows so I could peak outside. Let the pictures speak for itself. The cargo master sitting in front took care that we were buckled during take off and landing.
video window view right after take off http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDpc_4TKAw8
video of the cabin with 30 aviation geeks on board http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDf7YH7J38Y
The engines started to scream at around 10.55, we taxied at 11.00 and we were off the ground at 11.07. Climb was smooth and after a minute of so, people started to walk around the cavernous cargo hold. Taking pictures on the cargo ramp thingie (English word?) although I would be a bit hesitant since I heared a Congolese Il-76 once lost about 250 troops when the door came open mid flight.
We were allowed in the cockpit and the navigator glass nose section two minutes each during the flight.
Around 11.56 we did a low pass and steep climb over Minsk2 airport. Nobody was buckled up (the crew didn’t even try to ask) and some people almost fell on the floor like bowling pylons. But then we were called back to our seats and we landed smoothly at 12.07.
After lunch, we spent the early afternoon with a visit to the airport tower, (a long climb, who needs a gym?). The airport, charming Soviet style
and then on the cargo ramp again, at the overhaul hangar were a 737 had an A-check, and then clicking the old Tu-154s, 134s and Il-76s on the boneyard.
Only the red/green government aircraft we were instructed NOT to photograph. Oh, but what do we find here
On tuesday we visited Minsk1 south of the center. Again we were allowed to walk around in all overhaul hangars and the boneyards as long as we stayed together. This place is specialised in Tu-134s and Yak-40s. Most of us saw, wrote or shot probably more of them then in the rest of their lives.
It was cute to see and try the organisators try to keep everyone in one group but as a Kindergarten class everyone spread out and ran to the aircraft they fancied most while the organisators rolled with their eyes. I was trying to tease Boris, the young Belarusian organisator from Merlin tours, “Will you be executed now” “Why me? YOU guys should be executed!”
Here some impressions of Minsk itself;
Everything comes to an end. Most people left already on tuesday afternoon on flights to Hanover, London and such, but with 4 die hards we took the van back to the airport on wednesdaymorning Just like we saw earlier, many Belavia flights were heavily delayed including 2,5 hours for ours, scheduled for 12.35 but delayed til 15.00. Soccer club Minsk Dinamo had a game today in Odense and we suspected they needed an aircraft for that messing up the whole schedules. We already tried to have changed reservations on our later connecting Lufthansa flights from Frankfurt, which were too tight again when a further 45 minute delay showed up on the departures screen. No compensation, explanation or food/drinks coupon.
wed 29-8-07 Belavia Tu-154M EW-85703 MSQ-FRA, sched, actual 15.59-17.16
Finally we were bused to the same Tupolev I flew out on. I always regret 2nd flights on airliners I already “have” in my logbook but the good news it was a Tu-154 again and my camera was working now.
wed 29-8-07 Lufthansa 737-300 D-ABEU FRA-AMS, sched, actual 21.43-22.32
Another bother to try and get on a flight home, as I didn’t have a boarding pass either and obviously missed my original connecting flight. Long walk searching for a proper Lufthansa desk. The lady had to discuss with her supervisor as it was a ‘special price’ ticket if I could get on a later flight. Niiice. So actually I was relieved she gave me a 21.20 flight boarding pass. According to the timetable it was supposed to be an A-320, it sounds funny to be excited about a Lufthansa A-320 but on my numerous Lufthansa flights I got on almost all their types except the 320! But on a screen in the terminal I saw I’d get on D-ABEU. By this time I was it ‘BEU’ (fed up) indeed. Together with two others who only had late evening flights to Milan and Brussels, we spotted in the terminal during sunset and saw quite some interesting aircraft.
The Amsterdam flight was short and uneventful. Had a nice glass of red wine and asked for a 2nd sandwich as I didn’t take much of the overpriced food in the FRA terminal.
Here a night shot of the neighboring aircraft after arrival in Amsterdam
Sorry if it's written a bit quick, I had little time and this way it's the only chance I'll have a report online. Look forward to your comments!
(edited to remove a few pictures to make the upload quicker)
[Edited 2007-09-03 14:30:42]
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
Aleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3241 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 22451 times:
It is a great TR. I really enjoyed reading it and photos of the interior of IL-76 are very interesting as well as those photos from hangars.
Now, it was a bit of a disappointment to see that in-flight service and interior of Tu-154 were all but good, but if you want to fly scheduled flight on Tu-154, there is always an option to try Aeroflot Tu-154. Today is the third day in a row I saw it landing here in Belgrade and every time it looks beautiful. Also, according to various pics, interiors of Aeroflot's Tuploevs seem far better.
Thanks for sharing this experience with us and happy birthday
FLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5243 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 22426 times:
sure an interesting read.
I had no T154 in my log, and never gone to Belarus till now, so a good read from my point of view.
I´ve heard about that trip to Belarus on a german forum, good that they found 30 aviation freaks to
Superb pics about aviation there in Belarus.
PlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 12095 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 22091 times:
This could well be the first Il-76 trip report on this site. I can understand you were very glad to take the opportunity and the pictures from your experience tell a very interesting story so thank you for posting!
Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to fly one of these amazing aircraft - it looks spectacular.
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
Airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4401 posts, RR: 49
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 22060 times:
great story, wonderful pictures out of Belarus! Indeed a great chance you had to see everything with your own eyes, and of course the excitement!
I'm less impressed by your feelings on LH and FRA. In general I think that LH offers great facilities in Terminal 1 for the AMS flights, with etix quick boarding and enough staffed desks. Sorry to read that you were not very satisfied with it.
Anyway, my impressions on LH and FRA will come online soon here.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
NG1Fan From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 446 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 21821 times:
Ah, the nostalgia. I spent some years in Russia and have flown on the following airliners:
IL-86 - Domodedovo Airlines, Aeroflot
Tu134 - Aeroflot, Samara Airlines, Pulkovo Airlines, UTAir, Air Tatarstan
Tu154 - Aeroflot, Pulkovo Airlines, GTK Rossiya, UTAir, Sibir
Yak40 - GTK Rossiya (only once -bloody slow)
Yak42 - Avialiniy Kubani
Still left to fly: IL-62, IL-96.
None were boarded through aerobridges, all via groundstairs or autonomous built-in stairs. Especially interesting was the Il-86, where there was a baggage rack in a vestibule under the main cabin deck. Only downside: entrance right next to the APU, and it was noisy as hell.
Still, seeing all these boneyard birds is sad - because some of them were actually good aircraft from a passenger's comfort point of view, esp. the IL-86/96.
I also agree - never seemed to experience anything approaching turbulence on Tu-154s. I wonder if it the shape of wing, anhedral and all.
Mxp From Italy, joined Aug 2003, 467 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 21546 times:
thanx for this TR. Eventually i finished to arrive in MXP at 23.40 but the all trip was wonderful (for the others i am the one to the Milan flight).
In my seat i have no hand rest on the right,i was in the emergency exit with a lot of hair coming inside but was a nice flight,i was on the Tupolev
MEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4540 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 20950 times:
Quoting OA260 (Reply 3): Tell me where did you get visas to get into Belarus??
With the booking and invitation voucher of the tour group, I could get a visa at the e mbassy. Didn´t go there in person but had a visa service doing it. The weird thing was, noone at checking in and boarding checked if I had the right visa. One guy of the group managed to arrive at Minsk without but could buy one at the airport... cheaper then our pre arranged visa. But I wouldnt have taken that risk. Someone from Belgium didn´t arrive and lost the booking costs because of a faulty visa.
The interlining between Belavia and Lufthansa was just messy, basically I had to check in again. The following week I had a Lufthansa to United transfer flying AMS-FRA-IAD and it was perfect, could stay in sterile area.
again sorry, I discovered I didn´t have a good photo editor program anymore after rebooting. As I was due to travel again the next day I didn´t have time to have them resized. I promise I will on future TRs
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
Alessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 20723 times:
Cool, saw that airevent.de going to do a re-run in May 08, this time AN-12, AN-24 and Il-76 rides, do the organize everything like visa?
Only been inside the AN-24 at the Speyer museum, never been near a AN-12 nor Il-76 so I´m tempted. Depends on the price, how much was the
They will send an invitation voucher with which you have to go to the ambassy yourself.
The price was pretty high for the Il-76 package, around 750 euro, I think half of which went to renting the Il'76 and the other half for hotel, bus transfers and permits to visit the airports. So I imagine the next trip with multiple flights might be close to 1000 euro.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?