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Syrian Adventure Pt 2: RB B727, F28-4000 & RJ A342  
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11615 posts, RR: 60
Posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12318 times:

Just a quick note, sorry it took me a while to post this, had a little more work than expected so time was short!


Continued from Part One: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/114816/

Syrian Trip Report Part Two:

DAM-ALP-DAM-AMM-LHR on Syrian Arab Airways Boeing 727-200 and Airbus A320-200, AirQuarius Fokker F28-4000 and Royal Jordanian Airbus A340-200




Sunday 28th January 2007

After a rather uncomfortable nights sleep, I got up early and had another wander around Damascus, finding my way along somewhere called Baghdad Street of all places, before hailing a cab and heading out to the airport for my flight to Aleppo. I could only stay a single night there and, as the hotel in Damascus was so cheap, (by Western standards) I decided to reserve the room even for the time I was away, so that I didn't have to carry my Bergen with me, lazy I know, but I'm glad that I did! Upon arrival the airport was heaving, several flights had just arrived and passengers were checking in for several leaving to Middle Eastern destinations, including Dubai and Riyadh. Passing through security to get to check in was certainly much easier with just my small bag, and likewise check in was a lot quicker, selecting a seat at the very back on the right hand side, close to the engines -- which confused the lady assisting me somewhat.

Once more I called into the airport café for some lunch, and then strolled up and down the terminal, enjoying watching the many unusual aircraft outside on the tarmac and the arrival of the Saudi 777 which taxied and parked up right in front of me.





Boarding for my flight was downstairs, where the small departure lounge was packed with people waiting to board the bus out to the aircraft. The guards were not to keen on pictures from down here, so obviously I kept my camera in my rucksack to avoid any trouble, although once nearing the plane on the bus many people started snapping pictures with their phones. Syrian people are certainly not technologically repressed as some people would have you believe, they were all newer than mine, that's for sure!

The aircraft on the next stand was Syrian's illusive Tu134, already back from it's daily flight and, with the dispatcher's blessing I took a few pictures, although as I did in the background I could just see the shape of a 747SP gracefully touching down through the dusty haze, which then proceed to taxi straight towards me; the wingtip passing just a few meters away from the nose of the 727... the sound as it slipped past was pure ecstasy from an enthusiast's perspective!









This flight was another first for me; my inaugural flight on a 727 aircraft! So many times I had the opportunity to fly them with IB during their last years of operation, although at the time, and I am almost too ashamed to admit it, I was terrified of them -- as I was of flying in general. However times change, so I was happy to be walking down the aisle of one of these fine looking aircraft and loving every minute of it, finding my seat at the very back in row 25. The cabin looked in good condition, although the same could not be said for my window, which had so many scratches it was difficult to even see through it, which was a bit of a shame, but at least I was about to fly on something a bit more special than an A320!

DAM-ALP
Carrier: Syrian Air -- Syrian Arab Airways
Flight: RB 384
Aircraft: Boeing B727-200
Registration: YK-AGD
Date of First Flight: 9th October 1980
Seat: 25F
Estimated Departure Time: 15:40
Actual Departure Time: 16:19
Estimated Arrival Time: 16:40
Actual Arrival Time: 17:05
Total Flying Time: 46 minutes

After a short delay the engines behind me fired up with a dull rumble, suffice to say it was a wonderful noise, which only got better as the pilot lined up on 23L and applied the power for take off. After seeing so many from the outside, it was good to be on the inside of a 727 eating up the runway, as it bounced down the not so smooth runway of DAM and then pitched back, rotating smoothly into the overcast skies.





The take off itself enabled a good view of the dumping grounds for old aircraft; firstly surrounding the Syrian hangers much of their former Tu154 fleet could be seen, along with several redundant 727s whilst others, including the second 747SP, were just visiting for maintenance. There were also a large number of Antonovs, some Yak 40s a 707 and even what looked like a Caravelle sitting in the dust, all of whom are probably never going to fly again.



Service wise the offering was identical to my previous two internal flights; a small macaroon in a tray and a drink, which was enough really as I had eaten in the airport, although the seat certainly felt as if it could have some more cushioning. For most of the flight the ground below was obscured by cloud, although just occasionally a clear patch would allow a view to the ground below, the reason for Syria's lack of oil becoming quite evident by the volcanoes visible, although I think they are all long since dormant now. About half an hour into the flight the thrust was reduced and a bank to the left signified that we would be commencing our descent towards ALP, diving into the thick cloud layer which threw the aircraft around fairly well. Drifting out of the bottom, my eyes were met with a wonderful view; the Citadel of Aleppo - the reason I had flown here from DAM and, although it was dusk beneath the cloud layer, I managed to take a half decent photograph.





We must have been flying in a South Westerly direction, as a few moments later the plane baked sharply to the right, a bank which continued as we dropped lower and lower, then after a few further corrections the city lights gave way to airport and a gentle touchdown onto runway 09. Post flight I asked to take a few pictures of the cabin and cockpit, requests met with much kindness, as I was ushered into the cockpit and had a lengthy chat to the pilot, who, if I'm remembering this correctly, had spent a lot of time in the UK and still had family living in the Bath area. He also offered to take the obligatory picture of me sat in the pilot's seat... might as well; I may not fly in a 727 again!











Whilst in the cockpit the heavens really opened, so after thanking the pilot and staff very much for their hospitality I was pleased there was a jet bridge to take me straight to the terminal. Not knowing where I was and it being dark by now I decided to just take a taxi, despite being given directions by public transport should I wish -- or perhaps that should be dare to find my own way! As it was, I'm sure that at one point the driver was going rough ways across a ploughed field, certainly it didn't make my chest feel any better which was still hurting a lot from the awful landing the previous evening. After a long ride, but only 300 Syrian Pounds - half that of DAM, I was at my hotel for the night; the well renowned Hotel Baron, made famous by it's most famous guest; Laurence of Arabia -- who happened to leave without paying the bill, nice chap!



You could say it was rather wet; the view from my balcony. As far as hotels go, it was absolutely great and just to my liking -- a little expensive perhaps at $40 (IIRC, might have been $20); but the en suit and beautiful period furnishings more than made up for it.


Monday 29th January 2007



The morning dawned sunny and mild with no sign of the previous day's rain, unfortunately though I had gotten no sleep that night, and was beginning to realise that perhaps that pain in my chest was a little more serious than I had first thought, as I was now having difficulty breathing without it really hurting and no matter how I lay down it hurt like hell! Still after a little breakfast and a walk around I felt better, so after arranging an excursion for the afternoon I headed off to walk to the Citadel. Before leaving though I had a look around the walls of the hotel, which were adorned with some wonderful posters and memorabilia from bygone eras, along with the unpaid bill of Mr Arabia, although I doubt he'll be back to pay it  silly 







My how times change...


I love waking through cities, and this was no exception, even though I was attracting a fair bit of attention as a foreigner. On the way I stopped off at the Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, not as grand as the one I had visited in Damascus, but just as peaceful -- incredibly so considering that it's located right in the middle of the bustling city. The people were also incredibly open and friendly; four boys probably in their early teens stopped me and, when they realised I was from England, proudly displayed their text and workbooks from their English lessons, whilst chatting away with a quality of language that probably exceeds many native UK citizens.





I was aware though that I didn't have too much time, so continued on to what I really wanted to see; the Citadel. This has to be one of the most amazing man made structures which I have seen, to me it's right up there with the Great Wall of China - I defy anyone to stand in front of it's main entrance and not be impressed!













After that it was back to the hotel to meet the guide who would take me to see the Basilica of San Simeon, about 30 miles by road outside of Aleppo and only 10 or so from the Turkish border. The roads on the way were not the best and by the time we arrived I really felt awful and considered asking him to take me to a hospital instead, but I was determined to carry on now that I was here. The views were well worth it; the ruins sit atop a hill overlooking a wide valley stretching away into the distance and it was flat enough to walk around without making me too breathless.













My guide was a really nice guy, who was very keen to show me as much of the local sights as possible, stopping off at some Roman tombs carved into a rock face and enthusiastically suggesting that I should climb up inside, which ordinarily I would have done in an instance, but just couldn't face at that point. His car was quite impressive too, I've no idea what it was, but despite looking fairly old it went like a dream.





Whilst bargaining the price of the trip I'd reached an acceptable price, so agreed on the terms that I was dropped off at the airport on the way back, for the flight back to Damascus. The trip back down the 'motorway' around Aleppo was pretty impressive in itself; the moment that a coffee stop was spotted it became entirely acceptable to drive on either side of the road and park, without any warning, absolutely anywhere you liked! It even put the M25 to shame as a car park!

I don't recollect any of the check in process at the airport whatsoever, all I remember was getting upstairs into the lounge and collapsing into a rather hard chair and wondering what to do. I had never felt this ill before whilst travelling and my instinct was telling me not to get on the flight, but as my Bergen was still in Damascus along with most of my other belongings, I really had to. The lights of the A320 operating the flight in from Rome drew up to the gate and shortly afterwards the passengers began to get off. Still unsure, I just decided to carry on and hope for the best.

ALP-DAM
Carrier: Syrian Air -- Syrian Arab Airways
Flight: RB 418
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Registration: YK-???
Date of First Flight: Unknown
Seat: 23F (Free Seating)
Estimated Departure Time: 18:15
Actual Departure Time: Unknown
Estimated Arrival Time: 19:15
Actual Arrival Time: Unknown
Total Flying Time: About 50 minutes

As the plane remained partially boarded by those passengers traveling from Rome to Damascus, the seating onboard was free, so I found the first available window seat - 23F I seem to remember and relaxed into it. I can't say that I enjoyed any of the flight, let alone the take off or landing as every bump the plane made echoed through my chest in a series of painful stabs which happened to be exactly in the area of my heart... not good I thought to myself. I even forgot to take the registration of the plane, managing only one half hearted shot once we were at the gate in DAM. It was only an A320 I suppose, but nevertheless, if anyone reading this has any idea what it is then I'd be most grateful for it!



The first thing I did once back at my hotel was to phone my family back home with enough details to then contact my insurance company, this was a cheaper way of doing it than hanging around on an international line in a queue, but unfortunately to no avail. In order to advise me of what to do next and to advise if they had any recommended hospitals in Damascus I needed to speak to the nurse, only she was off sick and they couldn't do anything until the next one came in at 8am the next morning... great! Trouble was, I knew that something had to be wrong to cause this much pain, but my onwards travel -- the flight to Amman left at 8am, so I either miss that or go ahead regardless. I decided on the latter, and once more hoped for the best. Also, to be fair, they did phone straight back at 8am, but this was unfortunately too late.


Tuesday 30th January 2007

Once more, not much sleep, but up early at 5am anyway to get ready and wait for the taxi to the airport. It was quite embarrassing that I couldn't even carry my own rucksack, the hotel concierge though was most obliging and deservedly I slipped him a couple of notes for his assistance. Again, the driver knew only two speeds, stop, or go -- flat out that is, so it was only a few minutes on the quiet roads before we drew up at DAM's terminal again, just before 6am in the morning. There was just a single desk open for the flight to AMM, sold jointly as a Royal Jordanian and Syrian Air flight; it was supposedly operated by a Fokker F28 aircraft, which was the reason why I had chosen to fly it -- to fill another missing type in my logbook. I chose a window seat and once my Bergen had disappeared down the carousel I wandered over to a little desk to pay the departure tax, then onwards to receive my exit stamp, then headed for one last time up into the terminal via a prehistoric looking escalator, which was actually moving today.

As the aircraft was parked out on a remote stand all passengers were bussed out to where the it was waiting. The glass was covered in condensation after the cold night and the bus was so crowded that I couldn't have seen what aircraft was anyway until to doors swung open to reveal the unmistakable sight of an F28, now there's something to make any aviation nut feel much better! But, before boarding everyone had to rummage around on the tarmac and identify their bags, which had been laid out beside the plane. It was the first time I had ever had to do this - I was under the impression that it was only El Al who took such measures for security, but evidently not. Although this caused a slight delay whilst there was much faffing about, and a few cabin calls for unclaimed items, the doors were closed just a few minutes late.

DAM-AMM
Carrier: AirQuarius Air Aviation, for Royal Jordanian/Syrian Arab Airways
Flight: RJ 0436
Aircraft: Fokker F28-4000
Registration: ZS-JES
Date of First Flight: 14th March 1986
Seat: 8A
Estimated Departure Time: 08:00
Actual Departure Time: 08:15
Estimated Arrival Time: 09:00
Actual Arrival Time: 08:45
Total Flying Time: 30 minutes

Up until now I had thought that the MDs were pretty loud, however all was put in perspective when the two mighty Rolls Royce Speys were brought into life. My oh my, they could make some noise, and we were still only taxing! Turning onto 23L there was a slight pause, before all hell was let lose behind... or that's what it sounded like! The F28 was definitely the loudest take off I have ever experienced from inside the cabin, excluding helicopters that is, although for all the noise it made the acceleration was nothing spectacular and the climb out rather slow -- but still, I was flying in an F28, and that was all that counted! A couple of sharp banks to the left as we climbed into the clouds gave a few fleeting views of DAM as we left it behind and headed towards Amman

t





The entire flight crew and the aircraft were from South Africa, which in a way felt quite odd when flying between two countries in the Middle East! Despite the flight being very short there was a brief snack service brought around, the cake looked and tasted really nice, but I just wasn't hungry and there was no point pushing it down so I popped it in my rucksack for later. I also might as well mention that it was my Birthday - and this flight on the F28 was my Birthday present to myself. The year before I had been sat on a DL 763 from JFK-FCO and then an AZ MD up to LHR, as I like to get away from everything and avoid the fuss which family tend to make!



Most of the flights operated by AirQuarius are into Iraq, where I am told they perform a 'spiral' approach into Baghdad to avoid missile attacks -- this sounded like great fun, in fact I even considered the feasibility of flying in and out in a day, just to experience it, although on the advice of pretty much everyone that it was a silly idea, I dropped it. Ironically though, I was about to get a taste of it, not that I was in any way appreciative of it at the time! All through the flight my chest had been feeling no better and with every breath that I took I could feel a really nasty stabbing pain in the area of my heart, so hence I was taking a lot of very shallow breaths to avoid this which just made me even more breathless. In the same moment the thrust was reduced and the left wing dipped steadily down... and pretty much stayed that way as we banked around and around getting lower and lower before finally, after several minutes of rapid descent, we leveled out on approach to the runway and touched down about thirty seconds later. I really didn't know what to do; it felt like my chest wanted to explode so I just gripped onto the armrest with one hand and my camera with the other!





I really hate giving in to anything, especially illness, and I always try to ignore it, but enough was enough as now I was almost bent double and really wasn't in a fit state to carry on. Waiting until most people had disembarked I rather sheepishly I asked one of the pursers for his assistance and explained how I was feeling, straight away he contacted the ground staff and from there I was taken with assistance to the in house hospital at AMM airport. After a few questions and an examination they were not happy with my condition/symptoms, so sent me onwards to a hospital in the centre of Amman where, to cut a long story short, they performed a thorough examination and to my great relief ruled out any problems to do with my heart (rather nasty history of family heart problems which up until that point I had been told I had not inherited, and luckily still don't seem to have done). It was though going to be the end of my trip, as it would have been foolish to carry on under the circumstances, so after being discharged I decided to head back to the airport, one of the junior doctors insisted on giving me a lift which was most kind of him, and although he made a point of not asking for anything in return I made sure I gave him something as it was a real help to me!

The only hotel near to the airport was very expensive, but needs must, and at least I managed to then contact home again, my family being very glad to hear from me. The next day I was now booked on the Royal Jordanian flight back into Heathrow, not the way I hoped for the trip to end; my journey was supposed to continue onto Petra, Wadi Rum, back to Amman and then on to Beirut, before flying back to the UK with MEA -- that'll have to be accomplished on another trip though.


Wednesday 31st January 2007

Again I'd managed to get no sleep at all, as the only roughly comfortable position was standing up, so once my wake up call sounded at 7am I headed down to reception, settled the bill and took the shuttle bus the short distance to the airport. From here on in I did my best with pictures, but as I could only really use my right arm I stuck the camera on motor drive in the hope that at least one out of a batch might come out, although I should have used auto, as I was waaay out with the shutter speeds! Check in was a pleasant and hassle free experience, apparently the flight was just about empty and, as a favour because I was tall, the lady put me in an extra legroom seat... it was only afterwards that I realised I could have a problem with this in an emergency as I wasn't feeling well, but upon asking a RJ help counter was told it was 'ok' and 'not a problem' -- oh well, I really wasn't in the mood today for pointing out safety regulations.





I suppose the only partial benefit of coming back home this way was that I'd get to fly the A340-200, not really a consolation, but it was at least something positive to come out of the situation. Boarding took no time at all, due to their only being a handful of passengers, I think a loading of around 56 pax springs to mind, which on a plane the size of the A342 is nothing!

AMM-LHR
Carrier: Royal Jordanian
Flight: RJ 111
Aircraft: Airbus A340-211
Registration: JY-AIA
Date of First Flight: 1st December 1993
Seat: 23J
Estimated Departure Time: 11:00
Actual Departure Time: 11:27
Estimated Arrival Time: 14:45
Actual Arrival Time: 14:50
Total Flying Time: 5 hours 23 minutes

My seat was at the front of the second cabin and did indeed have miles of leg room and was comfortable too. There was a short delay, then slowly the aircraft was pushed back. Outside on the tarmac was much of the RJ fleet, several A320s, some A321s, an A310 and one of their relatively new Dash 8-400s, which I was supposed to fly up to BEY about a week later.

The taxi to 26L took an age, however the takeoff was brisk and powerful, much, much more so than the -300 series (OK, I know it's not hard to beat the A343 when it comes to power) and before long the ground was receding , buildings becoming dots, trees pinpricks.







Sitting wasn't the most comfortable of positions, then again nor was standing after a while, but I found that alternating between the two made the whole experience a bit more bearable, so managed to catch a cabin picture on one of my wonders around the aisles. After about an hour the meal service was commenced, now I'm not sure if it was just because I hadn't really eaten much for the past three days, but the meal was the best I have ever had on a flight, it doesn't look much, but it tasted just perfect! In general I found the service onboard Royal Jordanian to be attentive and very polite, with frequent trips around the cabin to offer more tea and coffee.





After the meal I tried to relax back into the seat, but it didn't really work, so I tried to concentrate on the scenery outside to take my mind off things -- the Alps proving particularly spectacular to look down at, clad in their winter finery. Just over an hour later the English coast drifted by far beneath, I don't think I've ever been so glad to see it either! London appeared soon after, followed by a gentle approach down over the capital to land firmly on 27L... I was home!











Well, nearly home. After meeting my mum outside T3, who was very pleased to see me, it was a mere 5 hours drive back to Plymouth -- something else I could have done without! I did have the option of flying with Air France back to BHX from AMM, via CDG -- which is just what put me off that idea; having been flung about in busses between terminals there before, likewise having to transit at AMS with KLM was not appealing, (yes, it's the one time in my life where I have actually avoided taking an indirect flight!) even if it meant sitting in the car for slightly longer before finally reaching home.


I'm sure some of you are wondering what on earth was wrong with me, well, first thing my family did was cart me off to the local NHS outfit to have them look at me, and work out just what I had done. I forget the medical term for it, but somehow I had managed to crack several of my ribs in the left hand side of my ribcage which had also crushed it inwards slightly, and badly tear all of the muscles which hold the two sides of it together. The doctor was curious as to how I had managed to sustain such an injury, as it normally entails major trauma such as a car crash. I described the only thing I could think of, which was the hard landing with the Yak, which he agreed was the most likely cause and suggested that I stay away from Russian aircraft in the future, not that I really see it happening. I was also informed that I would have to do 'nothing' for at least a month, otherwise it wouldn't heal... so February perhaps became the most boring month of my life, as for most of it, I couldn't do a thing!  grumpy 


Aside of feeling ill, this trip was really good; Syria is not a dangerous country which should be avoided, just take precautions as you would when travelling anywhere else and you will be fine -- the people are friendly and it's brimming with culture and history just waiting to be explored. Certainly I wish to go back, and soon, hopefully also making it to see Petra, which is something I have always wanted to do.

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this second part of my trip, as I find the time in between studies I will complete other reports from places I have been to. Feel free to comment and ask any questions you might have.


Dan  Smile


...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineONTFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 380 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 12256 times:

Great job on both reports! Look foward to many more from you in the future


Doin' just fine thanks...
User currently offlineCO7e7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 2848 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 11954 times:

Dan, sorry to hear about your medical situation.

I'm really glad to hear about the good service on RJ ...

Excellent report and pictures. Hopefully one day i'll be able to visit syria.


User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12090 posts, RR: 49
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 11880 times:

Dan sorry to hear about your mishaps when traveling. Nothing is worse then getting sick away from home that is for sure.

Your adventures are inspiring that is for sure.



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 11773 times:

Most excellent report - for the flights as well as for the sightseeing part, which is quite inspiring !

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
I was terrified of them -- as I was of flying in general. However times change,

Hear hear ! Big grin

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
As it was, I'm sure that at one point the driver was going rough ways across a ploughed field

LOL !

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
His car was quite impressive too, I've no idea what it was,

My first idea is an old Opel Ascona.


Thankfully, you recovered well from this injury. See you in FRA.
Holger aka. -HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2592 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 11759 times:

Great second report about an interesting trip. Many thanks for sharing it with us. I couldn't see some of the later pics, but the ones I did see really added to the report. The F28 is more tempting than ever now. I flew DAM-AMM with RJ over 2 years ago but it was an A320 at that time. Do a search and you'll find my report. I also thought it was unusual that we had to identify our bags at the aircraft side before boarding. The only other time I've seen that. more recently, was on an Alliance Air B737-200 flight from Vizag to Madras.

The chest pains you experienced sounded a little concerning and I can imagine the relief of touching down in the UK. Did you find you could only breath in so far, which caused you to get breathless? Send me an e-mail and let me know what exactly it was if poss. It sounds possibly like something I used to experience from time to time, and still do occasionally. I'd be interested to know.

Many thanks again for the two parts of this report.


User currently offlineDebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 11713 times:

Hi, GREAT report and fantastic pictures! Great to see such "exotic" a/c like TU134, YAK 40's and B747SP are still around!

Btw. I also think, this might be an Opel Ascona, might better known to you as Vauxhall Cavalier.


User currently offlineDYflyer From Norway, joined May 2006, 676 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 11688 times:

Excellent trip report as always Dan. Your reports are really some of the best we get around here. Shame you had to cut your trip short, but i guess you didn't have much of a choice. Good to hear it wasn't anything more serious than some cracked ribs (not that i don't think it was serious enough at the time).

Quoting HT (Reply 4):
My first idea is an old Opel Ascona.

Yep, that would be it. I guess in the UK Vauxhall had their own models (and not re-branded Opels) when this one was new.



Life is like a book. If you don't travel, you only read one page.
User currently offlineAlexEU From Serbia, joined Oct 2007, 1817 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11665 times:

Great t/r ! I enjoyed reading both !

How did you book flights?

Cheers


User currently offlineTurkishWings From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1441 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11653 times:

This was a terrific report. I am so sorry to hear about your health condition yet I am glad it wasn't a heart related issue. I hope you get better soon and travel again so you can share with us  Smile

When I started reading your report and after seeing the pictures from near the Turkish border, I was gonna suggest you to definitely visit Jordan (Petra in particular) and Turkey too. It seems that you are into ancient ruins and we have tons over here  Smile Too bad that you couldn't make it to Petra though... Hopefully better luck next time. And maybe you should rethink traveling on Russian built planes  Smile



Coffee - Tea or Me?
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8506 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 11628 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and photo's, many thanks.

Aircraft aside, the pictures posted are just fantastic, I'd really like to follow in your footsteps one day and take a trip to Syria, the sense of history!

Interesting to see you had a good experience on RJ, as you may have read, nothing but bad reports about RJ lately!

Hopefully you are starting to feel a bit better, I imagine it must have been pretty scary feeling so bad whilst away and having nobody you know around you.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
The aircraft on the next stand was Syrian's illusive Tu134, already back from it's daily flight and, with the dispatcher's blessing I took a few pictures

- Wow, kept in such a superb condition.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 24
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 11594 times:



Quoting TurkishWings (Reply 9):
I hope you get better soon

&

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
Hopefully you are starting to feel a bit better.

Please keep in mind that the problem Dan mentioned happened to him about 1 year ago; this whole trip was in January 2007. Having met Dan in the meantime I can assure you that he has recovered.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8506 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 11559 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!



Quoting HT (Reply 11):
Please keep in mind that the problem Dan mentioned happened to him about 1 year ago; this whole trip was in January 2007

- Bugger, never even looked at the dates!

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2592 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 11374 times:



Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
I forget the medical term for it, but somehow I had managed to crack several of my ribs in the left hand side of my ribcage which had also crushed it inwards slightly, and badly tear all of the muscles which hold the two sides of it together.

Forget my question from earlier then. I somehow missed that last paragraph when I was reading your report!

Maybe your injuries were worse because of the position you were seated in during the landing. You know, that trip reporter's position - leaning forward, neck in pain from having your face constantly glued to the window...  Wink


User currently offlineAH332 From Algeria, joined Mar 2007, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 11350 times:

Hi,

Dan, amazing reports (Part I&II both)! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I've always said Arab hospitality is hard to beat! Smile
I'm actually very keen on doing a trip to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan so reading your reports was real interesting! If you don't mind me asking, how much did the whole trip cost (Flights+Accomodations)?

Again, great report and thanks for sharing!

Cheers,
Imad



Bledi Heya Al Djazaeer! // Next Flights: AB MIA-DUS-ORY, AF ORY-MRS-ALG
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11615 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 11318 times:



Quoting ONTFlyer (Reply 1):
Great job on both reports! Look foward to many more from you in the future

Thank you, glad that you enjoyed this one, and I do have some more in the pipeline.

Quoting CO7e7 (Reply 2):
Excellent report and pictures. Hopefully one day i'll be able to visit syria.



Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 3):
Dan sorry to hear about your mishaps when traveling. Nothing is worse then getting sick away from home that is for sure.

Your adventures are inspiring that is for sure.

Indeed, when you are in a foreign country on your own it's much more concerning than when you are at home where family and friends can help you out, still, all turned out well in the end.  Smile

Quoting HT (Reply 4):
My first idea is an old Opel Ascona.

Ahh thank you! It definately was an Opel of some kind, I remember the badge, but as far as identifying the exact model goes I was at a loss. I thought it was only right to add in a few pictures of the places I visited whilst there, as really flying on the aircraft was only half of my reason for visiting the country.

Looking forwards to FRA - see you there!

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 5):
Great second report about an interesting trip. Many thanks for sharing it with us. I couldn't see some of the later pics, but the ones I did see really added to the report. The F28 is more tempting than ever now. I flew DAM-AMM with RJ over 2 years ago but it was an A320 at that time. Do a search and you'll find my report. I also thought it was unusual that we had to identify our bags at the aircraft side before boarding. The only other time I've seen that. more recently, was on an Alliance Air B737-200 flight from Vizag to Madras.

Darn, I take it that some pictures are still showing up just as little squares? It is peculiar how only some routes and airlines make you identify luggage on the tarmac, but it does increase the safety of the flight so it's no bad thing, although I imagine that doing it in the rain is a bit of a pain in the proverbial! Thanks for the comments, I'll find out what the term was and then drop you an email with it.  Smile

Quoting Debonair (Reply 6):
Hi, GREAT report and fantastic pictures! Great to see such "exotic" a/c like TU134, YAK 40's and B747SP are still around!

Thanks, it is very good that they are still flying and I hope to go back soon and take a flight on the Tu134. It's not a model of the cavalier that I have ever seen in the UK, but then that could have something to do with it's age! As I think I mentioned in the first half of the report, I'm thinking of going overland next time to Damascus on the train.

Quoting DYflyer (Reply 7):
Excellent trip report as always Dan. Your reports are really some of the best we get around here. Shame you had to cut your trip short, but i guess you didn't have much of a choice. Good to hear it wasn't anything more serious than some cracked ribs (not that i don't think it was serious enough at the time).

Thank you, that means a lot, as they do take some considerable time to write  Smile It was a shame that I had to stop, but as I couldn't carry my backpack, despite it weighing only about 10kg, there was no way that I could carry on without causing even more damage to myself.

Quoting AlexEU (Reply 8):
Great t/r ! I enjoyed reading both !

How did you book flights?

Thank you, most of the flights were booked through Opodo, as I seem to remember that Expedia either didn't sell tickets to Syria, or was prevented from doing so.

Quoting TurkishWings (Reply 9):
This was a terrific report. I am so sorry to hear about your health condition yet I am glad it wasn't a heart related issue. I hope you get better soon and travel again so you can share with us

When I started reading your report and after seeing the pictures from near the Turkish border, I was gonna suggest you to definitely visit Jordan (Petra in particular) and Turkey too. It seems that you are into ancient ruins and we have tons over here Too bad that you couldn't make it to Petra though... Hopefully better luck next time. And maybe you should rethink traveling on Russian built planes

Turkey is somewhere that I'd really like to visit, a while ago I watched a program about a large ruined city/fort in the east of your country, high up in the mountains. There whole area looked very similar in appearance to the ruins outside Aleppo and is definately somewhere that I would like to try and find, although it looked quite remote. I'm very glad it wasn't heart related too - a good thing to come out of the tests they did at the Hospital was to show that I have very few problems to worry about there and that the heart murmur I have seems to have gone away. I don't think I'll give up on Russian planes just yet though  Wink

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
Great report and photo's, many thanks.

Aircraft aside, the pictures posted are just fantastic, I'd really like to follow in your footsteps one day and take a trip to Syria, the sense of history!

Interesting to see you had a good experience on RJ, as you may have read, nothing but bad reports about RJ lately!

Hopefully you are starting to feel a bit better, I imagine it must have been pretty scary feeling so bad whilst away and having nobody you know around you.

All I can say is go for it! During my entire trip there was only one person I found who was rude, and that was a very young lad who told me to "fuck off" because I didn't let him shine my shoes - they were walking boots and he had black polish!  silly  One place I didn't get to, which I really, really regret not seeing is Palmyra - so if you do go, make sure that you go there! It is about 200km north of Damascus which would have taken a good couple of days to get there and back and see the ruins properly, and I was tied time wise - I had ten days for the entire trip, which was my reading week in between semesters at University, although I ended up being off for a month and a half... oops!

RJ was a very good experience and I would fly them again, although with so few people onboard I expect the flight attendants were bored silly. Thanks for the comments  Smile

Quoting HT (Reply 11):
Please keep in mind that the problem Dan mentioned happened to him about 1 year ago; this whole trip was in January 2007. Having met Dan in the meantime I can assure you that he has recovered.

I have indeed Holger, although it did mean me missing a trip to Africa which I was pretty annoyed about, but these things happen.

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 13):
Maybe your injuries were worse because of the position you were seated in during the landing. You know, that trip reporter's position - leaning forward, neck in pain from having your face constantly glued to the window...

Certainly it couldn't have helped, but when you are not expecting these things there is no way of preparing yourself for them. However, I think regardless of how I was sat I'd have been thrown around pretty well, everybody else certainly was - it's quite a testament to the Yak's design that noting broke, well, nothing obvious from when I looked back at the plane!

Quoting AH332 (Reply 14):
Dan, amazing reports (Part I&II both)! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I've always said Arab hospitality is hard to beat!
I'm actually very keen on doing a trip to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan so reading your reports was real interesting! If you don't mind me asking, how much did the whole trip cost (Flights+Accomodations)?

Thank you, I had been told of the hospitality by my Grandfather, he spent much of his time in the Middle East (albeit not Syria) in the 70s and 80s whilst organising the construction of many oil pipelines. Really it's his memories which make me want to travel in the region, especially to Iran... when they decide that they wish to give me a visa that is! I did the trip on a fairly tight budget, staying in cheaper hotels or hostels, so I'd say including flights/hotels/food the lot it cost me about £700-£800, a rough breakdown of the flights being;

LHR-DAM - £250 o/w
DAM-LTK-DAM - £34 rtn
DAM-ALP-DAM - £42 rtn
DAM-AMM - £96 o/w
AMM-LHR - £300 o/w ... although it was booked just a day before the flight left.

Certainly the internal flights are ridiculously cheap, especially on such amazing aircraft!

Thanks for all the comments, and glad that people have enjoyed reading the reports.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1677 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 11246 times:

Great report!
I really loved the pic of the new looking TU-134! What a great shape the old lady is in  Smile
I really envy you, and must think of doing such a diverse trip myself sooner or later!
Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a quick and good recovery from your Bruised Yak's  Big grin

Cheers,
Joost ( D-ALCE )



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineJafa39 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 11179 times:

Good stuff Plym!!! A really interesting couple fo TR's, I look forward to more of your off the beaten track travels.  Smile

User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17052 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10960 times:

Brílliant TR

The pics are really good.

Interesting to read that you had a good flight with RJ!!




Thank you for sharing

B747forever



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineBeaucaire From Syria, joined Sep 2003, 5252 posts, RR: 25
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 10808 times:

Excellent report -one of the most interesting ones I read so far - mabruk ,mabrouk...
I've been to Syria several times and like the country and people a lot -they are much better than whht TV tries to portray them (..all potential terrorists..)- sad that the politicians don't et their act together about the Lebanon..
Once again- one of the finest reports and most detailed reports-a lot of time has gone into it!
Congratulation !



Please respect animals - don't eat them...
User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined exactly 14 years ago today! , 3236 posts, RR: 32
Reply 20, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 10358 times:

Hello Dan!

It is really an amazing TR and really enjoyed reading it. I'm sorry to hear that you suffered such an injury and had to change your plans. I guess you must figure out how to fly MEA soon.

There was an interesting sentence in your TR about 727s and how you felt about them in the past. I'm glad you had the opportunity to experience the wonderful feeling of flying it. In my opinion, those planes really do offer an amazing feeling and every time I flew with 727s, flights were fantastic.

Anyway, thank you for such an interesting TR and photos. I hope you recovered from the injury and that you'll post more interesting TR soon.


Aleksandar



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10299 times:

How on earth did I manage to miss this??? But going by the date you posted it, I was travelling to Dubai via Abu Dhabi that day, so it obviously slipped into a haze of unread TR's when I got home!

Really fascinating report. Am sorry that you had to endure such uncomfortable chest pains during your trip...it must have made the whole experience not as enjoyable as it could have been, but it sounds like you made the most of things as best you could.


Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
This flight was another first for me; my inaugural flight on a 727 aircraft! So many times I had the opportunity to fly them with IB during their last years of operation, although at the time, and I am almost too ashamed to admit it, I was terrified of them -- as I was of flying in general.

Don't be ashamed...I have been through phases of being terrified of flying...still am to a certain extent (alcohol helps a great deal)!! And I can understand your fear of 727's, personally I always associated them with plane crashes in the US that were shown on TV!! As far as I recall, 727's were fairly rare in Europe (IB being the exception?). Infact, I have only ever flown them in the US, on PanAm, USAir and Piedmont...I was a nervous wreck throughout all of those flights because of my memories of those news reports. What a berk!!

Anyway, thanks a lot for sharing this interesting report...with great pics too!

Cheers.

Andy.



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11615 posts, RR: 60
Reply 22, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 10174 times:



Quoting DALCE (Reply 16):
Great report!
I really loved the pic of the new looking TU-134! What a great shape the old lady is in

Thanks, yeah the Tu134 looks fantastic in the white and blue colors of Syrian - hopefully if I go back again then I could get a flight on it.

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 17):
Good stuff Plym!!! A really interesting couple fo TR's, I look forward to more of your off the beaten track travels.

Thanks Jafa, if you are reading this, shame to see that you have dissappeared from A.net.  Smile

Quoting B747forever (Reply 18):
Interesting to read that you had a good flight with RJ!!

I really couldn't knock them, I know others have had awful experiences, but mine was excellent.

Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 19):
Excellent report -one of the most interesting ones I read so far - mabruk ,mabrouk...

Shukran!  Smile As you say, it's unfortunate that the politics of Syria portrays the people in such a bad light - hopefully things will change.

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 20):
It is really an amazing TR and really enjoyed reading it. I'm sorry to hear that you suffered such an injury and had to change your plans. I guess you must figure out how to fly MEA soon.

I do hope to, as I'd love to visit Beirut soon. I am now fully recovered from my Yak related injuries thank you, it was about a year ago now that I made the trip, so yes some more trip reports will be on the way soon from my other travels.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 21):
Really fascinating report. Am sorry that you had to endure such uncomfortable chest pains during your trip...it must have made the whole experience not as enjoyable as it could have been, but it sounds like you made the most of things as best you could.

Thank you  Smile It did to some extent in Syria, but the main thing was not being able to carry on and see Wadi Rum, Petra, Amman and Beirut... still, there is always the future.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 21):
Don't be ashamed...I have been through phases of being terrified of flying...still am to a certain extent (alcohol helps a great deal)!! And I can understand your fear of 727's, personally I always associated them with plane crashes in the US that were shown on TV!! As far as I recall, 727's were fairly rare in Europe (IB being the exception?). Infact, I have only ever flown them in the US, on PanAm, USAir and Piedmont...I was a nervous wreck throughout all of those flights because of my memories of those news reports. What a berk!!

That's part of what made me afraid to fly them, plus in their last years IB's 727s were looking very very tatty, we have the old jokes now about their planes being dirty, well some of the ones I saw at BCN faded from orange and white at the front to dark sooty black under the tail! There were quite a few operators of the 727 in Europe; TAP, DanAir, LH, AF plus others which I have probably forgotten, but they all parted with them long before IB did. Beautiful aircraft, I must fly another one day soon, and also I want to try out the Tu154, see what kind of a beast that is!

Thanks once more for the comments,


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
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