Another long trip report for ya
Aim of trip:
1/ Try out Singapore Airlines A340 and Boeing 777 aircraft.
2/ Visual acquisition of Garuda Indonesia DC10, particularly PK-GIF
3/ Visual acquisition of other Indonesia domestic carriers
31 Aug 2001 - SQ164 Singapore - Jakarta
Scheduled Departure Time: 1900 (Local)
Scheduled Aircraft: A340-313X 9V-SJO
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1930 (Local)
Actual Departure Time: 1915 (Local)
Actual Aircraft: Boeing 747-412 9V-SMT
Actual Arrival Time: 1935 (Local)
I arrived at Changi Airport with my friend Alvin at around 4.30pm to check in for our flight. We had already performed the telephone check in and had seats 53A-C assigned to us as we had requested. At our baggage checkin counter, I asked the aircraft type and registration, and given to be A340-313X 9V-SJO. So off we went into the terminal, and checked out the Nikko shop. I bought 2 Dragon Wings models - Continental 777-200 and Egypt Air 777-200, each for SG$33. I also checked out the open air viewing gallery, and grabbed a shot of the JAL Dream Express #4, the first time I'm seeing it in daylight.
Proceeded to the gate, only to notice that the scheduled gate, Fox 59, was changed to Fox 34. A glanced over the pier showed a Boeing 747-400 tail. To say I was devestated was a understatment. No doubt its' Alvin favourite aircraft, I was looking forward to changing my extremely negative views on the Airbus A340 aircraft. Once we were in the holding room, I understood why the aircraft was changed. On the ramp, a police-plated Toyota Camry drove up to the stairs, and out came two ministers. They were hurried up the aircraft into the presumably first class cabin. Then they allowed us into the aircraft. Reaching the door, I handed over mine and Alvin's boarding pass, together with our student cards, to the stewardess asking her if she minded asking the Captain if we could sit in for the take off. Of course its a definite negative, but then, no harm trying right? We then headed towards our seats. Sure enough, the stewardess came along 10 minutes later, and said that the captain wouldnt mind us visiting during the cruise, but given the short flying time and meals it was impossible. To which we replied that we could easily forgo the meals to get a glimpse of the deck. The seats were not too bad, quite nice and comfy, seat pitch was around 32", enough for my frame (183cm) to fit in comfortably. But the seat width was a little bit small, and was a little cramped. We were at 53A-C, 53B was not occupied, and hence we occupied that whole row.
Anyway, we pushed back facing south, and started our PW4056 engines. A 1-ton taxi fuel was allocated, and we proceeded on a left turn onto Whiskey Papa, Alpha 7, holding point 20 Left. There was an SQ A310 infront of us, and we were number 2 in sequence for the takeoff. We taxied rather slowly, and made the turn onto the holding point of 20Left, and then lined up with the runway. A flaps 20 deployment was engaged, and soon we powered down 20 Left. Rotating came early, barely 1500metres into the runway before we nosed up and was airborne. V1 was at 127 knots while Vrotate at 134 knots, and V2 at 146 knots. Pretty slow for a 747 aint it? Anyway, we climbed thru the Anito 3B departure, then tracked direct to ANITO. FL350 was assigned, and we cruised at M0.85 through the late evening. Meals came, and wow, I sure wished we took some of them. One of the meals that fragranted the entire cabin was the lamb with cooked rice. Sizzling hot, it made everybody (including me) hungry But then, we were supposed to go up front and didnt have the chane to taste the meal.
Sure enough, the leading FA soon appeared and brought us forward, up the stairs onto the upper deck where I was in awe of the upper deck J class. Even though I travelled on the upper deck J class on a QF 747-400 last year, the SQ J class simply outclassed the QF one with its environment and seats. The lights were dimmed down, meals being served, and the seats were solid, way better than the QF ones. As we made ourway up to the deck, I noticed heads of the every J class passenger following us and wondering what the HECK we were doing . Up in the deck, we met Captain Valentine and First Officer Saravanan. They werent very talkative though, so we had a very brief visit. The cockpit was the same the QF B744 one, but it looked great in the dimmed lights. Dont have many comments about it, cos we didnt stay that long so, we hardly made any communications around with the crew. Less than 5 minutes later, it was time for the descent and we were hurried back to our seats.
Jakarta (CGK) weather was hazy, visibility down to a maximum of 5km. We did a flaps 30 landing, with a Vapproach of 141 knots - Thats slow! We were the last to land on 07 left, and immediately after our arrival, an AWAir A310 departed 25Right. The best part was on landing, we swerved right and then went back left and right.. just like we're doing a X-wind landing.. not too sure what happened, was pretty dark outside. Anyway, we taxied and parked at stand Delta 1. Deplaning was a mess as usual, and we were to find out how slow CGK immigration clears paxs of a Boeing 747-400. After all the documentation was completed, we were met by our dear friend, Mr. Gerry S. who would be our tour guide for the remainder of the time in CGK.
Jakarta - The Land of the Crazy Drivers, Cheap Food and Beautiful 737-200s
Jakarta is safe. Safer than any of you who hasnt been there think. The streets arent filled with angry protestors throwing bottles into buildings. They're just filled with crazy drivers. Driving in Jakarta is NOT recommended for Australians or Singaporeans, and also those with weak hearts. Trust me. Jakarta town itself is pretty modern, with a nice CBD and many nice hotels. However, the suburbs remind me of a village, with many small lanes interwining here and there. Anyway, there are some pretty good things to catch in CGK. This is the land of the 737-200s. I've never seen so many 737-200s before in my life. The first night we spent at Gerry's place, a nice cool suburban house in the inner circle of town. Spent the night looking at slides and prints and watching Cartoon Network~!! hehe...
The next morning, we checked into the Airport Transit hotel which offers spectcular views of the runways. Room goes for US$90 per night for the International rate. Anyway, managed to catch a number of Garuda planes from the airport view, such as PK-GIF, PK-GIA, PK-GSA, PG-GSB and lots of 733/4/5 of Garuda, including the ever confusing PK-GGG. Later in the afternoon, we proceeded to a North spot by the runway. All I can say about that spot is its breathless. Its even better than ramp access as you dont have any fences in the way. A number of shots were taken, but the afternoon arrivals failed to yield any special planes. We then proceeded to the Domestic terminal to watch some of Gerry's airline aircraft come in and out, with a turnaround of only 20 minutes! Also managed to catch my first B747-100 in the form of Evergreen's International airrval.
Early the next morning, at 5am, we proceeded to the Southern spot for domestic departures. This was not a good day for photography as it was pretty hazy. This was the day of Indonesian domestics, and we saw many unfamiliar airlines such as AirFast B737-200, STARAir B737-200, Kartika Airlines B737-200, Mandala Airlines B737-200, Merpati Airlines B737-200, Nurman Avia F28 PK-NAI, Bali Air B737-200 and F28. We also saw a new airline's B737-200 but I've promised Gerry to let him have the honour of having its first photo on Airliners.net so I cant say what airline it is.
Checking out of the hotel the next day, we proceeded to tour Halim Airforce Base as it was an open house on that day. Many long gone aircraft were seen there, such as DC3s, BAC111s etc. Didnt have any shots as photography is never permitted. A tour of CGK by night soon ensured, and we witnessed the reminents of the riots that took place not so long ago.
Our flight back to Singapore was on the next day, and well, to ensure it was a B777-200 we called SIA and were told that 9V-SQH was operating the flight. Contented as I was, the evening passed quickly, and morning came.
Summary of Indonesian Aircraft Spotted:
Garuda DC-10 PK-GIA, PK-GID, PK-GIF
Garuda B742 PK-GSB, PK-GSA
Garuda B744 PK-GSH, PK-GSI
Airfast B732 PK-OCQ
Mandala B732 PK-RIA, PK-RIB, PK-RIK (Recent blue paint on tail)
Air Nuvia F28 PK-NAI
Bali Air B732 PK-KFD
Bali Air F28 PK-KJL
Kartika Air PK-KAR
Star Air B732 PK-ALH
3 Sep 2001 - SQ15 Jakarta - Singapore
Scheduled Departure Time: 1230 (Local)
Scheduled Aircraft: Boeing 777-212(IGW) 9V-SQH
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1500 (Local)
Actual Departure Time: 1221 (Local)
Actual Aircraft: Boeing 777-312 9V-SYB
Actual Arrival Time: 1453 (Local)
In the morning, anxious as I was, I called SIA in Singapore to find out what operated SQ154 to Jakarta and was pleasantly surprised to be told Nine Victor Sierra Yankee Bravo, though the lady said it was a Boeing 777-200. On the way to Soekarno Hatta airport as Gerry drove like M.Schmaucher (who incidentally won the Belgian Grand Prix the previous night), we were hopeful the lady saw the registration wrongly, and hoped it was 9V-SVB. However, no such luck for us. 9V-SYB was soon visible at the International Terminal, stand Delta 1. Gerry dropped us off, and apologised as he had to rush off. Alvin and I then made our way to the check in counter. We requested for the seats at the last few rows and were assigned 59A/B. Passing through immigration was again slow, and well one of the aircraft that I missed, was in sight. A Lion Air YAK42 was parked at gate Echo 2, and I grabbed a number of shots of it before going into the Delta 1 holding room. Calls for PPS/First/Business/KF Gold/KF Silver were announced, and soon we were proceeding into the aircraft. Again upon boarding, we asked the Chief Steward on whether he would help us ask the Captain if he minded us sitting in for the takeoff. He immediately said no due to security reasons (standard statement), and then I asked about a visit during the cruise, he also said no, but I insisted that he ask. Reluctantly he took down my seat number and I thought he wouldnt have gone to ask.
Taking my seat on the B777-300 was a great disappointment. I have always insisted that the B777 is the world's best plane to fly. However, the seats were narrow, and seat pitch was averaging 32". The -200s which I have taken offered way more legroom, and had wider seats. Perhaps thats because I was on the emergency rows. Somehow, this 777 didnt give the spacious feeling I usually get when entering a 777. Oh yes, after sitting for a while, an FA came back, and asked us if we could make the cockpit visit fast as they were going to serve meals. The standard reply to her was that we wouldnt mind missing our meals and she acknowledged and went off. Anyway, Yankee Bravo pushed back soon, and taxied to the holding point of runway 25 right. A Garuda 737-300 was on finals so we had short of the runway, and entering it after it touched down. A rolling start was performed, and we were on derated thrust, rotating slowly after approximately 2000m.
After passing 1000 feet, we turned right to track direct to PARDI. One thing I notice about Jakarta's ATC is that on takeoff, the aircraft is cleared to its cruising altitude, ours being FL350. Also, no SIDS are followed. Once airborne, most aircraft track direct to their first waypoint, or to PARDI or Papa Lima Bravo (PLB - where MI185 went down). Once we reached our cruising, the same FA brought us forward into the cockpit where we met both our pilots. The captain was a South Africian guy, whose name I didnt catch, while the FO was SFO Ong, a very cool ex-RSAF guy. They both were surprised we knew so much about aircraft, and the FO proceeded to give us a terrific explanation of all the controls and functions of the B777, such as the unique Assm Thrust switch. We were not really following our airway G579 due to weather, and tracked left and right of the clouds. At one point, we decreased our cruising mach to 0.82, otherwise we cruised at M.84. The FO also selected one of the PFD to show us the view of the video cameras on the aircraft wings that showed both the left and right engines. He said that there is also one on the nose gear but since its retracted now, we couldnt see it.
We also enquired about the runway turnoff lights which were never seem to see. We spent about 45minutes in the deck, and were ushered back before descent. No, the jumpseat was not allowed. Singapore radio assigned us to perform the Remes 3B arrival, though I think we were vectored in. We did the standard downwind, with our spoilers up for about 3 minutes, and turned left for the base leg and a sharp left again for the interception of runway 20 Left. As much as we hoped for 20 Right, we didnt get it. Singapore ATC always reclears SIA aircraft for 20 Left. Landing speed was 139 knots, flaps 30 which is probably the minimum speed for landing on the 773. We vacated the 2nd right, and taxied to our gate at Fox 42, and parked next to 9V-SYE. While deplaning, we thanked all the FAs onboard for such a wonderful flight.
So well, to all who are flying SIA still, they STILL allow cockpit visits but its basically up to the guys up front.
Thanks for reading this long trip report.