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Summer Wandering Pt.2 - Yak42, An24, An140, & B732  
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 13841 times:

Summer Wanderings; Part Two – The Ukraine By Air



Welcome to the second installment of this trip report covering my travels over the summer, focusing here on the remaining flights taken within the Ukraine, including a mystery flight on the An24, a surprise trip on a second An140 and the novelty of taking the first ever flight operated by WizzAir Ukraine! It has taken a little longer that I anticipated (to say the least!) for me to get this section online as, whilst I enjoy sharing my travels and experiences with everyone, I still have to put university work and my family first – all of which has been very demanding of my time recently. Thank you though to many members who have contacted me, it’s great to know these reports are appreciated so much! Unfortunately due to new issues with YouTube videos having the potential to contain viruses, embedding is currently not available, hence I’ve provided links instead.

Once again, I think it’s clearer to lay out my overall route below using map imagery sourced from Google Earth, which plot my course, along with the airlines flown;

Routes Flown During the Complete Trip:



Routes Flown Just Within the Ukraine:




The flights covered in this installment are as follows:

06.07.2008 ... KBP-HRK ... DonbassAero ... Yak 42D ... UR-42366
07.07.2008 ... HRK-KBP ... DonbassAero ... Yak 42D ... UR-42366
07.07.2008 ... IEV-CWC ... Wind Rose Airlines ... An24 ... UR-WRA
07.07.2008 ... CWC-KBP ... Wind Rose Airlines ... An24 ... UR-WRA
08.07.2008 ... KBP-OZH ... Motor Sich Airlines ... An140-100 ... UR-14005
09.07.2008 ... DNK-KBP ... Dnieproavia ... B737-400 ... UR-KIV
10.07.2008 ... KBP-SIP ... DonbassAero ... Yak 42D ... UR-42383
10.07.2008 ... SIP-KBP ... AeroSvit ... B737-200 ... UR-BVY
11.07.2008 ... KBP-SIP ... WizzAir Ukraine ... A320-200 ... UR-WUA
11.07.2008 ... SIP-KBP ... WizzAir Ukraine ... A320-200 ... UR-WUA
11.07.2008 ... KBP-SIP ... Ukraine International Airlines ... B737-400 ... UR-GAV



Continued from Part One:

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/134146/


Day 12; Sunday 6th July:


Upon reaching Kiev the previous night I’d dropped into the airport’s internet cafe to check up on my emails… and, thank goodness I had! There were no less than three emails from AeroSvit waiting for me, all sent just a few hours before and none of them terribly good news! My morning flight to Kharkov the next day, due to depart at 10:00 and arrive at 11:00, had now been ‘rescheduled’ so that it no longer left until 22:10 and from the email I received it appeared that there had already been a schedule change made without even notifying me, as the flight I originally booked wasn’t even mentioned, yet two others were:

Quoting AeroSvit:

HELLO!


WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE SITUATION.
PLEASE, BE INFORMED THAT OUR FLIGHTS TO/FROM KHARKIV AT 14-40 AND 18-10 HAVE BEEN CANCELLED.
NOW WE HAVE GOT A FLIGHT VV033 TO KHARKIV AT 22-10 AND WE COME BACK AT 08-55.


WE CAN REBOOK YOU ON THIS FLIGHTS ON THE ANOTHER DATE OR RETURN MONEY TO YOUR CREDIT CARD.
COULD YOU, PLEASE, REPLY ON ONLINE@AEROSVIT.COM?


WITH BEST REGARDS

This rather screwed up my plan to see Kharkov, but I thought I might as well take the flights and try and see at least a bit of the city, even if it would be very little and by night! The second email was slightly more promising; my SAAB 340 flight to Chernivitsi the following day had also been altered, although only by one hour - so no biggie, but the third email stated that my LWO-KBP flight had been altered by several hours – completely cocking up some more of my plans, but I’ll return to that one later on!

As I no longer had to be up at the crack of dawn to fly to Kharkov, I decided to catch the bus into Kiev for some more sightseeing, calling off at the airport on the way, so that I could visit the AeroSvit desk and confirm myself on the outbound flight that night and the return flight the following morning. I asked if there was any possibility of getting on an earlier flight but no, there wasn’t one, however I did get a rather curt apology and a meal voucher. Great – one meal voucher for a 12 hour delay, that’s what I call customer service! A little annoyed, I headed into the centre of Kiev:

Booking hall of Kiev’s main railway station:



The Motherland statue:



Inside the base of the statue:



Monument to the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper:



Looking towards the Lavra and Kiev’s amazing Monastery of the Caves:






After another boiling hot day walking around the city, I arrived back at Borispol in the late evening. Pleasantly the main international terminal wasn’t heaving, which was probably a good job as I’d left it a bit late, (fewer busses run out to KBP during the evening and the first bus was ‘full’ - because I didn’t want to pay double the correct fare!) and I still had to collect my Bergen from the baggage store in the basement. By the time I reached Terminal B, the domestic terminal, I was one of the last passengers to check in. This terminal was still very busy – it seems that today marked the inaugural bank of late night departures and early morning returns for many of AeroSvit/DonbassAero’s domestic flights… if only they’d told people earlier than the day before! One benefit to turning up late was that I didn’t have to wait around for long, as there really is nothing to do; no sooner had I passed through security, then the flight was called.

As expected, today’s flight was being operated by a DonbassAero Yak 42D, this aircraft in particular had started its life in 1989 with Aeroflot as CCCP-42366, becoming UR-42366 with Air Ukraine after the break-up, then EP-SAG for Saffatt Airlines, and a short period with Dardan Air as T9-ABH, before joining DonbassAero. Considering it was now on it’s third operator since Air Ukraine, I thought it pretty impressive that it was still sporting the defunct airlines color-scheme! I had chosen a seat in Row 19 again, which is certainly the best in the house if you’re an aviation enthusiast!




The load was very light and a few minutes after boarding the doors were closed, followed by a short briefing in Ukrainian and broken English on what to do in an emergency, although it was certainly no safety demonstration as you might expect to find when flying in Western Europe and the crew seemed very disengaged.


KBP-HRK Kiev Borispol to Kharkov

Carrier: DonbassAero
Flight: VV033
Aircraft: Yakovlev Yak 42D
Registration: UR-42366
Date of First Flight: 05.05.1989 (Delivery date)
Seat: 19A
Block Departure Time: 10:00 22:10
Actual Take off Time: 22:19
Block Arrival Time: 11:10 23:10
Actual Touchdown Time: 23:16
Distance Flown: 241 miles
Total Flying Time: 57 minutes
Fare: US $145.40 return


Right on time the engines span into life and the aircraft made the short taxi to runway 36R. I had hoped to film the take-off, but it was almost dark and I was using the relatively basic camera on my mobile phone, so unfortunately it didn’t have enough light to make it worthwhile. How I wish I had though; this take-off would have put a BAe146 to shame! After a slight pause the engines begin to spool up, sending an angry noise like a buzz saw ringing through your ears, then after an improbably short roll; less than 1000m, we rotated smoothly and the Yak rocketed noisily up into the sky at a pitch far more comparable with Western aircraft. It was perhaps a little too steep in fact as, only a few hundred feet up, the aircraft seemed to be laboring and after a few violent shudders, the nose dipped sharply downwards by ten degrees or so, with the climb out continuing at this more leisurely rate until we broke through the shallow cloud and emerged back into the pale light of evening.




Like most of the Yak’s I’d flown on so far, this aircraft’s cabin looked as if had seen much better days; its drab interior was complimented by poor legroom and hard seats, whilst the crew seemed quite cold and abrupt during the ‘service’ (one glass of water) – perhaps they too had only just been notified of the schedule changes?




Following some forty minutes of flying, descent initiated as the noise around me from the engines nulled. The cloud which had blanketed Borispol was absent here so, in the distance ahead, the lights of what I presumed to be Kharkov were spread out below like a huge two tone carpet. Oddly though we flew straight past this in level flight, so far in fact that I thought Kharkov must still be ahead, but no, the plane then made a 180 degree bank and set off back in the other direction, with much random weaving, climbing, sudden descent and then bursts of thrust thrown in for good measure. At an educated guess I’d say that the crew were probably a bit confused; it was the first time that they had made an approach to Kharkov Airport at night for months (until the timetable change, the last of two daily flights would have been touching down by just gone 7pm, well before sunset during the summer). Upon landing it became pretty clear that the lighting infrastructure at the airport was minimal to say the least; no approach lights; no floodlights on the apron; and the runway wasn’t exactly well lit or marked out either, despite the airport sitting in the midst of sea of residential lighting!







Conveniently for me, being at the back, the integral rear air stairs were used for disembarking, which provided me time to take a picture of the aircraft just before the resident policeman turned up to say that it ‘wasn’t possible’ (later in my travels I learned that everything became possible again if I had a few $$$ handy!) The building in the background is the original and very ornamental terminal – beautifully designed and as you can see and extremely well lit up at night - in fact I did wonder if the lighting engineers had installed the runway lighting on its roof instead of the tarmac, because it was definitely better illuminated!




Once passengers had been bussed from the aircraft it was clear that the arrivals facilities were also minimal to say the least – none of the airports I’d visited so far in the Ukraine provided very much and what they did was generally outdoors, but I was quite surprised that an airport the size of Kharkov could only manage a small concrete shelter attached to the side of the main terminal! The exit was a metal door in the perimeter wall which could be opened from both sides, meaning that once the bus had dropped passengers off, relatives and friends could walk through to meet loved ones and to assist with luggage. On the down side though, it also meant that the taxi drivers could start touting for business, which is incredibly annoying when you are trying to find your luggage and the corresponding luggage tag to reclaim it! As normal, I’d made a point of checking the distance to the city before I arrived, but as normal all the drivers were after extortionate fares – the equivalent of $40 or more, although in the end I bargained it down to half that, it was still a rip off compared to what locals would pay, but not bad I suppose for tourist standards. I soon found out that the guy was willing to take less than the others because he had no idea whether the car, pictured below in front of the terminal, would start or not… fortunately, after the 30th turn of the key, his rather decrepit Lada moaned into life and lurched forwards towards Kharkov itself.




The next issue was finding a hotel, as originally I’d not planned to overnight in the city. My relatively tight schedule also meant that I’d be leaving on the next flight back to Kiev, the following morning. If I was only visiting for the sake of adding a couple more Yak42 flights to my logbook then I’d probably not have bothered, but interestingly Kharkov has what is reputedly the second largest public square in the world, I’m studying landscape architecture at University and a primary roll of this profession is the design of public spaces, so it was something which I really wanted to see. The driver took me to a 4 star hotel just around the corner from it, I’d have preferred somewhere a little less grand and thus cheaper, but it was nearly midnight and I really couldn’t be bothered to explain – it was only about $70 a night anyway.

I dropped my stuff in the room and decided to head out and see some of the city; the hotel staff said it was perfectly safe to walk through the centre at night, so long as I stayed out of the park, but that I should be quick as they may turn all the lights off at midnight! I have to say that I didn’t find the square itself terribly impressive – aging certainly, but it seemed empty of both life and character (I know all soviet architecture can seem that way), as there’s nothing to draw people in, other than the prerequisite of having a large statue of Lenin, of course. Overall though Kharkov seemed like a nice, welcoming city to me, with a modern and prospering look, making it even more of a shame that I had so little time to see it.

Kharkov By Night:







Day 13; Monday 7th July:


Looking down on the square from my hotel the following morning:



Lenin:






After not much sleep it was an early start; my flight back to Kiev departed at 9am, so I left the hotel at 7:30 for the airport, the taxi costing me half of the previous fare thanks to the concierge’s instruction. Check in had already begun in the recently modernized departures area, but there were only a handful of people ahead of me, so within a few minutes I was sat relaxing in the clinically modern departures lounge. I thought it was odd that the flight returns fairly late in the morning when the aircraft is already sat on the apron, (perhaps due to crew rest time) especially as AeroSvit told me that the reason for the timetable change was to allow passengers to have a full day in Kiev. Dnieproavia offered an earlier flight, meaning it’s more likely that business passengers would select them to fly with instead, so it’s not surprising when I looked at their flights (ex FlyBe EMB145 operated) that they were all full for the entire week. My attention quickly refocused though, as boarding was announced.





HRK-KBP Kharkov to Kiev Borispol

Carrier: DonbassAero
Flight: VV036
Aircraft: Yakovlev Yak 42D
Registration: UR-42366
Date of First Flight: 05.05.1989 (Delivery date)
Seat: 19F
Block Departure Time: 18:10 08:55
Actual Take off Time: 08:59
Block Arrival Time: 19:20 09:55
Actual Touchdown Time: 09:52
Distance Flown: 241 miles
Total Flying Time: 53 minutes
Fare: US $145.40 return (combined with previous flight)


The Yak42 I was about to fly; still wearing her old Air Ukraine colors:






Climbing back onboard through the tail stairs of the same Yak which had flown me here, I noticed that it was manned by exactly the same crew – they had obviously overnighted as well and the sleep must have done them some good, as today they were smiling happily! Like the day before a short ‘no nonsense’ safety talk was given, the engines fired up and then began a long and very bumpy taxi began to runway 26, passing several bone yards occupied by the aviation relics of Russia’s yesteryear, along with a glimmer of the Ukraine’s future – even if it is just an ex FlyBe Embraer!




Unlike the day before however, the roll and climb out were more in line with traditional Russian standards; slow, low and noisy basically, but at least this time I was able to record a video.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mS7fdwOS-Ko


The rest of the flight was nothing spectacular, once again I had a cup of water from the service, (well it was that or nothing!) and spent the time gazing down through the clouds at the ground far below; I’m not sure what I expected from the Ukraine’s countryside, but certainly I didn’t think it would be so heavily crop farmed, with mile after mile of rape seed, wheat, corn and sunflowers making the view a colorful patchwork from above. Descent began towards Borispol and I began thinking of the next flight I was taking later in the afternoon, to Chernivitsi in the West of the country.










Following about an hours flying time, the wheels slammed firmly down onto the concrete of runway 36L, rolling slowly out along most of its impressive length, the Yak42 does not have a reverse thrust capability, so there was no need to put added wear on the brakes. Several flights had just arrived, so after being bussed into the terminal you couldn’t get near the tiny domestic arrivals hall. There was no rush though, as I still had some five hours before the flight to CWC left.




Worryingly though, once I had reclaimed my Bergen and walked back into the check in hall I could see no sign of my next flight on the departures board… I know it had been rescheduled back an hour, but perhaps AeroSvit had now cancelled it completely? Concerned, I found somebody on AeroSvit’s ticket desk to ask, who told me that yes it had unfortunately been cancelled, but that I needed to go to their other desk to find out why, which I duly did, where-upon I was told to go back to the first desk. The woman on the first desk was having none of it and got very angry, marched over and told staff on the second desk that it definitely was their problem and not hers! Ukrainian customer service… you just can’t beat it!  rotfl  Eventually though a very nice lady, who spoke perfect English, told me that yes that particular flight had been cancelled, but that it hadn’t really, because there was another one operating at the same time in it’s place – when I asked why it wasn’t on the board she said it was no problem, then paused for a moment as a concerned look spread across her face. ‘Oh dear’ she murmured, and disappeared into the back of their office for several minutes. I was dreading the worst when she returned, but apparently it was operating, the only problem being that nobody from AeroSvit knew where it was flying from – confused? So was I! The end result was that I should come back to their office for 14:00, by which time they might know what was going on…

With three hours to spare, I decided that I might as well go and find a hotel for later on whilst I had the time, instead of when I (hopefully) got back later in the evening, so I caught the shuttle bus back to the Borispol Airport Hotel where I had stayed previously, this also saved me paying to store my Bergen at the airport. There was still an hour free when I returned, so I decided grab a snack with the meal voucher AeroSvit had issued to me the day before – they don’t make it easy though; it’s only valid at the main restaurant in the international terminal, really useful when you’re in the domestic terminal which has two cafes of it’s own. What it got me wasn’t much either, but it tasted good and certainly filled a gap (incidentally, if someone has a recipe for the oats/stuff which is with the omelet then I’d love to have it – tasted really good!




Come 2pm I returned to the AeroSvit ticket desk, where the lady I’d been speaking to had some good news; the flight was operating, but the confusion had been over the fact that it was now scheduled to be leaving from the city airport, Zhuliany, instead of Borispol. Preempting my next question, she told me not to worry, as once all passengers had arrived the airline would be providing a free bus between the airports. My flight wasn’t the only one to be affected though; the service to Ivano-Frankovsk was also now going to be operating from IEV… although for some reason they sent the two flights on separate (non bonded) buses, despite there being only half a dozen passengers on each, with the drive across Kiev taking just over an hour.




Considering that the staff at Zhuliany knew the passengers for both flights were on their way, they seemed remarkably disorganized and in no rush at all to get us checked in and boarded. The flight to Ivano-Frankovsk went first, but the security lane still wasn’t open until all passengers for Chernivitsi had also been checked in, then when it did open the whole process was highly disorganized and wasn’t helped by a small child somehow managing to smash a 6ft fluorescent lighting tube all over the floor… how I really don’t know! I was quite pleased to be taking another flight from IEV really, especially when I saw what aircraft were on offer; a SAAB 340A (as scheduled), or an An24! I’d flown on neither of these aircraft before but, when I saw that the Ivano-Frankovsk passengers were being bussed to the MRK Airlines SAAB, I was over the moon that I’d be getting my first flight on an An24!







UR-DAP, unidentified Yak40:



UR-RTS, unidentified Yak40:



UR-CAG, Meridian An-12BK and SP-KPF, a Saab 340A/QC of cargo operator Sprint Air:



No seating had been assigned for my flight and, once it was called, passengers were again driven out to the Antonov on the oldest airport bus I’ve ever seen – it really should be in a museum by now! Everyone was welcomed courteously by one of the flight deck crew at the bottom of the steps and then again by the stewardess in the aircraft, no doubt in part to assist those passengers who trip up or down the rickety and pretty steep air stairs! These are integral to the aircraft and are folded up manually inside the cabin, which I can imagine is essential when operating to remote airfields where facilities are primitive.




Inside the cabin was a real blast from the past, and in order to get a decent view of the prop I took a seat in row one. No safety briefing or an announcement of any sort was carried out so, as soon as the doors were shut and the crew ready, we began a brisk taxi to the runway.


IEV-CWC Kiev Zhuliany to Chernivitsi

Carrier: Wind Rose Aviation
Flight: VV073
Aircraft: Antonov An24-PB
Registration: UR-WRA
Date of First Flight: Unknown
Seat: Free (1D taken)
Block Departure Time: 14:00 15:00
Actual Take off Time: 15:30
Block Arrival Time: 15:50 16:50
Actual Touchdown Time: 16:48
Distance Flown: 250 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Fare: US $103.30 return


Engines starting:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=x2WvZRU061M


Taxing:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi-t18OCt7g


I might have been happy at another opportunity to fly from Kiev’s relatively obscure city airport, but I certainly didn’t miss the awful condition of the runway at IEV, which has to rate as one of, if not the bumpiest I’ve ever had the misfortune to take off from! A few months after my visit, on the 3rd of October, its entire 1800m length was closed for resurfacing work, scheduled to last only a month, but which was then extended, extended again and then extended some more, with the latest reopening date suggested at being the 31st of January – some four months of closure! Despite the ride quality, it was an awesome feeling to hear the engines beside me, firing determinedly away as they powered the aircraft down the runway and up into the skies over Kiev.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_qDT22PI9ZU


Zhuliany has one of the largest bone yards I’ve seen in the Ukraine; including a great selection of An-24s and An-26s which I managed to get a shot of this time as my flight climbed away from runway 26 – on closer inspection you can see that these originate from a huge variety of former airlines, with some examples even sporting the old glass noses.













Now, you might expect that an aging Russian design such as the An-24 would be uncomfortable and noisy to travel in, but far from it; the ride was good, even through some minor bursts of turbulence during the ascent to cruise altitude and the cabin remained refreshingly quiet during all stages of the flight, in fact I think the best comparison noise wise to a Western aircraft would be a Fokker 50 crossed with the ‘hum’ of a Dash 8 – very impressive really, considering the generally perceived image of the An-24.

Once in cruise the standard AeroSvit service was presented; that’s right, each passenger got a plastic cup of water! I suppose I shouldn’t grumble as the flight was ludicrously cheap ($100 return), but you would think that a slightly better selection of drinks could be provided; surely a few cartons of juice per flight wouldn’t break the bank? There was certainly no faulting the efforts of the stewardess though, a lady towards her more senior years, who didn’t stop smiling and was impeccably polite, something which I’d found to not be taken for granted in the Ukraine.




The more I studied the cabin around me, the more detail which came to light; a large plywood table which folded down from the bulkhead wall in front of row one, secured by a fastener so complex that only the engineers at Antonov (with three hands) would know how to use it, and the Cyrillic no smoking/fasten seatbelts sign; which was illuminated within the cabin wall itself – very neat.













The airport of Vinnitsa (East). It took me ages to track it down on Google Earth where there are some interesting pictures of its large terminal, looking very much abandoned, as the airport no longer receives scheduled passenger flights. From the air though, the military side of operations looked very much active.




There was nothing else for it, but to explore the rest of the cabin! Thankfully the stewardess, and I forget her name now, was most obliging and only to happy for me to photograph as much as I wanted… so I did! Perhaps most interesting were the tables with seats around them at the very back of the cabin – apparently this was the business class section (as per the curtains), which made perfect sense for an airliner which is boarded from the rear. The toilet compartment had an interesting assortment of fixtures and fittings, none of which looked original – not least the coat hook!













Returning to my seat I noticed that the clear skies had been replaced by a blanket of dull grey cloud, into which we subsequently dived, revealing a green undulating landscape of small hills, whilst in the distance the topography changed as the hills began climbing into the Carpathian mountains. It was this view which really made me think about dumping the return portion of the flight and just setting off into the distance – I’ve always wanted to go walking in those mountains, and this was the second time during the trip that I would get to see them, but not to spend any time there. I made a promise to myself there and then, that the next time I saw them, it would be with a map and a pair of hiking/riding boots on!







The approach to Chernivitsi provided a great view of the city in the distance, it was small, with what looked like an ornate centre comprised of tightly packed twisting streets, interspersed with squares and spires. As this view passed by the props were feathered and the landing gear dropped down and locked into place with a resounding clunk - the ruggedness of this aircraft no doubt originates from the crudeness of the design; after all the less complex it is, the less there is to go wrong and the easier it is to mend when it does. With a soft squeal the main gear kissed the tarmac, followed shortly after by the nose wheel and some fairly heavy braking.







A couple of other aircraft were present on the stand, including an An-12… it might just be me, but I think that it’s a prerequisite for an African or ex Soviet airfield to have at least one of these relics, either sat awaiting its next duty or, more commonly these days, tucked away in some forgotten corner, rusting into obscurity. Chernivitsi’s example; UR-CBF – an Antonov 12A, was provided by “AeroVis” Airlines Ltd and looked in very good shape.




The airport itself was a forlorn sight; with only one scheduled flight a day, much of the once ornate terminal has been transferred into offices and other commercial use. Certainly the exit for arrivals was the least spectacular that I have ever seen, as the picture below shows, you had to walk over several old wooden doors and some sheets of scrap metal to make your exit through a beaten up and graffiti covered door in the perimeter wall – how terribly undignified!




Sadly I would have no time to see the city itself – I was departing on the same aircraft back to Kiev! There was though enough time to take a few pictures of the terminal building and the apron, before heading back inside to check in.










The check in and security process was perhaps one of the most interesting I’ve ever witnessed. The staff outnumbered passengers by at least two to one and were highly curious of myself and especially my passport, reading every single page in it, expressing interest and amazement at every stamp which they saw! It was actually quite humbling and made me realize just how lucky I am to be able to travel so much, but then they found a problem – apparently I didn’t have a ticket. Once more, I showed the lady the print out of my E-ticket, and she looked at me as if I’d just landed from the moon - ‘This is not ticket!’ she exclaimed with confusion. For a moment I thought I’d printed the wrong page out or something, but it had been ok for the flight there and, after checking it thoroughly, I could see that all was in order. The entire group of staff gathered around, engaged in conversation and looking visibly puzzled. Following a telephone call they determined that yes, it was in fact a ticket, but not one like they had ever seen before and insisted on keeping it, for their ‘records’. Perhaps I’m naïve, but until then I thought that E-tickets had penetrated all bar the most distant corners of the Earth.

The security formalities were just as lengthy, with each piece of camera gear I had thoroughly examined, although again I get the feeling that it was more out of curiosity than suspicion, and with a cheerful goodbye I was allowed into the rather drab departures lounge. There wasn’t time to get comfy on the old seats though, as boarding was quickly called.







The stewardess was a little surprised to see me back again, but a quick explanation satisfied her interest. Seating was free, so for the return flight I took a seat on the left hand side, to even up the strain on my neck from constantly looking out of the window. By the look of it one worker had certainly better get out of the way!




CWC-KBP Chernivitsi to Kiev Borispol

Carrier: Wind Rose Airlines
Flight: VV072
Aircraft: Antonov An24-PB
Registration: UR-WRA
Date of First Flight: Unknown
Seat: Free (3A taken)
Block Departure Time: 16:50 17:50
Actual Take off Time: 17:57
Block Arrival Time: 18:40 19:40
Actual Touchdown Time: 19:06
Distance Flown: 265 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 9 minutes
Fare: US $103.30 return (as above)


Only a handful of passengers were flying back to Kiev, so there was no hanging about and a few minutes after I had taken my seat, the engines fired back into life. Pausing for a moment on the threshold of runway 15, the plane almost appeared to be drawing in a deep breath before the off; props beating around furiously as the tires took up the strain, then releasing it all in an instant as the brakes were disengaged, propelling the Antonov down the tarmac and upwards into the sky on a cushion of air.










Slowly the ground grew more distant and an occasional cloud flitted past the window, although confusingly I didn’t actually know where I was flying to. Neither the ground staff at Chernivitsi nor, bizarrely, the crew onboard knew which airport we’d be arriving at - it would be Kiev for sure, but whether that meant Borispol or Zhuliany was anyone’s guess! The flight itself was uneventful, I remained seated this time as I’d already photographed everything worth taking a picture of, concentrating instead on the landscape below. After almost an hour, the suburbs of Kiev rolled into sight, amongst which I just managed to pick out Sviatoshyn Airfield. Now it may look insignificant, but this site is home to one of Antonov’s main manufacturing bases, the surprisingly short runway (just 1800m long) has given birth to such mighty machines as the An225, as it will again in 2010 when the second example should take to the sky for the first time. Sadly though, Antonov is now a shadow of its former self, but it is incredible to think how many aircraft were produced there at one time – most likely including the one which I was sat in; 985 examples of the An-24 were produced at Sviatoshyn.




From here, the flight took a path over the Northern suburbs of Kiev, indicating that it was Borispol which we’d be arriving at, putting the matter beyond all doubt by banking right to line up on approach for runway 18L.







The landing was gentle; certainly on a 4000m long runway (which is as wide as a football pitch) there’s no need to be stamping on the brakes, in the end the flight had made up time, so it was only half an hour behind the original arrival time. I was reluctant to leave the plane once it had parked on stand – there was a certain quaint charm about it that I liked, emphasized by the little curtains which hung by each window, it was almost like flying in a cottage; old fashioned; dated appearance; not as efficient as modern technology, but nevertheless great fun and something which should be preserved for future generations to fly and experience. The best thing was that the next day I was due to do it all again, this time on a Motor Sich Airlines example!








Day 14; Tuesday 8th July:


Today I was going to be flying to Zaporozhye, an industrial town in the West of the Ukraine, situated on the banks of the River Dnieper, but with a departure time of 19:10, it left me with another free day in the city to explore Kiev.


Independence Square:



The October Palace:






National colors growing in Independence Square:



Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:



Funicular railway between the river and the city on Vladimirsky Hill:






St Michael’s Monastery:






View from Bohdan Khmelnytsky square, annoyingly the Saint Sophia Cathedral which is to the left of the picture was not open to visitors, although by that what I really mean is that I’d given up waiting for the 10 minute coffee break of the person selling tickets to end!  grumpy  :



By the time I’d walked miles around the city I was relieved to sit down on the bus, which whisked me out to the airport in 45 minutes for the sum of 25 Hyrvnas. Again I’d left it a bit late and was about the last person to check in - all of which is handled by AeroSvit who also sell tickets, whilst the flight itself is operated by Motor Sich Airlines in order to make a business/shopping link with the capital. Seating was unassigned on this flight, and I was told to hurry through the security channel as boarding would be imminent. As usual, there was a lengthy bus ride between the gate and the aircraft, which I soon saw wasn’t the scheduled An-24, but instead an An-140. I had mixed feelings about this, because whilst the An-140 is incredibly rare, it is relatively modern and likely to be around for much longer than the An-24.

Getting off the bus I’d realized that I was at the back of the queue to board, so thought I might as well hang back and see if I’d be jumped on for brandishing my camera… luckily the policeman looking after today’s flight couldn’t care less as it was raining and he’d gone to sit in his car – hence I could take the below pictures.










This aircraft is the fifth Antonov 140 produced, hence the registration UR-14005 and, like the version I’d flown on previously with Ilyich Avia, was in good overall condition. In fact, it’s probably the safest airline/aircraft combination you could ever wish for; Motor Sich Airlines is owned by the Motor Sich Joint Stock Company, amongst who’s ventures is Ivchenko Progress, one of the largest manufacturers of aircraft engines in the world, including those under the wings of this An140.


KBP-OZH Kiev Borispol to Zaporozhye

Carrier: Motor-Sich Airlines
Flight: VV4408
Aircraft: Antonov An140-100
Registration: UR-14005
Date of First Flight: 23.05.2003 (Delivery date)
Seat: Free (10D taken)
Block Departure Time: 19:00
Actual Take off Time: 19:10
Block Arrival Time: 20:10
Actual Touchdown Time: 20:22
Distance Flown: 264 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Fare: US $127.40 one way


Unfortunately, neither the weather, nor the condition of my window was conducive to getting good images, but I managed to make a half decent video of the take-off from runway 18R, which had a lengthy roll of over thirty seconds before the nose pulled gradually up into the overcast sky. The clouds proved turbulent, but the aircraft handled it very well, feeling strong and solid throughout – by which I mean there was little in the way of rattling from the overhead lockers or vibrating side panels, unlike many aircraft which sound as if they’re going to tear themselves apart as soon as they hit the slightest pocket of air!


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sccDhogdZjg


Cruising altitude was reached very quickly, where-upon the service commenced. To be honest I wasn’t expecting very much, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a decent sized snack box and a choice of drinks offered to me, especially considering the design of the snack box, which made me an excellent souvenir of the flight!







There was little to be seen outside, just a blanket of grey-white cloud as far as could be seen. I had no accommodation planned once I reached Zaporozhye and, although I knew of a few hotels, I didn’t know their rates or where they were/how good they were etc… so figured I’d ask the stewardess; being a local I figured she might have some good recommendations. My plan was foiled though, as her English was about as good as my Ukrainian, but thankfully a fellow passenger overheard my conversation and chimed in – some time later I knew exactly where to stay and he had very kindly offered me a lift into the city! A bell in the cabin signaled that the descent was about to begin, so I hurriedly took a picture down the cabin and return to my seat, relieved that I now had some form of a plan upon my arrival.







The skies had cleared slightly as the flight approached Zaporozhye, although it was rapidly nearing dusk, which along with a pretty dirty window meant I didn’t bother taking pictures during the landing on runway 20, which was smooth… until the bumps and grooves between the slabs of concrete which composed the runway began to send vibrations thudding through the cabin! The taxiways were no smoother, as illustrated by the video, which I took in the hope of catching some of the many Il-76s which are parked up around the airfield; using Google Earth as a guide, there are 37 stored at Zaporozhye – but my only glimpse of them was from the road heading towards the city. Later I realized that if I’d sat on the opposite side of the aircraft, I would have seen every single one – but that’s Murphy’s law for you.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4r5_eDwq13Q





As per the norm in the Ukraine, arrivals passengers exited through a gate, where-upon Maxim (the guy I’d met on the flight) found the friend who had come to collect him and give both of us a lift into the city! This is what I really love about traveling – meeting interesting local people along the way, and this was no exception, with his friend happily explaining the entire way how he had come to the Ukraine from Georgia and that he and his family originated from the break-away Russian controlled region of Abkhazia. Apparently there are a large number of Abkhazians living in the Ukraine, legally or illegally, as the Economy in the region is so poor.

As I had nothing planned we decided that we might as well make an evening of it so, once I’d checked into a hotel, Maxim gave me the full walking tour of the city centre, along with a few of it’s local beers and dinner, then met up with some more of his friends. It’s a city of great contrasts; the centre itself is lovely, but look just to the side and you have the adjacent Zaporizhstal steelworks towering upwards – a spectacular sight at night, with endless towers and stacks releasing smoke, steam and pollution up to the illuminated sky in near theatrical sequences. Recognised as one of the largest steelworks in the Ukraine and indeed the world (54th largest) world, it’s also one of the worst polluters in Europe… and it tells. I’m fascinated by industrial architecture and heavy industry itself, so I probably could have watched (and photographed!) this dance of manufacturing on the skyline all night, but I needed to get some sleep so I could explore more in the morning.





...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13844 times:

Day 15; Wednesday 9th July:


The previous night Maxim had given me loads of ideas on what to do and see, so I’d arranged with the hotel reception to call a driver who spoke good English to take me to see some of them. Top on my list was Khortytsia Island, lying opposite Zaporozhye in the middle of the Dnieper River, it is the location of the Sich, which was for hundreds of years the Fort and Capital of the Zaporozhian Cossacks lands. Just as I’d hoped, the guy spoke decent enough English (which he’d learnt whilst working at a British run hotel in Cyprus - as a dance choreographer of all things) so a short drive later and I’d arrived at the museum. Aside of the exhibits there is a large reconstruction of a Cossack settlement, unfortunately the weather decided not to cooperate again, so in the process of walking around it I got completely soaked!










The reconstructed settlement is overshadowed by some of the many power lines which crisscross the area to feed the giant industrial complexes; to the South of Zaporozhye lies Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, producing a fifth of all electricity consumed within the Ukraine, whilst just to the North sits the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station. The latter is another of the things which I wanted to see; standing as a 61m high barrier to the Dnieper River, its 800m breadth is a pretty impressive feat of engineering… especially for the 1920s, and without it’s power (at the time it was the largest power plant in the Soviet Union and almost the World) the surrounding industrial cities, such as Zaporozhye, could never have been founded. During WWII it was blown up twice; once by the retreating Russians, then again a few years later by the retreating Germans!







The afternoon was dragging on though and I still needed to travel by bus to Dnipropetrovsk, some 50 miles North by road, so I reluctantly had to head for the bus station. Despite being the sixth largest city in the Ukraine, with a population of nearly 800,000 people, wages are very low ($1500 a year I was told by my driver) and hence air links are minimal. At the time I was there, WizzAir Ukraine had announced their intention to link the airport with Kiev, but since then all mention of this service has disappeared – so it will probably remain for some years that most people flying to or from the area travel to Dnipropetrovsk first. I found the journey took only a bit over an hour by minibus, although on arrival the traffic in the city was awful, so this held me up a little longer. There was supposed to be a bus to the airport, but I couldn’t find it so I took a taxi instead, passing the vast Yuzhmash complex on the way; manufactures of ballistic missiles (amongst other items) and the reason why the city was closed to foreign visitors by the KGB from 1959 to the declaration of Ukraine’s independence in 1990.

Dnipropetrovsk is the Ukraine’s third largest city, with an impressive airport that is far bigger than the domestic terminal at Borispol – not to mention being much nicer inside!







Whilst I could have just flown straight back to Kiev from Zaporozhye, I decided that it would be worth returning from DNK instead so that I could fly on Dnieproavia, even if they have unfortunately retired their Yak42s, so a boring 737 would have to suffice. Dnieproavia have a very outdated website which does not have an online booking facility, but tickets for their DNK-KBP flights could be purchased through Ukraine International Airlines website, which is where I made my reservation. The terminal might be very spacious and modern in appearance, but once you’ve checked in and passed through security you realise that the space for domestic departures is tiny; passengers are contained in a single room with barely a dozen seats, totally ridiculous considering the terminal’s overall size! The wait for everyone to check in seemed to take forever, to the extent that standing room was becoming hard to find by the time the bus arrived outside to drive everyone to the aircraft.




Awaiting us was a B737-400, which had been with the airline for four years, although it had yet to be painted in the new Dnieproavia livery and was previously operated by Malaysian Airlines as 9M-MJH, plus a spell with Air Europa as EC-FZZ. Whilst waiting for another bus to arrive with the last passengers onboard I looked around; the seats were comfortable enough and everything was clean and tidy, but even so the cabin looked a little disheveled overall and could have perhaps done with some attention. By the time everyone had boarded the load must have been near 100% and, with a brief safety demonstration quickly accomplished, the flight was ready to taxi.


DNK-KBP Dnipropetrovsk to Kiev Borispol

Carrier: Dnieproavia
Flight: PS 1301
Aircraft: Boeing B737-4Y0
Registration: UR-KIV
Date of First Flight: 04.05.1990
Seat: 13F
Block Departure Time: 19:00
Actual Take off Time: 19:04
Block Arrival Time: 20:00
Actual Touchdown Time: 19:43
Distance Flown: 234 miles
Total Flying Time: 39 minutes
Fare: US $134.40 one way


UR-ORG, LEV, BWE and PIT stored, all former Dnieproavia Yak40s:



UR-DND, a new B737-500 in the new livery of Dnieproavia:



UR-DNG, ex G-ERJG of FlyBe, Embraer 145, now painted in Dnieproavia’s new colors:



UR-46397, Podillia Avia An-24B:



G-EMBD, Embraer 145 of Dnieproavia and soon to become UR-DNK:



There was plenty of aircraft to be seen en route to the runway; old and new standing side by side, interestingly one of the ex FlyBe EMB-145s was so new to the Ukraine (pictured last) that it still carried its UK registration! It took several minutes to taxi to and then backtrack down runway 26, by which time you could already tell that it would be another very bumpy take off roll... and it sure was! The Soviet 1950’s concrete was visibly cracked and disintegrated, so it was a real relief when the 737 rotated into the air – I dread to think what it would have felt like in something like the EMB145; with wheels that small you would feel every tiny bump!





http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rODo8dQp9vE








The remainder of the flight must have been thrilling, as I honestly can’t remember a bit of it, so I expect that I fell asleep - waking up again during descent into Borispol, where a smooth landing was made on runway 36L. All in all Dnieproavia were a decent enough airline, who got me safely to my destination and on time – certainly I’d choose to use them again in the future rather than AeroSvit, if I had the choice that is, and that’s saying a lot as it would probably mean flying on an EMB145, which I do not like.








Day 16; Thursday 10th July:


I had initially planned this to be another free day in the city of Kiev, but then a temping plan presented itself; at the time AeroSvit operated a single B737-200 (sadly I think it’s now been withdrawn – was last seen flying in November of 2008) and it was showing in the schedules as operating several KBP-SIP flights that day – the lure of another flight on the little pocket rocket eventually proved too much, so I gave in and booked myself a day return; flying out on the Yak42D and back on the B732. After receiving a raft of emails detailing cancellations and changes to the AeroSvit timetable, I was very worried that these flights may also be affected, but no, luckily Simferopol was about the only destination which they hadn’t completely re-written the timetable for!

Leaving my hotel on the first shuttle bus (which, incidentally, was mainly filled by a Dalavia crew – I didn’t know they served KBP?), I arrived in the terminal at just gone 8am, plenty of time to check in for my flight and grab a bite to eat for breakfast. Interestingly, the domestic terminal still showed no sign of WizzAir Ukraine, not a single branded poster or banner to be seen, which I thought odd considering that they were due to launch early the following day. Both security lanes were open due to the number of passengers departing almost simultaneously on flights to Odessa, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and two services to Simferopol. This seriously over crowded the departure lounge, so I made for the relative refuge of the marquee, which was set up outside as an overflow area, and remained there until my flight boarded.




It was a wet and pretty miserable start to the day, but on the plus side the water presented some nice reflections on the tarmac, making the picture of South Air’s UR-CFA a little more interesting than usual. This flight to Simferopol was being operated DonbassAero’s Yak-42 football logo jet, which promotes the carrier’s status as the official airline of Shakhtar Donetsk Football Club. It’s an aircraft with a fairly interesting history; delivered to Aeroflot on the 11th of April 1991 as CCCP-42383, it then moved on to Air Ukraine almost exactly two years later under the new guise of UR-42383, until it was leased by Air Bosna for a short period in 1997, by whom it was then subsequently purchased in July of 1998, becoming T9-ABD in the process. The aircraft was grounded in 2003 when Air Bosna ceased operations, (they’ve since restarted as B&H Airlines, flying ATR72s) and was then purchased in March of 2004 by DonbassAero, who returned it to service under it’s old Ukrainian registration.





KBP-SIP Kiev Borispol to Simferopol

Carrier: DonbassAero
Flight: VV025
Aircraft: Yakovlev Yak42D
Registration: UR-42383
Date of First Flight: 11.04.1991 (Delivery date)
Seat: 19A
Block Departure Time: 09:50
Actual Take off Time: 10:01
Block Arrival Time: 11:20
Actual Touchdown Time: 11:18
Distance Flown: 393 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
Fare: US $294.00 return


Unlike the previous five Yak42 flights I’d taken, this one was pretty much full, so it would be interesting to experience how its performance fared with a good load onboard. I did though start to wonder just how bad the performance was expected to be when the pilots elected to give themselves the entire length of runway 18R to use, when other Yak flights I’d seen taking off had always commenced their rolls a quarter of the way down it at the 3000 meter mark! But I needn’t have been concerned; the performance was still good, and the engines still noisy, rotating after a roll of around 1300m.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=N-dOeDW29UU





As usual the initial thrill of acceleration, accompanied by that wonderful sound of screaming engines, was soon replaced by a more solemn drone and an acute awareness of the Yak’s pitiful climb rate; taking some 15 minutes just to break through the cloud layer and out into the pleasant summer sunshine. Today definitely was a day for flying, walking around Kiev in such wet weather would have been very dreary.







The Yak42 is a very photogenic beast from this angle – I always think that the best IFE you can get is what’s visible outside of the window, especially on long flights over Siberia, with its lonely and sparse mountain ranges inviting adventure at every glance. The Ukraine below could only offer flat, endless field patterns, but this was still much better than staring at the back of a worn out seat. The last few flights I’d taken had been on aircraft significantly more comfortable than the hard and cramped seats provided on the old Yak, but for a flight of an hour and a half it’s nothing that I couldn’t put up with.










The drinks service came and went, after which the crew congregated in the rear galley until preparations needed to be made for landing at SIP. There were hardly any clouds to descend though here and the fields were all a dusty golden brown, with the odd irrigation system highlighting it’s location in vivid green.











Touchdown was made just ahead of time on SIP’s runway 19R, rolling gently out down the entire 3700m length in order to allow an OrenAir Tu154 (RA-85604) adequate time to clear the single 3000m long taxiway which links the active runway with the apron area – the taxiways length is illustrated quite well by the photo below, stretching away into the distance.




The runway arrangement at SIP reminds me a little of Amsterdam’s Polderbaan setup; the main (and now sole) runway’s construction was initiated by the Ukrainian Department of Civil Aviation in 1977, in response to a larger era of Soviet jet aircraft which experienced trouble making it off the previous 2600m runway with a full payload, especially during the hot summer months. An extension of the existing runway was deemed not to be possible. Foremost of the new jets which would require such an expansion was the Il-86 - introduced to service with Aeroflot during 1980, its maiden voyage to SIP and indeed the entire Ukraine occurred on the 19th May 1982, with frequencies increasing until it operated the bulk of flights to and from the region for many years, although some longer flights to the central soviet union by Il-62, Il-76, and Tu154 aircraft also required it’s longer length. As a result, another less desirable similarity with the Polderbaan is the length of time that it takes to taxi from one point to the other, around ten minutes by the time you’ve stopped to let other traffic pass, by the time my aircraft pulled on stand many of the passengers had grown frustrated and left their seats, one or two had even made their way to the front and were waiting to be let off!







After passing through the reclaim area and dodging the numerous taxi touts on the way out, I considered what to do next. Initially I’d hoped to reach a decent vantage point from where I could shoot a good few of the movements, but I quickly realized that the sun was in the wrong place for the spot I had envisaged (by the tunnel under the newer runway) and also the heat was already beating down. Instead I found some information on how to get to Yalta, which would be useful for the following day, and then headed to a café for a cool drink. I soon became aware of a loud rumble outside – I thought it might have been the 732 arriving early, but no, it grew louder, and louder, to the point where it could only be one thing; an Il-86! This was the daily Aeroflot Don service arriving an hour or so late from Moscow Sheramento, which would be my ride out of the Ukraine in four days time – I couldn’t wait! Big grin Unless you are airside there’s not much of a view through to the aircraft parking, so it’s hiding behind some trees next to the domestic terminal in the below picture, but take it from me; the noise was crackling through the air like no other airliner I’d ever heard before!







One very handy thing about most airports in the Ukraine is that they have the flight schedules displayed on the wall for everyone to see, they are kept up to date as well, whilst I was waiting for check in to open a man turned up with a ladder and removed the lettering of an airline which no longer served SIP, carefully applying the details of WizzAir’s flights in its place. Check in opened one hour before departure, taking seat 12A which I’d reserved through AeroSvit’s website when booking the tickets, and then I quickly headed through to departures. The Il-86 had unfortunately already taxied, but there were excellent views out across the ramp from the lounge.




As the familiar shape of a -200 series made its way through the heat haze towards me, I breathed a sigh of relief - the $300 return airfare had not been laid down in vain! It was also incredible to see the Tu154 from the same perspective, which really highlights its enormous wheelbase.




The flight back to Kiev had parked up directly in front of the Domestic terminal, so passengers would walk out across the tarmac for boarding, which began early as the inbound flight had also arrived well ahead of schedule.







It felt great to be getting back onboard a B737-200 again; I’d last flown one the previous summer in the Philippines, presuming that it would be my last trip on the type, yet here I was a year later having another ‘last’ ride! Just like the Yak I’d flown down on, this little 737 had lead quite an existence before retiring to the Ukraine; its first flight was made on the 9th March 1982, following which it was delivered to TACA as N861L, before hopping across the pond to become F-GEXJ for Europe Aero Services, Euralair Horizons and Air Liberte respectfully. Then, in March 1997 it was delivered to AeroSweet Airlines, which became AeroSvit on the 1st of January 2001 – quite a life!


SIP-KBP Simferopol to Kiev Borispol

Carrier: AeroSvit Airlines
Flight: VV024
Aircraft: Boeing B737-2Q8
Registration: UR-BVY
Date of First Flight: 08.03.1982
Seat: 12A
Block Departure Time: 17:20
Actual Take off Time: 17:25
Block Arrival Time: 18:50
Actual Touchdown Time: 18:34
Distance Flown: 393 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 9 minutes
Fare: US $294.00 return (as above)


A slight jerk to the cabin signified that the tug had been attached, followed a few moments later by movement, ten minutes ahead of the block time too! As could be expected, a long taxi ensued to runway 01L, although once lined up there wasn’t so much as a pause before take off power was applied and the 737 skipped down the runway.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4MwauSts1n8





In no time at all the two pipe rockets below the wings had propelled this well looked after machine to cruising altitude; the cabin was well presented too, looking better than many aircraft half of its age, whilst the outside was also kept spotlessly clean, what’s more, on this AeroSvit flight each passenger received a boiled sweet as well as a glass of water!  silly 




This was the last day without LCC competition for AeroSvit and Ukraine International on the Simferopol route, although I don’t think the latter’s fares are that bad really - certainly not in comparison with AeroSvit’s! However, WizzAir’s low cost structure has the potential to blow both airlines straight out of the water, so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond – certainly I can’t see the Yak42s hanging around for long, not once the traveling public is introduced to a brand new fleet of comfortable Airbuses. Sure the Yaks are great fun to fly on as an enthusiast, but anyone can see their faults for everyday operation in today’s environment, even though many of them aren’t even that old.

By the time the descent into KBP had concluded, the relatively slow flying 737-200 had shaved nearly ten minutes off the return journey time, having received a helping hand from the moderate tailwind, to arrive 15 minutes ahead of block time. The landing itself wasn’t the lightest I’ve felt, and was accompanied by that typical 732 roar of reverse thrust as the buckets swung into action – the only thing I regretted about the flight was where I had sat, I was neither in front or behind the wing, so had a compromised view of everything bar it. Still, just an excuse to fly on another B732 one day! Big grin










The grey skies seemed omnipresent over Kiev, so I was glad that in just 11 hours I’d be heading back South again, to Simferopol, this time onboard the first ever flight of the Ukraine’s newest airline. But were this set of flights value for money? In terms of the aircraft types flown then I’m going to say yes, but when you consider the distance flown then I’m tempted to say no – as a base fare $300 is way to much, if they sustain these prices then they are going to be slaughtered by the upcoming competition!

We pulled up on stand next to one of Dnieproavia’s new Embraers, I just had time to catch a picture before getting on the bus back to the terminal, where there were still no signs of WizzAir’s forthcoming presence. I began to wonder if they weren’t going to launch after all…





...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 13844 times:

Day 17; Friday 11th July:


Well, today was the day – the day that the pink revolution began in the Ukraine! Before heading to bed the previous night I’d ordered a taxi and cleared my bill with the hotel, to ensure a swift departure and that I might arrive at the airport in good time to be one of the first passengers to check in, however the receptionists had changed shift overnight and it took the new one about 20 minutes to work out that I’d already paid… wonderful! By the time I arrived at the terminal check in was well underway, and overnight somebody had obviously been busy setting out banners and blowing up pink and purple balloons as the terminal had definitely been ‘branded’ by WizzAir. Despite my delay I received a low sequence number at check in and hence became the 37th passenger ever to use WizzAir Ukraine – not bad seeing as I was also one of the first to book, just an hour or so after the flights first went on sale. As a welcome to the airline, each passenger was given some quite large circular WizzAir chocolates, I’ve got no idea what the text says though, so perhaps some kind person who speaks Ukrainian/Russian could translate for me please? Miraculously, it managed to travel thousands of miles back home to England in my rucksack, relatively in one piece!







No matter where you looked, there were photographers and film crews everywhere, filming anything which happened to have a WizzAir logo on it, to the extent that in the end I gave up dodging them inside the building and chose to wait outside in the fresh early morning air until it was nearer boarding time. Security was empty by that stage, so I breezed through and had only a few minutes to wait before the first of several announcements were made, welcoming passengers to the first WizzAir Ukraine flight, followed by a second one which informed everyone of how things were going to happen – basically we were all about to get on a bus out to the aircraft! I felt like a sardine in a tin; two small busses were provided for the short trip across the tarmac, to where the aircraft had been parked, specially positioned in front of Terminal C, the VIP terminal, and watched by a barrage of media.

Simultaneously the doors of both busses swung open, and their passengers either fell out or surged forwards, only to then be pounced upon by photographers and news reporters, all touting to get their story. It really was the biggest media circus I’ve ever seen – you couldn’t even walk up the stairs to get on the aircraft for the sheer volume of film crews!







Eventually I managed to make my way up the stairs, without having my face plastered all over Ukrainian national TV (or so I thought  grumpy  ), allowing myself just enough time to catch a quick photograph as I did so, before being joyfully welcomed onto the flight by both the cabin crew and flight crew. I figured that finding a seat in the relative seclusion of the cabin would be safe... but no, it didn’t take the TV crews long to work out where all the passengers had fled and, in the space of a couple of minutes, the aisle filled up with reporters – one of whom noticed me looking ‘thoughtfully’ out of the window at the engine and decided to stick a film camera straight in my face – that night I had the shock of my life watching the national news and seeing myself on it!  Wow!







Slowly the press trickled back onto the tarmac below, enabling some form of order to descended over the cabin once more. Now it was the turn of the crew to welcome all of the passengers to WizzAir Ukraine’s inaugural flight, speaking first in Ukrainian and then repeating everything in English, both of which were followed by much applause. Then the man in charge of the airline’s launch that morning gave a speech of thanks to the cabin, thanking passengers for choosing the airline to fly on and promising more low fares, ultimately to destinations right across the Ukraine. One film crew had been permitted to stay at the main front cabin door to film this, so you can imagine the free publicity and good PR which this whole event will have generated for the airline. Across the tarmac though lay the established opposition; they were certainly going to get their cages rattled by the newcomer, but how would they respond?







With that, normal preparations for flight continued – the doors were secured and all members of the press were restrained behind a cordon so that the engines could be started. Then slowly the impeccably clean and shiny A320, just a month old, pulled forwards in front of the main international terminal (whose stands had been restricted for this event) and the media, allowing them to capture even more of the pink and purple branding! Somebody who was watching from the ground uploaded a video to YouTube, so here’s the outside perspective:

(All the thanks go to YouTube user: borodatyy for the video below)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SIB3rBDy1Rc


Then came what was probably a surprise announcement for most people onboard; the water canon salute. The video I took overlaps slightly with the above view from outside – it’s a shame that the person on the ground didn’t keep recording for a little longer, as it would have been a perfect view.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uXjv4QorQ_I









KBP-SIP Kiev Borispol to Simferopol

Carrier: WizzAir Ukraine
Flight: WU917
Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
Registration: UR-WUA
Date of First Flight: 10.06.2008
Seat: Free (6F taken)
Block Departure Time: 06:00
Actual Take off Time: 06:10
Block Arrival Time: 07:35
Actual Touchdown Time: 07:08
Distance Flown: 393 miles
Total Flying Time: 58 minutes
Fare: US $17.00 one way


This was the first water canon salute I’d ever seen, let alone experienced before, so it was an interesting and special moment to remember. At the end of the day though, there was a pretty tight schedule to keep, so with the formalities over the plane taxied towards the beginning of runway 36R, performing a rolling start and powering down the runway to fly into the aviation history books as the first domestic Ukrainian flight to have been operated by a true LCC, no doubt the first of many!


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=38TufCNriZw





The Airbus made light work of reaching cruising altitude, where-upon several more announcements were made; because this was the airline’s first day of operations, they would be giving away a drink and sandwich free of charge! I know it’s a great ploy to make the headlines and get customer relations off to a sweet start, but I think it was a very nice touch. It took quite a while though for everything to be handed out by the crew who, as can be expected, were still finding their feet, so I was glad that the sandwich was actually worth waiting for – although I’m not sure if I’d pay the prices they were asking ordinarily as they seemed to have more bearing on the price of goods in Euro Land rather than the Ukraine, where things are generally significantly cheaper.




After finishing my sandwich I sat back and relaxed into the seat; it was soft, spacious across my shoulders and offered a good overall level of comfort. I’ve seen better legroom, but it was by no means the worst I’ve had to sit in, so I’d rate it around average, especially considering that WizzAir is an LCC. Reverting my gaze back outside, the skies had changed once more from being overcast to clear and sunny, a sure sign that the Crimea and Black Sea coast was not much further ahead.




Sure enough, ten minutes later the descent towards Simferopol started, drifting casually down through the clear blue skies and passing over the nearby Gvardeyskoye military airfield which is used by Russia and subject to much international debate regarding what is or isn’t allowed to be based there. A few years ago it was also the location of a pretty well know accident involving a Tu134, well known because the entire (thankfully non fatal) episode was captured on camera, as per the below video from YouTube:


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fV3ivuxSHls










Impressively, despite all the media coverage, the inaugural flight touched down on Simferopol’s runway 19R almost half an hour ahead of block time, arriving on stand just under ten minutes later having passed by some of the other early morning traffic already on the ground:

UR-CDA, a Wind Rose Aviation DC-9-82:



UR-BVY, AeroSvit’s sole B737-200 also just arrived from Kiev, with VP-BQY, a B737-500 of Aeroflot Nord in the background:



Side shot of UR-BVY, which I had flown on just the previous day:



Once the aircraft was parked and the majority of passengers had disembarked I asked if it would be ok to take some pictures of the cabin and cockpit – happily is was no problem at all, so I snapped away before thanking the crew for their hospitality and wishing them a safe return sector to Lvov and back.













I actually had a ticket booked for the SIP-LWO flight which they were departing on next - my original plan was tight, that’s for sure, but as things transpired I would have easily made check in for the second leg of my ‘round robin’ trip to Lvov. The problem, however, was AeroSvit; the third email which I had received several days previously informed me that the planned third leg of my trip that day, onwards from Lvov to Borispol, had been altered. The first flight to KBP now left before I arrived in LWO from SIP, and the second got me into KBP after my fourth and final leg of the day (another KBP-SIP flight, this time flying with Ukraine International Airlines) left. I also knew that I’d have been pretty stuck at that short notice to organise any cheap transport to get me back to KBP, so built a contingency into my itinerary; in case I could not make the SIP-LWO flight, I booked myself on the returning SIP-KBP flight, so it was this ticket which I now fell back on. With nothing to do for about four hours and not wanting to spend another chunk of my day sat in a café, I decided to take a walk, ending up in the countryside.







With the day’s heat advancing, I headed back to the airport to wait for the return KBP flight, killing time by wondering around and taking some pictures. The first terminal building at Simferopol airport was opened in September of 1957 and, in my opinion, it remains the grandest and most visually pleasing of all the current facilities; in general the entire early wave of Russian airport designs are the most beautiful terminals you’ll find anywhere. With rapidly rising passenger numbers, the terminal was extended in the 1960s and then again in the early 1980s to coincide with the opening of the second runway, whilst in 1996 an additional modern terminal building was constructed, which received further modifications in 1999 to more than double its passenger capacity. Finally, in 2000, construction of the smaller red roofed domestic terminal was completed.
















I was ready the moment that check in opened for my flight; the boxy domestic terminal with it’s tacky yellow plastic seating was nothing special in itself, but the view which it commands across the apron is another matter entirely – especially as I knew there was an Il-86 operated flight due to land at any minute, and I was keen to see which aircraft it was. Sure enough, the giant Russian quad rumbled into site, followed immediately afterwards by the Wizz A320 that I’d be flying back to Kiev on.
















The returning flight from Lvov pulled up on stand right next to the Ilyushin, it was running a little late and was not as busy compared to the flight from Kiev, probably being around half full. During the turnaround I saw one of the WizzAir crew walk over to the Il-86 to take pictures, and then have a look inside. As boarding began he happened to walk right back towards me, safety cards in hand, so I took the opportunity to ask him what it was like inside. A long conversation ensued, by which time I was dieing to go and have a look myself, but for now I’d have to make do with the A320 I was about to board.














SIP-KBP Simferopol to Kiev Borispol

Carrier: WizzAir Ukraine
Flight: WU918
Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
Registration: UR-WUA
Date of First Flight: 10.06.2008
Seat: Free (7A taken )
Block Departure Time: 12:45
Actual Take off Time: 13:20
Block Arrival Time: 14:20
Actual Touchdown Time: 14:21
Distance Flown: 393 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 1 minute
Fare: US $41 one way


Despite me spending ages talking whilst other people boarded I still managed to find a window seat in row seven. I hadn’t been sat down long though when the same guy came and asked me if I’d like to sit at the back so we could carry on talking – well of course! As things transpired, he wasn’t just a crew member, but in fact head of cabin crew for WizzAir Ukraine, also sat beside us in the back row were the head of mechanics/maintenance (formerly with Monarch Airlines of the UK) and the chief pilot.

As you might expect, we had a very interesting conversation and I learnt a lot of things about WizzAir Ukraine, not least about all the hoops that the company had to jump through in order to satisfy the authorities – it’s no wonder that a LCC hadn’t been set up in the Ukraine before! All of the cabin crew members had to carry a valid Ukrainian license stating that they could work as cabin crew, for which they had to be Ukrainian (IIRC on that bit) and have at least 30 flying hours experience – note the catch 22 situation! As a result, all the newly hired cabin crew were trained and then sent off to other WizzAir bases in Europe to complete their 30 flying hours, whereupon they could return to the Ukraine and apply for their licenses, which took two weeks to arrive. The aircraft itself had arrived in Kiev almost two weeks before the first passenger flight was carried out (see picture in the first part of this report), although a certification flight had been made in the meantime with various members of the Ukraine’s transportation ministry and other airline/airport dignitaries onboard. Despite that, the Ukrainian customs authorities were in no rush to clear the aircraft, leaving it until 06:00 on the 11th of July before they did so – that’s right, block departure time for the airline’s first flight; now that’s what I call cutting it fine on the authorities part, although if I was to take a cynical view of the delay (and the reason behind it), well… Their plans though are big; within one year WizzAir Ukraine aims to have 5 aircraft operating on dozens of routes, both domestic and internationally.

By this stage the aircraft had taken off and was half way through the sky to Kiev and, much as he enjoyed talking to me about aircraft, (I did suggest he sign up to this website!) he needed to check that the crew were coping with the service preparations, so I thanked him kindly, and returned to my seat at the front. I got back just in time to receive my second complementary drink and sandwich of the day, I think the crew were relieved to be in less of a rush than the outward flight; serving 180 people in 20 minutes on what is essentially your first day must have been pretty daunting for them!













No, that’s not me making a collage – it’s an image taken straight out of my camera, I’m thinking that the card suffered an error whilst writing the picture information, as I’ve never seen anything like it before. Luckily it didn’t affect any of the other shots, although at the time I saw it and thought my camera was about to die on me! The headwind was still present when flying North, but even so, descent down to Borispol began after only 45 minutes, touching down a minute late, having taken off more than half an hour behind schedule.










Thankfully the weather had improved in the eight hours I’d been away from Borispol, with blue sky and sunshine in abundance. From runway 36L we taxied back to the regular parking area for domestic flights, there was to be no repeat privilege of parking on the VIP stand, although during the taxi I got an excellent view of Borispol’s many long term residents and based aircraft, including the Presidential Il-62M.

UR-86528, Ukraine Air Enterprise (Government) Il-62M:



Selection of aircraft, including UR-86134, an Il-62 of Air Ukraine being broken up; UR-CCS, a DC-9-51 of UM Air; the blue tail of UR-87591, a Yak 40 belonging to UES Avia and; UR-MLA, one of several unidentified Mil-Mi-8s:



UR-CDS, UM Air (Bukovyna Airlines) An-24PB:



UR-DWG, Aero-Charter An-12BK:



UR-CFE, UM Air DC-9-82:



XU-U4D, PMT Air DC-9-83 (Cambodian registered plane – what on Earth was it doing in KBP!):



UR-42383, DonbassAero Yak 42D (Flew KBP-SIP on this the previous day):



RA-65576, RusAir Tu134B-3; UR-DWF, Aero-Charter An-12BK and; M-YNJC, a private Legacy 135:






So, back to WizzAir! Well, simply put, I can’t fault them; they were on time; polite; comfortable (both in terms of seating and cabin noise levels), and best of all; cheap! I know I booked early with them, but here is a price comparison between the airlines I flew on the Kiev-Simferopol route during my trip;

AeroSvit: $294 return
WizzAir Ukraine: $58 return
Ukraine International Airlines: $70 one way

The prices show that a LCC entering the Ukrainian domestic market has long been overdue, so it’s fantastic that WizzAir took the initiative, tackled the numerous hurdles thrown at them, and presented a great product. Looking at the present day situation, they are now serving Cologne, Dortmund, Katowice, Luton and Oslo internationally, but on the domestic front there has been far less development. Whilst I was there in the summer Zaporozhye, Kharkov (I think Dnipropetrovs’k and Donetsk too) were all shown on their website as destinations soon to be served from Kiev, as well as seasonal Kharkov-Simferopol flights. As far as I know though, none of these new routes ever took off so to speak, whilst Odessa is only operated as a summer route. Whether there were ‘regulatory issues’ I don’t know, or perhaps the initial bookings and forecast just weren’t there to make operating the flights economical, but I hope that they pursue more internal operations again soon. I don’t see them having that much of an affect on the other Ukrainian carriers to start with, not until they can offer multiple daily frequencies on all routes, but I do see them catching a lot of the overland travel market; people who otherwise would have gone by overnight train or long distance coach will find that flying is comparable in price and much, much quicker!

Arriving at the baggage reclaim area it was evident that several flights had arrived together again; the bus had to wait several minutes before it could even get to drop us off. Fortunately much needed terminal expansion is planned; Terminal D will be operational by the end of 2010 with capacity for 1500 passengers per hour and then in 2012 Terminal E, dedicated to AeroSvit, will open with a capacity of 2000 passengers per hour. Unbelievably they are also planning another runway – are two huge ones at over 3000m not already enough? For now though, you just have to queue and be cramped, or if you’re taking random day trips, leave your luggage at the luggage store in the international terminal like I did, so I wouldn’t have to pay to check it in with WizzAir or have the hassle of collecting it either end! Usefully Terminal B (international) also has a little internet café, so I killed the time between flights catching up with friends and looking for places to stay in Simferopol and Yalta. Time flew by like it normally does when you’re surfing the net, with it soon being time to check in for the late afternoon flight back to SIP. I had to queue for ages to reach the desk and the flight was looking really busy, as the first row I could get a window seat in was right back in 24! This would be the last time on this trip that I left Kiev and, whilst the city is lovely, I certainly won’t miss the tiny domestic terminal, or its overpriced shop airside where I had dinner!




The bus driving passengers out to the plane to board had immaculately clean windows, facilitating a decent shot of AeroSvit’s B767-300ER, UR-VVO – which I think was departing off to the Far East, BKK rings a bell. My plane for the flight was considerably smaller; a 737-400, and was surrounded by about a dozen military police with guns drawn, so I didn’t even try to take any pictures whilst boarding. I did think this was odd and a little excessive, until some minutes later when a motorcade arrived in front of the aircraft – I expect it was also the reason for the business class cabin being very large and empty when I walked down the aisle to my seat.


KBP-SIP Kiev Borispol to Simferopol

Carrier: Ukraine International Airways
Flight: PS0068
Aircraft: Boeing B737-4C9
Registration: UR-GAV
Date of First Flight: 13.03.1992
Seat: 24A
Block Departure Time: 18:45
Actual Take off Time: 19:22
Block Arrival Time: 20:10
Actual Touchdown Time: 20:26
Distance Flown: 393 miles
Total Flying Time: 1 hour 4 minutes
Fare: US $71.40


This aircraft had previously operated as LX-LGG, for Luxair primarily and short leases to Carnival and Futura Airlines, then spending a couple of years as EI-DGM with Blue Panorama Airlines, before joining Ukraine International Airlines on the 5th December 2006. It was leased out again in 2007 by its new owners to Adria Airways for a period of seven months, although despite its active history the interior looked pretty fresh, so perhaps it was recently overhauled or refitted. Once the dignitary and his entourage had made themselves comfortable the plane taxied, heading for runway 36R.




I was sure that I’d videoed the takeoff, but can’t for the life of me find a video of it anywhere, so perhaps I didn’t. It may have had something to do with there being a deadheading crew member sat next to me; perhaps I just decided not to, as even though I would have been filming with my phone in flight mode some staff don’t approve, which is fair enough. The departure was nothing special anyway, if anything I found it to be slightly lacking compared to other -400 series take offs I’ve witnessed, but then when you have such a vast amount of runway to use, what’s the rush?







Ukraine International is the only airline on the KBP-SIP route which serves a complimentary meal en route (WizzAir’s first day excluded!), which came on a little tray and contained a small bagel sliced in half, with two fillings and a little packet of sweet chocolaty things, plus the choice of tea or coffee. Whilst this was nice and the service very polite, it wouldn’t sway my choice over which airline I flew; my sole reason for flying them and indeed flying back up from Simferopol was to add UIA to the list of airlines which I have flown, this one being the last of four airlines I’d taken who operate on the KBP-SIP route (DonbassAero, AeroSvit, WizzAir Ukraine and Ukraine International).




The dusk progressed from the East as the flight neared its completion, gradually descending through the murky haze left hanging in the air after a hot summers’ day, with a pinkish tinge marking out the horizon. Perhaps because I was tired the flight seemed to have passed very quickly; having been up since half three that morning, I decided to abandon plans to get to Yalta tonight, and just get a room somewhere in Simferopol itself, especially as I wanted to be adventurous and take the trolleybus! Ukraine International had proven to be a good airline though, and certainly much better value for money in terms of the distance covered than AeroSvit.










Touchdown was firm and a little bumpy on runway 19R, which deceptively is the only runway now, with 19L/01R being in a firmly mothballed state and used only as a taxiway in part and aircraft dumping ground for the rest of it’s 2600m length. Once parked up passengers were asked to remain seated, although no official reason was given, but looking out of the window you could see that the entourage was now preparing to disembark, again with a large police and official welcoming party, as you can see from the picture above! It took about ten minutes for them move off, by which time everyone left onboard were getting a bit annoyed to say the least, although I wasn’t too bothered, I just think it was nice that this guy had chosen to travel by public transport, instead of taking one of the government jets. I believe the person concerned was Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Russian Federation and First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, arriving to partake in a discussion (on how the forthcoming Russian & US elections may affect the EU) at the YES (Yalta European Strategy (for the Ukraine entering Europe) meeting) the following day in Yalta.







All the police had followed the important person, so I had no problem taking a few pictures as I walked to the bus and because of the delay disembarking my Bergen was already waiting for me at the reclaim area. Next was the fun job of getting a taxi-driver who wasn’t going to rob me silly – I sort of managed it, but still could have paid a lot less if I spoke better Ukrainian; the best way to barter is by using your mobile phone to show them on the screen the price which you intend to pay, they then reciprocate with a price double that, and you eventually meet somewhere in the middle. By doing it vocally you run the risk of them genuinely not understanding the figure you said, or getting to the destination and have them tell me that they thought I’d said 100 not 10! In the end I had a nice ride into town in fairly new Mercedes, and found a 4* hotel for about $40 a night. Flicking through the TV channels I was incredibly surprised to see myself on several of the news reports – I thought I’d managed to avoid the cameras, but nope, they got me and got me good on a few occasions!


Day 18-19; Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th July:


Today was the beginning of my great trolleybus adventure to Yalta! In the late 1950s it was decided, instead of extending the railway through the Crimean Mountains to the Black Sea coastal resorts, to construct a 54 mile electrified bus (trolleybus) route from Simferopol railway station to the bus/trolleybus station in Yalta. It’s not the quickest way there, taking several hours and being reduced to a crawl whilst ascending some of the steepest sections of the mountain pass – reaching 2500ft above sea level at one point, but it is the cheapest at just 8 Hyrvnas, or less than $2. However, after two and a half hours packed in like peas, with no room for luggage, no air conditioning and four unscheduled stops to put the pickups back on their wires, the bus had basically became a greenhouse! Those air conditioned coaches sure were looking a lot better an idea now, but as the longest trolleybus line in the world, I suppose it’s an achievement to say that I’ve traveled along its entirety! It then took a while to find a free hotel in Yalta (the only problem with not booking everything in advance) but I managed it after a while, so here are a few pictures of Yalta and the Livadia Palace, location of the Yalta Conference in 1945, where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill convened to discus the reshaping of postwar Europe.












The Livadia Palace:




















And that I’m afraid, lest I kill anyone on dial-up, is where I’ll have to leave this part of the report. Many thanks for reading thus far, I do hope that it’s proving to be an interesting read! Still to come in the third part are the following flights;


14.07.2008 ... SIP-SVO ... Aeroflot Don ... Il86 ... RA-86141
15.07.2008 ... SVO-GYD ... Aeroflot ... Tu154M ... RA-85661
17.07.2008 ... GYD-NAJ ... ImAir ... Tu154M ... 4K-AZ17
17.07.2008 ... NAJ-GYD ... Azerbaijan Airlines ... Tu154M ... 4K-85734
20.07.2008 ... GYD-KVD ... Azerbaijan Airlines ... ATR42-500 ... 4K-AZ52
20.07.2008 ... KVD-GYD ... Azerbaijan Airlines ... ATR42-500 ... 4K-AZ52
23.07.2008 ... TBS-GYD ... Azerbaijan Airlines ... ATR72-500 ... 4K-AZ65
24.07.2008 ... GYD-RIX ... Air Baltic ... B737-300 ... YL-BBK
24.07.2008 ... RIX-LPX ... Danu Oro Transportas ... ATR42-300 ... LY-ARI
24.07.2008 ... LPX-RIX ... Air Baltic ... F50 ... YL-BAU
25.07.2008 ... RIX-FRA ... Lufthansa ... B737-300 ... D-ABXO
25.07.2008 ... FRA-BRS ... Eurowings ... BAe146-300 ... D-AQUA
25.07.2008 ... BRS-PLH ... Air Southwest ... Dash 8-311 ... G-WOWC



As usual, please feel free to post any comments, thoughts, or if you would like to know any more information about the flights I’ve taken, then you only have to ask!

All the best,


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6938 posts, RR: 77
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 13701 times:

Hi Dan,

the long-awaited second part has arrived - and it's just as fantastic as part one! Well-written and accompanied by a huge load of great pictures. Rare aircraft, rare operators, relatively unknown cities and airports - what an incredible tour! These reports definitely belong to the most interesting ones posted ever on a.net.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
Date of First Flight: Unknown

According to ATDB, the aircraft was built in 1973. Former operators were Aeroflot (CCCP-46622), Krym (UR-46622), Sultan Air (TC-JUZ) and ARP 410 Airlines (UR-VIK).

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):

XU-U4D, PMT Air DC-9-83 (Cambodian registered plane – what on Earth was it doing in KBP!):

It has been leased to Wind Rose since May 2008. It's also a former Khors Air plane (ex-UR-CEL), btw.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13505 times:

I'm simply fascinated by your ukrainian adventure and your report. Very interesting flights, nice photos, and the right combination of aviation/non-aviation pictures. I've been planning to go to Ukraine for the past 3 years, and I'll go as soon as I can convince a friend to come with me.

Definitely looking forward to the next part !

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineDebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2468 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 13501 times:

...Another outstanding and excellent trip-report!

Can't wait to read trip report #3 in the NEAR future.  hyper 

BTW. just curious; how much did you paid for all the trip, incl. flights and hotels?

cheers ChriX


User currently offlineDba4u From Germany, joined Mar 2005, 670 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 13259 times:

Holy crap Dan! Every minute waiting for this has been well worth it!
Makes me wanna go back!
VV's 732 is still flying until march, and Wizz linking KTW with KBP - maybe...

Thumbs up!


User currently offlineFatmirJusufi From Albania, joined Jan 2009, 2441 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 13230 times:

Dan this was one of the greatest TR I've ever read! A lot of pics, a lot of ex-Soviet places, a lot of Russian planes...
Speechless.  Smile

Keep it up.  thumbsup 


Fatmir



DO FLIGHTS. NOT FIGHTS.
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 13064 times:



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
the long-awaited second part has arrived - and it's just as fantastic as part one! Well-written and accompanied by a huge load of great pictures. Rare aircraft, rare operators, relatively unknown cities and airports - what an incredible tour! These reports definitely belong to the most interesting ones posted ever on a.net.

Thank you - I was rather concerned at it's length and the volume of probably useless information which I'd ploughed into it, so it's very nice to know that it's appreciated and read  bigthumbsup 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
According to ATDB, the aircraft was built in 1973. Former operators were Aeroflot (CCCP-46622), Krym (UR-46622), Sultan Air (TC-JUZ) and ARP 410 Airlines (UR-VIK).



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
It has been leased to Wind Rose since May 2008. It's also a former Khors Air plane (ex-UR-CEL), btw.

Very useful information, thank you again. I was thinking that the MD82 may have been transferring through Kiev on delivery, and to know the first flight date of the An24 is also very pleasing!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 4):
I'm simply fascinated by your ukrainian adventure and your report. Very interesting flights, nice photos, and the right combination of aviation/non-aviation pictures. I've been planning to go to Ukraine for the past 3 years, and I'll go as soon as I can convince a friend to come with me.

Thanks - I like to try and strike a balance so that my report shows a good part of the country/city as well as whichever aircraft or airlines I might have flown. I'd say go as soon as possible, I checked a few days ago and already many Yak42D flights have now become B737-500s  Sad

Quoting Debonair (Reply 5):
...Another outstanding and excellent trip-report!

Can't wait to read trip report #3 in the NEAR future.

BTW. just curious; how much did you paid for all the trip, incl. flights and hotels?

Yes, I'll try not to leave it as long until the next part is published  Embarrassment Many thanks for your comments, the short answer is: too much!  silly  Seriously though, I think overall I spent around about £5000/$10,000 on the trip - that's food, visas, accommodation, travelling etc all included.

Quoting Dba4u (Reply 6):
Holy crap Dan! Every minute waiting for this has been well worth it!
Makes me wanna go back!
VV's 732 is still flying until march, and Wizz linking KTW with KBP - maybe...

Thanks David - it's only just over the border for you at the moment so perhaps you could do a weekend! How is your time in Poland going, I hope all is well?

Quoting FatmirJusufi (Reply 7):
Dan this was one of the greatest TR I've ever read! A lot of pics, a lot of ex-Soviet places, a lot of Russian planes...
Speechless.

Keep it up.

Many thanks Fatmir, I'm glad you have enjoyed reading it. It was a total binge of soviet types on this trip, because I knew that it would be my last chance to fly on many types like the An24, Yak42 and Il82.

Thanks for the comments so far, this particular report has taken a long time to write, so thank you also for being patient. I estimate that including editing the pictures, it took around 100 hours to write, on and off, so I'm glad to know that it's been worthwhile.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 13048 times:

Like Planehunter said, the long awaited part 2 has arrived - I have been scouring A.net trip reports for the past 3 months or so looking for your Part 2 report. Fantastic and thank you so much for taking the time to publish this. Some great pics of your travels too.

Again, now have to wait for Part 3!!!

P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 12823 times:



Quoting Palmjet (Reply 9):
I have been scouring A.net trip reports for the past 3 months or so looking for your Part 2 report

Same here. Thanks for your great report!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
if someone has a recipe for the oats/stuff which is with the omelet

What you had there was buckwheat. (It's called "grechka" in Russian). I got to know it on one of my first trips to Russia when it was served with chicken on a domestic flight. I agree it tastes quite well (but I don't know how to cook it).

Several times I just had to laugh out loudly while reading your report, especially concerning customer service. It's the same in Russia - I know the situation where they send you from one counter to the other and then back again! Worst thing that has happened to me was a lady working at Novosibirsk airport information desk putting a closed sign on her window as soon as she saw me approaching.... Quite funny!

Also the metal doors in the airport perimeter fence/wall where they drop you off after arrival - it's just one of these Russian things! I couldn't believe it when I first experienced it.

Looking forward to reading part 3!


User currently offlineLovetojetblue From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 12739 times:

great tr

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
Dnieproavia have a very outdated website

it doesnt even show reference to the B737's



Jetblue: The official airline of Springfield! And Eventually: The official airline of Quahog, RI
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8588 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 12538 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks Dan,

Been looking forward to this, well worth the wait, thanks, it's brill!  Smile

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
Aircraft: Yakovlev Yak 42D
Registration: UR-42366
Date of First Flight: 05.05.1989

- It's amazing how new some of these birds are!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
The woman on the first desk was having none of it and got very angry, marched over and told staff on the second desk that it definitely was their problem and not hers!

- Lovely, wish I'd been there  Smile

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
a very nice lady, who spoke perfect English, told me that yes that particular flight had been cancelled, but that it hadn%u2019t really, because there was another one operating at the same time in it%u2019s place %u2013 when I asked why it wasn%u2019t on the board she said it was no problem, then paused for a moment as a concerned look spread across her face. %u2018Oh dear%u2019 she murmured, and disappeared into the back of their office for several minutes. I was dreading the worst when she returned, but apparently it was operating, the only problem being that nobody from AeroSvit knew where it was flying from %u2013 confused? So was I!

- I really don't know what to say!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 2):
that night I had the shock of my life watching the national news and seeing myself on it!

- Fame at last!  Smile

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 2):
a 737-400, and was surrounded by about a dozen military police with guns drawn, so I didn’t even try to take any pictures whilst boarding

- Wise!

Looking forward to the next installment.

Kind Regards

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 offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6938 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 12524 times:



Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 8):
Very useful information, thank you again. I was thinking that the MD82 may have been transferring through Kiev on delivery, and to know the first flight date of the An24 is also very pleasing!

You're welcome, just tell me if you need to know anything else.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12474 times:

Hey, Dan,

wow, thats an itinerary.
Great story, great pics, great less covered airlines and places.
I like also your country and city pics.

All around, well done, to say the least.

Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 12320 times:

Hi Dan,

I read the report in 2 parts myself, as I read every word of it, it took some time to complete Big grin All I can say is that your travels are facinating, and you write-up is perfect! Great pics, interesting metal to fly on and some explanation about how to travel in Ukraine. Thanks for that!

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2597 posts, RR: 29
Reply 16, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 12137 times:

Superb, once agin. I spent ages reading this report and watching all the videos.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Thread starter):
It felt great to be getting back onboard a B737-200 again; I’d last flown one the previous summer in the Philippines, presuming that it would be my last trip on the type, yet here I was a year later having another ‘last’ ride!

I've said that many times. The last one was supposed to be Ryanair in 2005... then it was Aero Asia in 2005.... then it was Alliance Air in 2007. I even managed to get another one last month with Jubba Airways (operated by AVE.com) JIB-DXB!


User currently offlineJM017 From Jamaica, joined Jun 2002, 1227 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 12050 times:

This is the most interesting TR I have read on a.net. I'll have to find Part one and am looking forward to part 3.


"It's okay to cheat, if you just really don't like to lose."
User currently offlineSAAB900 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2007, 490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 11934 times:

Dan,
This is one epic TR! I have to say it's an amazing adventure that you went on & this resulting TR is one of the best ever that I've read on here!  bigthumbsup 
I think that if I ever manage to visit the Ukraine I'll be emailing you for all the info before I go!!  Smile
I can't wait for part 3!

Dave(SAAB900)


User currently offlineDYflyer From Norway, joined May 2006, 676 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 11901 times:

Excellent trip report as always Dan. Well worth the wait. They just keep getting better and better. Appreciate the time you take making these. Seeing the pictures made me want to go back again though. With the nice prices Wizzair has from "Oslo" i guess i shouldn't rule out another trip this year.

My Ukrainian is limited, but i believe the writing on to chocolate basically translates into "now everybody can fly".



Life is like a book. If you don't travel, you only read one page.
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 20, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 11710 times:



Quoting Palmjet (Reply 9):
Like Planehunter said, the long awaited part 2 has arrived - I have been scouring A.net trip reports for the past 3 months or so looking for your Part 2 report. Fantastic and thank you so much for taking the time to publish this. Some great pics of your travels too.

Again, now have to wait for Part 3!!!

Thanks PalmJet, sorry again about the delay in posting, I am well on the way with a shorter Part Three, focussing on two Aeroflot flights with the Il-86 and Tu154 - not long to wait now  Wink

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 10):
Thanks for your great report!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading it  Smile

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 10):
What you had there was buckwheat. (It's called "grechka" in Russian). I got to know it on one of my first trips to Russia when it was served with chicken on a domestic flight. I agree it tastes quite well (but I don't know how to cook it).

Thank you - I'm sure I can search for a recipie now I know what it's called! It was very nice indeed, I have some Russian friends here in the UK, so I'll try asking them for cooking tips.

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 10):
Several times I just had to laugh out loudly while reading your report, especially concerning customer service. It's the same in Russia - I know the situation where they send you from one counter to the other and then back again! Worst thing that has happened to me was a lady working at Novosibirsk airport information desk putting a closed sign on her window as soon as she saw me approaching.... Quite funny!

Also the metal doors in the airport perimeter fence/wall where they drop you off after arrival - it's just one of these Russian things! I couldn't believe it when I first experienced it.

That's just what I did too, no point in getting too stressed out by it, as most of AeroSvit's operations were comical. At least with the metal doors you have a quick exit, much better than being paraded through yet another Duty Free store, like BAA would have you!

Quoting Lovetojetblue (Reply 11):
great tr

Thanks!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Thanks Dan,

Been looking forward to this, well worth the wait, thanks, it's brill!

I'm glad it's worth it for you, I was also concious that I'd written perhaps a bit too much, because there was just so many things to try and fit in!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
It's amazing how new some of these birds are!

I know, it is a real shame that they are being withdrawn, most flights now are just 737 operated  Sad

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
I really don't know what to say!

Neither did I!  silly 

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Fame at last!

I'd love to get hold of some of the footage, but I'd need to be able to read/write the language to do so.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 12):
Wise!

Looking forward to the next installment.

You won't have long to wait, as I say I'm working on the Il-86 flight which I took Big grin

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
You're welcome, just tell me if you need to know anything else.

Thanks, I'm tracking down the Tu154s that I flew now, so I may need some help on that  Smile

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 14):
Hey, Dan,

wow, thats an itinerary.
Great story, great pics, great less covered airlines and places.
I like also your country and city pics.

All around, well done, to say the least.

Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

Many thanks Markus, it's great to know my writing is appreciated! I love going to places which are more off the beaten track, so it's only right to include some pictures of the places as well as the aircraft  Smile

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 15):
Hi Dan,

I read the report in 2 parts myself, as I read every word of it, it took some time to complete All I can say is that your travels are facinating, and you write-up is perfect! Great pics, interesting metal to fly on and some explanation about how to travel in Ukraine. Thanks for that!

I hope it didn't take too long for you to read  silly  Many thanks for your kind words, they are very much appreciated!

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 16):
Superb, once agin. I spent ages reading this report and watching all the videos.

Thank you, it's a shame they couldn't have been embedded, I'm glad you enjoyed watching them

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 16):
I've said that many times. The last one was supposed to be Ryanair in 2005... then it was Aero Asia in 2005.... then it was Alliance Air in 2007. I even managed to get another one last month with Jubba Airways (operated by AVE.com) JIB-DXB!

It's just so tempting to take one more flight, then another, and another Big grin

Quoting JM017 (Reply 17):
This is the most interesting TR I have read on a.net. I'll have to find Part one and am looking forward to part 3.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it - comments like yours make writing them worthwhile! There is a link at the top of this part which should take you to Part One.  Smile

Quoting SAAB900 (Reply 18):
Dan,
This is one epic TR! I have to say it's an amazing adventure that you went on & this resulting TR is one of the best ever that I've read on here!
I think that if I ever manage to visit the Ukraine I'll be emailing you for all the info before I go!!
I can't wait for part 3!

It certainly was an adventure, literally the best I have ever been on Big grin Thanks, if you do ever want more information about travelling in the Ukraine then feel free to contact me.  Smile

Quoting DYflyer (Reply 19):
Excellent trip report as always Dan. Well worth the wait. They just keep getting better and better. Appreciate the time you take making these. Seeing the pictures made me want to go back again though. With the nice prices Wizzair has from "Oslo" i guess i shouldn't rule out another trip this year.

Thanks Rune, those WizzAir fares are ridiculously cheap compared to last year, it was about time that a LCC entered the market though! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it  Smile

Quoting DYflyer (Reply 19):
My Ukrainian is limited, but i believe the writing on to chocolate basically translates into "now everybody can fly".

That would make sense, I believe it's their marketing phrase.


Once again, many thanks for everyone's kind comments - I am working on the next part, but at the moment I'm stranded away from home (where my PC is) which has all the pictures! Last night alone 55cm of snow fell down here in the Westcountry, in the town I need to pass through to get home, so I'm marooned at my partner's house which itself had another 20cm of snow last night!


All the best,


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (5 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 11676 times:

Czernovtsy was ruled by Austria from about 1750 to 1918; was known as Czernowitz. It was called "little Vienna" and was the capital of the Dutchy of Bukovina. Apparently one can still see the Austrian influence. From 1918 to 1941 it was Romania. From 1941 to 1990s USSR and now Ukraine.

I am very interested in this area. Thanks for a fascinating report. All these different airlines is very confusing.


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11701 posts, RR: 60
Reply 22, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 11318 times:



Quoting Semsem (Reply 21):
Czernovtsy was ruled by Austria from about 1750 to 1918; was known as Czernowitz. It was called "little Vienna" and was the capital of the Dutchy of Bukovina. Apparently one can still see the Austrian influence. From 1918 to 1941 it was Romania. From 1941 to 1990s USSR and now Ukraine.

That is very interesting, I really wish that I could have seen the city itself as well  Smile

Quoting Semsem (Reply 21):
I am very interested in this area. Thanks for a fascinating report. All these different airlines is very confusing.

Thank you, I did fly on quite a few airlines during the trip; I always try to fly on as many carriers as possible, especially ones which I haven't flown before. Think I managed 14 'new' carriers on my month away, which isn't a bad tally!


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6671 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (5 years 10 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 10892 times:

An absolutely amazing trip report! I truly enjoyed it the way it was written as well as the excellent pictures and information. Can't wait to read Part 3.

I can only agree with the following quote from my friend, PlaneHunter

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Rare aircraft, rare operators, relatively unknown cities and airports - what an incredible tour! These reports definitely belong to the most interesting ones posted ever on a.net.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
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