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Ukraine Part 1 : BRU-WAW-ODS And SIP-KBP (Pics)  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13684 times:

Background

As I have great interest in former communist countries, going to a former USSR republic has always been high on my travel list, after having been multiple times to Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and even to East Germany not long after the fall of the Berlin wall. For my first time in the former USSR, I chose Ukraine because of its specific location (geographically, but also politically) between Eastern Europe and Russia, for its rich history, for its diversity and vastness, and also because I think names such as Kiev, Sevastopol or the Crimea have something fascinating.

I would have loved to fly on soviet-era planes, which still lack in my log, but unfortunately, the need to plan the trip in advance, my time and budget constraints and the fact that both my travel companions have little interest in aviation made it impossible to find a reasonable plan. Still, as a consolation, I sampled a couple of domestic ukrainian flights, and paid a very interesting visit to Kiev's aviation museum.

After months of growing in my mind, the project advanced to its concrete phase in November of 2009 when I booked the first flight of the trip, between Brussels and Odessa, via Warsaw. The following months were spent in intensive preparations : reading books, press, websites, learning Russian and basic Ukrainian, ... By the end of April, I could read cyrillic fluently and speak and understand basic russian phrases without hesitation. This was very useful when I successfully tried to book ukrainian train tickets on-line (including on-line payment), using a brand new experimental booking engine of Ukrainian Railways website, available only in Ukrainian or Russian. All this may give the impression of an over-preparation for the trip, but this is something I like to do for those trips that are special to me, like my travels to Algeria.

On this trip to Ukraine, I was accompanied by 2 friends who were interested in discovering the country, but had no time or desire to go through intense preparation or learn the language. So, I ended up acting like their own personal "guide"  . Leaving my son and wife home in Belgium for 10 days was a bit difficult, especially given the fact that she discovered on the very first day of my absence that... she's expecting our second child   !

Note : most Ukrainian places have an Ukrainian and Russian name, and the country itself is divided into Ukrainian and Russian speakers. In this report I arbitrarily chose to use the spelling that seemed the most common to me. I'll write Russian names (Kiev instead of Kyiv, etc...) except for Lviv which seemed more common than Lvov.

Trip summary



- Flight Brussels - Warsaw - Odessa on LOT (B737-55D SP-LKC and Embraer ERJ-175SD SP-LIA).

- One full day (and night) to visit Odessa.

- Night train between Odessa and Simferopol.

- Car rental in Simferopol to visit Crimea during 5 days. We stayed in Feodosiya, Yalta and Sevastopol, and visited multiple places in between, including Stary Krym, Koktebel, Sudak, Bakchissaray and a couple of attractions near Yalta.

- Flight Simferopol - Kiev on AeroSvit operated by DnieproAvia (B737-3L9 UR-IVK).

- 2 days (and nights) in Kiev.

- Flight Kiev - Lviv on AeroSvit operated by DnieproAvia (Embraer ERJ-145LR UR-DNR).

- 1 day (and night) in Lviv.

- Flight Lviv - Warsaw - Brussels on LOT (Embraer ERJ-175LR SP-LIK and B737-55D).

Departure

The weeks and days before our departure were placed under the sign of volcanic ash disruptions. I monitored the situation as it evolved and searched for train timetables, should we be stuck in Ukraine. Finally, on the day of departure, everything was back to normal. One of my friends picked me up at home (near Charleroi, Belgium) and we drove to Brussels to pick up the third participant, then to Brussels airport on very quiet highways at this early time.


LO232 to Warsaw on time...

As I had printed our boarding passes online the day before, we only had to drop off our luggage at a surprisingly quiet LOT check-in counter then proceeded immediately through security. There was no wait at all, probably because it was Saturday, so after the long wall to pier A, we sat down at our gate well in advance, watching our 737-500 being prepared in front of the runway 25R take-offs.


Our aircraft being prepared for its flight, with a Brussels Airlines A319 taking off behind.

PH-EZD

We boarded through a jetbridge, and upon entering the cabin, I realized how short the -500 is, compared to my usual -800 or -400 flights. One of my friends picked up one of the free newspapers on offer and we took our seats on the second to last row. The load seemed good for a Saturday flight. We took off from runway 25R and made a long left turn offering an overview of the airport.


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Overview of Brussels airport after departure.


Haven't had time to look for this airport, probably in Germany near the Belgian border. If anyone can help...

A cold, correct breakfast was served 20 minutes after departure, and refreshing towels and warm bread rolls were offered separately, along with a choice of (free) cold drinks, coffee and tea. The F/A's insisted that we take both a cold and warm drink, and I even saw a gentleman order some wine... I mean, red wine with breakfast ? Even though the cabin showed its age, the comfortable seats, good breakfast, smiling and seemingly motivated flight attendants made the flight pleasant.

Warsaw airport

We landed at a dull Warsaw on time. Last time I was here (in 2007), terminal 2 was in its final days before completion, and its opening sure is a welcome addition. I find its architecture relatively uninspired, but at least it's functional, modern, clean and easy to navigate. Although we were just connecting, we had to pass through a security check which took forever, with only one station open for all connecting pax. When we finally passed, our flight to Odessa was almost ready for boarding, so we went to the gate located in the non-Schengen departures area (after a specific passport control), just beside the gate for LOT flight 001 to Chicago.


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VIP terminal, I think.


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Flying to Ukraine


Our flight to Odessa at 11:05.



We were bussed to a remote stand where our Embraer ERJ-175 was waiting for us. We were originally scheduled to fly on a 145, but the equipment was changed 2 weeks before the flight, probably because of the good load, from what I figured out once on board. Since my first Embraer flight between Philadelphia and Montreal last year, I've come to think that those little birds are quite comfortable, sometimes even more so than mainline equipment, and this made no exception. After a small wait, the captain explained that we had to wait for some connecting pax inbound from New York. We ended up departing with some reasonable delay.


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Our aircraft (SP-LIA).


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Warsaw skyline in the haze.

We didn't take a direct route to Odessa. Instead, we flew due East into Ukraine before turning South to the Black Sea. During the descent above the Dnister delta, I noticed the vastness of ukrainian countryside. We landed smoothly but the runway seemed in pretty bad shape (cracked concrete blocks with asphalt joints), which gave a pretty shaky sensation during the landing roll. We made a U-turn at the threshold and backtracked to a taxiway to finally end up on the small apron in front of the terminal building. An Ukraine International 737 seemed to be the only other active aircraft on the airport, but some other metal was resting on remote aprons, including an exotic Fars Air Qeshm Yak-42 with an ukrainian registration.


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Near Odessa.


U-turn on the runway after landing.


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Odessa airport

Walking down the airstairs, I took a photo of the terminal, when a security officer waived at me and shouted "no picture !". Fortunately, I had pressed the shutter button just before I heard him, so, smiling at him I said "OK, no problem". We were bussed to the small, old-fashioned arrivals terminal where our driver was waiting for us. We passed through passport control (friendly officer) and collected back our luggage on one of the two carrousels in a sixties looking hall, before entering the public part of the terminal. I must add that customs services looked very alert, thoroughly looking at all bags on the carrousels with sniffer dogs. They seemed to scrutinize every luggage tag and pick some bags to inspect them then put them back on the carrousel. I was picked by an officer who seemingly wanted me to open my case, but our driver said something in Russian and the guy let us go.


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Certainly not the best picture of me, but I included it to show the baggage claim hall at Odessa.

The public part of the terminal looked old and was overcrowded. A lot of taxi drivers (official as well as unofficial) tried to sell their services, sometimes a bit agressively. Our driver was walking fast, ignoring them, leaving me no time to take a photo, however, once outside, I asked him to wait while I was shooting the terminal building.

Odessa

Odessa made us a good impression. It has some nice architectural examples and an easy going atmosphere in a relatively compact centre. It doesn't have that many tourist attractions, but enough to keep us busy for two days. The city is famous for its Potemkin stairs, but save for the cinematographic interest, we didn't find them that impressive. It was however nice and interesting to wander around the city, in the animated streets of the centre, the parks, the deteriorated suburbs, and along the Black Sea beaches.


In the Passaj shopping galleria.


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An old Volga.


On the Potemkin stairs.


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A nice group of Russian tourists who couldn't believe we were coming from Belgium...


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The Odessa opera building.


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One of the very few (the only ?) catholic church in Odessa.

Night train between Odessa and Simferopol

Taking a night train in Ukraine was quite an experience. We boarded a soviet-era train in Odessa at 7:15 pm. The interior of the carriage looked really old and temperature inside our compartment reached 28°C (it cooled down a bit during the night). There were 4 couchettes in the compartment, with pillow and linen provided in a plastic bag, but without gate to prevent you from falling in case of sudden braking. The providnitsia (the carriage attendant) provided us with coffee and tea in the evening and in the morning. Although the ride was far from smooth, probably because of the bad state of the tracks (or carriage suspension...) and the numerous intermediate stops, we still managed to get some sleep. The atmosphere inside the train was interesting and the ride gave us a good occasion to get some insight in the preferred transportation mean of Ukrainians. Eventually, we arrived in Simferopol after a 12 hours ride, grabbed some breakfast, and took an ancient trolleybus to the airport to pick up our rental car.


Unfortunately, our provodnitsa (carriage attendant) didn't look like that...


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At Simferopol station.

Exploring Crimea

We had a great time exploring Crimea with the car. The first day, we left Simferopol for a very small village to walk around the Ak-Kaya white mountain. We had a basic lunch in the town of Belogorsk, then made our way to Stary Krim where we visited an old (but active) armenian monastery, as well as the oldest mosque in Crimea. The evening and night were spent in Feodosiya, a Black Sea resort crowded with Russian tourists (at least in the summer, because it was quiet when we were there).


Ak-Kaya mountain.


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Armenian monk at a monastery near Stary Krim.


Stary Krim.


Oldest mosque in Crimea in Stary Krim (14th century). Front part rebuilt and active, back part in ruin.


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Feodosiya.


Feodosiya.


Feodosiya.


Feodosiya.


Feodosiya.


Datcha Stambuli in Feodosiya.


I told you you'd better learn some Russian to visit Ukraine...

The next day, we followed the coastal road until Yalta, stopping at Koktebel and Sudak, where we climbed the impressive genoese fortress and had lunch. We were kind of disappointed by Yalta, which is elegant and rich on the seafront (if you don't look at the beach, that is), but another badly maintained city as soon as you leave this small privileged area. We however spent the night there and had a couple of very good Mojito's at european prices.


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Koktebel beach.


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An abandoned An-24 in Koktebel (CCCP-46793).


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Sudak.


Sudak.


Sudak.


Sudak.


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Gurzuf, near Yalta.


Boeing 747 "simulator" in Yalta  
The lone guy among all the girls.


Yalta seafront.

On the Wednesday, we visited Yalta's surroundings, including the "swallow's nest" castle, the Vorontsov palace and the Livadia palace where the famous conference took place in 1945 (exterior only, as some bad luck made us go on the only day where it's closed...). After a nice lunch in the lovely village of Simeiz, we took an impressive cable car ride to the top of Aï-Petri mountain with fantastic views on the crimean coast.


We had a really bad hotel in Yalta, but the view from the window was OK.


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The Livadia palace, venue of the famous 1945 conference.


The "swallow nest" castle near Yalta is often pictured on Crimean postcards.


Vorontsov palace.


Vorontsov palace.


The beach in Simeiz.


Ai-Petri cable car.


Ai-Petri mountain from the cable car.


Yalta seen from Ai-Petri mountain.

We then spent 2 days and 2 nights in the interesting city of Sevastopol, the main base of Russia's Black Sea fleet, which was not accessible to foreigners until 1996. We took some time to explore the city by foot, from the nice sea front to the not so nice suburbs.


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If you look closely, you'll see a traditional "kvas" street vendor.


Sevastopol is a "hero-city" of the USSR.


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Before going back to Simferopol airport, we made a last stop in Bakchissaray, the former capital of the crimean khanate, where a beautiful palace can be visited.


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Simferopol airport


Yours faithfully, arriving at the airport...

After having dropped off the car, I took some time to explore Simferopol airport. Not much to see however, even if it is a bit larger than Odessa. At some point, the original, neo-classical, soviet building became too small and was converted into a restaurant, which it still is nowadays. Several buildings were built around it, including an international departures terminal, a very small domestic terminal, and an arrival terminal. We had a beer at the small bar located on the open-air car park, watching the old trolleybus come and go, hoping for some aviation action that never came.


The original terminal building is now a restaurant.


International arrivals hall.


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Domestic terminal.


International departures terminal.

One hour and half before our scheduled departure, we went to the domestic terminal to check in our bags. The LCD TV showed that all domestic flights today (and, as I suspect, for other days too) were header to Kiev, either Borispol or Zhuliany. The terminal itself is small, but in correct condition. After that we passed a boarding pass check, a security check (only one machine) that included hold luggage, then had to simply leave our luggage near a door where they would be taken by loaders when the aircraft would be there.


Domestic check-in hall.


Yes, you must proceed through this door for domestic departures.


Behind me, the door in front of which bags are left.


This is the entire domesting waiting lounge.

As far as I could see, the "gate" area (only one domestic gate, again if I saw correctly) was designed to accomodate only one flight at a time. There was a small shop selling drinks and the likes. The good think is that the waiting area is glassed, with views on the apron, however not that much traffic was to be seen : an S7 737, a business jet preparing for departure, and a couple of parked aircraft including a Tu-134 with "Ukraïna" titles (most pictures are taken against the sun, so, sorry for the bad colors).


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Sorry for the blurriness, picture taken through glass.


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After a while, our aircraft landed and came to a rest just in front of the windows. To my surprise, it was a DniproAvia 737. At first, an AeroSvit 737 was scheduled for the route, then a couple of weeks later a Dniproavia ERJ-145, and finally it was this 737. I discreetly took a few pics while boarding. Inside, the interior was your average 737 cabin, with AeroSvit headrest covers. The flight attendants were average, certainly not worse than what I'm used to in the "West"  
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Flight Simferopol - Kiev

At 7.2 km (4,5 miles), the taxi to runway 19R was possibly the longest I ever experienced (in distance, not in time). Runway 01R/19L is much closer to the terminal, but I'm not sure it's still in use. The flight was smooth, the captain explained the routing once or twice during the flight, in Russian (or Ukrainian, I don't remember) and approximate but understandable English. The "service" was rather basic as it consisted in just one glass of still water.


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After landing in Kiev, we were bussed to the small domestic terminal ("Terminal A") which is far from being nice. Our driver was waiting for us in the public area.


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The shabby looking "Terminal A".

Continued in part 2 here : Ukraine Part 2 : KBP-LWO, LWO-WAW-BRU (Pics) (by BrusselsSouth May 30 2010 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2010-05-30 04:45:18]

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinespootter10 From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13613 times:

Wow, thank you for this great trip report! I was never really interested in going to visit any Eastern European countries, but after seeing your report I have to rethink that. Especially the pictures of Krim and the Black Sea are really beautifiul.

User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 13202 times:

Hi,
it's a great report. Very informative pictures and showing a real beautiful country. Though, especially with the picture of the

Quote:
The lone guy among all the girls.

, you might be more careful putting them online. I wouldn't like it to find myself back as such  

Overall, I think tourism from the 'West' is increasing also in the future for Ukraine. The country has to become more open, easier to travel, and giving more and better information campaigns in Western Europe, then I think all will benefit from the beauty in the East.

Shame to see you not flying on some Russian build metal. I think most of the Ukrainian companies turned to western equipment now, except maybe on some smaller routes?



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1939 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 12867 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report! What fantastic pictures of your trip!

767747


User currently offlineAwysBSB From Brazil, joined Sep 2005, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 12705 times:

Congratulations for your trip report!
Your descriptions and images really caught my attention.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):

I have browsed grida.no, but I did not find the map editor you used.
Could you show us how did you create that map?


User currently offlinemickster From Austria, joined Feb 2009, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 12370 times:
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Fantastic report, thank you.

Hailing from an ex-communist country myself (Bulgaria, that is) some of the scenery is quite familiar to me. The trains here are the same and of the same miserable quality (and travel quite slow, in fact) - that is why I haven't used a train in over a decade, I think. But that ancient trolleybus really took me by surprise - ours are at least Ikarus produced ones but they are quite aged as well.


User currently offlineDaninafryingpan From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Mar 2010, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 12121 times:

Really interesting report!

I too have this weird obsession with former communist and Soviet Union countries. So far I've only visited Bulgaria, and it was to a ski resort in the mountains so didn't get to see much of the real Bulgaria. Ukraine and Russia are also on my list of countries to visit but I'm one of those people that is completely obsessed with personal safety. Living in my little bubble in Northern Ireland where nothing happens makes me crap myself when I think about some of the things that happen in other countries, but of course I won't ever know this unless I visit them!

Would've been good to see some Russian/Ukrainian aircraft, but I guess many airlines are now phasing them out unfortunately. I think there used to be a TU-154 operating the BFS-PDV ski routes which I would have loved to have went on but it's now been replaced by Bulgaria Air Airbuses to SOF.  


User currently offlineELAL772 From Israel, joined Jun 2008, 158 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 11995 times:

Amazing reports, parts one and two!
I worked in the Ukraine for a few months spending the week in Kiev, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk and your TR brought back many memories. I still go back occasionally.

Kiev is indeed a nice city, though sometimes trying to communicate with locals can get a little frustrating.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The lone guy among all the girls.

Doesn't seem to be so "excited" about this  
Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The beach in Simeiz.

WOW! Thailand?!


User currently offlineTUGMASTER From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Jul 2004, 699 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 11987 times:

FANTASTIC trip report.....

loved the photo of the sunbathing bikini clad girl in a leather jacket.....priceless.
and congrats on your forthcoming arrival......

looking forward to part 2

T


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 11839 times:

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 2):
you might be more careful putting them online. I wouldn't like it to find myself back as such

I hear you. I put some blur on the gentleman's face, maybe not enough. I love to photograph unknown people because I think they can put some esthetics on a picture. With such a background, swimsuit and stance, it was basically impossible to resist.

Quoting AwysBSB (Reply 4):
I have browsed grida.no, but I did not find the map editor you used.
Could you show us how did you create that map?

I just typed "Ukraine map" in Google Images search, selected one of the pictures found, and added the colored arrows with a basic image editing software...

Quoting mickster (Reply 5):
Hailing from an ex-communist country myself (Bulgaria, that is) some of the scenery is quite familiar to me. The trains here are the same and of the same miserable quality (and travel quite slow, in fact) - that is why I haven't used a train in over a decade, I think. But that ancient trolleybus really took me by surprise - ours are at least Ikarus produced ones but they are quite aged as well.

Thank you for your comment. I was a bit surprised to see that such outdated trains are actually the standard in Ukraine. As I wrote, it was a very interesting experience for us, but I wouldn't want to have to use them too often. I used my GPS receiver in the train and noticed we never exceeded 90 kph. Trolleybus in all the cities we visited that had some (namely Simferopol, Odessa, Kiev, Sevastopol and Lviv... there might be some others) were of the vintage you see on the picture. We used one from Simferopol station to the airport and the interior is of the same style. Generally speaking, public transportation always seemed to have extensive network and frequencies, but with old vehicles.

Quoting TUGMASTER (Reply 8):
loved the photo of the sunbathing bikini clad girl in a leather jacket.....priceless.

I've seen quite some bikini girls on the beaches, but I think it's the first time I saw this (on a public beach, that is   )

Quoting TUGMASTER (Reply 8):
and congrats on your forthcoming arrival......

Thanks 
Quoting TUGMASTER (Reply 8):
looking forward to part 2

It's been released at the same time as part 1 : Ukraine Part 2 : KBP-LWO, LWO-WAW-BRU (Pics) (by BrusselsSouth May 30 2010 in Trip Reports)

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 7):
WOW! Thailand?!

Could be, from the photo. But from being there, I would compare it to the "Calanques" near Marseilles, France. Simeiz is a small village between Yalta and Sevastopol.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 2):
Shame to see you not flying on some Russian build metal. I think most of the Ukrainian companies turned to western equipment now, except maybe on some smaller routes?
Quoting Daninafryingpan (Reply 6):
Would've been good to see some Russian/Ukrainian aircraft, but I guess many airlines are now phasing them out unfortunately

Domestic Ukrainian routes are mostly flown with western equipment. However, some An-24s and other russian types are still around on Ukrainian airports, so I guess they must be flying to somewhere... By the way, I seem to recall that AeroSvit recently put the An-148 into service on domestic services...

There's a report somewhere on this site of PlymSpotter flying the An-24 (Lugansk Airlines) between SIP and KBP. I even seem to remember a Yak-40 or 42. Sorry, I don't have time to search for it now, but I remember reading it with great interest.

Quoting Daninafryingpan (Reply 6):
but I'm one of those people that is completely obsessed with personal safety. Living in my little bubble in Northern Ireland where nothing happens makes me crap myself when I think about some of the things that happen in other countries, but of course I won't ever know this unless I visit them!

It's all a question of attitude and experience. Positive attitude will always make you deal with problems successfully. Also, in all "out of the beaten path" travels, problematic situations will inevitably occur. Just try to always take the cool part of things and you'll have funny things to tell your friends back in N. Ireland. There may be some traps you're bound to fall into the first time you travel on non-touristic countries on your own. However, those traps are almost always the same in all countries, so with experience, you'll learn to avoid them (or to get out of them). So, if you have a passion for those countries, just go, you'll be just fine (as I wrote, learn basic Russian...).

Finally, I'd like to thank all the readers who posted positive comments... keep 'em coming !

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlinemickster From Austria, joined Feb 2009, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 11776 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 7):
I think there used to be a TU-154 operating the BFS-PDV ski routes which I would have loved to have went on but it's now been replaced by Bulgaria Air Airbuses to SOF.

Correct me if I am wrong but the seasonal charters should still be there between BFS and BOJ/PDV/VAR operated by Bulgarian Air Charter on MD82/MD83. The only airworthy Tu-154 in the country is the former president/government plane but it is also not flying presently.


User currently offlineAwysBSB From Brazil, joined Sep 2005, 561 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 11591 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 9):
I just typed "Ukraine map" in Google Images search, selected one of the pictures found, and added the colored arrows with a basic image editing software...

The simpler the better.
Thank you for your reply!


User currently offlineEireRock From Ireland, joined Nov 2007, 301 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10858 times:

Hi, great trip report but i couldn't help noticing in the pictures of your last flight to Borispol there is a panel missing on the pylon of the 737. At first i thought it was open on the ground due to maintenance reasons but its still missing/open during flight, did you see that?

User currently offlineDaninafryingpan From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Mar 2010, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 10839 times:

Quoting mickster (Reply 10):
orrect me if I am wrong but the seasonal charters should still be there between BFS and BOJ/PDV/VAR operated by Bulgarian Air Charter on MD82/MD83. The only airworthy Tu-154 in the country is the former president/government plane but it is also not flying presently.

Apologies if that was a bit unclear. I was saying that I am sure I remember Balkan Holidays operating a TU-154 several years ago for the ski charters to PDV and I was looking forward to this as I travelled to Bulgaria in February. As it turned out, our tour operator was Balkan Tours, a Northern Ireland based company that chartered in a Bulgaria Air A320 for both flights. I'm not sure if Balkan Holidays still operate charter flights out of BFS but I know that for this summer they have started a new route from my local airport LDY to BOJ.

Sorry for going off topic there a bit.


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 10713 times:

Quoting EireRock (Reply 12):
there is a panel missing on the pylon of the 737. At first i thought it was open on the ground due to maintenance reasons but its still missing/open during flight, did you see that?

Thanks for pointing that out. I had noticed it but I didn't pay attention to it. Does anybody know what this is, and how "normal" it is ?

Quoting Daninafryingpan (Reply 13):
Sorry for going off topic there a bit.

No problem. While it's actually still possible to fly on soviet-era types, it implies going more and more off the "usual" routes / countries.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 15, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10556 times:

Hi Brusselssouth (isn't that CRL?  ),

Thanks for this great report about half of your tour of Ukraine. Reminds me of my own trip there last summer, did Lvov, Odessa and Kyiv. That bumpy Odessa runway sure rings a bell, it was downright scary when taking off with a Dniproavia ERJ-145!

Hmm, your nice sceneries seem to mostly have blonde hair and great legs... but then again I don't blame you, Ukraine has plenty of prime examples of this species. Did you see many marriage agency ads?  

The pictures of Crimea and Yalta especially remind me of my visit there as a kid, though the country was still called Soviet Union back then, almost 25 years ago.

I'm kinda surprised that you went through the trouble of learning Ukrainian/Russian for this trip, but can understand it, my ten or so words of Russian helped a lot there!

Ukrainian aviation is a hit or miss, all the airlines seem to codeshare and swap equipment at will, my KBP-ODS flight was originally an AeroSvit 737 but I ended up on an Lugansk Airlines AN-24! Not that I minded, well maybe a bit as it was a bit scary plane!

Now to read the second part!


User currently offlineEireRock From Ireland, joined Nov 2007, 301 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10489 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 14):
Thanks for pointing that out. I had noticed it but I didn't pay attention to it. Does anybody know what this is, and how "normal" it is ?

I can tell you its not normal at all, its an access panel for the pylon, if im right its held by arund 5 or 6 quick release fasteners and was probably opened for an inspection of the area and never refitted or it came off in flight. But its definitley not normal.


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 10406 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
That bumpy Odessa runway sure rings a bell, it was downright scary when taking off with a Dniproavia ERJ-145!

The landing roll sure waked everyone up ! Lviv runway was interesting too, and the t-o on the ERJ-145 at KBP was shaky too.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
Hmm, your nice sceneries seem to mostly have blonde hair and great legs... but then again I don't blame you, Ukraine has plenty of prime examples of this species.

I gave the impression to focus on girls, while it was not the case. I included those photos in an attempt to make this report a bit lighter. However, I agree with you on the second part.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
Did you see many marriage agency ads?

A few, but not something to really notice. Many more on the web, though.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
my KBP-ODS flight was originally an AeroSvit 737 but I ended up on an Lugansk Airlines AN-24!

That would have made my day and I was secretly hoping for something similar to happen to me...

Quoting EireRock (Reply 16):
I can tell you its not normal at all, its an access panel for the pylon, if im right its held by arund 5 or 6 quick release fasteners and was probably opened for an inspection of the area and never refitted or it came off in flight. But its definitley not normal.

This is very intriguing. I would like to know what this access door is for, and what the potential risk is when it's absent.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineReifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1361 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 10091 times:

Terrific report and a lot of respect to you for preparing to visit the country the way you did (learning Russian etc).

I used to work on an Ukrainian river cruise ship 5 or 6 years ago and was there for approx 5 to 6 months. Cruises started in Kyiv, went down to Odessa, crossed the Black Sea to Simferopol and then went back to Kiev again. By the way the ship was docked in front of the white restaurant that you have taken on first picture of Sewastopol port in your report (the one with the big obelisk in the back).

I recognized quite a lot of things. Will go directly to the second part now  


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6808 posts, RR: 77
Reply 19, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 9722 times:

Hi Francois,

finally I found enough time to read your report - simply excellent work! I really enjoyed reading. And good to see you only post high-quality pictures.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Since my first Embraer flight between Philadelphia and Montreal last year, I've come to think that those little birds are quite comfortable, sometimes even more so than mainline equipment, and this made no exception.

Usually you get lots of personal space on these birds - and takeoff can be really powerful.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineshamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1598 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 9650 times:

Great report, I too have a facsination with this part of the world and hope to visit soon, pictures and planning are great!

User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9476 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 14):
Does anybody know what this is, and how "normal" it is ?

 Wow! I noticed that, too. That is not normal. I don't know the Russian Aviation Laws, I wonder if that is legal with a missing panel. Here, in the U.S; that would not be legal.

That panel is one of the 5-6 access panels for stuff like fuel lines and fire extinguisher access, IIRC. It has been awhile since I touched a 737.



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlinekurt From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9309 times:

Outstanding report, BrusselsSouth! Perfect reading for a drab Thursday lunch hour. I work with a woman from Ukraine; I think I'm going to show it to her and ask what she thinks!

User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (4 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 9266 times:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 21):
That panel is one of the 5-6 access panels for stuff like fuel lines and fire extinguisher access

Now that I think of it, it's a bit worrying...

Quoting kurt (Reply 22):
Outstanding report, BrusselsSouth! Perfect reading for a drab Thursday lunch hour. I work with a woman from Ukraine; I think I'm going to show it to her and ask what she thinks!

Thanks ! Would be nice to know what she thinks about it.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (4 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 8908 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Haven't had time to look for this airport, probably in Germany near the Belgian border. If anyone can help...

It's the Geilenkirchen NATO base in Germany.


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