flywrite From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2009, 194 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9229 times:
I'd always admired the British Aerospace ATP aircraft and, despite living in the UK most of my life, hadn't taken the chance to fly it when it was in regular regional service over here. So I decided to make a trip to Sweden to fly the only passenger examples currently in service, with Next Jet.
I thought I'd make the most of the trip and combine some article and book research whilst there, so planned four days in and around Stockholm exploring the various aviation possibilities.
When it came to planning the trip, I realised that there were a number of low-cost airline options to get to Stockholm, such as Ryanair and Norwegian, which were cheaper. But when I factored in driving to Liverpool or Edinburgh, combined with parking, it wouldn't be much cheaper. So, despite the extra cost, I chose to fly KLM from my local airport - Durham Tees Valley (MME) - as it really needs support at the moment.
When I say local, I really mean it. I left my house with my bag and walked 10 minutes to the terminal building; extra time in bed really helps at 5 in the morning!
I'd already checked in online the night before, so I turned up an hour before the flight, paid my mandatory £6 'departure tax' from the ticket machine in the terminal (every little helps keep the airport open!), and headed through to the departure lounge.
I had a seat in the 2nd to last row of the aircraft. We departed from runway 23 and, due to the early hour on a Saturday morning, we turned immediately and took a direct routing over the North York Moors and across the sea to Amsterdam. Usually this flight takes you across to Manchester area before heading back to the east coast. The sun was casting a bright orange glow over the sea.
Because of this, it was a relatively quick flight. Arrival into Amsterdam was on the Polderbaan. The crew had warned us in advance of the 10 minute taxi time that would be expected because of this. Still, you get a good view of everything going on at the airport. As ever, Fokker flights from the UK park on the remote stands, with a bus transfer to the terminal.
I had two hours before my next flight. As a spotter, I have a well-rehearsed routine when visiting Schiphol which uncovers just about everything parked at piers D to G. First of all a scout of the two fingers of pier D, which offers views of Schiphol Oost and the cargo area opposite runway 6/24. Next, a walk through the main terminal area and its moving walkways ("Mind Your Step"). You can see almost everything parked on piers E and F by doing this. Finally, a walk along pier G uncovers the American and more 'exotic' carriers, plus aircraft parked remotely and the low-cost carriers at pier H.
The weather was perfect and sunny, so I snapped a few photos as I passed. Then I joined the passport line to go into pier C, where my flight to Stockholm was leaving from. It had been about 10 years since I'd been in this part of Schiphol, and it has come on a long way - very smart and some really nice bars, shops and eateries here.
I had been hoping to get my first flight on a 737-900 on this trip. My booking confirmation said it would be, but when I'd checked in I noticed it was down as a -700. Nevertheless, it was my first time on a KLM example, and it still felt pretty fresh and new inside.
I had a seat on the left side of the aircraft, and it seemed to be a pretty full load today. We took off from runway 24 and made a sweeping turn to the right and then over northern Holland, Germany and across Denmark. I've never been to that part of the world, and I have to say I was captivated by the sunny view of the endless sand bars and islands along the coast. Mental note to make a visit in the future!
We routed across Sweden and started descent after what seemed a very quick flight. This was to be a particularly windy few days in Europe, and we had a tailwind on the flight to speed things up. Naturally this would also translate into being a bumpy approach.
We flew over Stockholm itself, with a nice view of Bromma Airport which I'd visit tomorrow. Then we turned for landing on runway 26. It was quite a firm touchdown after floating along for a while.
I collected my bag and, since I had an hour before I was due to pick up my car, I had a walk along the terminal to familiarise myself with the airport. I passed through the Sky City area which has great views, and along to the domestic terminals 2 and 3.
Unlike most airports, Arlanda doesn't have car rental offices within the arrivals area. I had to ask at the information desk to find out where to go, and was directed onto bus 17 which would take me to the car rental offices and car park. This bus is free, and very handy for getting about the airport site.
I collected my Toyota Aygo from AVIS and decided to check into the hotel. I'd booked the Radisson Blu Hotel for two nights which, ironically, was next to the car rental offices so didn't take too long to get to!
This hotel includes wireless internet freely with the room, so I got set up and checked the view before heading out to explore in the car.
As it was sunny, I decided to go and some photographs of aircraft approaching runway 26. A road runs past the end of this runway, and a layby allows you to park up and watch, or walk to the approach lights. Quite a few spotters came and went, so it's obviously a popular spot and I was pleased with some of the photographic results!
The other task I achieved today was noting three of the Caravelle aircraft at the airport. One is used as a fire trainer (minus its nose!), so is not possible to get close enough to photograph. But the others are quite easy to see and photograph from the spotting hut (more about that tomorrow).
That evening, instead of paying the expensive prices in the hotel restaurant I decided to go to Sky City again and choose one of the restaurants there. They come with a great view, after all!
The next day I made use of the car and drove to Bromma, which is the original Stockholm airport and much closer to the city centre. It takes about 35 minutes to drive there from Arlanda, and it's very well signposted. Beware that speed limits in Sweden are a lot slower - certainly than in the UK - and are apparently very well policed.
The old hangar area of Bromma is now a retail park, which has plenty of parking space. Some of the original hangars are now stores. I left the car and walked up towards the terminal area. I noticed the high point with a few spotters on, so had a walk there. It has a great view over the airfield and surroundings, and I was just in time to witness a number of arrivals.
Bromma is mainly used by Malmo Aviation, Golden Air and Next Jet. You'll see a lot of RJ85/100's and Saab 340/2000's. There's also a couple of daily RJ100 flights by Brussels Airlines, and a Finnair link to Helsinki.
I did a circuit of the airfield, getting pictures of the DC-3 in classic SAS Colours and the semi-preserved Convair 440 in Linjeflyg colours. I then drove back to Arlanda in quite heavy traffic.
Arrivals had switched to runway 19L, so I headed straight to the spotting hut - a purpose-built place on a hill overlooking the new 1R/19L and link taxiway. With a steady stream of arrivals into the evening, this was the perfect place to photograph airliners, if a little windy still. International arrivals even taxi below you almost in arm's reach!
The next day saw a change in the weather sadly. It was overcast and raining. I was up early to make use of the free breakfast in the hotel, and then check out and get to the airport for my day flying the ATP.
I didn't want to carry two bags around all day, so I left one in the left-luggage office at Terminal 5, and then walked to Terminal 3 to check in for my flight on Next Jet.
Terminal 3 is really just a small pier for domestic commuter flights. There are two check-in desks which handle all flights (mainly Skyways and Next Jet), and then you head downstairs, through screening, and into a compact area of departure gates and a coffee shop.
When the boarding was announced, I showed my boarding pass and sat in the fenced-in seating area. But after a while an announcement was made in Swedish which seemed to upset a few people. I asked if they could explain for me in English, which was no problem. The issue was that the radar had gone down at the destination (presumably the intermediate stop at Lycksele), and so we couldn't depart "Next information in an hour."
So I grabbed a coffee and a stool hoping there wouldn't be any further problems. I'd come all this way!
Anyway, I hadn't even finished my drink when the helpful girl from the desk ran to explain to me in English that the problem was fixed and we'll be leaving ASAP. Phew!
Route: Stockholm Arlanda (ARN/ESSA) - Lycksele (LYC/ESNL)
Flight number: 2N442
Departure Time: 0945
Arrival Time: 1055
Flight Time: 1h10
Airline/Operator: Next Jet
Aircraft type: British Aerospace ATP
We had to take a bus to our aircraft. It was parked beyond Terminal 5 on a small ramp for commuter aircraft. We passed two other BAe ATP aircraft before pulling up at ours - SE-MEE, which still had the tail colours of previous operator SATA Air Acores.
No seats are assigned on Next Jet, so I made sure I was one of the first on board and took a window seat near the front of the aircraft.
Departure was from runway 19R. The taxi to this runway also revealed the fourth Caravelle at Arlanda, which is in a sorry state on the fire dump.
I'd heard that the ATP seemed sluggish on takeoff, so was prepared. In my experience here, and in other flights today, the aircraft certainly seems powerful enough and accelerated quickly. If anything, the climb out was a bit shallow.
As a result of the reduced passenger load, I was asked if I'd move to the rear of the aircraft to help the weight and balance. It was at this point that the attendants realised they had an English speaker on board and apologised profusely for making announcements only in Swedish so far on the journey. They must have told the captain, as even he started making announcements in English, which was appreciated.
Having moved to the back, I realised Next Jet must have some semi-premium seats as I had gone from plenty of leg room to standard, more cramped seating at the back.
Arrival into Arvidsjaur came very quickly and I took the opportunity to ask for a photo of the cockpit as I left. Spending this extra time meant that by the time I reached the terminal, most of the passengers had dissipated into cars and taxis leaving the place quite desolate. There were no other arrivals due today.
I asked the driver of a bus loading passengers if I could join him for a ride into town, but he said booking is required and I couldn't pay him. There were plenty of empty seats, so this was quite annoying.
Since my flight home was in just under four hours, I debated waiting in the deserted terminal. But in the end asked the lady in the information office if she could arrange a taxi for me. He arrived soon after and drove me the 5 miles into town.
I was astonished at the 250SEK price for the journey (around £25), and wished I hadn't bothered. I had to ask him to drop me at a bank so that I could pay him!
Arvidsjaur is a very pretty little town, surrounded by hills. It is a ski resort in the winter, but in these summer months is fairly quiet. There is an overnight train service from Stockholm each day.
I had some lunch, wandered the streets and enjoyed the view over the lake. But otherwise, there wasn't much to do here and the rain had gotten heavier. I decided to find the taxi office and get a lift back to the airport.
This took some time, but luckily they combined me with some other people who were heading to the airport. So the return journey was a more manageable 100SEK.
Arvidsjaur Airport was purpose built to serve this remote Lapland community in 2003. It is very modern, clean, and has an aviation academy on site training young pilots. Flights are fairly limited, with daily links to Stockholm, and occasional summer flights with Air Berlin.
I checked, went through the small security screening room, and into the departure lounge with nice wooden benches. The cafe was closed.
Sadly my return flight was on the same aircraft. I'd hoped to get on two different ATP's.
It was raining and dark outside. We taxied the length of the runway before turning and departing again, with only a light load, to Lycksele again. I noticed a couple more passengers who had been on the earlier flight, so maybe people do quick business in these parts - unless they're all grabbing ATP flights like me!
Cloud and rain soon cleared, and I had a different view this time as we approached Lycksele as I'd sat on the opposite side of the aircraft.
Route: Lycksele (LYC/ESNL) - Stockholm Arlanda (ARN/ESSA)
Flight number: 2N443
Departure Time: 1625
Arrival Time: 1755
Flight Time: 1h30
Airline/Operator: Next Jet
Aircraft type: British Aerospace ATP
This time plenty of people joined the aircraft so that most seats were taken for the flight to Stockholm. As a result the aircraft was a little more sluggish on takeoff, but still not bad.
An older American guy sat next to me and was interested in talking about my camera, but soon fell asleep leaving me to enjoy the now sunny view out of the window. I could finally take some nice, bright shots of the ATP's wing in flight.
We routed out over the Gulf of Bothnia for much of the journey. One thing I noticed about the ATP was the monotonous drone during cruise, which kept sending me to sleep. I awoke to see land outside, and we had begun our descent into Arlanda. We landed on runway 26 and taxied past many gates occupied with the evening rush traffic to our own gate at Terminal 3's pier.
With that little adventure over, the next one was to begin - the Jumbo Hostel. First, I had some food in Sky City, then took the free bus number 10, which stops outside the hostel (remember to press the stop button to remind the driver!).
This Boeing 747-200 formerly flew with Singapore Airlines, Pan Am, Tower Air, Nationair, Air Club International and Transjet Sweden before being retired at Arlanda in 2004. An entrepreneur bought the aircraft, had it towed to a position just off the taxiway and main road leading to the airport, and turned it into a high end hostel.
Visitors need to climb the stairs, or take the lift, to the L1 door of the aircraft. Remember to leave your shoes at the door, as I was told off for not doing so! The reception is alongside the original spiral staircase, with a cafeteria area in the nose.
Rooms are situated either side of the main cabin, with a central corridor running down the middle. I had booked a private room, although dorms are also available. When I entered my room, I was pleased to see the porthole windows, and even the original overhead lockers still in place and usable. I was evidently in row 29ABC
This room was right over the wing, and it was pretty cool to think of all the places this bird had been to and the people who had sat right here on long flights, watching movies on the screen and eating plane food from the 80s and 90s.
Again, free wireless is offered (the network key is on your room key card), and a TV in the room. So I set about watching some of the aircraft coming and going outside whilst relaxing.
Bathroom facilities are shared, with three shower/toilet rooms at the rear of the aircraft, and a communal sink area with great views outside the aircraft. I slept very well after the long day!
The final day of my trip arrived. I had breakfast in the hostel for 60SEK. It wasn't anything special, but set me up at least. I had to check out by 10am, so I took the bus to Terminal 5 and used the self-checkin machines for my flight later in the day and dropped my bag off.
The volcanic eruptions had been taking place in Iceland during this trip, but all seemed ok so far for my journey home. I was aware that Newcastle and Scottish airports had been closed, but Durham Tees Valley was operating as normal.
For a few hours I enjoyed the amenities at Arlanda. I drank coffee, ate some lunch, and browsed the shops. Once through security, I realised I should have gone through earlier as there's much more to do - some great shops, bars and places to eat, as well as great views over the airport.
Again, slight disappointment at no -900 turning up for my flight back to Amsterdam, but still a nice aircraft all the same. I was in the back row, next to the window, and there was a lot of mutterings about the ash cloud, but it wasn't to affect our aircraft.
The wind was still strong, and was a headwind this time so the flight took a little longer. The captain warned us as we began our descent that the approach into Amsterdam could be a little bumpy, but in reality it was fine and we made a smooth landing.
The moment of truth had arrived - would my connection to the UK go ahead? I passed through passport control and found the large rack of monitors listing departing flight. As I'd heard, flights to Newcastle, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh were cancelled, but Durham Tees Valley had a gate number.
I had two hours, so walked through the piers to see what aircraft were in before settling down for a beer in the food court area on the upper floor near pier D.
When the time came, I made my way to gate D6 - the usual downstairs area for flights departing the remote parking ramp (usually flights to the UK). Boarding time came, and all looked normal until the check-in girl announced "Ladies and gentlemen, we are now ready for boarding. However, please note that this aircraft will be landing at Leeds/Bradford due to the ash cloud." A collective groan came across everyone, but we were shepherded onto the waiting bus before anyone could complain.
Ten minutes later we were still stood on the bus when the check-in girl came aboard and said there was a delay - could we please go back into the departure area. She made an announcement shortly after everyone had found a seat stating that the pilot still had some paperwork to prepare before he was ready.
30 minutes later we were still sat waiting, when another announcement was made that the pilot still wasn't sure whether to go ahead with the flight. I knew there would be more to this, as he was probably liaising with KLM ops on their best options. I figured it might be time to plan a night in the airport.
However, after 45 minutes of waiting, we were told the flight was going ahead and the bus arrived to take us to the aircraft.
It was now very dark and Schiphol had become very quiet, with only a couple of cargo movements to note. We eventually got underway from runway 24 and made a turn out over the North Sea. It was a very quick flight, with a sandwich and drink service, before we made a pretty much straight-in approach to Leeds/Bradford.
I've flown into this airport many times and it never seems to be a smooth arrival. This time was no exception. I guess the runway is relatively short.
It was evident that various other aircraft had diverted here as it seemed most of the Jet2 fleet was present! Alongside us an example had just arrived from Murcia, diverting from its intended destination of Edinburgh.
Once through immigration and baggage collection, the terminal was abuzz with groups waiting for coaches to their destinations. It seemed fairly quick for our flight to be herded outside and onto a waiting coach. I didn't envy those having to drive up to Edinburgh.
And so we made our slow drive up to Teesside, arriving finally at our destination about 0115 and ready to sleep. Again, I was grateful for the close proximity of my house to the airport (and of course for my wife coming to pick me up at that late hour!).
All in all a very enjoyable first trip to Sweden, and four excellent flights on the BAe ATP under my belt before it's too late!
The ash cloud had gone the next day and all was back to normal for the time being.
Palmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8841 times:
I very much enjoyed your report and pics. Thanks for posting these. Nice to still be able to get the ATP for your flight log. I was in Scandinavia recently (Norway) and had a great time flying with Wideroe. The crews were all very friendly and likewise, when they found out there was a native English speaker amongst the passengers, the announcements from the cabin and the cockpit suddenly became bilingual - which was greatly appreciated (but not expected).
Sorry about the diversion to LBA but at least you managed to get home and none of your flights or plans were thrown into disarray. Any more trips coming up? Cheers P/jet
deltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8572 times:
Great tripreport about a trip to my home country!
I must also fly an ATP with Nextjet before, as you said, it's to late. I have ideas for a trip this fall, but nothing booked yet.
Glad you seem to like ARN!
lppr95 From Portugal, joined Mar 2010, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8567 times:
Very interesting report and pics. Thanks for sharing!
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): We had to take a bus to our aircraft. It was parked beyond Terminal 5 on a small ramp for commuter aircraft. We passed two other BAe ATP aircraft before pulling up at ours - SE-MEE, which still had the tail colours of previous operator SATA Air Acores.
I've flown on the jumpseat of that same aircraft from Ponta Delgada (PDL) to Horta (HOR). It was a pretty smooth and enjoyable ride.
"Cathay 018, expect very late landing clearance, 747 departing ahead", tower said.
amsspot From Netherlands, joined Jun 2005, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8467 times:
Very nice to read another ATP flight review. Sweden has got so much to offer aviation wise. I am visiting Sweden myself this summer. I have long considered to book a flight on an ATP. Eventually I decided to book two flights on a Saab 340 and a Fokker 50. But after reading your trip report I think I have made a bad decision.
PlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11645 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8356 times:
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): When I say local, I really mean it. I left my house with my bag and walked 10 minutes to the terminal building; extra time in bed really helps at 5 in the morning!
I love that feeling because you know that not even a bad traffic jam can make you miss the flight.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): We passed two other BAe ATP aircraft before pulling up at ours - SE-MEE, which still had the tail colours of previous operator SATA Air Acores.
That's quite unusual to retain the logo of a former operator.
Thanks for taking the time to share this, it's always nice to read ATP reports, especially as they get fewer and further between. Nice pictures of AMS too, there's something I love about the KLM livery - I suppose because I associate it with some great trips.
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7984 times:
A very nice report on your quest to fly the ATP. There aren't any other places left than Sweden to do so nowadays, but luckily NextJet has no plans to retire the type anytime soon. I did something similar last year: ATP Across The Arctic: HEL-ARN-KRF-GEV/LLA-ARN-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 Nov 18 2010 in Trip Reports)
What's up with your pictures, a good number of them appear to be quite low quality? Did you compress them a bit too much and lost the quality?
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): When I say local, I really mean it. I left my house with my bag and walked 10 minutes to the terminal building; extra time in bed really helps at 5 in the morning!
Now that's handy! Sounds like you can spot out of your house or garden?
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): Usually this flight takes you across to Manchester area before heading back to the east coast.
Oh my, that sounds like a very weird routing - lots of backtracking and detours involved!
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): I did a circuit of the airfield, getting pictures of the DC-3 in classic SAS Colours
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): - SE-MEE, which still had the tail colours of previous operator SATA Air Acores.
Interesting, I think this is their newest and fourth ATP, which the FA on my flight told me that they were about to receive.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): No seats are assigned on Next Jet, so I made sure I was one of the first on board and took a window seat near the front of the aircraft.
Hey, those seats are different than the ones on my flight which looked like somebody had thrown up on them! These must be the ex-SATA seats.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): I'd heard that the ATP seemed sluggish on takeoff, so was prepared. In my experience here, and in other flights today, the aircraft certainly seems powerful enough and accelerated quickly. If anything, the climb out was a bit shallow.
Well, on my flights the take off certainly was very slow and sluggish, reminded me of an A340.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): Having moved to the back, I realised Next Jet must have some semi-premium seats as I had gone from plenty of leg room to standard, more cramped seating at the back.
No, not really. But maybe SATA did.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): was astonished at the 250SEK price for the journey (around £25), and wished I hadn't bothered. I had to ask him to drop me at a bank so that I could pay him!
If you ever go to Denmark or Norway, do NOT take a taxi there, it's going to be much much more expensive! That's the Nordics for you.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): Flights are fairly limited, with daily links to Stockholm, and occasional summer flights with Air Berlin.
Several of the large German automobile companies actually have their winter test tracks somewhere near Arvidsjaur, so each winter they have some flights from Germany, mainly STR and MUC. I thought AB operated these as well, but I'm not sure.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): With that little adventure over, the next one was to begin - the Jumbo Hostel.
When I saw you staying at the Radisson Blu I was about to comment that why didn't you try the Jumbo just opposite it, but it seems you actually did! I stayed there back in December - a very nice experience.
Quoting flywrite (Thread starter): However, please note that this aircraft will be landing at Leeds/Bradford due to the ash cloud." A collective groan came across everyone, but we were shepherded onto the waiting bus before anyone could complain.
Whoops, that's bad, but at least you got back into Old Blighty and didn't get stranded in AMS!
flywrite From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2009, 194 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7716 times:
Thanks for the comments everyone
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 6): What's up with your pictures, a good number of them appear to be quite low quality? Did you compress them a bit too much and lost the quality?
Yes, sorry most of my pics were taken on my iPhone, so they aren't the best quality. I have plenty taken using my SLR, but mostly of aircraft rather than the trip and airport itself. Sorry about that.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 6): Now that's handy! Sounds like you can spot out of your house or garden?
Yes we can see most movements at MME, although these days the airport is very quiet, so unless you like KLM CityHopper and Eastern Airways, there's not much to see!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 6): If you ever go to Denmark or Norway, do NOT take a taxi there, it's going to be much much more expensive! That's the Nordics for you.
I'll bear that in mind! It was very expensive. Even food and drink seemed very expensive.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 6): When I saw you staying at the Radisson Blu I was about to comment that why didn't you try the Jumbo just opposite it, but it seems you actually did! I stayed there back in December - a very nice experience.
Yes I wanted to try out a few accommodation options whilst there, and the Jumbo Hostel was a must. It was very clean and comfortable, and like I said in the report I loved the thought of where it had been during its lifetime.
upsmd11 From United States of America, joined May 2003, 814 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 6928 times:
I had the pleasure of flying an ATP when UA used to fly them from ORD into smaller cities in IL and the surrounding areas. I can remember it was a smooth flight and I realized I was getting an opportunity to fly on something special and rare at that time.