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Goodbye Lenin! An-24, Tu-134, Yak-42 Etc, Russia  
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 22344 times:

A trip to Russia has been long on my bucket list. Being able to travel without pre arranged visa to many interesting countries I was always sort of turned off by the idea of complicated and scrutinized visa procedures involving expensive invitations from hotels etc. But the imminent withdrawl of the An-24 and Tu-134 made me decide this summer was the time to do it. The thread on flying on old aircraft Flying Classic/Rare Aircraft In 2011 (by UK_Dispatcher Mar 11 2011 in Aviation Polls) and especially HAM’s planned trip was an inspiration to doctor out what was the easiest way to travel on some types on my wish list and see some of Russia at the same time.
HAMs plans inspired me. You can find his 5 part trip report starting here A Russian Plane Orgy (1/5) (by HAM" class="quote" target="_blank">HAM Sep 8 2011 in Trip Reports) but I decided to do his trip more or less in reverse; the reasons were I wanted to start on a flight to Helsinki, to catch a Blue1 Boeing 717 before they already cancel their service on 1 september, while I want to end in Moldavia, where I was supposed to get a ride on an Antonov 12.
All in all during my trip I maganed to squeeze in 12 flights, 7 new airlines, 2 new airplane types, 10 different aircraft types and only one 737 and A-320 each. My route, clockwise, was:
http://www.planelist.net/maprus.jpg
Wednesday 24 August 2011
Amsterdam (AMS)-Helsinki (HEL)
Blue1 KF832
Scheduled: 10.55-14.25
Actual: 11.09- 14.08 (1:59 hrs)
Distance: 1522 km
Business, seat 3F
Boeing 717-200
OH-BLH
7th flight on a 717 (flew already on AirTran, Bangkok, AeBal), 1st on this frame, my 849th flight

A good and comfortable start of my trip would be this flight. I always liked the DC-9 family and before Blue1 closes Amsterdam I wanted to fly on them. These flights were little known here and there’s not much Star Alliance hub feed at either side so that’s why they were cheapish (and pulled by 1 september). A few days after booking Blue1 I got an email from Optiontown.com offering a sort of standby upgrade; pay 50 euro now and about 1-3 days ahead I’ll hear if I actually get the upgrade and otherwise they’ll refund the money. Not sure if they work with other airlines as well but certainly a nice option on future flights.
Arriving at Schiphol lateish as ever, I only had 10 minutes to visit the airport lounge and snatch a newspaper and a drink. The 717 had a huge business class, the movable bulkhead was behind row 9, but the seats themselves were ordinary. Still enough room to move about as I was the only passenger up front, and there were about 30 in the back.

I was glad to leave rainy and gloomy Amsterdam for 10 days.

I didn’t get any pre take off drink but after climb I was pleasantly surprised; a good hot meal (no choice though

but that would be too much as I was the only business passenger and the only passenger who got a meal anyway). (Seemed HAM had less luck with his service on the shorter flight to CPH, see A Russian Plane Orgy (5/5) (by HAM" class="quote" target="_blank">HAM Sep 9 2011 in Trip Reports) ) The back would get BOB service and mostly simple items. Plus a few rounds with drinks. To get in a Russian mood I took some white wine and cognac even while it was a bit early in the day.

All in all about worth the 50 euro, maybe not the value of the meal alone but more the whole experience like feeling superior to the lowlife in the back, as I don’t fly business class a lot so far.
I checked in the Rantasipi Airport hotel but made an early evening walk thru Helsinki.

Thursday 25 August 2011
Helsinki (HEL)-Arkhangelsk (ARH)
Nordavia 5N296
Scheduled: 10.35-14.15
Actual: 10.26-13.59 (2:33 hr)
Distance: 937 km
Economy, seat 7D window
Antonov 24RV
RA-46667
3rd flight on an An-24 (flew already on PMT, Air Urga), 1st on this frame

This flight always seemed a bit an enigma; I think together with a Murmansk flight the only way you can fly straight from the EU into the Russian heartland on an old propliner.

Nordavia only lets you book flights departing from Russia, but it wasn’t possible to get a flight into Russia departing from a foreign country, but I found I could book it thru a Dutch travel agent (World Ticket Center). There have been surprisingly few pictures and reports in Helsinki of this classic aircraft, but the flight really operates I found out.
With the recent crash and the planned replacement by ATR’s, this flight might also be the last opportunity to fly an An-24 scheduled flight, see http://barentsnova.com/node/1215. It added to the fun that it’s such a long and international flight.
I wondered if we might have a secret en route stop, but no; the flight was non stop, the An-24 isn’t that fast. It’s interesting that of all my 12 flights, the 2 longest were in propellor aircraft, more then 2 hours, while the 10 jet flights were all between 1 and 2 hours in length.
We were bussed to the airplane.

going inside...

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Built in 1974, it actually looked well maintained, with fresh seats and shiny undercarriage struts as if it just came off the factory yesterday. Also it had the nice Aeroflot style livery. All in all it looked way better then the other 2 An-24s I’ve been on.
My youtube video of the take off , climb and a cabin view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz0rwJp9cp8 . Our climb was reasonable powerful.
The weather was great like during most of the trip, the Antonov grumbled comftably towards the east. There was a reasonable cold meal served by one very thin and one very fat flight attendant.

Also a few rounds with cold drinks, I also took tomatejuice, coffee and white wine to further get in a Russian mood. On the other domestic flights the Russian airlines didn’t serve any booze by the way. There was a lot of forest and lakes all the way from Helsinki to ARH. The pilots didn’t do (audible) announcements but we seemed not to fly very high, maybe 4 kms. With about 27 passengers and the seat next to me free, it was all comfortable and I regretted that it was over already after 2,5 hours.

Arkhangelsk had a small Soviet style terminal. The customs checked and scanned my passport but for the rest no fuzz and difficult questions, entering Russia was surprisingly easy. So I was finally in Russia landside for the first time in my life, and then in such a backwater.
I took pictures of the Ilyushin 14 gateguard (wish one of these was still flying….)

Then I had to get to the domestic departures building facing a grumpy suitcase check while I wasn’t flying out,. Just to cash some money and then I took the bus to the city. The ride took about 30 minutes, passing some old wfu Tupolevs of Arkhangelsk Aviation. I read they are part of a Aviation museum but the terrain didn’t seem accessible for outsiders, more like a rework apron. Anyone know if you can visit this museum? Then we passed smelly derelict looking factories and I ended up near a square with a Lenin monument, from there a short walk to the hotel.

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Due to the nice weather, people sported and relaxed at the riverside beach, but overall Arkhangelsk didn’t seem a repeat destionation. The Pur Novalok hotel kept my passport and registered me, on the rest of the trip I had to show their print maybe once or twice but basically that registration thing didn’t seem as bothersome as I thought.


nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 22235 times:

Friday 26 August 2011
Arkhangelsk (ARH)-St Petersburg (LED)
Rossiya-Russian Airline FV302
Scheduled: 09.25-11.00
Actual: 09.17-10.27 (1:10 hrs)
Distance 760 km
Economy, 4 E , window
Antonov 148-100
RA-61703
1st flight on an An-148

The first new type of this trip ! An-148s are still being built but they will always remain a bit rare with only CIS airlines ordering some 30 in total and not seeing it attracts any international attention unlike the SSJ. On pictures it looked like a bigger Do-328Jet or a two engined Avro RJ, but seeing it in person for the first time it still has sort of Soviet style rugedness flavor around it.

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The cabin was modern, leather seats and 5 abreast. The flight was full. I felt a bit squeezed in besides two big Russians. The flight itself was uneventful, only drinks and a chocolate, and boiled sweets like on every Russian trips, my only russian flight were you didn%u2019t get a plastic meal container. Try to sit in the back, most front seats have hardly a view due to the big engine. OK it was a new aircraft but I don%u2019t have an immediate crush on it, the experience seemed routine.

Friday and Saturday in St Petersburg I went out and see some touristic sights. The Hermitage was amazing.

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In the afternoon I met HAM , the guy from whom I stole most of my itenerary plans and who was doing my flight plan more or less in reverse order. We had dinner at a nice small restaurant and talked about airplanes and our flying experiences. We shared one flight; to Syktyvkar. He would return to LED the next morning while I would stay there for the day and fly to Moscow in the early evening.

Saturday 27 August 2011
St Petersburg (LED)- Syktyvkar (SCW)
UTAir Express UT392
Scheduled: 20.30-22.30
Actual: 21.07-22.45 (1:38 hrs)
Distance 1134 km
Economy, 15D window
Tupolev 134
RA-65572
2nd flight on a Tu-134 (flew on Belavia in 2003)
One of the fun things of flying an older airplane is it often has an interesting past. I found out later our Tupolev had an unusual tail end, see

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that remains from operating as Tu-135 for the Ukraine Air Force, it was only deconverted to a civil Tu-134 in 2005.


I was slightly disappointed when boarding and seeing a modern style interior. At the inside of the classic round windows they even put a %u2018modern style%u2019 windowframe. Also there were closed overhead lockers. If someone would sedate me and put me inside, after I woke up I would have guessed I am inside an ordinary CRJ. I was bragging a bit to HAM about my packed logbook and told him, it's such a contrast to the Belavia Tu-134 which was more like how a Caravelle flight would have been, with cloth window curtains, open overhead racks, 1960s light bulbs and so. HAM asked me why I bothered to fly again while I had the Tu-134 already, but nice and rare aircraft I can't get enough of them... If I only have to fly everything once I can retire from travelling now. No way HAM   .
It was my only delay on a Russian flight on my whole trip, they still had to load the aircraft while we were already seated and strapped in. Besides us another Tu-134 boarded and left for Surgut, must be a three hour flight.

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The meal was nothing special. During cruise the engines weren't particularly noisy, but while taking off or approaching when they spool up and down they are particularly noteworthy.

Our aviation talks continued in the hotel bar in Syktyvkar. Some girls there, probably at work on that moment, tried to get our attention but talking about rare aircraft and how to get on them was much more interesting. Actually it was bothersome and I wondered why they mainly approached or should I say attacked me while HAM was better looking. I said goodbye to HAM as he would fly back to LED early in the morning, too early to meet up for breakfast or anything. Syktyvkar was a grey and uninspiring city and I walked around the main drag and visited the station in the afternoon.

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On the main square was a typical Soviet monument and an UTAir advertizement like if the Tu-134 was still top of the bill. UTAir is quickly getting 737s, CRJs and ATRs so we were also just in time. SCW airport is a Tu-134 rework center but I fear they don%u2019t have much rework to do after 2012. You saw old Tu-134s parked left and right (photo)

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Sunday 28 August 2011
Syktyvkar (SCW)- Moscow Vnukovo (VKO)
UTAir Express UT376
Scheduled: 18.50-21.00
Actual: 18.51-20.45 (1.54 hrs)
Distance 1033 km
Economy, 12D window
Tupolev 134
RA-65620
3rd flight on a Tu-134, 1st on this frame
Luckily I got a different aircraft from yesterday with a longer past;
see
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Always nice to dream away about being part of history with Honecker flying this aircraft when in Interflug VIP service in the late 1970s.
Also the same modern interior style though. The same sort of meal was served.

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This flight was emptier, so I could also walk around a bit and check the ceiling radome in the toilet, I could see the tail from there (photo)
Here a link to my youtube video with the take off and approach of my two Tu-134 flights, enjoy the sounds of these old D-30 engines ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPyOPeypLVw . I noticed how busy the 2 flight attendants were; rounds for boiled sweets, cold drinks (in the rattly open trolleys and like on all domestic flights huge pots of tea and coffee. Right after landing they even rushed around the cabin to open all overhead bins. Never seen that elsewhere.
We landed in dawn lit Vnukovo just before 9. I consider the Tu-134 flights as a highlight of my trip, the noise and looks of the 134 are so classic, I have always liked this planetype a lot and I am very happy I logged these ones on normal scheduled flights, in contrast to the Belavia pleasure flight over Prague in 2003.

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Monday and Tuesday were the two only days I didn%u2019t have any flight planned. I walked thru Moscow, greeted Lenins corpse.

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nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 22133 times:

part 3 ----
Disclaimer: Sorry for the word ‘filler’ here and there. The only way I could get a nice page otherwise the pictures are placed horizontally and the Trip Reports becomes unreadable.

And I checked and tried dozens op options to get on the Severstal Yak-40 between St Petersburg and Chernovets, like how HAM flew, maybe scoring a SSJ too, but it all wasn’t possible or too expensive. I also considered I had once flown a VIP Yak-40 with Airevents and during this trip I really wanted to get on the bigger Yak-42 instead… The SSJ is also a good excuse to go to Mexico, Armenia or Russia in a year or two… I already had the feeling the Yak-42 might also disappear soon, so that had higher priority for me. Little did I know…

On Tuesday I visited Monino Aviation Museum.

Train to Monino

Tupolev Tu-114, 220 seater, wish I could get on board

Tupolev Tu-144 ‘Concordski’

Ilyushin 62
Finally I saw a Tu-114 and Tu-144 in person. Also nice to see an Il-62… Happy I bagged that one with Cubana. Only saw some VIP Il-62s operating at VKO these days.

Wednesday 31 August 2011
Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) –Mineralnye Vody (MRV)
Kuban Airlines GW173
Scheduled: 09.05-11.10
Actual: 09.07-11.05 (1:58 hr)
Distance: 1332 km
Economy, seat 11A window
Boeing 737-300
VQ-BHD
45th flight on a 737-300, 1st on this frame

Kuban Airlines? This name always intrigued me, does it have anything to do with Cuba? But I found out it’s named after the Kuban province in southern Russia.
A 737? Well I tried to make a Strictly Russian airplane tour, but something went wrong here. HAM who flew this exact daytrip less then a week before got the Yak and I was scheduled to get the same. There were a few Yaks parked here and there.

stop here please ! I don’t care there aren’t stairs (yet). Our bus drived towards one of them, with one problem that a colourful Kuban 737 was still between us and the Yak. I was praying ‘pass it, don’t brake, don’t decrease speed’ We were still racing about 60 km an hour when we were close to the 737 so things were looking up BUT then he slammed on his brakes and stopped in front of the stairs of the 737. 
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I Catched some VIP aircraft on take off. Even while the 737 was colourful, a bit rare and comfortable, and I liked the meal with lots of chicken (HAM wasn’t as impressed , I just read on his TR) I of course was disappointed to miss the Yak-42 again.
Another Yak-42 of Kuban parked here in MRV, but going to Tel Aviv I think..

I only had 2 hours in Mineralnye Vody. Walking in front of the terminal I was being bothered and followed by taxi drivers, a bit mafiose Bashar el Assad lookalikes. First I contemplated taking e a short minibus ride to town and back, but these things didn’t go as much as I hoped. I decided to have something to eat at the landside restaurant facing the airport, so I could also look at the departing flights while reading and eating. For only 160 Ruble (less then 4 euro) I had Borsj, a softdrink, coffee and bread, really nice. Also the 1970s style billboard with the Tu-154, showing the type I would be on in an hour.

But before long, it was time to check in again. Usually on domestic flights, check in 90 to 50 minutes in advance is ok, but they start boarding relatively early, at least 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday 31 August 2011
Mineralnye Vody (MRV)-Moscow Domodedovo (DME)
KMV-Kavminvodi Avia KV1236
Scheduled: 13.40-15.40
Actual: 13:49-15:30 (1:41 hr)
Distance 1299 km
Economy Seat 11F, window
Tupolev 154M
RA-85725
9th flight on a Tu-154, 8th on a Tu-154M, 1st on this frame

I have been on quite some Tupolev 154s already, but my trip inside Russia wouldn’t be complete without flying in one. I love their looks and it’s the ultimate and last successful Soviet era aircraft. Compared to the 727 , a 154 looks more bulky, almost intimidating. They are definitely on the way out, you have to browse for a while to find flights on them already and be prepared to go to select and more obscure destinations as most trunk routes, say Moscow-St Petersburg or Moscow-Irkutsk, are almost all Boeing/Airbus these days. Also there were no further Yak-42 flights today.
We were bussed to the Tup I hoped we would get, the one in shiny almost headachy green-yellow. (this brightness is much more intense in person then on any pictures or videos). Only quick cheap KMV lettering was plastered over this former S7 livery.

At least when we crash I shouldn’t worry that they can’t find the wreckage. We had to wait in the bus for someone in medical condition to be carried onboard a stretcher. He was put at seats 7 to 9A/B. I squeezed in seat 11F, really tight seating which I was used to on the Tu-154.


Interior

After take off

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The meal was pretty good, quite similar to all the others but with a crumbly syrup cookie. It seems the caterers dispatch bigger meals for every interval of 15 minutes the flight is longer.


What is this (seen from about 30.000 ft)?


Chasing shadows at approach



You can’t stretch your legs underneath the seat in front which make it worse, so I was happy after 2 hours that I could get out, now my first time on DME.



I took the ‘Air Express’ train back to town and contemplated if and how I could manage to get on a Yak afterall.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 22105 times:

I checked the schedules of Saravia and Polet and decided to go to Vnukovo thursdaymorning and try to buy a flight to Saratov and preferably back to DME on the same day. At least Saravia only has Yaks so no chance on being bused to a 737 again! If that wouldn’t work out, I could fly UTAir ATR to Voronezh and back by Polet Saab 2000. If that also wasn’t possible, at least I would go and spot the Tu-104 gateguard at Vnukovo. Due to me taking the aviaexpress train I didn’t manage to see it yet.
In Vnukovo I asked if I could fly out to Saratov and back today. I was lucky; seats on VKO-RTW were available. Ideally I would have taken a later flight back to DME because that would be a different Yak-42 but these were full. The Roundtrip was 7500 Ruble, about 180 euro, worth it.

Thursday 1 September 2011
Moscow Vnukovo (VKO)- Saratov (RTW)
Saravia 6B769
Scheduled:13.10-14.40
Actual: 13:24-14.43 (1:19 hr)
Distance 732 km
Economy seat 15F, window
Yakovlev 42
RA-42356
1st flight on a Yak-42

After yesterdays experience I was still relieved there was a real cardcarrying Yak-42 at the gate. The first time in Russia we boarded thru a walkway. I noticed how simple and flimsy the interior looked like. The open overhead panels or the fuel nozzles looked like they picked them up at the local car and van repair shop. There were also no oxygen masks. Hmm hope they are right in trusting this aircraft so much. Also Saravia was the first airline I saw with no Inflight magazine.
The seat at an emergency row was comfortable.

Yes, we got em !

We took off and more then the other aircraft, it seemed a bit unstable. The take offs were like in a classic propliner; taxiing to the beginning of the runway, roars the engines for a minute and only then taking away the break and taking off.

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An An-12, I won’t be flying on that one soon 


Putin or another comrade probably makes a trip… two of the Il-96s were out and at take off we climbed over 2 taxiing Il-62Ms !

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The lovely town of Saratov, pity I didn’t have time to visit it, same plane return flight today…



Then turning, decreasing and increasing speed and engine sound all the time. I felt safe on every flight but I doubted a bit this one (I already wrote this down before the unfortunate crash of another Yak-42 with the Icehockey players 6 days later).

Thursday 1 September 2011
Saratov (RTW)-Moscow Vnukovo (VKO)
Saravia 6B770
Scheduled: 15.50-17.20
Actual: 15:52-17:17 (1:25 hr)
Distance 732 km
Economy seat 18A, window
Yakovlev 42
RA-42356
2st flight on a Yak-42, 2nd on this exact airframe

As I was to fly back on the same aircraft, I had no time to loiter landside and returned to the tiny check in hall for my flight back. Indeed of course it was the same airplane. There were about 7 Yak-42s at the rework and parked but few of them seemed operational.

Yaks being reworked
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More rework

Boarding

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Finally saw the Tupolev 104 gateguard of Vnukovo in the minibus back to town






Friday 2 September 2011
Moscow Domodedovo (DME)- Chisinau, Moldova (KIV)
Air Moldova 9U-174
Scheduled: 10.40-11.40
Actual: 11:00-11:43 (1:43 hr)
Distance 1131 km
Economy seat 28A, window
Airbus 320-200
ER-AXT
60th flight on an A-320, 1st on this airframe (cn 249, ex SAA and TAM)

The airplane came in around 10.05 but luckily the departure wasn’t delayed much. I sat at the last row on the left. A normal Airbus flight. The aicraft has a reasonable long history, being cn 249 and having flown with South African and TAM before. I was a bit disappointed with the service, just a sandwich while I heared that they do hot meals on most international flights. The F/A’s seemed more bothered to push their tax free sales on the 2nd half of the flight.

Interior of A-320

Our breakfast

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The reason of going to Chisinau was a pleasure flight on an An-12 which was planned for that weekend. Unfortunately a month before we got the message that the aircraft was sold on to Azerbaijan and therefore not available. Still about 6 enthousiasts, including airliners.netter Loran, had already booked flights and hotels to Chisinau so we decided to hang out for pizza’s and beer that evening. I had rebooked departing the next morning while most others stayed for the weekend and managed to fly on an An-2 and Mil helicopters. We think about trying to fly on an An-12 and An-72 next year, please PM me if you are interested.

I made a short trip in a minibus to Tiraspol of Transdinestria, an unrecognized ‘independent’ country who wanted to split off from Moldavia. A bit weird customs procedure, luckily a friendly other passenger helped me out filling forms and going to the right desk.

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Customs coming back into Moldova from Transdinestria
It was raining very hard and after a short walk around the station, I decided to take the ride back already… Afterwards I heared surprised comments that I was able to get in and out for free with no ‘bakshees’ to be paid etc.

Saturday 3 September 2011
Chisinau (KIV)-Timisoara (TSR)
Carpatair V3 128
Scheduled: 07.00- 08.30
Actual 07.31-08.32 (1:01 hr)
Distance 597 km
Fokker 100
YR-FZA
20th flight on a Fokker 100, 1st on this airframe (ex AA, Jetsgo, Moldavian)

I took an early cab thru the deserted misty streets of Chisinau to the airport. Entering the hall I was shocked to see total chaos and possibly 200 argumentative people queing up for the Carpatair desks. I was worried; are those people all trying to get on one little Fokker? After about 25 minutes, which seemed to be an eternity, I could check in. The CSR told me there would be 3 different flights, I was on the ‘A’ and the first to depart so I should go to the gate. It was very foggy but I managed to see all three Fokker 100s were parked on the apron. I flew on 2 of them a few years ago but this time I was lucky and the bus stopped at the 3rd, the one still in Moldovian Airlines titles. Does Chisinau always get extra aircraft? If that is such a busy place, should Carpatair try to rebuild its Moldovian Airlines outfit again and fly directly to destinations in Italy to which most passengers seem to connect?
At Carpatair I almost missed the laissez faire attitude on Russian airliners; there it was no problem if you had bags on the seat next to you or your seatback reclined during landing (they are too often broke to bother I guess), but here on a EU country airline the flight attendants were stern.

Boarding YR-FZA, still in Moldovian Airlines livery

Thru the fog you can see pieces of ground close underneath

For the short flight this bread was nice


Saturday 3 september 2011
Timisoara (TSR)-Dusseldorf
Carpatair V3 315
Scheduled: 09.25- 10.55
Actual: 10.10-11:22 (2:12 hr)
Distance 1231 km
Economy, seat 7F, window
Saab 2000
YR-SBC
7th flight on a Saab 2000, 1st on this frame (ex HB-IZW), my 860th flight overall

All flights were delayed half an hour due to one late incoming aircraft, probably a Fokker 70 from Italy containing connecting passengers. Luckily I had enough time in Dusseldorf to get my train.

Luckily our bus stopped at the Saab this time, YR-SBC and not dumping us at the now all too wellknown Fokker 100s. I

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t was a sunny warm day and the flight was very smooth and uneventful. But this 5th flight was the first time that Carpatair let me down a bit foodwise. On all my flights on them I was impressed, I still drool thinking of the huge piece of apple crumb pie they even served on my 2001 flight to Cluj on a Saab 340… but this time we got a comparible packaged sandwich while ‘meal’ was on the itenerary and I had a hot meal on my 2009 flight on them from Dusseldorf. Anyway I was happy I finally flew on their Saab 2000 as well, an aircraft I have always liked. Flew on them on Swiss, OLT, Darwin Air and FlyLAL all between 2003-2005 but failed to have their now biggest operator so far.

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Midway we passed over Vienna


At Dusseldorf I headed to the station for my pre booked ride to Amsterdam. I found out the fast ICE train would bypass Dusseldorf and was rerouted over Mönchengladbach and Venlo, a trip which took 2 hours longer. So I came home a bit fed up, but writing this report I realized I had a good time overall. Pity I couldn't avoid flying on one 737 and one A-320 but still the majority of this itenerary was on Russian and rare western types. The trip took me to some backwaters though, the trunk routes like St Petersburg-Moscow are now all 737, A-320. I wonder if a trip like this will be possible 6 months from now, seeing how quickly the Russian types are being grounded, replaced and scrapped.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2185 posts, RR: 28
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 21752 times:

You have done exactly what I dream of doing one day, I cannot tell you how envious I am of you!

I remember seeing one of those Nordavia AN24's in HEL one night in October, those things were loud!

I treasure every trip report about a Russian aircraft, so thank you!



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineYirina77 From Czech Republic, joined Aug 2006, 632 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 21648 times:

So interesting trip report! I have been in Monino museum 2 years ago, wonderful place!


One day can make your life; one day can ruin your life. All life is four or five big days that change everything...
User currently offlineRussianGirl From Russia, joined Jan 2011, 107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 21231 times:

Hi MEA-707!
Very interesting report! It seems you had great trips!

Quoting MEA-707" class="quote" target="_blank">MEA-707 (Thread starter):
I took pictures of the Ilyushin 14 gateguard (wish one of these was still flying….)

if we believe http://russianplanes.net/regsearch/?search=%E8%EB-14 then there is no
 
Quoting MEA-707" class="quote" target="_blank">MEA-707 (Thread starter):
Tupolev 134
RA-65572

I flew on this plane, nice bird!  TJM-VKO-VOG On UTair Tu-134, Tu-154, B737-400 (by RussianGirl Feb 21 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting MEA-707" class="quote" target="_blank">MEA-707 (Thread starter):
and stopped in front of the stairs of the 737

What a pity!
 
Quoting MEA-707" class="quote" target="_blank">MEA-707 (Thread starter):
Saravia 6B769

And what the overall expression about SarAvia serv?

Cheers,
Anastasia


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2459 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 21184 times:

Excellent TR!

Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
I have been on quite some Tupolev 154s already, but my trip inside Russia wouldn’t be complete without flying in one. I love their looks and it’s the ultimate and last successful Soviet era aircraft.



Have you been on a TU154B before?!
Memories... I flew back in 1999 Balkan's (nearly) round to world TU154 service. From SXF to SOF with TU154B and onwards via AUH to CMB on TU154M (nearly 18hrs flight time in total!). From there, as CMB was the TU154 hub, Balkan served Male and even Bangkok. Those were the glory days in aviation!!!


User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 21005 times:

Nice report! Cool to see your experience on a tour so similar to mine.

Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
Due to the nice weather, people sported and relaxed at the riverside beach, but overall Arkhangelsk didn’t seem a repeat destionation.

Ok, I blame my rather disappointing experience in Arkhangelsk on the grey weather then. But I won't return nevertheless, unless something urgent takes me there...

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
Some girls there, probably at work on that moment, tried to get our attention but talking about rare aircraft and how to get on them was much more interesting. Actually it was bothersome and I wondered why they mainly approached or should I say attacked me while HAM was better looking

Well, thanks for the compliment   Those ladies were terrible!

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
Always nice to dream away about being part of history with Honecker flying this aircraft when in Interflug VIP service in the late 1970s.

That plane has indeed an amazing history!

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 1):
This flight was emptier, so I could also walk around a bit and check the ceiling radome in the toilet, I could see the tail from there (photo)

Damn, I was so amazed by the fact that there is a window that I didn't even notice that you can see the tail through it!

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
A 737? Well I tried to make a Strictly Russian airplane tour, but something went wrong here. HAM who flew this exact daytrip less then a week before got the Yak and I was scheduled to get the same.

Oh, I had thought it was a rather safe bet to get the Yak. Seems like I was lucky!

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
and I liked the meal with lots of chicken (HAM wasn’t as impressed , I just read on his TR)

Well, to me it looked so uninviting that I didn't even try it.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
Walking in front of the terminal I was being bothered and followed by taxi drivers, a bit mafiose Bashar el Assad lookalikes.

Haha so we had the same experience there. Strange people.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
I have been on quite some Tupolev 154s already, but my trip inside Russia wouldn’t be complete without flying in one.

Exactly my thoughts - no Russia trip is complete without the Tu-154.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
They are definitely on the way out, you have to browse for a while to find flights on them already and be prepared to go to select and more obscure destinations as most trunk routes, say Moscow-St Petersburg or Moscow-Irkutsk, are almost all Boeing/Airbus these days

I remember seeing them frequently in HAM and FRA only a few years ago, which is actually how my interest in Russian airplanes began.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
We had to wait in the bus for someone in medical condition to be carried onboard a stretcher. He was put at seats 7 to 9A/B.

So it is really useful that the seat backs in Russian planes can be folded down easily - makes such transports much less complicated!

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
We took off and more then the other aircraft, it seemed a bit unstable.

Interesting, I didn't find it unusual at all.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 3):
I wonder if a trip like this will be possible 6 months from now, seeing how quickly the Russian types are being grounded, replaced and scrapped.

Seems like it will become more difficult with each day that passes.


User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 20898 times:

Hi MEA-707

Wonderful trip, thanks for posting!

Nice to see some pictures from ARH, I was there too a year ago taking a Tu-134 from ARH to VKO.

Great shot of the tail out of the bathroom roof window!

It's a pity you got that 737 instead of the Yak-42, but you had a nice plan B to recover from that!

Best regards,
LXM83


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 20690 times:

Hi

Another russian aviation report, it seems like we are getting pampered nowadays by exotic aircraft (not that i'm complaining). Thanks for sharing this unique expercience with us, it was a very enjoyable read.


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 20673 times:

Thanks everyone for the nice feedback so far ! I am happy after all I put my report online although it takes so long, and looking back I see still some sloppy sentences and picture repeats. That's the reason I didn't do reports for about 3 years, but I hope you'll hear from me sooner here.
@TupolevTu154; do it when you can ! Maybe if you have a three day lay over; Helsinki-Arkhangelsk-St Petersburg might make an interesting trip already. I fear even your favorite aircraft will already disappear in a year or two. Did you ever fly on it yet?
@Yirina77; thanks for your message. I read your Il-96 report in my hostel room when I were in Russia, loved your report too! Your experiences around Petropavlovsk also reminded me of the gloomier places I saw like Syktyvkar, but I also like staying there and have the walk to the station or local market as the only thing you can do or see.
@RussianGirl; Thanks ! I also read your reports, very interesting. I also saw that colourful red CRJ at DME and was wondering where it would fly to, nice to find out.
Good you ask about Saravia; I forgot to write more about them. Compared to the other airlines they seemed a bit obscure. They officially have about 11 Yak-42s. Even including holiday charters etc I think they should be able to fly everything with 2 or 3 active aircraft instead. It seems they are a bit stuck in the 1990s as a typical Mini-flot, just having one mid sized city as hub and they don't seem to interline and their route network seemed shrunk compared to 3 or 5 years ago. Also you can't book their flights online at all unlike all the other flights I had. I think it's more a Government / employment project, also combined with the Saratov Yak-42 rework factory, so they can combine the crews for making test flights and overhaul. It wouldn't surprise me if they silently leave the stage when the Yak-42 gets withdrawn, and Saratov flights will then be picked up by Aeroflot with 2 or 3 ordinary A-319s. It's one of the few airlines which hasn't even started or announced replacing their Soviet era aircraft by Boeing/Airbus/CRJ yet.
@debonair; I was on an old Air Koryo Tu-154B, P-552, exactly one year ago on a short North Korean tour. There were about 5 other Airliners.netters along but I think noone wrote a TR so far, there are quite some good TRs on Air Koryo already. You are lucky that you got on Balkan when they still did that. A non aviation liking friend went to South Africa with them around 1992 just because they were the cheapest. Pity those sort of 'chicken bus' flights hardly exist anymore.
@HAM; thanks ! Indeed I liked your reports, some subtle differences in our perceptions and some similarities... Liked some meals better then you but I like eating anyway... didn't like these girls either... ARH seemed more gloomy at your stay indeed. I read elsewhere and got some messages that a few people are already planning to copy our flightplan.
@LXM83; thanks a lot too !



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2459 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 20491 times:

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
The SSJ is also a good excuse to go to Mexico, Armenia or Russia in a year or two…

Sorry forgot to write...

The SSJ will be much easier to log- MALEV and BLUE PANORAMA will start intra EU-flights as well!


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 20465 times:

Quoting debonair (Reply 12):
The SSJ will be much easier to log- MALEV and BLUE PANORAMA will start intra EU-flights as well!

I think Malevs plans are off.... Plus I rather go to Mexico or Armenia  



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineLoran From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 549 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 20107 times:

Hi Servaas, what a great trip you had.

It was good to meet you finally, a shame you had to leave on the Saturday already.
Our An-2, Mi-8 and Mi-2 flights were great and worth the trip. I will try to post a report but it will take me some time as I am seriously lagging behind in writing trip reports.

Lets stay in touch regarding the An-12/74 combo which would make a great trip.
Btw the fog you experienced in KIV on the Saturday morning delayed our An-2 flight by over an hour as the parachute jumpers wouldn't find their target...

Cheers,
Loran



703 717 727 732-9 747 757 767 777 787 AB2/6 310 318-321 330 340 380 D8M D91/3/5 D1C M11 M81-90 L10 IL8/6/7/W/9/4 TU3/5/2
User currently offlinetk747 From Australia, joined Sep 2009, 341 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 19675 times:

Thanks for posting. What a great experience you must of had. I just returned from Moscow and St Petersburg and loved it, unfortunately I didn't have enough time to fly any Russian types  .

Moldova has always intrigued me? Did you enjoy it?

TK 747


User currently offlineZKEOJ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2005, 1034 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (3 years 2 months 21 hours ago) and read 18929 times:

Arrrgh - you should have taken me along, Servaas! What you did is a bit of a dream. Apart from the TU-154 with LZ I have never been on a Russian built airliner, and some of them are getting VERY rare now...

Great TR - thanks heaps for sharing!
Cheers
micha


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4353 posts, RR: 35
Reply 17, posted (3 years 2 months 15 hours ago) and read 18833 times:

thanks a lot for the replies again,

Quoting tk747 (Reply 15):
Moldova has always intrigued me? Did you enjoy it?

I did. I spent sometime longer there 2 years ago. I like Romania as well, I did a car trip all thru the country last year, and then in contrast Moldova is more obscure, a bit messy and disorganized but that makes it fun as well. Many people never heared of it, it's also nice to go somewhere unknown.
By the way I really enjoyed your Iran Air report. I have been in Iran twice and agree with most of your observations. I definitely put connecting in Iran on my do list now for a future trip to SE Asia.

Quoting ZKEOJ (Reply 16):
Great TR - thanks heaps for sharing!

Thank you too, Micha ! Will you make -I think- your debut as TR-er after your 787 flight?



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 17861 times:

Hoi Servaas!

fantastic report! I enjoyed every minute of it, and envy you a lot on this trip. Good to hear that WTC will ticket the AN24 flight. For me also, the Visa bothers me, but I definitely need some more Russian metal under my belt. Only twice the Antonov-12 so far, on chartered cargo services. Such an experience!

Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
the reasons were I wanted to start on a flight to Helsinki, to catch a Blue1 Boeing 717 before they already cancel their service on 1 september,

Nice start, we missed eachother just a few days. Sad to see that KF left AMS so soon  
Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
while I want to end in Moldavia, where I was supposed to get a ride on an Antonov 12

So happy with my flights on them. Maybe I should do a tripreport, although it's a few years ago already?

Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
To get in a Russian mood I took some white wine and cognac even while it was a bit early in the day.

Enjoy every minute!

Quoting MEA-707 (Thread starter):
we seemed not to fly very high, maybe 4 kms. With about 27 passengers and the seat next to me free, it was all comfortable and I regretted that it was over already after 2,5 hours.

I can imagine that feeling. Great picture of the forest below also, with the foggy atmosphere.

Aside from the Russian types, the Saab 2000 is also a nice catch imho.

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
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