Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Bolivian Top Gun? Transporte Aéreo Militar (B462)  
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8231 times:



Welcome to my 6th tripreport!

This report covers my intra-Bolivian flight from Sucre to La Paz with intermediate stop in Cochabamba aboard TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar), the civilian wing of the Bolivian Air Force


In this report, "TAM" refers to the airline active in the domestic Bolivian market, not the much bigger player in Brazil.




If you want so, this is the second part of one weekend trip I took from La Paz to the constitutional capital of the country, Sucre. The first part, documenting my journey to Sucre on three Metroliners can be found here:

Andes, Jungles, Metroliners: Prop-Hops In Bolivia (by volvair Dec 10 2011 in Trip Reports)

Having flown AeroSur and Boliviana de Aviación before, there was only one major player in the Bolivian market left to try for me: Transporte Aéreo Militar, in Bolivia simply better known as TAM. They operate a fleet of mostly BAe 146-200, 2 MA-60s and is also popular with aviation enthusiasts for its hard-to-get F-27 and C-212.

About a decade ago the airline (which already exists since the 1940s) only linked the Amazon jungle communities to civilization. This airline is a branch of the Bolivian Air Force and therefore has a lot of privileges in comparison to private carriers. This apparently made the airline the perfect candidate for the government's proposed "democratization of air transportation" in the country (Read more about it in my BoA report: Democracy Aloft? Boliviana De Aviación 733/CBB-LPB (by volvair Nov 19 2011 in Trip Reports) ). Read: More frequencies, lower fares.

I bought my ticket in the smaller one of the two TAM offices in downtown La Paz one week before departure for a little over 40 EUR, pretty much okay in my book. As with all Bolivian airlines I have flown so far, there were fixed prices for domestic hops. Nonstop flights were also available, but much less interesting, of course. The office could tell me that one of their BAe 146's was supposed to do the run, so they might also be able to give advice on the deployment of their other (and rarer) aircrafts.

Many of you might know that the trip down to Sucre was supposed to take place over another weekend, but cancellation issues with Aerocon, the airline which brought me down there, made me postpone the trip to the next weekend. I had booked the legs back to Sucre with TAM about one week before I actually was supposed to fly. So after Aerocon rebooked me on the next weekend I also had to rebook my TAM flights. This was a relatively painless affair, I simply went to the TAM office (on the same day I originally was supposed to fly) and just paid the very reasonable change fee of about 3 Euros.

Sorry it took quite a while to finish this report, but I have been very busy lately.




Sucre

This report takes off in Sucre, my destination for this little weekend getaway. It is the constitutional capital of the country and due to its comfortable climate and well-preserved colonial center it is well frequented by tourists.


This building could also be situated in Spain.



All the buildings in the center are painted white.



.



.



On the way to Tarabuco, a small hillside town known for its Sunday market.



In Tarabuco.



Small town church.



Part of the market. The town is famous for the many tapestries on sale.



As every proper Latin American city with a colonial history there has to be a central square in front of the main church with tall trees lending shadow.



One of the many (many, many) churches in Sucre.



.



.



Wait... do I spot tail-mounted engines here?



Now that is a special aircraft - defying every rule of aerodynamics... it probably has some pressurization problems as well.



A former abbey (I think?) overlooking Sucre, this is still a nice place for views of the city...



...like this one.



Looking back to the church on top of Sucre.



A micro (dirt cheap) is taking me back to the airport.


Sucre is indeed a very nice city and should definitely be on your map when you plan to visit Bolivia. It has a very European feel as it has one of the most well-preserved colonial centers you can find in the area. Also, nice excursions are possible from there.


Now this seems to get boring, at every journey I am taking I am coming across this bird here.


The Micro I am taking does not turn into the airport building and just passes by the airport entrance at rocket speed (well, I am speaking in Micro-dimensions here, so that's about 40 km/h). I am yelling "me voy a bajar!", leave the bus and have to backtrack a little bit. Still, this saved me almost 3 Euros in comparison to taking a taxi. Spend a little time in Bolivia and you'll very soon become quite cheap.


Juana Azurduy de Padilla International Airport, Sucre


Walking up the airport's driveway.



First point of order, before even starting to have a look around the airport: Getting a nice view of the departing 727.



The Dassault Falcon is Bolivia's Air Force One. So, apparently, Evo's in town.



Bye bye, this should be the last view of my faithful comrade.


After that short spotting intermezzo I am heading for the TAM check-in desk where I have to present my ticket printout in order to receive my boarding pass. My request for right-hand window seat in the back is happily fulfilled by the agents. I only have carry-on luggage, so the whole procedure is done with in less than 2 minutes. Then I set off to my part for the airport's development and pay the obligatory departure tax. In total, a quick and no-nonsense procedure. But after I left it got quite chaotic at the desk with several departures and only three agents to do the check-in and ticket sales.

The airport is in quite a nice shape, although it is not as fancy as the domestic wing in La Paz or the impressive terminal in Cochabamba. There is no FIDS, but pre-boarding announcements are made over the speakers, which are very hard to understand. With two TAM flights leaving only a couple of minutes from each other the terminal gets very crowded and lots of people are quite confused as neither they nor the security staff really knows if one is allowed to clear the security checkpoint and enter the small pre-boarding area. Imagine 30 people around one confused officer all yelling around.

The terminal features newsstands and also a (highly recommended) outlet of Sucre's famous Para Ti chocolatier. It is a must for me to bring a bag full of delicious chocolates back to the colleagues in La Paz.


SRE terminal.



This is where my ticket comes in. To TAM's defense, It did not always look so crumpled - I carried it around in my pocket for half a day.



And here's the boarding pass. As with BoA they use the sales-slip style.



A closer look on the jet of Bolivia's Presidente.



What really surprised me were the quite fancy toilets. By a wide margin the best public toilet I have visited in South America so far.


After the confusion about who is allowed to enter the airside area and who is not seems to be resolved I make my way through security. Officers were very friendly and showed a large interest in my camera and we joked around a little bit. This definitely confirms the positive impression I have gotten from airport staff here in Bolivia.



Gate area. No information display in sight. But there were a lot of TVs were some Bolivian TV game show was broadcasted.


After only five minutes of waiting my plane, FAB-101, landed.


Taxiing in...



...and parking right in front of our gate.


This time, the boarding process was a little more chaotic than on my other flights in Bolivia, but one could still calssify more as civilized than ILBST-style. The short walk over to the tarmac and the absence of busses which take you to the aircraft was very much appreciated.



05 December 2011
TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar)
Flight 717

SRE - CBB - LPB

1530 - 1720 (with intermediate stop in Cochabamba, CBB)
BAe 146-200
FAB-101


The plane was the first delivered jet airliner to TAM and is even featured in the A.net database:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Patricio Alvarez



It has a rich history mostly from flying in the US from 1985-2006 with PSA, US Air, Air Wisconsin (United Express) and later with Atlantic Airways and Mesopotamia Air before being delivered to Bolivia in late 2007 and starting service with TAM in 2008.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Carter


Another look at the beautiful three-hole business-jet.



Four-hole for short haul.



And inside we go.


I am welcomed by noone when I enter the plane, which is nothing new for domestic flying in Bolivia. I turned towards the aisle and at the end I spot two of the flight attendants wearing a military jacket and high heels. Quite an odd look for a flight attendant. But next to the name of the airline this is only the second noticeable thing that points towards the peculiarity of this military-operated airline. The second surprising thing I notice as I step onboard is that the aircraft features a 2-3 configuration which is pretty comfortable on those planes. The fabric seats, however, seem to be quite worn-out. All in all the cabin clearly shows the age of the aircraft.


Seats on this plane. Maybe someone knows where they originally come from?


I locate my row of seats, which thankfully stays empty. It quickly becomes evident that it has been quite a while since the last cleaning and maintenance of the cabin. There are several dirty spots all around the cabin, waste in the cigarette disposal and one seat in the row in the front of me was reclining despite is was not supposed to do so. It is important to note, however, that the seats were very soft and comfortable and the legroom was okay.

There is a mother with an infant in the row behind me. The infant just sat on the lap of his mother without being buckled up. I thought there were seat belt extensions for that case.


First impression after sitting down...not so good.



Legroom is okay. And again – please forgive the pants.



I did not notice the observation deck while at SRE.



Advertisement for TAM's new 727. They started flying it in October 2011.



As always in Bolivia – plastic sickbags. The only seat pocket content by the way.



Chocolate dirt on the tray table.



Overhead panel looks kind of dated.



Cabin detail – the brown spots on the cabin wall are actually supposed to be there... 80s design..



This seat should not be reclining.



Cabin overview.


There is a short welcoming announcement in Spanish and then we are quickly off to the runway. The load is about 60%. One of the flight attendants takes her seat in the last row, puts in her earphones and relaxes to some music during takeoff. In her defense, there was no announcement prohibiting the use of portable electronics on board.


Starting our takeoff run.


Revvin' up your engine / Listen to her howlin' roar



Bye, Sucre!



It is going to be hilly all the way to LPB. But the big mountains are yet to come.


The short hop over to Cochabamba turns out to be quite bumpy. We overfly a very mountainous unpopulated region at the western outskirts of the Andes.


Leaving civilization behind.



.



.



.



Notice all the different shades of brown.



.


Service on this short shop consists of drinks only. Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Guaraná Soda and Water are on offer here on TAM.


Water for me, please!



.



Notice the rainbow.



The landscape below is changing within seconds.



Another shot of the cabin, this time with F/A.



Farmland below, so Cochabamba is near.


The descent into CBB is very impressive as we overfly some mountains very lowly. As soon as we start taxiing towards the terminal there is a short announcement asking the LPB-bound passers to stay on board. Only 13 passengers remain in their seats.


Starting our spectacular approach.



.



.



Outskirts of Cochabamba.



.



.



The big Jesus Christ statue is visible here.



.



TAB DC10-F and TAM's sole 727 in maintenance.



CBB's own 727 graveyard.



A glimpse of CBB's great terminal.



.



Deboarding under way.


With the empty cabin and not much to do this is a good moment to further explore the cabin. Of course the weird gringo and his camera earn a few strange looks. It is also during this short stopover that I notice that the seats also incline forward. Maybe a nod to genuine socialist airplanes operated in genuine socialist regimes? Watching one of our pilots oversee the refueling procedure also provides some entertainment.


Some fresh air?



Last passengers leaving the aircraft.



.



Bulkhead with fabric.



Restroom.



Forward-inclining seat.



I proudly present Bolivian Tom Cruise.



Even heroes have to do paperwork.



And his machine is falling into pieces.



.



Dirty it is as well.



A view across the cabin.


After 8 minutes after de-boarding of the terminating passengers we folks who stayed on the plane get some company. In total we will be 32 passengers (with 88 seats on the plane) going to La Paz today. Before we start taxiing again one flight attendant hands out newspapers to some selected passengers, I guess they were available on request. After a quick safety demonstration we are quickly off to La Paz again. I did the same route (CBB-LPB) a month earlier and I chose a right-hand window seat again for the views. It is a little cloudier compared to my first take on the route, but I am again looking forward to some stunning views of the Andes.


Off we go.



Bye, Jesus.



Barbecue gotten a little out of hand?



.



Shortly after takeoff the crew springs into action and hands out styrofoam boxes filled with a sweed pastry and a ParaTi chocolate bar. A very nice touch and a pretty much adequate snack for the short hop. As the chocolate came pre-packed in the styrofoam box and was not handed out seperately like on Swiss I don't ask the crew for more. Also a drinks run is quickly conducted.


I prefer AeroSur's paper packaging.



Tada!



Nice touch!



Seat recline.



Sprite for me!



Headrest.


The flight remains quite uneventful, the most exciting part about it are certainly the spectacular views outside.


More clouds than last time.



But less around Mt. Illimani, Bolivians second highest peak.



Tall he stands.



.



.



Great approach to LPB. The city of La Paz is in the valley in the background, what is visible is El Alto.



Dusty.



A view back to Mt. Illimani.



.



.



.



We arrive perfectly well on time in La Paz.


Metroliner, take I.



Metroliner, take II.



BoA pushing back.



Our tail section.



LPB terminal.



Sorry, Markus, I almost forgot!.



.



LAN A320 taking off.



A detailed viewof TAM's flight attendants.


CP-2563, exactly the same plane I started this journey with, 2 days ago.


As usual, one of the frequently operating shuttle busses took me down from El Alto into the valley.


Concluding remarks

It was very interesting to see how TAM operates. Airlines which are a part of the military and offer more than essential air transport service are rare on the planet. TAM certainly hides its Air Force roots well. Only the wardrobe of the flight attendants points to the origin of the carrier. Other than that TAM seems to be a pretty normal airline offering a decent product for the fare they are charging.

They are the cheapest carrier in the Bolivian domestic market and offer a product adequate to the price. They serve you something to drink and a small snack even on short hops which seems remarkable in today's day and age. However they could work on the appearance of their cabin. Also, the crews seemed quite uninterested – but they did get their job done, so I don't have any real complaints here.

If I compare TAM to its main competitors, AeroSur and Boliviana de Aviación (BoA), all the airlines all do seem to offer more or less the same on-board service. The cabin appearance on BoA was probably the best, but I might have flown them on a lucky day. Price difference between TAM and BoA was marginal, so based on my experiences on both carriers, BoA might be a step ahead. AeroSur's prices are a lot more expensive than BoA's or TAM's, but their domestic product hardly differs from that of its competitors. With BoA's recent international expansion the Bolivian market will be interesting to follow in the next years. I hope you enjoyed my reports about my ventures in Bolivia.


The next reports, whenever I'll get around to finish them, will feature my flights back home from Bolivia to Germany with interesting carriers but less special equipment.


Thank you for reading!

Feedback is greatly appreciated.




Earlier Tripreports


Andes, Jungles, Metroliners: Prop-Hops In Bolivia (by volvair Dec 10 2011 in Trip Reports)

Democracy Aloft? Boliviana De Aviación 733/CBB-LPB (by volvair Nov 19 2011 in Trip Reports)

Of Buckets & 3-Holed Workhorses:5L 732, 722 To LPB (by volvair Nov 8 2011 in Trip Reports)

The Withering Ultra-Longhauler: TAM A345/MXP-GRU (by volvair Oct 22 2011 in Trip Reports)

A Failed Escape From The Drunkards: EN/Y/MUC-MXP (by volvair Oct 13 2011 in Trip Reports)

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1365 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7984 times:

Thanks for sharing! This plane seems to be in a pretty bad shape, but nevertheless flying in such a a country with such stunning views must be great!

User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1692 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7919 times:

A very good TR with beautiful pictures of a route not well known/flown by A.nutters...

Very rare to be able to fly on a 'military flight'...

The fabric of the seats of this 146 look United to me,

Thanks a lot, Oliver, for sharing !!!



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4275 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7843 times:

Hi!

wow, great pictures of the mountains enroute, especially the snowy peaks on approach! Just beautiful!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
They operate a fleet of mostly BAe 146-200, 2 MA-60s and is also popular with aviation enthusiasts for its hard-to-get F-27 and C-212.

Indeed, great mixed fleet I would say. The F27 is definitely most interesting. But these BAe 146's are also becoming more rare these days, I only flew these older examples on 'buzz by airUK many years ago. The interior looks also to me old UA seating, looks quite comfortable to me. Detailed pics, also good to see the snackbox, lovely designed plastic cups. This airline does give some attention to their brand at least. Now the plane is just an older example, so no wonder the aircraft interior isn't in the best shape anymore. As long as the maintenance is done correctly on the structural items and systems, then you'll be fine!

Thanks for sharing this interesting route/airline with us   

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7762 times:

Hi reifel,

Quoting reifel (Reply 1):
Thanks for sharing! This plane seems to be in a pretty bad shape, but nevertheless flying in such a a country with such stunning views must be great!

thanks a lot for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the report. Flying in Bolivia has indeed been very spectacular, both aircraft and scenery-wise.


Hi MH017,

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
A very good TR with beautiful pictures of a route not well known/flown by A.nutters...

glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
The fabric of the seats of this 146 look United to me,

Good to know. I have never been on the old United.


Hi Eric, thanks for your comments!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):

wow, great pictures of the mountains enroute, especially the snowy peaks on approach! Just beautiful!

Great to hear that from one of the best photographers here in the TR section.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
But these BAe 146's are also becoming more rare these days, I only flew these older examples on 'buzz by airUK many years ago.

I was glad to log this one as well. Even RJ85s harder and harder to get on these days.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
Now the plane is just an older example, so no wonder the aircraft interior isn't in the best shape anymore. As long as the maintenance is done correctly on the structural items and systems, then you'll be fine!

Yes, I know. At no point did I feel unsafe on this flight. Still, the comfort level was a lot lower on this plane compared to AeroSur's 727-200 and 737-200 which are even older than this frame.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):

Thanks for sharing this interesting route/airline with us

You are very welcome.


User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 7750 times:

Volvair,

great to read from you again! Your Bolivian series is an ever-increasing row of gems, I really appreciated them a lot, too bad you've come back from there.

It's interesting to see how the military is working in a sector that, if not private, is usually run by civilians. Does it happen anywhere else other than Bolivia? And why are they doing that? It'd be very interesting to fly them into the Bolivian rain forest but, unless I start some missionary work or become a professional drug courier, I doubt it'll ever happen.

Once again, congrats for the incredible crispness of your pictures. I guess the pro's hand plays an important part in it, but is the air really that clear in Bolivia?

Looking forward to read from you soon again,

Fabrizio


User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7382 times:

Hi Volvair,

An excellent trip report that is very different. Sucre looks an interesting place and the mountain scenery that you captured is breathtaking.

That BAe146 has definitely seen better days - it has character - but it got you there safely and that's the main thing.

Thanks for sharing,

Roy / Quokkas


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7349 times:

Hi Fabrizio, thank you for your comments!

Quoting JL418 (Reply 5):
our Bolivian series is an ever-increasing row of gems, I really appreciated them a lot,

Good to hear you enjoyed the reports!

Quoting JL418 (Reply 5):
Does it happen anywhere else other than Bolivia?

I can think of the Fuerza Aerea Argentina F28 services and TAME in Ecuador, although I don't know about their organizational structures and which role the military plays there.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 5):
And why are they doing that?

The government's policy plays a huge part in it. They want to "democratize" air transportation and make flights accessible for a larger part of the population. I believe those airlines have a major advantage in labor costs and taxes and maybe also in getting slots and they might even pay lower landing or airport fees. Of course they are a major problem for the private sector. On the other hand, though, the Bolivian domestic network has never been so well developed.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 5):
t'd be very interesting to fly them into the Bolivian rain forest but, unless I start some missionary work or become a professional drug courier, I doubt it'll ever happen.

What about tourism? Tours in the Amazon basin are one of the must-do's in Bolivia. Their starting points like Rurrenabaque are easily accessible with many airlines.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 5):
I guess the pro's hand plays an important part in it, but is the air really that clear in Bolivia?

I am far from being a pro photographer, heck, I don't even have an SLR. The clear air helps a lot. Bolivia is sparsely populated and you also have to consider the high altitude. The village Tarabuco featured in this report has an elevation of about 3000m, El Alto is at 4100m.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
An excellent trip report that is very different.

Thank you for your comments, Roy. I am glad you enjoyed the report!


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1168 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6979 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi there,
Very cool trip report once again.
Some very nice scenery, all your Bolivia reports/scenery brings good memories of when I lived in Ecuador when I was young, thanks!

cheers,
adamspotter // Brendan


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1751 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6928 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi volvair,

Impressive stuff my friend! Breathtaking pics of a very exotic flight. I was anxiously waiting for this one to appear, it was well worth the wait. Flying around in Bolivia seems so relaxed. I was just wondering if by any means you have had some safety concerns on any of your flights?

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I simply went to the TAM office (on the same day I originally was supposed to fly) and just paid the very reasonable change fee of about 3 Euros.

That's a real laugh. Wish it was like that in Europe as well

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Now that is a special aircraft - defying every rule of aerodynamics... it probably has some pressurization problems as well.

One thing: the livery is original!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Spend a little time in Bolivia and you'll very soon become quite cheap.

So the perfect destination for Jonas!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
It is important to note, however, that the seats were very soft and comfortable and the legroom was okay.

Good to know, but the overall cabin feel seems not the best.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
A glimpse of CBB's great terminal.

It looks like a real city airport?

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Forward-inclining seat.

Ha, Russian style!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I prefer AeroSur's paper packaging.

Yeah - me too. Friendlier on the environment as well  

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I hope you enjoyed my reports about my ventures in Bolivia.

I most certainly did. You made some memorable flights and TR's!

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 6784 times:

Hi volvair

Another exotic route and carrier, thanks for sharing. I have a Avro flight next week to CPH on SN, Can't wait to try them.
Nice to see the faboulous pics. It's clearly given that this plane had belonged to UA before


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 6778 times:

Hi Brendan, thank you for commenting.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 8):
Some very nice scenery, all your Bolivia reports/scenery brings good memories of when I lived in Ecuador when I was young, thanks!

That is very nice to hear. I'm very glad you could relive a part of your past with my report  



Hi Nils, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
Impressive stuff my friend!

Good to hear, glad you liked it!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
flying around in Bolivia seems so relaxed.

Oh yes, it is. No problems with taking photos, overly expensive fares or rude security. Well that is until an American plane comes along. But that is another story...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
I was just wondering if by any means you have had some safety concerns on any of your flights?

Well I was a little concerned during my last Aerocon flight but that had to do with the fact that I was pretty tired, uncomfortable and a little bored at that moment.. then your mind starts wondering. But I never had concerns regarding the safety of planes and the airports.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 9):
So the perfect destination for Jonas!

When scrolling through my report I noticed I used the word "proper" once. I think it has begun...     


Hi Marc, thank you for commenting! Good to hear you are doing some Euro-hops soon.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 10):
thanks for sharing

You are very welcome.


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6853 posts, RR: 77
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6583 times:

Servus volvair,

what an excellent report about this rare airline! And I can only praise your high-quality pictures. What a scenery!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I bought my ticket in the smaller one of the two TAM offices in downtown La Paz one week before departure for a little over 40 EUR, pretty much okay in my book.

Very good deal.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
. So after Aerocon rebooked me on the next weekend I also had to rebook my TAM flights. This was a relatively painless affair, I simply went to the TAM office (on the same day I originally was supposed to fly) and just paid the very reasonable change fee of about 3 Euros.

Wow, that's cheap!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Now that is a special aircraft - defying every rule of aerodynamics... it probably has some pressurization problems as well.

  

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
First impression after sitting down...not so good.

Ah, how awful.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):

The flight remains quite uneventful, the most exciting part about it are certainly the spectacular views outside.

Absolutely - stunning views!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1097 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6573 times:

HI Volvair.

Thanks for this fascinating incite, not into just an interesting airline, but what seems to be a beautiful and rugged country. I have always harboured ambitions to visit here, but had recently been put off after a run of friends have been mugged quite violently. Sure it is not indicative of the whole country though.

Rgds

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6538 times:

Hi Volvair!

Again a very nice report!
Interesting to read about your hops on the BAe 146-200.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Advertisement for TAM's new 727. They started flying it in October 2011.

Haha, that's... Well, Interesting.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):

The flight remains quite uneventful, the most exciting part about it are certainly the spectacular views outside.

Nice views and spectacular photos.

Martin


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6449 times:

Hi O,

Nice to see your FAM report here! Certainly something out of the ordinary. Full of stunning shots and very nice narrative - I like your style a lot. A winner!

The concept of having military operated civilian airlines seems to be quite unique to South America - at the same time it is a weird and quite an ingenious idea. I guess it would help with the problem of expensively trained air force pilots deserting the service and signing up with the commercial carriers for far better salaries like what used to happen here in Finland...

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I bought my ticket in the smaller one of the two TAM offices in downtown La Paz one week before departure for a little over 40 EUR, pretty much okay in my book.

That's dirt cheap.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I simply went to the TAM office (on the same day I originally was supposed to fly) and just paid the very reasonable change fee of about 3 Euros.

That's cheaper than dirt  .

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
This report takes off in Sucre, my destination for this little weekend getaway. It is the constitutional capital of the country and due to its comfortable climate and well-preserved colonial center it is well frequented by tourists.

Love the pictures from Sucre, looks such a nice colonial town. Also love that street named "Colon" although that does give me some nasty associations... reminds me of those Japanese "P-colon" peanuts:

http://www.engrish.com/2003/04/p-colon/

 
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
A micro (dirt cheap) is taking me back to the airport.

Hey, nice to see a South American version of Matrushka. I kinda like them.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Still, this saved me almost 3 Euros in comparison to taking a taxi. Spend a little time in Bolivia and you'll very soon become quite cheap.

Dream destination for Jonas then - you are certainly starting to sound like him!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Imagine 30 people around one confused officer all yelling around.

Sounds like the security setup at Katowice - the airport and LOT had some sort of disagreement and they wouldn't let any Warsaw-bound LOT passengers (including me) through earlier than one hour before SDT. That caused massive confusion...

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
SRE terminal.

They even have free wifi, how about that!  
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
After only five minutes of waiting my plane, FAB-101, landed.

What an absolutely FABulous registration!

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Seats on this plane. Maybe someone knows where they originally come from?

I believe these are the original USAir seats.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Advertisement for TAM's new 727. They started flying it in October 2011.

Hah, it's been a good 40+ years before someone called the 727 "new" the last time  
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
I prefer AeroSur's paper packaging.

Yeah, me too. That styrofoam container reminds me of the old times when McDonald's still used those for its burgers - then the environmentalists won and now it is cardboard boxes everywhere (which must be cheaper for them anyway).

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The flight remains quite uneventful, the most exciting part about it are certainly the spectacular views outside.

Stunning mountain views.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
A detailed viewof TAM's flight attendants.

Hah, now I understand what you meant by your comment about the high heels and uniform. Women in uniform... drool...  
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
The next reports, whenever I'll get around to finish them, will feature my flights back home from Bolivia to Germany with interesting carriers but less special equipment.

Very much looking forward to it!


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6442 times:

Servus PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):

what an excellent report about this rare airline! And I can only praise your high-quality pictures. What a scenery!

many thanks for commenting and the compliments.


Hi Luke,

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 13):


Thanks for this fascinating incite, not into just an interesting airline, but what seems to be a beautiful and rugged country.

you are very welcome.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 13):
I have always harboured ambitions to visit here, but had recently been put off after a run of friends have been mugged quite violently. Sure it is not indicative of the whole country though.

Most developing countries share the risk of robbery and it is very present in many parts of Bolivia, affecting both locals and tourists. Express kidnapping is increasingly becoming more and more popular in the larger cities. As you can never rule out that risk completely, leave most of your valuables and your passport at your hotel. Then use flights or high-end bus companies for overland travel (both are not really expensive for european standards). Bolivia is always worth a visit, its people are friendly and the country is quite stable at the moment. Something which could change in the near future due to increasing national debt and/or clashes between the different social groups within its population.


Hi Martin,

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):

Again a very nice report!

thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed it.


User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6436 times:

Hi P., many thanks for your extensive comment.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
I guess it would help with the problem of expensively trained air force pilots deserting the service and signing up with the commercial carriers for far better salaries like what used to happen here in Finland...

Yeah, that's what you would need up in Finland. Another domestic player, now government subsidized. You would book yourself on same-plane turnarounds for 20 Euros every evening  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):

That's dirt cheap.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):

That's cheaper than dirt .

Nice one!  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):

Hey, nice to see a South American version of Matrushka. I kinda like them.

I believe it's Marschrutka, Matryoshka are the dolls.   

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):

Dream destination for Jonas then - you are certainly starting to sound like him!

Now what is that supposed to mean?  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):

They even have free wifi, how about that!

I did not get it running though.


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5176 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 6238 times:

Hey, O.,

great pictures and sure an interesting story.
That´s definitely not the place to read much about here, well done.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Sorry, Markus, I almost forgot!.

Love that view, nice.

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
A detailed viewof TAM's flight attendants.

Looks for sure somewhat special.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined exactly 7 years ago today! , 3017 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5957 times:

Hi Volvair,

nice report! In your series, you must have flown pretty much every airline / route / equipment available in Bolivia?  

Some very nice photos too, of both the ground level cities, and from above. Simply stunning.

Thanks

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6607 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5823 times:

Hi Volvair !

Thanks for another great report with fantastic pictures from Bolivia!

Very nice you could catch another airline and a rare type once again.

Stunning pictures of both Sucre and the Andes.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 15):
Quoting volvair (Thread starter):Seats on this plane. Maybe someone knows where they originally come from?

I believe these are the original USAir seats.

No, these are ex-United Airlines seats. Probably from the Air Wisconsin days.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5740 times:

Hi Markus, thank you for your comments!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 18):

great pictures and sure an interesting story.
That´s definitely not the place to read much about here, well done.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 18):

Love that view, nice.

Good to know that you approve   .


signol, many thanks for your feedback,

Quoting signol (Reply 19):

nice report! In your series, you must have flown pretty much every airline / route / equipment available in Bolivia?

well,there are still some airlines to fly. And there are still some types to catch, like the F27or the MA-60. But I tried the best I could in my available time.

Quoting signol (Reply 19):

Some very nice photos too, of both the ground level cities, and from above. Simply stunning.

Thanks. Great to know you like them.


Hi Lars,

thanks a lot for commenting!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 20):


Thanks for another great report with fantastic pictures from Bolivia!

You are very welcome.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 20):

No, these are ex-United Airlines seats. Probably from the Air Wisconsin days.

Well, if anyone, you must know. So those seats are already 16 years old, at least. And they were still pretty comfortable!


User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 6044 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5727 times:

Quoting volvair (Thread starter):
Maybe someone knows where they originally come from?
Quoting volvair (Reply 4):
Quoting MH017 (Reply 2):
The fabric of the seats of this 146 look United to me,

Good to know. I have never been on the old United.

Great trip report....those are the 1990's vintage UA seats. The bulkhead shot might have been PSA however.



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6607 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5684 times:

Quoting volvair (Reply 21):
Well, if anyone, you must know. So those seats are already 16 years old, at least. And they were still pretty comfortable!

Yes, they are very comfortable still. When a seat cushion needs to be replaced at the last minute on a flight that's about to leave, cabin service usually bring a new cushion with those colors so it's still possible to sometimes see those seat cushions on current UA aircraft.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5449 times:

Hi United1, thank you for your comments,

Quoting United1 (Reply 22):
Great trip report

Glad you liked it!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 23):
When a seat cushion needs to be replaced at the last minute on a flight that's about to leave, cabin service usually bring a new cushion with those colors so it's still possible to sometimes see those seat cushions on current UA aircraft.

That'll look weird. But interesting to know, thanks!


25 The777Man : Yes, but better like that than having to take a person off at the last minute.....They change the cushion at the next night stop at a hub. The777Man
26 Post contains links and images stipica : Hi volvair ! Heaven... I'm in heaven, ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeisCvjwBMo ... , And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak ... tralllaaa
27 Post contains images CaptainRed : Hi volvair, another great report. It was really interesting to follow your adventures around Bolivia. I absolutely love these fantastic pictures from
28 Post contains images volvair : Hola El Stipica! Haha, your comments always make me laugh! El Stipica, el expert of the seats Hi CaptainRed, thanks for your comments, Well I was not
29 roberts87 : Interesting read! Pretty impressive scenery along the way. Thanks for posting!
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Bolivian Top Gun? Transporte Aéreo Militar (B462)
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
The Top Ten (Leg 6/7): SoCal posted Mon Jul 11 2011 17:57:04 by Tigerguy
The Top Ten (Leg 5/7): Dash To The Rockies posted Fri Jul 8 2011 17:41:46 by Tigerguy
The Top Ten (Leg 4/7): Phoenix Rising posted Tue Jul 5 2011 19:47:42 by Tigerguy
The Top Ten (Leg 3/7): Masochism For Dummies posted Sat Jul 2 2011 12:35:21 by Tigerguy
The Top Ten (Leg 2/7): How To Book... posted Wed Jun 29 2011 16:25:49 by Tigerguy
The Top Ten (Leg 1): Texas Two-Step posted Sun Jun 26 2011 11:08:33 by Tigerguy
Argentina From Top To Bottom (LA/AR) posted Mon Feb 11 2008 05:06:32 by StevePER
Top And Flop: KIX-HEL-MUC, Finnair A320 & MD-11 posted Sun Feb 10 2008 13:27:35 by PlaneHunter
Aloha From Top To Average RNO-HNL In F posted Mon Oct 15 2007 20:17:31 by Carfield
TAP Portugal In Top Executive - EWR-LIS-OPO – Pics posted Sun Sep 24 2006 03:35:22 by Jakeflyer
The Top Ten (Leg 1): Texas Two-Step posted Sun Jun 26 2011 11:08:33 by Tigerguy
Argentina From Top To Bottom (LA/AR) posted Mon Feb 11 2008 05:06:32 by StevePER
Top And Flop: KIX-HEL-MUC, Finnair A320 & MD-11 posted Sun Feb 10 2008 13:27:35 by PlaneHunter
Aloha From Top To Average RNO-HNL In F posted Mon Oct 15 2007 20:17:31 by Carfield

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format