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BRU-LHR-BRU On VEX And SNBA, Part I  
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4321 times:

BRU-LHR-BRU on Virgin Express and SN Brussels Airlines

Since Brussels became dead after the bankruptcy of Sabena, and after reading the great reports about ‘LHR Spotting trips’, me and Tom (forum member Turbotrent) decided that we would go on a two-day spotting trip to LHR.

After planning the date of the trip (5 and 6 september), we went to the site of Virgin Express, because I got a mail that they were offering promo tickets to LHR.

The 4th of August, we booked our tickets on TV5813 and TV5828, together with our hotel (Ibis Heathrow Hotel). Lucky enough, we could buy very cheap tickets on the flight to LHR (we only paid €17.22 for this flight!). Inbound to BRU was more expensive, but still cheap (€49). The only expensive part of the trip was the Ibis Heathrow hotel, which was 69.95£ for one night, + 4.95£ for breakfast (and this was the cheapest hotel around there!).

Day one: Thursday 05/09:

Flight: BRU-LHR
Flightnumber: TV5813
Airline: Virgin Express
Aircraft type: Boeing B737-3M8 OO-LTM
Scheduled departure time: 7.15am
Class: Economy
Seat: 10A (Tom) and 10B (me)



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Photo © Charles Falk
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Charles Falk



I got up at 4.15am, to be on time at BRU for the flight of 7.15am. After a short breakfast, we (me and my dad) left Gent at 4.50am for a 45 minuts drive to the airport.

Me and Tom decided to meet under the orange aircraft in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. Me and my dad arrived at 5.30am, and we saw Tom very quickly (he was there already from 5am).

My dad went back to home, and me and Tom went to the VEX check-in counters. We only had hand luggage to avoid that we had to wait in LHR for our luggage. After a very quick check-in, we got our ticket and gate number. In spite of it that our seats were reserved (I reserved seat 11A and 11B, and VEX confirmed my seat reservation!), we got 19D and 19E. I told the check-in agent that our seats were reserved, and he made no problem to give us other seats. So we choose 10A and 10B (11A was already taken in).

Our gate was B31, a pity for Tom because he had never been into the new and excellent A-pier.

At that moment, it was already 5.15am, so we decided to go to the B-pier as fast as possible, because we expected the arrival of the 3 Birdy A333’s, and the Singapore Airlines B744. Once there, one Birdy was already parked, the others two came in very fast.

For the rest, not a lot of aircrafts were parked there. A Thomas Cook A320 (G-CVYE) and a SLR B734 (OO-SBM) were loading their pax for their flights to Turkey.
After we walked through the whole B-pier, it was already time for boarding (how fast the time can go on an airport Big grin). At 7.15am, all pax were boarded and we were ready for push back. The load factor of this flight was 100%. After taxiing about 10 minuts, we got clearance for take off at 7.30am (before a SLR 737, and a VEX B737, and after an A320 of TCW and another 737 of VEX).

A rolling take off was made, and after about 20 seconds, we rotated from runway 25R for our 1h and 10minuts flight to LHR.

Soon after take off, the very friendly and helpful cabin crew told us that service would start very soon, and that we could see the complete list of beverages in the inflight magazine we could find in our seat. Unfortunately, no-one had one in his seat.

Only tea, coffee and water was free, for the rest you had to pay (for example, a coke of 15ml was one Euro). I ordered a cup of tea, and Tom ordered a coke. We also got a very small cake.

In flight, we were looking at all the info we got about LHR spotting, to make our final decision were we would go that day. We decided to go to the Hatton Cross spot on Thursday, and to go to the terrace on Friday.

After this, we already started our descent to LHR. The captain informed us about the weather at London Heathrow, and said ‘Thank you for flying with Virgin Express’.

15 minutes later, we touched down onto Runway 27R (7 minutes before scheduled arrival time). From the aircraft, we saw the Hatton Cross spot were we were going to spend our whole day.

From the aircraft, first things we saw were B777’s and B747’s (amazing if you are used to the Avro’s, B737’s and Embraers in Brussels!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy)

Those aircrafts were standing besides eachother: AA B772’s: N751AN, N756AM, N796AN. Were also parked there: MH B744 9M-MPH, VS A343 G-VAIR and CX B744 B-HOS.

Once in the terminal, we saw that our 737 was standing next to G-BIKT (BA B752), G-EUDC (BA A319) and… two B747’s of SA which were ZS-SAK, and not to forget, ZS-SAJ, which is their special painted B743:

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Photo © Jonathan Simmons
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jonathan Simmons




We left the terminal, and went to Bus 285 (a free airport bus), which brought us to Hatton Cross station. There we proceeded to the BP gas station (were we bought some food and drinks), and went to the Hatton Cross spot.

There, we met forum member ‘Zoomer’, and had a very interesting conversation with him until 2.30pm, than he had to leave  Sad

I wrote all the regs down of all the aircrafts we saw landing at Hatton Cross from 9am to 2.45pm (than we went to the other spot, because they were going to switch from runway). I will not write the regs down, I will only give you the regs of some nice things we saw (some will be not special at all for some of you, but don’t forget that me and Tom were used to the airlines and aircrafts coming to BRU  Big grin)

- N636UA: UA B772 ‘Star Alliance’ colours
- C-GGBK : AC B763
- C-FCRA: AC B744
- YR-BGG: Tarom B737-700
- 3B-STI: Mea A310
- SX-BEM: OA A300
- VT-ESO: Air India B744
- TF-FIV: FI B752
- EP-IAM: Iran Air B742
- 4R-ADC: Sri Lankan A343
- F-OGYV: SU A310
- VH-OJF : QF B744
- A6-SMR : Emirates B773
- G-MEDG and G-MEDF: British Meditterenan A321
- YU-ANF: JU B737
- 4X-AXH: LY B742
- PP-VRA: RG B772
- SU-GBX: MS B772
- JA8096 : AN B744
- 9K-AOB : KU B772

And of course all the 747’s, 777’s, A340’s,... of BA and VS.

At 2.45pm, it became time to go to the other spotting place, near the BD and BA maintenance facilities.

Firstly, we were sitting on the right side of the roundabout. But there we were moved away by security very fast. So we went to the other side of the roundabout, were we sat down for the rest of the day.

Again, we saw some nice aircrafts:

- B-HOS: CX B744
- JA8919 and JA8906: JL B744
- 9M-MPS: MH B744
- G-BOAF : BA Concorde
- CS-TMR : YES L1011
- A40-KF: GF A330
- A7-ACB: QR A332
- B-2467: Air China B744
- HZ-MIS: SV L1011

At 7pm, we decided to take the bus back to LHR, to go to our hotel, Ibis Heathrow Hotel. We went back to the Central Bus Station with Bus nr 285. When passing the maintenance facilities of BD and BA, we saw that a BA Concorde was ready to pass the road, and we were already on the bus  Crying

Once in the Central Bus Station, we took bus 111 to our hotel, were we arrived at 8pm.

After a queu while checking in, we were in our room at 8.30pm, satisfied of our nice spotting day  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

In the evening, we went to the Mc Donalds to eat something, before we went to bed.


This was the first part of our trip report. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Finally, I want to thank everybody who gave us helpful info about ‘spotting at Heathrow Airport’. Special thanks go to MD-11er, Peter Frei, Arsenal@LHR, BAPILOT2B, EGFF, and to the ones who participated in the topic I started about spotting in LHR. I hope I do not forget someone here…

And I also want to say thank you to Tom for the great spotter company he was during our trip  Smile/happy/getting dizzy We certainly have to do it over and over and over again, Tom!!

Best regards,
Frederic

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineShamrock_747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4188 times:

Great Trip Report, Frederic! Good to see you enjoyed your trip to LHR.

Shamrock_747


User currently offlineCmk10 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 513 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4175 times:

Very nice so far, I cant wait to read the other half. My father said the hotel was very nice actully, whats your opinion?
DC-10's Forever



"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
User currently offlineMD-11er From Belgium, joined Nov 2001, 201 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

Hi Sabena 690,

Nice trip report and happy you enjoyed LHR, by far Europes number 1 airport for spotting.

I only have 2 remarks:

-the orange aircraft in the departure hall is a Rumpler C-IV of 1920
-I think the Star Alliance UA aircraft you saw was a 767 and not a 777.

Hope to see you in BRU again or who knows we might go together once to LHR.

MD-11er


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4141 times:

Thanks for your nice comments, guys!

@Cmk10: yes, I agree with your father. Very nice hotel! Only some problems on the reception: the guys standing there (people from India) had problems to understand and to speak English. For an international hotel, it can be interesting that the people on the reception speak good English, instead of that you have to repeat everything 3 times.

@MD-11er:
-the orange aircraft in the departure hall is a Rumpler C-IV of 1920

Thanks! I was already wondering for some time which aircraft type it was. Now I have the answer  Smile

-I think the Star Alliance UA aircraft you saw was a 767 and not a 777.

When I was checking that reg yesterday evening, I saw that it didn't exist. Than I had a look at my pictures, and indeed, with taking the pictures, I noted the wrong type and wrong reg apparently. Strange to see how I confused both things. It was indeed a 767, N653UA.

Best regards,
Frederic







User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4136 times:

Nice to see you had a great time; the fantastic thing about LHR is that it's always busy-so no real need to turn up on a particular day of the week-just go anytime.

Perhaps next time, if you have more time, you could take the bus to Gatwick, or visit the city for a few hours, then take the 'Gatwick Express' from London Victoria station. You could even take the Eurostar back home, but I guess that means one less journey on the plane!


User currently offlineTurbotrent From Belgium, joined Jan 2002, 152 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4126 times:

Hey Frederic,

Great trip report!! When I read it, I really wanted to go back. All those nice memories...
You were a great 'spotting partner' and I learned a lot from you. I couldn't think of better company. We really have to do it over some time  Big thumbs up

Greetz,

Tom



Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge.
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4104 times:

Thanks for the advice, Capt. Picard!

Is it true that LGW has no real spotter opportunities?

@Turbotrent: thanks for the very nice comments!!  Big thumbs up

And I also want to go back ASAP  Smile

Regards,
Frederic


User currently offlineSN-A330 From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 1129 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4097 times:


Hi Sabena 690,

Thanks for the great trip report ! Can't wait to read the second part.

Best regards, SN-A330



I would rather be flying...
User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4070 times:

Hi Sabena,

Well, I'm not really much of a 'spotter' (more like, 'oh look, there is a plane'!), so the viewing deck at Gatwick is good enough to keep me happy for 15 minutes.

But compared to LHR, it is nothing; although obviously all the other US carriers are there, plus Virgin and lots of UK holiday airlines. I guess it's best to stick to LHR.....I live within equal distance of both airports, so I occasionally use Gatwick.

Regards


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4074 times:

Great report Frederic! There is nothing better than flying to an other airport for spotting, I enjoy that very much. I am in luck because next Saturday is one of the famous FRA meetings, off course I will fly to FRA.

Patrick


User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4047 times:

Hi Frederic (and Tom of course),

Nice report. Apparently, you guys had an excellent trip. Like most others, I can't wait to read your report of the second day.

Too bad I decided not to go with you guys. It seems you had much fun. But, maybe I made the right choice after all, since I still haven't received my brand-new D60. I mean, I would have been frustrated not having my D60 and still having to use my 'good old' AE-1. But, I'm pretty sure I would have made more than 150 pictures. Just image how much this would have costed me  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Once I have all my new photo equipment, I'm planning on going to AMS again (only a 2 hour drive) and maybe even FRA (I was told ~5 hour drive). But, I would also like to go to LHR of course!!!

Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4039 times:

Hey guys,

Thanks for the nice comments  Smile

@Capt. Picard:
Well, I'm not really much of a 'spotter' (more like, 'oh look, there is a plane'!), so the viewing deck at Gatwick is good enough to keep me happy for 15 minutes.

Well, I always try to write down the regs, + to take a picture of the specials planes, so I need a very good spotter place Big grin Big grin

@Sabena332:
There is nothing better than flying to an other airport for spotting, I enjoy that very much.

I enjoy that too!! Big grin Sad thing is the price  Sad We have not really low cost in Brussels, and now that VEX will stop flying to LHR, I will have to buy expensive tickets. So probably, I won't make it anymore to LHR  Sad

I am in luck because next Saturday is one of the famous FRA meetings, off course I will fly to FRA.

Have fun! Big grin You will fly a lot the coming months for spotting trips: FRA, BCN, Madrid, ... Why doesn't Germanwings start flying from Brussels? Big grin

@Apuneger:
Too bad I decided not to go with you guys.

Yes, indeed, it would have been very nice with you  Sad Maybe next time!!  Smile

But, maybe I made the right choice after all, since I still haven't received my brand-new D60.

Yes, but if you see all those B747's, it happens regularly that you amaze them so much that you even forget to take a picture!

Once I have all my new photo equipment, I'm planning on going to AMS again (only a 2 hour drive) and maybe even FRA (I was told ~5 hour drive). But, I would also like to go to LHR of course!!!

Yeah, to AMS and FRA! For FRA advice, ask Sabena332! Big grin And about 5h driving to FRA, MD-11er does it in maximum 2h  Big grin But I think that you have a higher chance to arrive in one piece if you do it in 5h, than in 2h! Big grin

Best regards,
Frederic














User currently offlineKL713 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2001, 771 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4015 times:

cool trip report!! Looks like your spotting trip at LHR was a succes, not so odd ofcourse, if you look at the diversity of all the airliners coming to LHR  Big thumbs up

I had plans to do some spotting somewhere at the end of september, but I had to cancel it because of some financial difficulties.....too bad, because I had no camera with me last month....so I just have to do it over!!.....I think somewhere in october.....




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User currently offlineBapilot2b From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 927 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4004 times:

Very nice trip report so far! Im really looking forward to reading part 2. Good to know you enjoyed your first day spotting, hope the second day was just as good! Shame I couldnt come down London and meet you guys, maybe some other time eh!

Yours Sincerely,
Jason Nicholls



Jason Nicholls - v1images
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4006 times:

Hey guys,

@KL713: I hope you have the possibility soon to go to LHR!!

@BAPILOT2B: Yeah, sad that we couldn't meet  Sad Maybe next time!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Regards,
Frederic


User currently offlineZoomer From Netherlands, joined Dec 2000, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3962 times:

Nice report Frederic. It was nice meeting you and Tom and great fun watching you thoroughly enjoying the delights of LHR. The "down" side of your report (for me) is that due to my early departure (back to BHX) I obviously missed the YES L-1011!!! Ah well, c'est la vie! Big grin

User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3955 times:

Now, where's part II ?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Ivan



Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3958 times:

Hi Zoomer!!!

great fun watching you thoroughly enjoying the delights of LHR.

Yeah, do not forget we were only used to Brussels  Big grin

. The "down" side of your report (for me) is that due to my early departure (back to BHX) I obviously missed the YES L-1011!!! Ah well, c'est la vie!

Is this one you never saw yet? CS-TMR was the reg for your info... But you go spotting so much that you will ever see it again! Big grin

Once again, we had a great time with you!

Best regards,
Frederic


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3956 times:

This is something for this weekend or next week, Ivan  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Don't worry, it's coming! Big grin

Best regards,
Frederic


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3951 times:
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A cool trip report.  Big thumbs up



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3927 times:

Thanks Arsenal@LHR!

In the meantime, the first two pictures are accepted:


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Photo © Frederic Backaert



View Large View Medium
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Photo © Frederic Backaert



Regards,
Frederic


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 22, posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3948 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

A SNBA 146 dedicated to Arsenal@LHR? Wow, that's cool, i feel good.  Big thumbs up





In Arsene we trust!!
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