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Sunny Sydney - Hail/Snow Diversion Trip Report  
User currently offlineGlennstewart From Australia, joined Jun 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 52
Posted (11 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3524 times:

Would you pick the taxi or the hotel?

Before the report two things to explain....

1. Sydney has a curfew between 11pm and 6am
2. Sydney doesn't get snow


Hi All,

Going to keep this short and sweet, so light on the aircraft details. No pics at this stage until I open, edit and upload them.

Saturday, 4 September 2004
Airliner: Qantas
Flight: QF25 (8:30:00 AM)
SYD-BNE (Sydney-Brisbane)
Miles: 468 (approx 1 hour, 10 mins)
Seat: 1K
Aircraft: B747-438 (VH-OJI)

Excellent flight. My first flight in the nose of a 747. We taxied for a Rwy 34L departure (hence the choice for 1K to view city). Sitting that far up in the nose, the side windows are angled to a degree where turning while on ground, the aircraft seems to travel sideways.
Watched a bit of "Suddenly 30" on the PTV on the way up, but naturally started descent only 40 minutes into movie (they start them quicker than I remember on my last QF25).
As per usual, the hot breakfast hit the spot!

Qantas crew were very happy to have me up on the flight deck for photos upon landing. I'll be sure to show those sometime.

Sunday, 5 September 2004
Airline: Qantas
Flight QF559 (9:00:00 PM)
BNE-SYD (Sydney-Brisbane)
Miles: 468 (Approx 1 hour, 30 mins)
Seat: 4A
Aircraft: B737-476 (VH-TJK)

There was a lot of chaos in Brisbane. Most of the flights were delayed to Sydney. I should have checked the YSSY ATIS before boarding, but I didn't. I'd say about 4 Sydney flights all left about the same time, some delayed over an hour.... mine was delayed 20 minutes.

All flights appeared to be full. The flight I was on had no seats free whatsoever.

4A was a coverted business seat (can be changed into a business seat with minor modifications). The people in 4B and 4C were to later be the biggest complainers on the flight.

Food on this flight was dissapointing. Saw the new bag-napkins for the flight time. The food was simply cheese sticks and cashews. The bag-napkin seems like a good idea (the napkin is double layered and an opening in one side is intended for waste). That said, half the people didn't know how to use the napkin and the flight crew wasted time showing people because there were no trays; people started handing the flight attendants bits of stray rubbish.

Flight went as per usual, and I didn't think anything was going wrong until about 10:40pm when we still hadn't decended for Sydney.

The Captain's PA soon after let us know bluntly:
"...got some bad news. We're not landing in Sydney. We'll be diverted to Canberra instead due to ice covering on Sydney runways. The airport has closed"

Flight now:
BNE-CBR (Brisbane-Canberra)
Miles: 956 (Approx 1 hour, 50 mins)

We landed in Canberra as if heavy around 11:20pm. With reverse thrust, we came to a halt on the wet runway near the very end. Taxiing back, I noticed that there were about 12 737's on the tarmac which was abnormal. All aircraft were Sydney diversions. No wide bodies were diverted to Canberra with most being diverted to BNE or MEL.

We remained on the tarmac due to the fact that there were only 2 Qantas ground crew unloading all aircraft (more were being paged in).
The Captain gave the okay for all of us to use mobile phones; everyone raced to call loved ones... I raced to call the Sydney ATIS phone line. Damn....
Phone a few friends. Learned that the domestic terminal was clogged with traffic trying to get around terminal. Learned that Ops were sticking to their Patrols and driving around no faster than 40km/h.

We learned that the curfew had been extended to midnight, but that wasn't going to help us. The crew were very professional in answering questions and calming everyone down.

We finally got onto tarmac at around 12:20am and were led into terminal - not before getting flightdeck photos

Around 12:50pm, Qantas staff started organising passengers into different hotels. I was nowhere near the start of the line, but we were all served very, very quickly. I was sent with Cabcharge to the Hyatt.

Meanwhile, Virgin Blue was only just getting their passengers off aircraft that had been on the tarmac far longer. All Virgin Blue passengers were asked to share taxi's (no less than 4 people), and maximise space with luggage. These taxi's then took passengers to Sydney.

I slept in a made my way to the airport. Qantas staff were quick to let me choose any aircraft I wanted and apologised for any inconvenience.
Many of the aircraft earlier in the morning were delayed. It seems as if most of the aircraft were quickly returned to Sydney for morning flights, but I can't confirm this. There were certainly a lack of aircraft at Canberra; most flights arrived late and hence went out late.

The flight I chose was to leave on time thankfully.

Monday, 6 September 2004
Airline: Qantas
Flight: QF1420 (12:40:00 PM)
CBR-SYD (Canberra to Sydney)
Miles: 236 (Approx 55 mins)
Seat: 3A
Aircraft: DHC-8-315 (VH-TQZ)

Very quick efficient flight. The flight attendant had a slight cold, but she managed to be very quick to do her job perfectly. We departed straight out from Rwy 35 without delay landing on Rwy 34L. This cut a lot off the flight time taking about 40 mins.

Food on this flight was a sandwich. Quite nice, but simple.
The pilots had a sense of humour and were very happy to have me up for photos despite the fact that landing at T3 meant that the 2 mins I spent in cockpit were 2 minutes everyone was waiting on the tarmac bus for me.

Anyway... all in all, a bit of an adventure compared to the normal, run of the mill SYD-BNE.
Glenn Stewart

Respected users.... If my replies are useful, then by all means...
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGlennstewart From Australia, joined Jun 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (11 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3479 times:




Respected users.... If my replies are useful, then by all means...
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4785 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3352 times:

MY GOD! That seemed so unreal... all that pictures with a white looking Sydney! It just seems so unreal!

I was working in Rockhampton at the end of 2001 and we expereinced hail, as well - in the middle of summer. Kinda surreal to have ice falling on you instead of rain. Then again, Rocky also saw the first ever tornado to hit Australia during that stay of mine. I wonder hwta is causing these wierd patterns? Global warming?

Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineQ330 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1460 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3177 times:

Great report and nice photos! I wasn't around to see the hail because I was in Brisbane as well. I happened to be travelling back that same night on QF557, one of the delayed flights before yours. We ended up returning to BNE. I think I may write up a trip report of it.


Long live the A330!
User currently offlineGlennstewart From Australia, joined Jun 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3094 times:

Hi Q,

Yes, I noticed your flight was delayed. As were the flight before yours and after mine I believe. You were on the 767-336?


Respected users.... If my replies are useful, then by all means...
User currently offlineQ330 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1460 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3088 times:

You were on the 767-336?

Yep. Did you see it at the gate?

I'm also curious if you were in a holding pattern for a while before diverting. Could you tell how long it was? I know it was hard to notice the turning without many outside references.


BTW, my TR has been posted.

Long live the A330!
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8732 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3039 times:
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Snow! - amazing,i'd never have thought it,the pictures are great.Nice report too!



User currently offlineTt80 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 5 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2977 times:

Nice report Glenn,
Might see you out there tomorrow

Regards, DS
User currently offlineCcrlR From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 2313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2881 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

You say it never snows in Sydney, that stuff looks like snow. That's wierd though that it hailed there. Great trip report. I'm used to snow here in the Midwest, so it looks like snow to me, but it's wierd that you got hail. great pictures too!

"He was right, it is a screaming metal deathtrap!"-Cosmo (from the Fairly Oddparents)
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2835 times:

Wow, interesting weather conditions! Great report and photos.


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineGlennstewart From Australia, joined Jun 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (11 years 5 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2784 times:

That's the weird thing.... no holding pattern
It's as if we simply flew to Canberra via Sydney. I knew something was happening when nearly to Sydney we failed to decend.

That said, I've been in a holding pattern for nearly 2 hours over the Hunter Valley trying to get into Sydney in the past, but typically that's in the morning with the rush of Internationals on "vapours" trying to get in after the curfew lift.


Respected users.... If my replies are useful, then by all means...
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