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Last Day Of Swiss MD-11 Ops: ZRH-ZRH With Pics!  
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 16157 times:

It all started end of September when I read that topic on general_aviation forum about Swiss' last MD-11 flights: They were going to organize two farewell flights after the arrival of the last scheduled flight on 31 October. Of course I booked immediately, told my colleagues about it and we got four seats aboard the first of the two flights, Economy Class middle seats, 100 Francs per seat, a bargain for the great flight they offered! Christoph (Contact Air on a.net) got his confirmation just a few days before the flight, he got a Economy Class window seat for 150 Francs.

The others left for ZRH already on Saturday, but I had to work on saturday, so I took LX1165 STR-ZRH on sunday morning. I nearly missed that flight because I missed my train connection to the airport, but that's a different story. Alright, so the flight with me on board left STR at 08:20 and arrived at ZRH at 09:05, operated by HB-JAM:

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Photo © Harri Koskinen

Having arrived at ZRH, I checked in at one of the four dedicated Farewell MD-11 counters. Then I met Christoph and my colleagues and we went through security and took the people mover to Pier E where HB-IWE was ready for boarding soon.

Most of the following pictures were taken by Christoph, he had a window seat so we decided it's best if he takes care of the photos.
Onboard, I met Adam (a.net username: Deltawings), he was sitting just two rows in front of us.

The flight attendants all enjoyed their job today, they all wore special "MD-11: 1991-2004" caps and they were really a great team.

Some photos before push-back:

We pushed back by 11:00 and taxied towards runway 10 - the first time for me to take off from this short runway (2500m). But as we didn't have any baggage and cargo and of course also not much fuel aboard, the MD-11 accelerated like a rocket and pressed us into our seats!

Immideately after take-off, we turned left very hard, still having a massive climbrate, so we were pressed into our seats even more - very powerful. Unfortunately it was very clouded:

One of the three guys in the cockpit made very informative announcements about the routing throughout the whole flight. Then came the greatest announcement ever: We were going to approach the airport of Berne, with a go around just a few hundred feet above the ground! Yippie! What a pity that I didn't spend the additional money for the window seat  Sad Anyway, it was a great experience, and Christoph made some nice photos:

Then we started climbing again, and once we had a few 1000 feet below us, fasten-seat-belt signs were switched of, and everybody made an inflight tour through the whole airplane.

"But please take your seat again as soon as we switch on the fasten-seat-belt signs again before landing!", the purser announced. So this was a kind of a "Reise-nach-Jerusalem" game  Smile To give you an impression about the atmosphere, here's two photos of the game:


Our further routing was southwest to Geneva, Lake of Geneva, then to the east, north (Lake of Constance) and then back south to ZRH. I have to idea about which photo shows exactly which mountain, lake or landscape, so here are just the links to the photos, the filenames only indicate what I think can be seen on the photos:


Much too soon, we already started our descent into ZRH, runway 14:

Part of our routing:

After landing, we all applauded the crew - which I usually find very annoying after landing, however on this flight it was really a nice way to show the crew our appreciation for their work, it was really great how they all did their part to make this flight so special!
While we taxied to our parking position in front of Terminal B, the song "Time to say goodbye" was played. So sad to see the MD-11 leave!

We were then allowed to have a quick look into the cockpit, then we deboarded by stairs. A last photo after deboarding,

then we were invited to have a meal in the old, now unused Terminal B gate area, organized by the MD-11 Club. Here we met also the passengers of the very last flight, which left just after the meal. 500+ MD-11 fans having a meal while having a view facing HB-IWE being readied for her last flight. Thanks again to everybody who was involved in this event!

We then went upstairs to the public viewing deck to take photos of the last flight leaving:

Some spotters taking photos from airside - does anybody recognize himself on this photo?

The others decided to start their way home now. For me, this meant some 90 minutes of spotting the usual ZRH sunday afternoon traffic, then HB-IWE returned and was welcomed with a water salute:

Now I had to hurry to catch my flight back to STR, operated by HB-JAS:

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Photo © Peter Unmuth - VAP

This day was so great! My last chance to finally fly on the MD-11 (at least on Swiss), the great team of the Swiss MD-11 Club, and of course the go around at BRN, so cool! Also nice to meet Deltawings. The whole day was so cool but also very long, so forgive me if I forgot to mention anything. Thanks for reading my report, I hope you liked it. If you have anything to add or comment, feel free to reply.

[Edited 2004-10-31 21:34:27]

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinePilatusguy From Switzerland, joined Jan 2004, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 16044 times:

great report!
sad to see the MD11 leaving LX's fleet and sad I couldn't be there today Sad

User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4536 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days ago) and read 15822 times:

Ndebele, excellent report and thank you very much for sharing this account!

I will miss the MD-11 too. Never been on one on Swiss, but in the Swissair era I would frequently fly GVA-ZRH-LAX and ZRH-ORD on them.

They will be missed.

User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2127 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 15768 times:

Thanks for the wonderful pictures and reports!

MD-11s will be greatly missed. JAL just had their MD-11 farewell almost couple weeks ago, and now Swiss.


User currently offlineJamesvf84 From Switzerland, joined Sep 2003, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 15710 times:

Thanks for the report, what a flight that must have been. I heard that it became quite emotional for the cabin crew when the song came on!

User currently offlineGerardo From Spain, joined May 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 15695 times:

Great report, Ndebele. It gives those, who were not there an impression of how it must have been.


dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
User currently offlineAlphafloor From Chile, joined Jun 2004, 1277 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 15615 times:

Merci Monsieur for you report !

User currently offlineINNflight From Switzerland, joined Apr 2004, 3783 posts, RR: 56
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 15558 times:

Thanks a lot for the amazing report! I will post one ( I've been on LX9440  Smile/happy/getting dizzy ) later today! Watch out for it!!!


Jet Visuals
User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2913 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 15531 times:

Great report-its sad that they are no longer around

User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 15494 times:

Hello guys and thanks for your nice replies!

@Florian: Looking forward to reading your report of LX9440. It's always important to know the competitor's product  Big grin Joking apart, of course I'm interested to read impressions of those on the second flight!

Here are some photos taken on our flight LX9438 by Tis Meyer who was apparently sitting only a few meters from us:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tis Meyer
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tis Meyer

I didn't notice we were flying over SIR !

Here's a photo of our flight taking off:

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Photo © Christian Galliker

And here's some pics taken on the second flight:

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Photo © Christian Waser - Aviapix Zurich/Worldwide
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Galliker

Great photos, guys!

Regards, Alex.

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 15473 times:

Hi Alex!

You guys are really, really lucky to get on the penultimate flight of Swiss' MD-11 - arguably the second best Trijet ever produced (you can take a guess now, what IMO the best model is).  Big thumbs up But thanks for informing me about the chance to get on this flight - unfortunately, my time budget was rather limited this weekend.  Sad

Although one has to contemplate the loss of another characteristically-looking jetliner in favor of a rather generic-looking successor, i.e. the A340, at least the new Airbus will help the ailing Swiss carrier to further streamline their operation and get rid of a maintenance hog, saving a lot of "Fraenkli" in this course.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineINNflight From Switzerland, joined Apr 2004, 3783 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 15433 times:

Alex.... my topic is online now  Big grin Feel free to read!


Jet Visuals
User currently offlineHoons90 From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 3383 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 15436 times:

Nice Trip report!

You are very lucky to fly on the MD-11, I could have had the chance to fly on a JAL MD-11 (award ticket), but unfortunately I could not get my Japan visa in time. Looks like I will have to fly AY or TG's MD-11.

The biggest mistake made by most human beings: Listening to only half, understanding just a quarter and telling double.
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 15186 times:

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the great trip report! What a unique opportunity to be on that flight!

The pictures are fantastic!


User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 14906 times:

Well done Alex, also a great report of such an important flight, you and Florian were very lucky. Excellent photos as well  Smile.


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (11 years 7 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 14839 times:

Hi Alex,

thanks for writing this report! It was a really memorable flight and a good opportunity to get on the MD-11 once.


User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 14712 times:

Thanks again for all your feedback! As I haven't had the chance to fly the TriStar (yet?!?), the MD-11 will remain my favourite Trijet.

I know all the photos from various photographers might already start to bore some of you, but here are two really interesting links I found on other forums:

Here's a cockpit view of the go around at BRN:
If anybody has a link to a ground-to-air photo of the go around, please let us know - I'd be very interested!

And here is a link to Tis Meyer's complete photo trip report - I'm impressed about the number and quality of photos!

Regards, Alex.

User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 14461 times:

Thank you Aley for a very nice documentary of a kinda historic day. The sheer amount of pics and reports available for these two farewell flights are stunning and illustrate that MD11s seem to be one of the most loved types around.

Pity I couldn´t join you, I´d have loved to get this exotic airline and aircraft into my log.

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineDALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 14130 times:

Great Report!


They loved to fly and it showed..
User currently offlineGodBless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 13987 times:

Great Report Alex! After all you managed to get a flight on the MD-11, and a very special one indeed!

Grüße aus L-E nach BöB,

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