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Low'n'dirty In A 737: DUS-DUS (!) W/ AB many Pix  
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6825 times:

About the trip

This is going to be a fairly short report – with lots and lots of pictures for y’all to drool on  Smile - covering an unusual flight. Every once in a while, Duesseldorf International Airport, in conjunction with various airlines and tour operator, celebrates “Reisemarkt”, which is some kind of small-scale travel fare for the “Average Joe”. Part of this year’s attractions was the possibility to book short scenic flights on Air Berlin and Condor (formerly known as Thomas Koch - you know what I mean!).

Condor was offering a scenic one-hour flight from DUS to the German North Sea Island of Helgoland, where the aircraft was supposed to circle the island at a very low altitude. Although I had really longed to get on that particular flight, it was only available the following Sunday around noon – a time when I had already promised my Grandfather to take him to Paderborn airport for the flight to his winter vacation in Andalusia. Sad Being possibly the most wonderful grandson in the whole universe  Big grin , I heroically declined the temptation to fly with Condor, and instead booked two seats for me and my girlfriend on one of the five Air Berlin scenic flights, which were available on the Saturday before.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Duesseldorf International Airport

We arrived at the airport by train about two and half hours before departure on a sunny and crispy clear Saturday noon, and proceeded directly to the Air Berlin check-in desks, which are located in Duesseldorf’s “brand new” (if you get the irony behind this remark) Central Terminal building. Besides the usual dedicated check-in desks for the plethora of flights Air Berlin is operating out of DUS every day, there were also two special counters available for scenic flights only, so in a matter of just a few minutes, the very friendly, although somewhat confused looking young check-in agent had assigned us our seats and handed the boarding passes.

With still a lot of time to spare, we wandered around the terminal building and explored the offers of the “Reisemarkt”. To be honest, if it wouldn’t have been for the scenic flights, I cannot see any reason to go to this event. Strewn all throughout the landside part of the terminal are smaller and bigger booths of the “big” and “not so big” players in the Duesseldorf travel market, e.g. Air Berlin, Condor, Hapag-Lloyd, but also GEXX and Aegean. While some of the booths offered at least mildly interesting reading material, timetables etc., some other were just littered with last minute travel offers.

So it probably isn’t surprising at all that we were pretty bored after a just few minutes, and since the visitor’s deck did not offer anything out of the ordinary on this tranquil Saturday afternoon, we spend most of the remaining time before departure by filling out at least 50 cards for the big Air Berlin sweepstakes – gotta beat the statistics! Big grin We’re still keeping our fingers crossed and expect at least the 5th to 10th prize to arrive at my place in due course – which would be a shiny new inflatable Air Berlin B737, in case you are wondering. Big grin

About thirty minutes before scheduled off-block time, we made our way towards the security check-point at Terminal C, which we passed after a few minutes of waiting time.

In typical German tourist fashion, there was already an immensely long line waiting impatiently at our boarding gate – kind of ridiculous if you ask me, since all seats were already assigned at check-in… but on the other hand, not very surprising, since scenic flights like this not only attracts regular guys and gals, but also the spotty airline geek, and the seldom- or never-flyers, who are waiting for the big adventure to begin.

We didn’t really see a good reason to also stand in this unnecessary line, so we just walked around the terminal for a bit, snapped some pictures,…

… and when we finally arrived back at gate C43, the boarding announcement had just begun. “Ladies and gentlemen, dear kids, we are about to start boarding for our scenic flight around Duesseldorf and Northrhine-Westphalia. We would like to board rows 15-31 first, followed by the other rows afterwards. Thank you very much!”

A couple of minutes later, after most of the passengers had boarded, we finally stood up and went onboard.

The flight (DUS-DUS)

Duesseldorf International Airport (DUS) – Duesseldorf International Airport (DUS)  Nuts
Flight number: AB1003
Scheduled block time: 1530h – 1615h
Off-block: 1535h
Take-Off: 1543h (RWY 23L)
Touch-down: 1633h (RWY 23L)
On-block: 1638h

Boeing 737-86Q
c/n 30286/1280
delivered: February 19, 2003

Seat 8EF (Economy Class)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dario Crusafon - IBERIAN SPOTTERS

We were greeted at the entrance by the usual friendly and smiling young Air Berlin staff, who welcomed us onboard and wished us an exciting flight (When do you get to hear that on common flights?). Passing through the already crowded rows, we found our row just in front of the right engine. Putting our backpacks and jackets into the overhead compartment was just a matter of seconds, before we finally took our seats and waited for the adventure to begin.

With a notable “thump” the pushback commenced the movement of our tightly packed Boeing from the terminal, the trusty CFM56 engines spooled up – one after another – with the trademark rough sounding whining and notable vibrations, and after one or two minutes of pushing, our bird came to rest in the middle of the apron between Terminal B and C right under the still largely cloudless sky on this chilly November day.

Brakes were released, and while we were taxiing to the active runway alongside a tranquil apron filled with inactive Lufthansa 737’s and Eurowings CRJ’s, which were parked over the weekend, the inevitable safety video was shown.

While we were a few hundred meters away from the threshold of RWY23L, just passing the LTU hangars, a brief announcement form the cockpit introduced us to our crew and the program for this afternoon:

“After take-off, we will turn straight to the North and then to the West, before circling over Essen (a big city in the center of the Ruhrgebiet, the largest industrial area of Germany) and making the approach to Runway 23L. We will not touch down, but instead fly across the runway at an altitude of 20 meters, the climb again and start with the second part of our journey, which shall lead us across some smaller towns in the Rhineland, as well as across Aachen, Cologne and Wuppertal. If possible, we will request clearance to circle above downtown Cologne, so you can all see the world-famous Cathedral from above.”

Sounded good – but the actual experience was even better! Before I will shutup and finally just show you the pictures (together with some short comments), let me just say that this scenic flight was an absolutely awesome experience, totally different from the average run-of-the-mill flight on an airliner. Our maximum altitude hovered between 3.000 and 3.500 feet with our speed always staying in the 230-300 knots range, so there were plenty of details visible on the ground. Coupled with some sharp circling, sudden turns and the totally awesome missed approach plus “runway chase” in 20 meters altitude across 23L, this was an event I will not forget in a long time!

After takeoff on RWY 23L, we left the airport boundary,…

…then crossed the Rhine, which was glistering majestically in the late afternoon sun (visible is the new Autobahn bridge of the A 44 north of Duesseldorf)…

… before heading towards Essen, where we circled for a short while…

… and then began our approach towards Duesseldorf.

Soaring across the outskirts of Duesseldorf and some industrial zones adjacent to the airport…

…we came closer and closer to the tarmac, but suddenly throttles were shoved upwards and with a loud roar…

… we dashed over the runway, just a few meter above ground, gear still NOT extended…

… before we finally pulled up at the very end of the stretch of concrete, climbing again towards Erkelenz…

… where we circled the town.

Soon afterwards, our voyage continued along the Heerlen - Langraaf - Kerkrade - Herzogenrath – Weisweiler routing.

Once in the vicinity of Cologne, we first passed Noervenich Luftwaffe Air Base...

... and then reached the outskirts of the city...

... until we finally circled over downtown Cologne and its famous Cathedral.

A left circle was followed by a right circle...

…and the we were on our way towards Wuppertal, leaving the industrial city of Leverkusen and its gigantic chemical plants and power plants on our right.

Wuppertal became visible in the distance...

... and the we were back over the outskirts of Essen, where we lined upon the ISL for RWY 23L...

...passing Essen-Muehlheim Airport...

..until we finally touched down on terra firma after a memorable 50 minutes experience on what is undoubtedly one of the better and more service-oriented airlines here in Germany. A few minutes of taxiing ensued, and then we were back at Terminal C, where another crowd was already waiting impatiently for the start of the next scenic flight.


Although I had booked what seemed to be the “lesser alternative” compared to Condor’s North Sea trip on the following Sunday, I am happy to say that this little journey on Air Berlin was certainly in no way a compromise. Air Berlin treated us to some stunning views of our home state plus awarded us with the absolutely awesome experience of jetting across the runway just a few feet above the soil. 50 minutes of sheer enjoyment for just 29 Euro per person – thumbs up for that!

In case you get the chance to go on a similar flight, I can wholeheartedly recommend this experience. Until the next such opportunity, I will keep my eyes open for the upcoming “Reisemarkt” – I am getting the hang of scenic flying (and winning inflatable Boeing 737’s). Big grin

Thanks for reading my report – questions, comments, or criticism is always appreciated.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6696 times:

Hello Jens,

let me be the first to congratulate you to this great picture report. Especially the photo of downtown Cologne is awesome! I also became a real fan of scenic flights with "standard" airliners - having done two of them so far with a Swiss MD-11 and a passenger An 24. It's a great experience to see what you can do with these planes (go-around, flying in low altitude over cities, etc.)!


User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6685 times:

Great report and pictures!  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 6673 times:

Thanks for a unique trip report with some excellent photos!  Big thumbs up

I wish some airlines in the UK would run some scenic flights!  Smile

Kind Regards

User currently offlineCOEWR2587 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 607 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6638 times:

Nice report, but can I ask, what's the point of these "scenic" flights if you can't get a window seat?

Newark Airport...My Home Away From Home
User currently offlineDavidyyc From Canada, joined Sep 2004, 238 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6576 times:

Interesting report, I wish Air Canada or one of the LCC would do some scenic flights here, especially living alongside the Rocky Mountains there are many possibilities.(I somehow doubt it that would happen here). I bet there is scramble for window seats.

User currently offlineBAe146TOM From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 228 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6344 times:

great report n interresting pix
bAe146TOM Big thumbs up

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6341 times:

Thank you very much! Alex had asked nme wether I wanted to join you guys for that MD-11 flight, but unfortunately my schedule was already totally crowded, so I could not make it to ZRH.
I know there are other scenic flights available from time to time (e.g. the IR 747SP trip), but for mere joyrides, these are usually too expensive for my liking.

@Ashley, Thomas and Daniel
Thak you very much.  Smile It certainly is a memorable experience, so if there should ever be such a possibility in your area, I would strongly suggest you try this out. Big grin

@COEWR2587 and David
I was wondering about the point of going on a scenic flight if you are sitting at the aisle, too, but from what it seems, those passengers did not mind. When booking a flight at Air Berlin, you can either reserve your seat already at the time of booking for a small fee, or you get the seat assigned at the airport. Since I did not want us to get stuck on a middle seat, I certainly took the first option. Big grin

[Edited 2004-11-16 14:31:52]

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 748 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 6312 times:

Heidiho Jens,

That was a nice trip report. I have never been on a scenic flight myself, but it souds like a lot of fun.

And ... did you bring grandpa to the airport the next day?  Acting devilish


User currently offlineMhodgson From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2002, 5047 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6249 times:

Did you win the inflatable 737?  Laugh out loud

No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6145 times:

I certainly did.  Innocent Actually, it was also my first visit to the landside part of PAD, since I have only been to PAD once before and that was on a DTM-PAD-FRA flight onboard Augsburg Airways - so I was actually transferring at this Westphalian "Megahub".  Wow! Yeah, those were crazy times back then...  Smile

Haven't heard from Air Berlin yet. But since statistically speaking our chance should be 1:40 (we have figured there are 1600 entrants, 40 of them are from us), I can't see any reason why a shiny new inflatable 737 should not be on the way to my mailbox right now. Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6119 times:

Wow, looks like a very interesting flight! Thanks for posting, and some great photos too  Big thumbs up. I agree with Daniel, wish we could get some in the UK.


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6115 times:

Hi Jens,

what a great report and also great photos! I'm sure this flight was fun!

20 meters altitude and the gear was up  Wow! Were there any a.net photographers around, can we expect some ground-to-air photos?
Sounds spectacular and reminded me of this:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Robinson

According to the caption, the VC-10 pilot got some trouble for this "How low can you go" performance.

Once again thanks for sharing those photos with us!

Regards, Alex.

User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6098 times:

Great report. I like the picture of the military field - very idyllic looking. Looks like they chose to build it in the middle of a forest. Very unusual.

It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 14, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6008 times:

Thanks a lot!  Smile Going on such a scenic flight is certainly an experience which is well worth its money - if only other airlines would be as creative as some of our German ones have been lately in this respect...

You know, I have been looking out for pictures of our low fly-by on flugzeugbilder.de, which is usually a good source for uptodate coverage of the German aviation scene - but alas, I wasn't lucky yet - there were several photographers ON my and other scenic flights on this day, but seemingly no one on the ground.

Isn't it kind of funny or outright ridiculous that they have been planting trees around the hardened aircraft shelters in order to conceal them from the Soviets - but at the same time operate from a runway, which can be easily seen from any thrid-class spy satelite?  Nuts

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAirindia From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1757 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5918 times:

wud be great if indian govt allows the indian airforce or any indian airline (IC, 9W or S2) to make such scenic flights, where they can take off from Del and make a short trip hovering over Taj Mahal and a short circle over Jaipur. That one would be a real historical winner.  Big grin

The air passage over Taj Mahal is restricted but I have seen pics of taj mahal at my uncles place who was an airforce pilot which he took from his An24

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5795 times:

One has to keep in mind that these scenic flights are both a very expensive (for the airline) and potentially very effective marketing tool - however, since the positive public relations effect of such flights is hard to measure, most airlines prbably refrain from offering scenic flights.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5564 times:

Wow, great report! If one picture says more than 1000 words, this report contains the equivalent of 24,000 words!  Wink/being sarcastic

The weather was apparently just about perfect for your flight, must have been fun. I had contemplated doing the DE flight over the North Sea (to get the 753), but I couldn´t make it. I read another report about that flight with great pics of Heligoland.

Was the low pass at DUS announced beforehand? This kind of reminded me of my scenic flight over Berlin, we did a low pass at THF, but not THAT low...

BTW, I´m not sure how to treat these scenic flights in my log, mile-wise. 0 (great circle distance) or an approximation to the actual distance flown? How do you do it?

Thanks for your effort!

Daniel Smile

P.S.: Perhaps next time, you should work on finally getting on HF instead of pointlessly logging your zillionth AB flight  Laugh out loud Big grin  Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 18, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5491 times:

Thanks for the flowers (note to non-German speakers: this is a play of words, which cannot be translated very well)Big grin Actually, this was just a quick effort - took me just one and a half hours to write - which cannot be compared to my other somewhat epic (some would surely say longish) reports.  Smile

They actually did announce the low pass beforehand - but I expected them to just get very close to the runway touchdown zone like during a regular approach and the just pull up.

Like I have already pointed out, this was certainly a memorable event, because you could actually "feel" the aircraft flying, whith lots of accelerations and decelerations, sharp turns and circles. An experience not to be missed!

I don't calculate the number of miles of my trips, but the actual distance sounds like a logical solution for such problems.  Smile

Regarding HF - yeah, I am really missing out this carrier. Besides Germania/GEXX and Cirrus Air, it is the only relevant German carrier still missing from my logs. However, I haven't found cheap daytrips on HF to PMI yet, but maybe I get a chance to "score" both the A310 and HF sometime next summer...  Smile

Among my most likely next trip reports until the end of the year should be at least one interesting airline and routing (DTM-PRG-BCN w/ OK) - I will probably also write shorts reports about FMO-PMI-FMO (AB) and CGN-WAW-CGN (4U). Since Max and I have already covered DTM-CDG-DTM in July, I suppose I don't have to write about this trip I am taking again after Christmas.

Also, I will continue not to cover my frequent work-related flights, but seriously, DTM-VIE-DTM or DUS-VIE-DUS on AB isn't sooo exciting anyways.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineGodBless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5378 times:

Great Report Jens. Not long anymore and this forum should be called "Photo Reports" instead of "Trip Reports". Well it makes it easier to imagine a great flight like you speak of here and also makes it possible to have a "long" report but not needing so much time anymore to "read" it...


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 20, posted (11 years 6 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 5316 times:

...and also makes it possible to have a "long" report but not needing so much time anymore to "read" it...

And write nonetheless.  Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5170 times:

Hi Jens,

With such a positive feedback already posted, I won't repeat all what is written above again, but anyway: great trip report! Big grin

Especially great for the memories, as D-ABBJ is the frame that carried me from MAD to PMI this summer...

Thanks again for your efforts!


User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 22, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5195 times:


Love to do that low flying "swoop" myself!


Sam Big thumbs up

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
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