LHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16 Posted (9 years 4 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 17336 times:
First up a big apology for how long overdue this report is – this daytrip was on 11th April so I’m sorry it’s four months on – just a lot of pressure from external exams, courses and my own PPL training getting in the way. Infact it is mainly down to nagging from various people (you know who you are ) that it is here at all, so enjoy.
Photos as usual linked from both our servers, if anyone wants any bigger sizes give me or Hennerz a shout – some of them are clickable anyway to get bigger sizes. I think it will be obvious whose photos are whose, I’m not really a professional photographer! Videos this time linked direct from flightlevel350.com, a fantastic resource for this sort of thing to anyone who hasn’t discovered it, and it makes it a bit easier for me. Please rate them!
OK boring stuff over. Basically this is to document the daytrip myself and Henry Lidster (a.net user BA777) made to FRA in April so it is not just the BA flights by any means. We made the preparations for it back in October 2004 – we’d decided to daytrip somewhere in Europe and thought that FRA would be a good choice. The flight timings were great for us, we would get the 757 outbound and the A319 the way back, and the price, at £88.00 return, wasn’t bad either. (LH were going to charge £300 or so, not sure what was going on there…) Most important of all, FRA’s famous viewing deck was a major incentive (now unfortunately about to close), and amongst Henry’s extensive contacts is a member of LH Technik who would be able to let us into the hangars there… so FRA it was. We booked for BA904 and BA913 online, so ticketless etc, and made the necessary preparations regarding ID etc with LH Technik.
Accompanying us on the trip was Henry’s dad, partly in an “overseeing adult” capacity, partly because he is also interested in this sort of stuff.
Arguably the trip began with me heading for Oxford on the train the day before to spend the night in Witney chez Hennerz. We had a great meal out with some other friends in Oxford, and got up just before 6:00am. After getting dressed checked out the weather at LHR and FRA. Forecast for both was good, most interestingly FRA was showing south westerly winds so a possibility of landing on the 07s. LHR looked to be 27R for departure. Just before we set out the guy from LH rang to check we were coming and to sort out where to meet. Arrangements were put in place to rendezvous at 3:30pm outside T1 and then we would head together to the LH Technik facilities, just down the road.
And here we are, me on the left @ LHR, Hennerz on the right taken by himself (!) in the 757 on the way to FRA
London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) – Frankfurt Main (FRA/EDDF)
Boeing 757-236 G-BPEK
Monday April 11th 2005
Scheduled departure: 1040 Actual departure: 1104
Scheduled arrival: 1315 Actual arrival: 1305
Seat 27A/32A, Economy
Captain and FO based @ LHR Sorry, unable to name flight crew for security etc
Aircraft type: B757-236 Registration: G-BPEK
Passengers: 108 LHR stand: 117 FRA stand: D5
Departure runway: 27R Arrival runway: 07R Cost index: 40
Nautical mileage: 420 nm Trip wind component: -10 kts
Cruise flight level: FL330 Cruise Mach: M0.79 Cruise IAS: 280 kts
Alternate airfields: Primary alternate EDFH [rwy 03] (Frankfurt Hahn)
Other alternates: EDDK [rwy 32R] (Cologne/Bonn), EDDS [rwy 07] (Stuttgart), EDDL [rwy 23L] (Düsseldorf)
Estimated flight time: 1 hrs 10 mins Actual flight time: 1 hr 1 min
Estimated FRA arrival: 1119Z
LHR blocks off: 0938Z LHR engine start: 0940Z
LHR taxi: 0944Z LHR airborne: 1004Z
FRA actual arrival: 1105Z FRA blocks on: 1113Z
Aircraft and fuel weights
Ramp weight: 79 600 kg Takeoff weight: 79 200 kg ZFW: 71 380 kg
Empty operating weight: 60 842 kg Landing weight: 75 285 kg
Max landing weight: 90 000 kg Trip fuel: 3 890 kg
Alternate fuel (to EDFH): 1 391 kg Reserve fuel: 1 519 kg
Taxi fuel: 420 kg Fuel on takeoff: 7 800 kg Actual fuel burn: 4 200 kg
And the bit you’ve all been waiting for, the ATS routing!
-N0439F330 DVR5F DVR UL9 KONAN UL607 SPI UT180 DITEL T180 POBIX/N0407F230 T180 OSMAX OSMAX2E
-EET/EGTT0008 EBUR 0017 EDVV0041 EDUU0041 EDFF0047 REG/GBPEK SEL/EFHM OPR/BAW DOF/050411 RVR/200 RMK/TCAS
And here’s an explanation for it, OK 99% of you are going to just skip on, but please somebody read it to make my effort worthwhile! It may be a bit techy and boring but it’s very important.
First up we’re in a B752, and the letters after that are the coding for the aircraft’s equipment and weight category etc – basically just describing the aircraft. Then, our ETD from EGLL is 0940Z or 9:40GMT, 10:40 local. Filed true air speed is 439 knots, cruise altitude FL330 or 33,000 feet. Then the route, Dover 5 Foxtrot out to Dover, etc etc, Osmax 2 Echo into FRA. Note we have another N F thing which suggests a descent to POBIX to be level at 23,000 feet – this won’t necessarily be followed by the crew.
The plan estimates FRA – EDDF – will be reached exactly 1 hour after departure, this is just a fluke really, they don’t round to nice numbers to make it easier for the pilots! Then the main alternate – EDFH – or HHN, Frankfurt Hahn.
Then we have the EET or Estimated Enroute Time reaching the various ATC FIRs (Flight Information Regions). They all have a four letter ICAO code just like airports, so we’ve got London EGTT 8 minutes after leaving, Brussels 17 minutes, all the way to Frankfurt Control 47 minutes after departure. The reg is G-BPEK, selcal (different type of radio system) EF-HM, operator is BA (BAW in ICAO), date of flight 4th April 2005, minimum RVR (runway visual range) available 200 metres, and a remark that we’re TCAS equipped. Phew!
Here’s a picture of the route in visual form courtesy of fallingrain.com, I’ve drawn onto it what the SID and STAR are roughly like:
We set off just after 6:30, hoping to be checking in by 8:00, but although the weather was perfect, the M40 Monday morning traffic wasn’t, and we crawled past High Wycombe onto the M25. We reached LHR getting on for 8:30 and after parking in one of the short stays at T1 headed briskly for the check in. Since we only had hand luggage we could put to use BA’s self service check in – wow! It was the first time I’d seen it in action and very impressive. After putting the Exec card in there was a brief pause and then the machine displayed flights we could check in. Then maps of the seating configuration were displayed. We chose seats on the left just behind the 757’s wing for the way out and likewise on the left for the A319 returning as this should theoretically give the best views of both airports on takeoff/landing, especially if FRA was on 07s. In each case I chose an A seat on one row with Hennerz in the A of the row behind and Nigel (his dad) in the B of that row.
After choosing the seats the machine promptly produced boarding passes for both flights and we made for security. We hadn’t gone anywhere near a check in desk, magic! After passing through to international departures it was time for breakfast in a restaurant, I had some continental concoction which was really delicious.
By the time breakfast was over it was 9:30 and the flight was due to leave at 10:40. There was no gate printed on the boarding passes for 904 and as the monitors kept on indicating “Wait in lounge” we decided to make for the Europier since there was a reasonable chance we would be using a gate there and it’s about the only place in T1 where a decent attempt at photography is possible.
But the clock kept ticking, and no gate was posted on the monitors, nor did any 757s turn up at the Europier – it is increasingly used for the BA T1 longhauls now and the southern side of the pier was dominated by 744s. The only shorthaul was a 767, G-BNWW, on 141 to IST and an A319 nextdoor on 143 to HAM. Finally at 10:05 a gate appeared – gate 17, on the middle pier. Fine, so we were completely wrong . However, Hennerz had a hunch about this 10mins before the call was made so all was well! We walked quickly back past the “K” cul de sac and down the middle pier to gate 17, which corresponds to stand 117. On the stand was BA 757 G-BPEK, one of the older aircraft in BA’s fleet but a welcoming sight nonetheless, who can’t like a 757 ride? Soon the gate staff announced that flight BA904 to Frankfurt was ready for boarding. Henry and I virtually leapt to the boarding desk, and I pulled out the form for this flight from my bag. Then we walked down the airbridge. For this flight Hennerz would be responsible for requesting flight deck visits so he went in front and greeted the purser with a beaming smile, asking if we could see the Captain because of our enthusiasm etc…
G-BPEK getting loaded up on 117 to take us to FRA, sorry about the dirty window – not the last I was to encounter on this trip either! As you can see it was a gorgeous day, hardly a cloud in the sky
We walked down the step into the flight deck, something almost unique to the 757. Inside there was only the First Officer, no sign of the captain, but he was very friendly and shook hands. We talked about the takeoff derate, which would be 60 degrees C for this flight, for a techy reason they would not derate higher than 60, it’s a bit complicated to explain here but due to the fact that the thrust levers must not move forward when passing from takeoff to climb power after reaching acceleration altitude. We also discussed the SID and STAR. He was expecting the 25s for landing from the latest METAR for FRA. He explained that he has been with the 757/767 fleet on BA for two years, coming into the commercial pilot scene flying the ATR for CitiExpress before moving onto mainline. He very much likes the 757/767 job in BA as it combines mostly shorthaul with some longhaul – so the best of both worlds so to speak - as well as the ability to be typerated for two aircraft which, outside the flight deck, do not bear a lot in common!
After a while the captain appeared, and we introduced ourselves to him as well. Then, after checking we could come back at the end, we went back into the cabin where most people were seated, and found Henry’s dad in the seats as we had arranged.
I had barely sat down when a young FA came towards me : “0h there you are, I’ve been looking for you,” he said. What? In trouble already?! In fact it turned out that I had been reseated, because there was chewing gum on my seat. In all honesty I was more concerned with getting the left hand window than whether there was chewing gum stuck to my seat, but I followed him down to the very back of the cabin, almost the last row. Fortunately it was still an A seat. The load factor was not terribly high on this flight (108 passengers) so there would be no one sitting next to me in that row. However, the window, like most on this aircraft, was very dirty, so I apologise for the quality of the photos…
The familiar chime from the PA system was followed by the customary welcome aboard from the Captain, who was expecting an on time departure and explained a little about the weather enroute (not quite as good as FRA as LHR). He expected a flight time of about 1 hour 15 minutes and explained that the FO would be flying this leg.
Several minutes later, with the airbridge retracted and all doors closed, we began to push back after a Finnair A320. The tow truck was disconnected and the lovely Rolls Royces began to wind up into action . After the engines had been started we waited for a few minutes in the cul de sac, presumably an ATC, and then began to taxi out to 27R, turning round Bravo and then back onto Alpha to hold at PLUTO. Flaps were lowered to 15 degrees. It was a typical mid morning LHR scene with about six aircraft in front of us, so the First Officer informed us over the PA that he guessed about a ten minute delay in departing. Most interesting were 9K-AMA, a KU A300 and AA 777 along with all the usual European stuff and the bmi Star Alliance G-MIDW, plus another two BA 757s including G-BPED ahead of us.
AA 777 rolling on the right
G-BPED off before us
Lining up after 9K-AMA
We lined up immediately after the Kuwait, but held for several minutes at the threshold. This is for three reasons – call me sad lol, but here they are. Firstly Kuwait bound flights out of LHR almost invariably use Dover SIDs as we were also using for Frankfurt. In short this means we both follow the same routing after taking off and so for traffic separation there must be at least two minutes between aircraft on the same SID. Secondly wake turbulence issues between the aircraft, and thirdly there was a runway inspection of 27R in progress which means having to wait for the vehicle to inspect a bit of the runway before turning off – although the aircraft are normally given priority.
Looking down 27R with 9K-AMA rotating
OK, boring stuff over. After about two minutes on the threshold the RRs spooled into action and we began to race down 27R, in classic 757 style. (Incidentally, now might be a good point to watch the movie, it can be found at http://www.flightlevel350.com/viewer.php?id=3937 ). Soon we were rotating upwards and climbing away giving a great view of T3 and the ever impressive T5 construction site. The Dover SID means almost a 180 degree left turn off 27R which is fantastic for LHR overviews, as these shots show.
This shot of Hennerz’s made it to the top viewed of a.net photos for a couple of hours when it was uploaded:
As we climbed up and away on the SID we passed the southern outskirts of London and then after reaching Detling turned right to head towards Dover. Just a few months previously I had experienced all this from the flight deck of a 737, so this was never going to be as special, but I was pleased to be back with BA nonetheless and the weather was excellent for photography. Fifteen minutes after takeoff we had cleared Dover and were routing out towards Belgium and thence onwards to Germany and FRA.
Soon the crew began to come round with the ubiquitous All Day Deli, which this morning comprised a bun and biscuit, along with a choice of drinks which was tasty and quite filling, reminding me of the good value of these BA tickets (you can hardly get an FRA return with them for under £100 now with the fuel surcharges going up).
Another five minutes and we had crossed over to the continent and were at our cruise altitude of 33,000 feet. The absence of the thick layer of cloud which I’d had following the same routing with OA to Athens meant that some great photographs were possible. First OST slid by to the left, and then BRU, and here are the photos to prove – not brilliant but the best I could manage.
In addition we had a great air-to-air view of a of a bmibaby 737 heading in the same direction, though the pitiful optical zoom on my camera means I don’t have any shots of that worth sharing. We continued along our routing, over the Sprimont VOR and crossed through into German airspace. By this time the visibility and view of the ground was still very good, the cabin crew had cleared away the food and now came round with the duty free selection. This seemed a fruitless mission, as no-one paid it the slightest bit of attention.
Another chime over the PA system and the captain was back on the air. He said we were cruising about 120 miles northwest of FRA and would be shortly starting our descent. He estimated we would be on stand in about 50 minutes. This seemed quite long for a normal descent and I imagined they were expecting to have to come downwind to line up with one of the 25s. Perhaps some holding would be in order as well.
Soon the engine noise spooled down and the aircraft pitched down a touch as we started to descend, inbound on the OSMAX 2 Echo STAR. The scenery below was pretty, and typical of north western Germany. Still the weather was bright and sunny – the captain had warned it would be cloudy – and this would hopefully mean great weather for observation at the FRA terrace.
About five minutes into the descent – wham! – up went the speedbrakes, the engines spooled down some more and we began to descend much faster. Explanation was in order, though, the FO came over the PA to explain that in fact we would be landing from the opposite direction and were able to get a straight in approach from Frankfurt ATC. We’d be landing in about 20 minutes. This prompted a flurry of action amongst the cabin crew who went quickly around checking all food was cleared away, tray tables up, etc, for landing. I was pleased as well, since, sitting on the left a landing on either of the 07s would give me an excellent view.
Having passed through what little cloud layer there was, it was clear that we were now under radar vectors for what I thought at the time was an ILS intercept but later turned out to be a visual approach. With the ground growing nearer the flaps were progressively lowered and the FAs seated themselves for landing. Also audible were the loud clunks as the gear was lowered. The scenery on the approach was interesting, comprising at first charming little towns and very wooded countryside. Movie time now again – http://www.flightlevel350.com/viewer.php?id=3944
As we came lower it grew much more built up, with at least one autobahn visible, amidst the thickly wooded forests around FRA. The 757’s characteristically low approach speed – the VREF for flap 30 was 120 knots for this approach – was noticeable. Before long we were sweeping over runway 18 with an aircraft already lined up to leave after we’d passed, and then down in between the maze of taxiways for a smooth touchdown on 07R. I felt the FO definitely floated the landing, although this may have been deliberate, as after touchdown no reverse thrust was used with the result that we coasted down most of the 4000 metre 07R before exiting as this would mean less taxiing time to our stand on T2. I noticed we passed the second threshold markings for 08R. I’ve never understood this at all, but for some curious reason FRA’s 25L/07R contains (or used to contain) a second runway, inside it, designated 26L/08R. As a result there are two thresholds, two PAPIs etc. I believe this has been closed now, but it is an unusual feature, maybe something to do with the USAF base on the south side of the field.
Exiting at Foxtrot the inflight services manager welcomed us to Frankfurt, where the time was just after 1pm. I knew the trip was going to be a success as soon as I saw the plethora of aircraft on the aprons glinting under the sun, many rare for us in the UK. We taxied up Charlie which is basically the parallel taxiway between 25L/07R and 25R/07L and then round the top of 25R on Bravo, passing under a US A330 climbing out from 07L. This afternoon as far as I could tell the runway configuration was 07R solely for landings, 07L almost exclusively for takeoffs and 18 for takeoffs.
US A330 climbing out from 07L
Entering the T2 apron area
Manoeuvring onto the stand, the 777 is N777UA, the very first 777 in commercial service
We were now passing past the T2 apron with many interesting aircraft parked on the remotes, including N777UA and an Aeroflight A320. I saw my first A318, F-GUGB, on Delta 9, with an Icelandair 757 next door on Delta 8. We parked on Delta 5 and engines were shut down. The airbridge was soon connected and passengers began to disembark.
Parked up on D5
I met up again with Hennerz and we went back into the flight deck. The captain and FO had not only our forms but also a stack of flight documentation including the entire Cirrus flight plan print out, the NUBRF (this is BA weather info and NOTAMS) and the takeoff and landing card. We both took a few photos of the deck and Hennerz asked the FO (as he was the pilot flying this leg) about the use of wing and beacon lights. Then we chatted briefly with the pilots about the approach and our daytrip. They’d finished for the day, it seemed they would be overnighting in Frankfurt. They’d flown into LHR from LIN on BPEK earlier in the morning, and a different crew would be taking BPEK back to LHR, from where she would be going on to TXL. Just normal fleet utilisation!
Flight deck of G-BPEK
Report continues in the next post...
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
LHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 17308 times:
Nigel was waiting for us at the exit and we walked up the airbridge onto German soil, a first for me and Hennerz. There was no obvious sign of where to go, but then a door opened and a security official gestured us through. Immigration was impressively quick and impressions of T2 were good – light and airy, efficient and not all that busy either. As we had no hold luggage we were out of the terminal within 15 minutes. We made straight for the SkyTrain and two minutes later were in T1. The viewing deck was not too well signposted but a quick word with the information desk pointed us in the right direction.
I was not exactly surprised to find almost a second customs at the entrance to the deck. After paying the entrance fee we had to put all our baggage through an X ray machine before being frisked ourselves, certainly more thoroughly than a normal security check. When we came out onto the terrace all was revealed – this was bliss compared to spotting at LHR, with incredible views looking out over the whole airport. In fact, pained though I am to say it, I can understand why it might be considered a bit of a security threat (not to say it is). Certainly if something like this existed in the UK and BAA got their hands on it, it would be immediately closed down.
It was a good five minutes’ walk to the end of the pier where we “set up camp”. The use of the 07s meant that any touchdown shots would be very distant without a long range lens, however, there was good opportunities for heavies rotating, as well as all the traffic from T2 taxiing down for takeoff. Not to mention the close up shots possible of aircraft using the pier. Here are a selection of our shots:
We stayed at the pier for a couple of hours and bought some snacks for lunch at the café there. Hennerz’s 20D almost attracted its own fan club . The highlight was probably the LH Retro Jet scheme A321 which arrived on 07R, at that time the paint was relatively new so we both rushed down to its gate right on the pier we were on and began snapping – complete with a wave from the pilots... top notch!
At 3:15pm we packed up and walked back along the pier and through T1 to the bottom level. We saw an A380 cabin mock up and made a mental note to have a look inside when we returned. Right now, it was time to meet up with our guide, an engineer from LH Technik, and we were determined to make use of as much time as possible, as our guide had to be at a meeting at 5pm. After some confused mobile calls we met up and after initial greetings he pointed the way we should walk down towards the LH entrance area. It was a good 10 minutes walk and when we reached the building in question the guide was waiting for us, having parked his car.
Inside, passes for LH Technik had been prepared. LH use quite an efficient system, whereby you hand in your passport and they will keep it while you have the pass. On the way out you hand in your pass and get your passport. We were then frisked down and went through the usual security procedures, and met up with our guide on the other side.
First up was the enormous 747 hangar. After walking past many administration buildings the guide led the way into this cavernous building through a side entrance. Inside were two 747s and two A300s all undergoing quite heavy maintenance checks- one A300 was being reconfigured for a charter airline. He hoped to get us into the first 747-400, D-ABVE, as she was configured with the brand new business seating. But first he decided to take us up to the other end of the hangar where the other 747 was sitting. Unfortunately this aircraft did not have any ground power and was being refuelled, so we were actually not allowed to go on board. However our guide, as a 747 expert at LH, gave us a detailed explanation of the aircraft from the outside. He also pointed out all the different aerials and vents on the belly and could explain what each one did. For example, the 747 has one localiser antenna for localiser interception and then swaps to another antenna for both localiser and glideslope once the gear has been lowered. After he had explained for about 15 minutes (it was fascinating) he went into the administration area at the side of the hangar to ask a) if we could take photos and b) if we could go onboard ABVE. He came with good news and bad news, we could take photos no problem, but boarding ABVE was out of the question as “stress levels were too high”. The new wireless broadband was being fitted and no one could figure out why it wasn’t working!
Instead, the guide led the way out of a door at the other end of the hangar and we walked round the corner to the A340 hangar, passing another parked 747 and an A330 in an engine run bay. Wow! There must have been at least six A340s in this hangar, including four -300s and two -600s. Fitting in the 600s, he explained, was tricky, as there is very little clearance at each end of the hangar. He led the way past the 300s to the two 600s and engaged one of the engineers in conversation. Then he smiled and said we could have a look around this -600, Leverkusen, D-AIHE, for about 15 minutes before some cabin crew came along for training.
So many A340s… (this is just one end of the hangar)
With excitement we climbed the steps, this was the first time any of us had been on an A340. The first five minutes were spent looking around the cabins. We paid particular attention to LH’s famous lower deck toilet area which includes the crew rest area. This is very stylishly done, nice and spacious and the lighting is amazing. Hope you like the shots .
Note: slots for PTVs in Y class, but none in there. This is taken from the back – this aircraft is amazingly long. On this trip I was able to fulfill a long held ambition of walking from one end of a 346 to the other – it took me almost a minute
Downstairs in the almost cavernous underfloor area (well, compared to the 747’s rest area), it isn’t just toilets down there
After this attention turned to the flight deck. Our guide led the way in and seated himself in the FO’s seat, Hennerz took the Captain’s and I the right jumpseat. For someone specialising on the 744, the engineer seemed to know a lot about this flight deck as well. I have to say that although I am not the biggest 340 fan, the 346’s flight deck is extremely impressive. Our guide was particularly proud of the new LCD displays instead of the old style CRTs on LH’s 744s. This aircraft didn’t have a clue where it was (IRSs not aligned) so the information displayed on the PFD and ND was limited. He also pointed out the new LCD displays next to the lower ECAM which show a digital record of all ATC transmissions, I’m told by a friend these are the new FANS system, although not fully operational yet. I asked about the A340-600’s tail and underbelly camera and after a bit of searching between us we found the right switches and were able to place a view from the top of the tail and underbelly onto the ND and then swap it around onto the ND.
Note in this shot the digital ATC displays either side of the lower ECAM
Here’s a focus on the tail/underbelly camera, put on the PFD, which confirms we are definitely inside a hangar!
I also asked about the maintenance side of the MCDUs. As well as functioning as an FMC there is a whole other side with regard to maintenance in the hangar and our guide ran through most of the pages available to engineers – a whole wealth of information. Then we printed an engineering report off the printer at the back of the pedestal.
We could have stayed here for hours but unfortunately at this point some LH engineers and FAs appeared, about to start their training, so we had to leave – though not before getting some last shots of the flight deck!
Time was also getting on for the guide, so we walked back down the 340 hangar and headed slowly back via the 744 hangar, where Hennerz and I got some photos of each other beside the 744’s nose gear. The size of this aircraft when you are walking around underneath it is indescribable, and a little scary since both of us have the ambition to end up flying this mammoth piece of metal around the sky as a profession.
Me beside the 747’s nose gear, this is when you really appreciate the size of this thing!
Hennerz taking some more shots
The guide showed us the way out and we shook hands again, thanking him profusely for his time. He was amazingly enthusiastic about his job, saying how much he enjoyed it, being fanatical about aircraft from a young age. This enthusiasm is something I come across in civil aviation a lot and one of the reasons I am definite that I want to become a commercial pilot.
D-AIAT outside on the maintenance ramp
Report continues in the next post…
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
Captain and FO based @ LHR Sorry, unable to name flight crew for security etc
Aircraft type: A319-131 Registration: G-EUPS
Passengers: 68 LHR stand: D8 FRA stand: 143 Cost index: 20
Departure runway: 18 Arrival runway: 27R
Nautical mileage: 403 nm Trip wind component: +4 kts
Cruise flight level: FL320 Cruise Mach: M0.77
Alternate airfields: Primary alternate EGKK [rwy 26L] (Gatwick)
Other alternates: EGGW [rwy 26] (Luton), EGSS [rwy 23] (Stansted), EGBB [rwy 33] (Birmingham)
Estimated flight time: 1 hr 6 mins Actual flight time: 1 hr 24 mins
Estimated LHR arrival: 1946Z
FRA blocks off: 1823Z FRA airborne: 1842Z
LHR actual arrival: 2006Z LHR blocks on: 2013Z
Departure taxiways: N Runway holding point: N1
Forecast wind: 030°/12kts (nasty!) Takeoff flaps: 1 + F
Takeoff power: FLEX 79 (° C)
MAC (Mean Aerodynamic Chord, just for the techies ) = 32.5%
V1: 124 kts VR: 126 kts V2: 130 kts
Acceleration altitude: 1330ft SID: SOBRA1L QNH: 1026mb
Forecast wind: 290°/5 kts Landing flaps: FULL
MDA: 280ft Clean speed: 188 kts
Flap 3 VAPP = 129 kts
Flap 3 VLS = 124 kts
Flap FULL VAPP = 121 kts
Flap FULL VLS = 116 kts
Approach: ILS CAT I Landing: Manual
STAR: LAM3A (>BIG1E) QNH: 1028mb
Arrival taxiways: A,K
Aircraft and fuel weights
FRA gate gross weight: 54 500 kg Takeoff weight: 54 200 kg
ZFW: 49 300 kg Dry operating weight: 43 026 kg
Landing weight: 51 400 kg Max landing weight: 61 000 kg
Total fuel: 5 200 kg Alternate fuel (to EGKK): 653 kg
Reserve fuel: 1 007 kg Taxi fuel: 300 kg Fuel on takeoff: 4 900 kg
By the time we were back in T1 it was 6:00pm and after having a look around the A380 mockup, which wasn’t all that impressive, we took the SkyTrain back to T2. We decided to go through security first and have supper somewhere with a good view of the apron. We had the boarding passes ready from the Self Service machine at LHR that morning, so there was no need to go near a check in desk.
If there’s a negative side to this trip it has to be the security we were put through. I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone or if we just attracted suspicion but it was to say the least excessive. The first time we were given thorough searches including frisking etc. Then, having had supper at a McDonalds, we encountered a second security post on the way to the gate. This time after going through Hennerz was taken aside and had his camera opened up and thoroughly checked. Meanwhile another security officer sat me down, asked me to take off my shoes (they hadn’t set off any alarm) and announced he was going to give me a foot massage :S. Needless to say, when these people had finished with us we made for the gate – D8 as shown on the passes - at a rapid pace, before we were hauled by any more security officers!
Already there were several people seated at the gate, although the A319 had not even arrived from LHR yet. I noticed as I had on the way that the majority of passengers were business travellers, as is to be expected on a route between two very important financial and business centres. The sun was now setting and there was a lovely view of the T2 apron and across the runways. Every few minutes an aircraft would appear climbing out from 07L. At the far east of the airfield is the regional apron, where at one point there were four BA CitiExpress ERJ-145s along with various other Avro RJs etc. In a few months I would be flying on one of these ERJs from BHX to GLA. Most interesting of all was a LanChile A340 parked a few gates down adorned in the magical Lan livery. Too bad we don’t get any of these in the UK .
Gradually the gate area filled up with people waiting for BA913, but still on the stand below there was no sign of the aircraft. After about 30 minutes waiting, it arrived, an A319 just as we were “hoping” for, G-EUPS. Being a little late, turnaround was done quite quickly, and boarding began about 25 minutes after EUPS had arrived. As before, we headed promptly to the queue and then walked down the stairs and onto the airbridge. This was my first time flying on an A319.
This time it was my turn to ask the FAs, so after we were shown where to sit I asked if we could quickly visit the flight deck. The FA at the door pointed us in the direction of the purser, a nice jolly guy who proudly told us he had been with BA for over 30 years, including several years on the Concorde fleet. When we first asked if we could go in he looked puzzled and said “Do you have IDs?” No, just aviation enthusiasts and wannabe pilots . Then he laughed and said, “So you want to work for us when you’re older? We’d better look after you well then!” and slapped us both on the back. I asked him which type of aircraft they liked best from a cabin attendant point of view. He said the Airbuses were a great improvement, but everyone’s favourite was the 75, what a surprise lol. Then he went into the flight deck to ask the captain. As before there was no problem with this, so in we went . It occurred to me that we had done well today in that within a space of about four hours we had been on the largest Airbus (the A380 hadn’t flown then!) and (almost) the smallest and been on the flight decks of both.
Both pilots on this leg were young, I would have guessed late twenties, and after we had given them our forms enthusiastically talked about BA and the A319 for a while. The captain pointed out that we would be leaving off 07L this evening, with a SOBRA SID which meant a lot of turning right! Usually, he said, they would expect to go off 18 but this evening the tailwinds were too strong, so 07L it would be. The FO said they expected to land on 27R, the STAR would be Lambourne 3A which is standard for FRA flights – approaching from the North Sea and coming into the hold at Lambourne, a beacon north east of London. We didn’t take any photos this time but decided to at the end when they weren’t so busy, and with some last words of thanks we returned to our seats. This time, fortunately, there was no chewing gum on my seat, and so I had a good position on the left of the aircraft just behind the wing, seat 16A, with Hennerz and Nigel in 17A and 17B respectively.
With everyone seated and the FAs making the last cabin checks the captain welcomed us aboard and explained the routing as well as the weather. The FO would be flying this leg, and he’d be speaking to us shortly after take off. He also said that this evening one engine would be started on stand, we would then push back and start the other one. This is unusual and later it emerged this was due the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) not working. The APU, which is usually only on when the aircraft is on the ground, generates electrical power as well as providing an air supply for the air conditioning packs and to start the engines. If the APU is not working the aircraft will be hooked up to external power and external air right up to the point of engine start – which means one engine must be started on the gate. Once this is started its generator will provide sufficient power for the electrical systems and the cross bleed valve can be opened so that air from this engine is “bled” into the other engine to start it.
It was getting much darker as we began the pushback after the Lan A340 taxied past towards 07L. With both engines running we began the long taxi along with other aircraft down towards the western end of the airfield. The FO was certainly not hanging about, and we virtually sped down the inner and then outer taxiways, the flaps being lowered on the way to setting 1+F. But it appeared we were not stopping for the 07s and instead carried straight on to the holding point for 18. Clearly, some sort of ATC clearance had changed.
We waited for a few minutes until an LH A321 passed over on short finals for 07R, then with the cabin crew seated we taxied straight onto 18 and hit the power. The thrust levers were moved forward to the FLEX gate and FLEX 79 derated takeoff power (in Airbus speak!) was applied. The IAEs roared and we accelerated quickly, considering the substantial derate (though obviously nothing to compare with the 757), racing past the approach lights for 07L and 07R and then rotating quickly skywards with a V2 speed of 130 knots. It was almost pitch black outside, so no movie I’m afraid. The forecast wind for this takeoff was 030 degrees at 12 knots, so you can see why ATC were keen to get most departures off the 07s. Departing off 18, that is a wind component of -10 knots (- = tailwind) which is getting up there…
After take off the dark forests to the south of FRA were visible, and we began to make climbing turns to the right on the SOBRA SID to end up heading out in a north westerly direction towards Cologne. Once the seat belt signs were turned off, the cabin crew came quickly around with the All Day Deli, which this time comprised biscuits and buns. The captain had said in his welcome aboard brief that the flight time would be about 55 minutes, so there was not much time to spare. Service was excellent and the food tasty. The only thing that surprised me was the TV monitors were not brought out on either flight, I was rather looking forward to the AirShow display. We reached our cruise altitude of 32,000 feet just over 20 minutes after take off.
Our routing today was firstly more to the west of Germany, then routing north easterly of our inbound routing through central Belgium and then almost directly north out into the North Sea before turning west towards a waypoint called LOGAN where we pick up the Lambourne STAR into LHR. We would, for example, be in touch with Amsterdam Control as we would be passing through the Amsterdam FIR. The routing looks on the map more curved but is in fact more direct. The sun had set shortly after takeoff but the weather was still very clear and we were rewarded with nice views of northern Germany and Belgium in the dark. This time there was no overview of BRU to be had as the flight plan involves directly overflying it (the VOR on the airfield, BUB, is a major airway intersection). As we crossed out into the North Sea, about half an hour after takeoff, the cabin crew cleared away the food and came around with duty free, though again they failed to tempt many people.
Now the view out of the window was completely black except for a view lights of ships below. Soon we began to turn left towards LOGAN and we began the descent. Before I forget - a word about the cabin interior. The seats were very comfortable and leg room was good, although in places the cabin did look a bit worn. Nonetheless on the whole the BA service was superb, as I’d expect . There were 68 passengers on this flight, again not a very high load factor but perhaps understandable for this route at this time of day.
Shortly afterwards the captain came over the PA to announce a delay to the schedule. Unfortunately due to delays at LHR earlier there was a backlog of landings and we would have to enter a holding pattern for at least 20 minutes. Hennerz and I were pleased with this news, it made us feel like we were getting our moneys worth! Anyway, he apologised profusely and said he hoped we would be on stand by 9:30pm local time. Another five minutes and the lights of Essex came gliding by and other aircraft were visible in the vicinity.
This was not the end of our adventures, though. A short while later the FO announced that we had been moved to a different holding pattern and were now descending towards the hold at Biggin Hill (effectively we were flying the BIG 1E STAR). As a result there would be a shorter delay, and he advised people on the right to look out of their windows as they’d get a good view of London as we made our final approach.
At this point I should mention that the cause of all these delays was a Cathay 747-400 that departed from LHR and shortly after takeoff had an engine failure, prompting it to return for an emergency landing. As a result all inbound traffic was held up and the holds were very busy. This was evident as we circled around Biggin, the lights of other aircraft visible in almost every direction, one of the reasons I love LHR and everyone else seems to hate it .
Before long we reached 7,000 feet, the lowest altitude for holding, and proceeded out over Greenwich and Canary Wharf, turning for finals for 27R over the City. Flaps came down and there was a distinct airy sound as the gear was lowered and we swept in towards LHR over West London. As usual for LHR, I heard the throttles wind back 4 miles out as we reduced from 160 knots to the final approach speed, VAPP as it is known in Airbuses, tonight 121 knots. Lower and lower we came, finally passing the maintenance hangars, over the perimeter road and down onto 27R, for a first class landing by the FO, right on the touchdown zone. Swift braking followed (although autobrake setting LO was used till 60 knots) with idle reverse and we made a rapid exit at A8 (A9E, the ideal exit point for an aircraft of our size, was closed for maintenance). Turning off 27R I could count four sets of approach lights behind us including another company A319 on short finals.
It was a relatively short taxi to the stand, round the corner on Alpha and then into the Papa cul-de-sac to park up on stand 143 on the Europier, the stand you may recall I saw the HAM-bound A319 on at LHR that morning. However, just because we were parked didn’t mean anyone could get out . I noticed that one of the engines had been left running and after a minute or so an apologetic captain came over the PA system. “I’m afraid there’ve been a lot of delays at Heathrow tonight,” said he, “Including, it seems, delays to our ground staff. Unfortunately the aircraft does not have a functional auxiliary power unit and so we need to wait till a ground power connection is established before you can leave the aircraft. Please return to your seats and wait”. So with more than a few sighs people reseated themselves, and the rather hypnotic new BA boarding music began to play. The kindly purser also added a few words, expressing his great apologies for the delay, and that it had been “an absolute pleasure looking after you all tonight.” After no more than a few minutes, though, there was a whirring sound to indicate ground power was connected and the engine shut down. People began to leave the cabin, most out through the airbridge, Hennerz and I into the flight deck.
G-EUPS’s flight deck
The captain handed over our completed forms together with the Cirrus, NUBRF and a bunch of ACARS print-outs. While Hennerz was snapping away with his 20D I took the opportunity to ask the FO a few questions about the MCDU, especially obtaining weather information for the approach page. After we’d taken photos etc the usual procedure – shake hands again, wish both crew a pleasant journey home and out we went. At the door the jolly purser gave us a wink and said he hoped to see us up front in a few years. Lol, we wish too .
The Europier is I think the only part of T1, and one of the only parts of the whole airport, to offer split arrivals and departures levels (so far), and so it was a quick hike along the top of the pier and then down into the arrivals hall, continuing straight out through immigration and back to the car park. By the time we were driving away it was about 10:20pm, and a quick journey back round Oxford saw us pulling up in Witney at 11:15pm, just under 17 hours after setting off that morning.
So, verdict time! Most people who I told about the daytrip before I went pulled a face and told me I must be mad. Mad maybe, but this was one of my most enjoyable days for several years and infact it wasn’t particularly tiring either. The flying, combined with FRA’s stunning terrace (especially with the great weather), and to round it all off the time at LH Technik, made it an awesome trip. I suppose if all costs were added together it would come to just over £100 each, well worth the money.
Looking at BA as an airline, their usual excellent service as well as the great value for money of the tickets earns them a definite 9/10. The only major delay was getting into LHR and the small wait at the stand, which was hardly their fault anyway, and the crew were very helpful at all times. From the aviation “experience” point of view, 10/10, with 4 flight deck visits, lots of photo opportunities and the best possible runways for photos, airport overviews etc. Not to mention all the things we were able to do at FRA !
Attention is now turning to our next day trip, maybe ZRH, AMS, MAD, MUC, BUD, PRG or even back to FRA. No idea yet, but after the success of FRA it’s definite we’ll be jetting off somewhere next year for hopefully another fantastic daytrip.
A big thanks to all at LH Technik who made our visit possible, and all the crew on both our BA flights, especially the pilots, for explaining so much and allowing us into the flight deck before and after both flights.
And now I must hand over the reins to Hennerz for his (brief) summary of the day:
“Well, all in all a fantastic day full of fantastic people and fantastic activities! Good VFM, good company and yet another good trip with BA! Nothing to really complain on, just to really look forward to the next one and see where we end up next! Could be anywhere really in Europe, we definitely want to go and see some new places that neither of us have been to before to see a new variety of stuff!”
Next flights for me were my domestic trip with BA CitiExpress and Loganair up to the Outer Hebrides, such late timing that in fact they are about to be uploaded themselves – look out for them over the next few weeks!
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
LHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 16182 times:
Again, thanks for the replies guys .
Quoting SA006 (Reply 15): Seems like a trip to FRA is in order for me , problem is I am a continent away...
Yes Zak, my thoughts entirely about returning to JNB! You have a good selection of airlines to choose from, you could even come via LHR and transit with BA if you were put off by SA's 346/LH with no PTVs in Y.
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
Sabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 16040 times:
I am speachless Oliver!
I needed approximately 45 minutes to read your report and it was definitely worth every second. Your reports are - without any doubt - the most detailed here on A.net. I really enjoyed the written part, the pictures, and of course also the vids from flightlevel350.com.
I noticed that all your reports contain some "special part" which makes them even more interesting than just a usual flight report. In this report I liked the LH Technik part, in your last one I liked the cockpit jumpseat part, and in the SAA report I liked the fact that you wrote about the experience you made on the upper deck.
Another thing that I really like is that you described many things from the aviation enthusiasts point of view, for example: "wham! – up went the speedbrakes", actually I felt like I was on approach to FRA in the moment I was reading that. Simply excellent, maybe you should better start a career as a travel reporter than becoming a pilot.
Another thing: Despite I have absolutely no clue about the technical stuff and the ATS routing, I really enjoy to read this - and even more - to see this, your route maps with the exact routing are simply awesome!
Anyway, I am glad that you guys enjoyed your day in FRA!
Thanks for this fantastic report, that is what I am calling perfect entertainment! I am already looking forward to your next report, no matter what trip it will be, your reports are always a pleasure to read!
9VSRH From Australia, joined Apr 2005, 132 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (9 years 2 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 15098 times:
Remember me? I was the guy who asked for the template for your 'forms' when flying to SIN then on to Hong Kong on SQ a while ago now I think Fantastic report!!! How do you get so much detail in there? I think I might post a report on my coming up trip : BNE-SYD-HKG (maybe something in between say.......HKT then return)