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Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Thu Mar 01, 2001 1:15 am

Hi everybody,

you´ve asked for trip reports on Russian aircraft, so here is one (leg 4/6):
(Not as long as it looks like because of the pix; plus it´s six legs.)

1) TUE Feb 20, DTM-PAD, LH 248

A/c was Augsburg Airways/Team Lufthansa Dash 8-300 D-BHAT, built in 1997:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Florian Kondziela

This was my first flight from Dortmund´s new airport, and I´ve to say I´m positively impressed. Tiny DTM has finally become a real airport, with a huge departures hall, very roomy, lots of glass and metal, the gates are just a short walk from there. The former (cramped and old) departure "hall" (shed) is the GA terminal now.
The flight was just a 20 minute hop, no service because you can´t book that leg isolated.

2) TUE Feb 20, PAD-FRA, LH 249

Same a/c as before, everybody had to leave the plane, and I had to spend 30 minutes in Paderborn´s transit area. Another eventless flight of about 40 minutes with the usually spotless "City Class" service provided by two stewardesses. There were about 30 people on board. We arrived on time at our bus parking position.

3) TUE Feb 20, FRA-MLA, LH 3912

A/c was LH A320-200 D-AIQN "Laupheim", built in 1992:

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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Brian Hill

After two hours at FRA, another bus took me to this Airbus which is, despite her relative age, in a remarkably good state. The half full plane left 20 minutes late but arrived 20 minutes early time. I was allowed to the flightdeck for about half an hour but couldn´t stay for the landing. Visibility was quite bad, except some sunny parts over the Alps and Sicily.

4) WED Feb 21, MLA-GZM, KM 904

A/c was MAC Mi-8 LZ-CAR

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Harro Ranter

(Not the actual a/c but a sister ship.)

This helicopter is operated by Malta Air Charter on behalf of Air Malta; it´s leased from Balkan, I believe.
Anyway, the trip from Malta-Luqa to neighbouring Gozo island is Malta´s only domestic route and offers incredible walk up one way fares of about 13 € for students!
Other than me, there was only one pax, so we could pick the best seats from the 26 ones on offer to take some photos of Malta from the air. There was even a stewardess, but obviously no service on the 10-15 minutes flight - she was only there to remind us to keep the seatbelt fastened all the time (she was quite firm on that, using her Russian [or Bulgarian] charme to get that point over  Big grin). It was quite windy and bumpy but nothing special. The flight was smooth, the landing perfect, what else can I ask for? (Perhaps windows without holes? I agree they give you a nice fresh atmosphere in the cabin, but it does get a little cold with time...)

5) SUN Feb 25, MLA-FRA, LH 3913

A/c was LH A321-200 D-AISG "Dormagen", built in 2000:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

This is LH´s newest A321 and she´s really a gem. All new, comfortable seats - a looker inside and outside. I clinched the best Y seat on this plane, directly by the emergency exit and with a crew rest seat beside you -> loads of legroom and only one neighbour. The only problem: I had checked in so early to get that seat that I was not on e of the two lucky fellows who got the two cockpit jump seats due to overbooking Pissed. For that reason I wasn´t allowed to the flight deck on my first flight in the -200 Crying.
In spite of having left Malta half an hour late due to late arrival we landed on time and (finally!) got a gate position.

6) SUN, Feb 25, FRA-FMO, LH 066

A/c was Contactair/Team Lufthansa F50 D-AFFI, built in 1993:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt

My first Fokker flight, and now, after being a pax on Dash 8, ATR and F50, I have to say the Dash is definitely the best from a pax´ point of view with the Fokker a close 2nd and the ATR way behind them. Flight time was announced to be 35 minutes, so the two stewardesses really had to hurry to complete their C service in time, as the plane was full with 50 pax. However, 30 minutes into the flight, the F/O told us we were going to land in Muenster/Osnabrueck in 20 minutes. Huh? 30 + 20 = 35? After we had landed, I found out what had happened: there had been a massive snow storm in the region, just at the time we were supposed to land, so I assume the pilots slowed down deliberately to arrive after the worst was over.
FMO is a great airport; DTM may have surpassed PAD, but it´s a long way to go for my home airport to reach FMO´s standards.

So, time for a resumé: Apart from six more flights under my belt I have seen six airports, among them all three in Westphalia, and four airlines. I have experienced my first flight in a Russian a/c, and it was a positive experience which I believe will give me some insight when people bash them Russkies again.

All in all, a very pleasant trip which I advise everyone else to take. Fly Augsburg Arws as long as you can, before EW takes over  Big grin.

Kudos and thanks if you´ve read the entire report, hope you enjoyed it and it wasn´t too boring.

Best Regards,

Daniel Smile
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2000 7:53 pm

RE: Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Fri Mar 02, 2001 7:26 pm

Hi Daniel,
thanks for your interesting report! I enjoyed to read it!
I especially liked your descriptions of the new DTM airport, sounds quite impressive! I think it´s great to see all these formerly small airfields become "real airports". It´s the same with my local airport Bremen, which also got a brand new terminal during the last years. I´m already looking forward to fly from there again, next week on EW ATR 72 to AMS. Return flight will be KLM Cityhopper F 50 which I also prefer over the ATR. I´ll post a report when I´m back!
Greeting from BRE,
Posts: 496
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2000 10:24 pm

RE: Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Fri Mar 02, 2001 8:09 pm

Hi Daniel,

A colleague went to Gozo on the Mi 8 last year, but he didn't know what type of a/c it was. They flew out in the dark and he was in the seat closet to the cockpit. He was a little concerned that the last time the GPS system was tested was 1995, when it should be checked annually! He was also aware that a number of the instruments weren't working. The a/c was full so a rolling take off was required and he still doesn't know how they avoided the perimeter fence of the airport.
Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Mon Mar 05, 2001 10:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

Well, I felt a little uneasy about that heli as well, but I guss it was still safer than the combined bus-ferry-bus trip I took on the return. Anyway, as long as I´m still around to write a trip report  Wink/being sarcastic...

About that rolling take off you mentioned: the other passenger, a guy from Coventry by the way, seemed to be a kind of frequent flyer on the Gozo flight. He told me about exactly the same procedure the week before, when the a/c was about half full.
With only two pax, my flight could just take off like you´d expect from a helicopter (we used the normal runway, though).

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post: the FRA-MLA-FRA legs were code shared with SK, OS and UA, both ways. My domestic German connecting flights were only with the LH code.

Daniel Smile
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2000 6:37 pm

RE: Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Thu Mar 08, 2001 5:46 am

Great trip report, Daniel!! Dortmund's new terminal must be really nice, I should really go there some time. Do you think it is better than Paderborn? BTW, do you know how much of the extension of the terminal at PAD is done so far? Were there any inconveniences for passengers due to construction? Haven't been there for a while now, so I have no idea! Oh well, it will be done in summer when I'm gonna fly out of there again. Anyway, I share your thoughts about FMO, it's an awesome little airport!!!

Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: Germany To Malta - Including A Mi-8 Flight!

Fri Mar 09, 2001 8:00 pm


yes, I think the new DTM is better than PAD, and that´s not just "local patriotism". I actually didn´t know about construction at PAD, but now, in hindsight some things do seem a little provisional: e.g. when we exited the plane, we passed by the gate for the onward flight to FRA and there was a guy who asked every passenger "PAD or FRA?", and depending on the answer you had to proceed to the exit or go to the waiting area. Another point: it all seemed to be one large waiting area and the announcements and information about the departing flights´ status were very sparse. Not too well organised. Plus it was EXTREMELY cold because the wooden walls didn´t isolate very good. Anyway, I can´t tell you more, because all I essentially did at PAD was to leave the plane, go to the transit area, wait and go back to the same plane, so I didn´t go through the procedures an originating passenger would have to and I don´t know which inconveniences he´d have had.

Daniel Smile

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