LHBP= Budapest/Ferihegy 2
Photo © Calixius Casper Koh
KLAX to EDDF LH451
OK, First of all I almost did not go on this trip because the ticket did not indicate that I have a window seat the whole way there was a misunderstanding but everything worked out. Bare with me because this is my first time writing a trip report. While sitting at home waiting for the shuttle to pick me up I started to feel very tense about the trip. The ride to KLAX was very good traffic was light. Once we passed the cargo and the general aviation area of KLAX I've noticed a couple of Falcon 50's Hawkers etc. and I cracked a joke to the driver saying " Oh, that's my aircraft right there" as I pointed to the Falcon 50. Guess what, he actually beleived me. Once the driver parked I unloaded the bags and headed for the check-in counter for Lufthansa. The security was relatively OK as far as waiting in line. After that was all over with I just started to head to the gate even though the Lufthansa aircraft wasn't there.
Boarding time was 18:25LT and the scheduled departure time was 19:00LT. We started to board and as I walked through the jetway I could hear the APU running. As I sat down later these two young guys were sitting next to me and they were quite in good spirits so I joined in the conversation. One of the guys even started to play around with the overhead lights singing "The funky Town" and I even helped him to flicker the lighs on and off making it look like a dance floor. I was nervous especially a long flight like this so it kind of helped. We started to push back 5min. early and as we pushed back towards the taxiway there was engine start. We started to taxi down to 25R and taxi was a little bit long. As we turned on to runway 25R we stopped and holded for about a minute and we started to roll. The take-off roll was relatively quiet and as we started to roll I was focusing on the force of energy compared to a vehicle when floored. As we got up to speed I looked out the window and could see the fog layer just cut right through the wing and the engines, it was awsome. As we got up from the ground the Airshow started to appear and the ground speed was 300 km/hr at 1000 feet.
We stayed at a 250 degree heading for quite a long time. I was wondering when were going to turn and what direction were going to turn. And finally, we started to turn to the right and I quickly knew that we did the Gorman Two Departure. As we turned right heading North I could see Santa Monica Beach and Malibu further North. By the way, we started popping out from the fog layer at about 2500 feet. But as we headed North the fog just cleared instantly. I was sitting on the right side of the aircraft and once we were over the Santa Monica Mountains we were directed to Gorman. I could even see a little bit of Van Nuys Airport to the right. Once after Bakersfield we headed towards Salt Lake City then after that we flew over Billings, Winnipeg, and between Billings and Winnipeg we started to encounter light to moderate turbulence and I looked out the window and saw orange flashes of lightning in the horizon. It was neat. The turbulence was quite bumpy but it was tolerable. Our cruising altitude at begining of the flight was FL330. Then we headed towards New Foundland, Labrador Sea. Over Labrador Sea we started to climb to FL360. We started to take a Southeastern direction towards Manchester UK, Amsterdam and are final altitude was FL370 and after Amsterdam we started a gradual descend to EDDF. I did not know what type of approach we did but we landed on runway 25L which is 13000 feet long.
As we taxied off the runway we holded for some ground traffic for 5min. We started to taxi again and we parked next to this Thai Airlines B747-400. Frankfurt airport is huge but the traffic and the crowd was light. I thought it would much worse.
EDDF to LHBP
Photo © Chris Waser
The walk to the gate to catch my other flight to LHBP was a drag because it long and the gate was at other side of the terminal. I was very groggy and tired being very out of it. As I remember, I had no security check at the gate. That was very wierd. The aircraft coming in was very late and sat for hours waiting to board on this bus which takes us out to the aircraft. The departure time was 16:55LT. Finally the bus arrived at the gate and the bus started to take us out a bit. We stopped next to the A321 and as I boarded and walked up the stairway the aircraft looked very huge. We were about 15min. late of are departure time. As we were getting ready for departure the flight attendants were demonstrating the safety features and as they were doing that weird noises suddenly started to begin. One sounded like a drill drilling your teeth at dentist and that was before engine start. A few people were startled wondering what is that sound. By the way, what is that sound with all the A320's? Engine start began and it took a while for it to warm up and finally we taxied to runway 18 which is used for take-off normaly at EDDF. Take-off was cool. I enjoyed it so much that my whole head was covering the window. We were heavy and the lift-off was noisy and bumpy. Noisy being able to hear the airframe crackling. The taxi was noisy too when we applied the brakes able to hear a banging or knocking sound. The A321 is very stiff aircraft especially the gear because it was a bumpy taxi. As we started to climb we took a slight left turn. The cruising altitude (FL290) was anounced since there was no Airshow on board. The ground speed was about 850 km/hr. The flight was smooth all the way and est. flight time was 1hr. 10min. The route took us over Nuremburg, and over Vienna, Austria we descended for the approach to LHBP. I was confused on what approach we did but we kept on doing left steep turns. The landing was great and smooth and we landed runway 31R (normally for landing). The one interestng new change at LHBP is that runway and taxiway tab markings had an interesting color. Intead of the white markings on a red backround this had a black markings with a yellow backround to it. As we taxied to our gate all I could see was Malev Foker jets standing on the apron and of course the Mueseum which features all the old Communist Era aircrafts which included the Malev Tu-134, and Tu-154.
LHBP to EDDF
Photo © Oliver Brunke
Now this is a little bit exciting on the way to LHBP airport. I left the house at 8:00 in the morning and it started to rain. On are way to the airport all hell broke loose. Huge rainstorm cell with lightning. The rain just pounded the windsheild the streets were flooded. We got to the airport and rain subsided for a bit. I checked in my bag and said good-gye to my family. I looked at my boarding pass and it had gate 13 on it. I said to myself, "Oh no". But as I sat down at gate 13 a few minutes later an anouncement came on saying that the departure gate for my flight has changed to gate 18. Little off my shoulders. No biggy because LHBP is a small terminal. The average flights for every 1hour is 24 flights. KLM has the first flight from LHBP for 45 years. Just a little known facts. But anyway, are aircraft had arrived. We were delayed due to weather and they had problems with refueling in this type of weather. We boarded the aircraft. I sat down fastened my seat belt and a few minutes later the Captain anounces that they are really sorry the delay. This was a quick turn-around I think. Departure time was normally 10:20 but we pushed back at 11:10. Taxi was quite short. We holded on runway 31L for a long time probably for 4min. A Cessna Citation had departed prior to our departure and there was about 5 more aircrafts waiting to hold behind us. The engines started to spewl up and there we went. Like again the take-off roll was great but nothing like a Learjet, thinking to myself as an experienced Learjet flyer. As the engines started to run-up after that the force began pressing my back against the seat and the crackling sound of the airframe. As we got airborne I could hear the gear rolling upwards. We started a left turn towards a town or VOR called Gyor in Hungary. We were in the clouds for a long time some light chops was felt. About 7min later we started climbing out of the clouds. As far as the cruising altitude I dont know because it was loud and I was sitting next to the engine when the Captain anounced it over the speaker. I sat near the exit window. This flight seemed very long because we circled over EDDF for at least 40min. due to heavy traffic. The circling was very smooth no turbulence even though we were around some rough looking clouds. The aircraft slowed down considerably. Finally after circling for that long we continued our descent into EDDF. Landing was great and the gear extension was loud on this A320. We landed on 7R and when touched down I could feel that we bounced a little with a slight left tilt. Some people clapped. Once we walked out the aircraft we I only had 20min. to board the flight to Los Angeles. Everybody was concerned. We had to stand in line for 30min. for security check but the airport staff had notified the flight to Los Angeles to wait for us and of course they did.
EDDF to KLAX
Departure time was 13:35 but of course we had a delay. The push back was quick. In fact I was so busy talking to a couple sitting next to me that I didn't notice the initial push. As soon as engine start we quickly taxied onto 7R and I noticed that there was about 5 C-130's parking across from the airport. It's actually an airforce base but I can't remember the name ( It wasn't Ramstein but similar name to it ). As we turned onto runway 7R the engines started to spewl up and it was a quiet roll. As we started to roll I said to the couple that was sitting next to me "My car could do better than this".
The take off was heavy because it was a full flight. We turned heading west for a while and then we made a right turn heading North towards the Denmark. We climbed to FL320 and we proceeded towards the Norway coast heading to these Islands called Shetland Is. Then we flew over Iceland, which was an awsome sight. I could see all those Mountain Ranges capped with a lot of ice and snow. Some of those Mountains are actually volcanic. Greenland on the other hand is just as nice but it was cloudy with wispy clouds and haze. Just as we past Greenland we climbed to FL360 and we continued to fly in a Southwesterly direction headed for this Arctic town called Churchill. After that came Regina, Billings, after Billings area we started to climb to FL390. We flew over this area called the Devils Tower which I never heard before. We had some very bad turbulence over the Salt Lake City area. Flying over these huge cumulonimbus clouds, of course it would be expected. I mean these clouds were scary looking and the tops had to be some FL390 to up to FL410. We were actually to the point that we were in the clouds for a while. I was thinking to myself that the seat belt sign could go on any second and it did. Walls of anvil from these thunderstorm clouds could be seen very close. It smoothed out and then we flew over Cedar City, St. George, and Las Vegas. After passing Las Vegas we started our descent to FL240 and around the Hector Area it was a bit bumpy on the way down. Above San Bernardino we descended to FL180 and we leveled off there for a while. After that the pilot applied the air brakes and we felt a slight drop. I was thinking that were doing the Civet arrival into KLAX. Our approach was fast still doing 288 mph at 7000 feet (from Airshow). Once we approached the Harbor Freeway 110 we were at 1900 feet doing 190 mph. At about a few feet are ground speed was about 260 km/hr. We landed on runway 25L and the stop was quick and we taxied onto our gate.
I hope you will enjoy this trip report. Remember, this is my first time. I'm tired now and it's 5:00am. This trip was LONG but it was worth it. I'm so glad to be on the ground that I don't even mind that we have an earthquake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!