Photo © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund - Birdlike Multimedia
Photo © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund - Birdlike Multimedia
Denmarks only privately owned military aircraft. It costs him 38.000 USD a year to have permission to fly it - and then it can only be flown for something like 25 hours pr. year. And I can tell you, it's NOISY. I think even Concorde enthutiasts would like it. When it started its engined, the whine was so loud that just about everyone in the closest 50 metres held their hands to their ears. The price for 15 minutes in that was 1500 DKK ~ 227 USD.
But to my flight:
Departure: 5 PM
Arrival: 5.30 PM
Actual arrival: 6 PM
Type: Boeing 737-600
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Photo © Søren Geertsen
About 30 minutes prior to departure, the last performance of the day (by a Spitfire), I walked into the small terminal (that RKE authorities would like to expand to accomodate lcc's) and joined the long queue. Already then I settled on the fact that I probably wasn't going to get a window seat. With 20 minutes to go, and the 3 other aircrafts doing sightseeing tours (1 ATR42 and 2 DC-3's) gone, we started walking through the detector. It was slow at first, but once people a realised that things such as cell phones, binoculars etc. should go into the x-ray machine, it sped up
It was then a short walk onto the tarmac, during which the Fouga Magister taxied by - I went deaf for a moment - and a short hop up the airstairs and into the Baby Boeing. For those who must know, the slogan next to the door was "Do you know what a snowflake taste like?" - a commercial spot for their low-fare carrier? I was greated on entry by one of the 2 female F/A's (there were 3 FA/s in total) and made my way down the aisle. Naturally, all the window seats were taken, but I spotted that 19F, which shares a window with 18F and such is not really popular, was open. I sat down and noted the lack of space in front, but I guess it was due to Boeings need to press in the extra row . A few moments passed by, and the last passengers were coming on board. And amongst those a coupe with a young child. They discussed briefly with the second female F/A, who then went down and asked if I would mind switching, since the kid wasn't too comfortable about sitting on his own. No problem, and I moved to the only available seat, 15C - which had much greater legroom. I found that odd, I thought that narrowbody aircrafts were supposed to swueeze your knees as much as possible
A few seocnds after sitting down, the Captain into the cabin and presented himself as Peter. He explained that the F/O, also named Peter, was busy with the last amount of paperwork & calculator usage. He then proceeded to introduce us to the F/A's which were the two ladies, Eva & Lise, and the single male, who was also the captains nephew, Oscar. He then told us something about the plane, and then explained the takeoff procedure & flight routing. We would be using runway 29 for the departure, then make a right turn following Roskilde fjord up to the northen coast of Zealand. We would then follow the coastline in a clockwise direction, down along Copenhagen, Stevns and all the way to Møn, an island that every southern arrival into CPH passes, before heading back. He also said that since we would be very light, very little fuel and no cargo or luggage, he would show us the true performance of the plane, meaning a full power takeoff & no power reduction after takeoff, so we would have a very steep climb. And once in the "cruise", the cockpit would be open for people to have a look and ask questions. He then announed the altitude & speed we would be flying at: 280 mph at 1400 feet!
After that he went into the cockpit to help the other Peter with the final preparations, and the cabin crew started doing the security procedure. We then started the engines (using a GPU, not the APU, I was later told) and taxied out. Passing a few smaller planes lined up on runway 20, we then backtracked on runway 11/29, and once we had turned around at the end, the engine spooled up.
And whoa! Those CFM's really showed their true worth
A very steep climb continued and after a few seconds, we levelled off and started the sightseeing. The seatblets were also switched off, and the cabin crew went to work handing out a brick of juice to everybody (I understand this is the same US domestic passengers get - for like 10 times more money, or? ).
We followed the route that the captain had explained, and it was quite easy to make out the small towns etc along the coats of the fjord, including the place where I used to live! It was a bit a choppy in the beginning, but it passed rather quickly and people were starting to move around to get a better view, and also linign up for a chat with the pilots (after all, they had said that it was a 30 minute trip, so people wanted to get a glimpse while they could. We flew along the beaches, and it was easy to make out the people there - I joked with Lise (the F/A) about one of the local tabloids having a headline the next day saying: "SAS aircraft runs amok, scaring beachgoers" . We then rounded Kronborg which gave us an awesome view of both Elsinore and Helsingborg. I was on the left side, so it was about time we saw some land too
As we approached Copenhagen, the captain came on and explained that he was going to climb and slow down a little, so he would create too much noise. As we passed through Copenhagen harbor, CPH was VERY visible, complete with the usual KE 744F waiting to go back to "the Land of Morning Calm" It was holding on runway 22R for quite a while, and I suspect that the CPOH controllers were holding it back until we were out of their zone.
As we cleared Copenhagen, we once again decented and sped up, passing another numbers of beaches as well as Stevns' Cliffs. Once again, I paid a visit to the cockpit, where I had a little chat with some of the others passengers. We then reached Møns Cliffs, the biggest in Denmark, and were about to do a 180 degree turn, so I retuned to my seat since I could see something again. We then flew over Møn itself, and I could easily spot the place where my grand parents lived - and the graveyard where they are now buried
We made a right hand turn and headed north, aiming for Køge, which is just a few miles from RKE, where we would then go even lower and proceeding with a flypast at RKE before landing. As we passed Køge and entered farm areas, I could feel the speed increasing and altitude becomign lower. And all of the sudden, runway 29, which we had departed on, was visible for a very short moment. We were so low, that even the F/A's were a bit worried - so they decided to take their seats
We pulled up and made a climbing right turn, and as the speed was graduatly lowered, the captain came on and announced that we had made the flypast going 373 mph at an altitude of 328 feet
The flaps then started to extend, with more and more coming out, and suddently, the plane made a diving left turn - and the fields we had seen during the flypast became visible. We went lower and lower, and then the airport territory appeared. Touchdown on runway 20 was a bit fast (a few of discussed this later on, and we all agreed that it was going a bit faster than usual), and as the appreciative passengers we were, we applauded as were we a load charter tourists who had just arrived at Rhodes Braking meant that we were able to exit the runway at the very end. We taxied by the other exhibits, which included a RADF F-16, a copy of the Wrights Flyer & other interesting things. A few minutes later we parked at the same spot we had departed from, and it was time to say bye. On my way out, I said thanks to the entire crew & shaked hand with the captain.
Truly a memorable flight.
Addition: Sorry about the acronym errors, I can't fix them
[Edited 2003-08-16 21:53:05]