Well this is going to be short cus I can't be arsed to write a long one but it was such an amazing experience I thought I had to share it with you. This is the short (but great
) story about my trip from Luxembourg to Vienna via Strasbourg, on an Austrian Arrows Canadair Regional Jet on the 27th of October...
I checked in at the airport after a long day at work. I was there 2 hours before departure, and got the window seat I wanted on the right-hand side of the aircraft (7F). I knew that I was most probably going to end up in the jumpseat, but wanted to get a seat on the correct side just incase that didn't work out (I checked the METAR for Vienna and figured it would be a landing on RWY16, so I needed to sit on the right-hand side to see all the construction work going on there).
Luckily, the aircraft was departing from the new terminal at Luxembourg which I absolutely love. The terminal is simple and sleek, yet modern. It's also a more quiet one since all the business flights depart from there, so there were no families and crying whining children which I absolutely can't stand.
When I was walking through the terminal building I saw the Fed's reaction to knowing that I was planning on getting onto the jumpseat
This police vehicle was actually parked right next to an odd looking aircraft. We see this depart from Luxembourg (my office window has a beautiful view of the departures from RWY24 in Luxembourg). We call it "Smokey Joe" every time it flies past our window cus it's so environmentally-friendly, and leaves black trails behind it
It was almost time to depart and I was starting to get more and more excited just like a little kid. I kept looking at the gate screens to see if there was any information that would help me determine when the aircraft would arrive from Vienna, but all I could gather from the screen was that it was a codeshare flight with Luxair.
25 minutes before the scheduled departure, and still no sign of my aircraft that was due from Vienna, so what do I do? Correct, I called my colleague from work and told him to tune into the Luxembourg Approach frequency for me. He was very helpful and quite soon in our conversation we finally heard "Austrian 441 Alpha" on the frequency (My flight was going to be "Austrian 442". He then tuned into the Luxembourg Tower frequency when I saw some landing lights established on final, and we heard "Austrian 441, winds 180, 8 kts, cleared to land RWY24". At this point my conversation with the friend ended as I went to get ready for the flight. Finally I see the aircraft arriving at the gate 18 minutes before we were scheduled to depart. I love this aircraft it is so small and sexy, yet it's a pleasure to fly in! As you can see it's one of the few that have not been repainted in the new livery yet.
It get's prepared for the next 20 minute leg very quickly and we all get on board. I sat on my seat, and amazingly enough, we were pushing back ON
SCHEDULE! I didn't think they'd make it, but we did
As we were pushing back, I made a picture of my favourite Embraer. The E145 which was parked a few stands away from us.
After 22 minutes of being airborne we land again for a quick stop in Strasbourg where we dropped off some passengers, and took on a whole lot more. The flight was full, and not a seat was left empty (although this was about to change
). I wanted to make a picture of the cabin but I would have attracted too much attention so I did not continue with that plan. When we first arrived in Strasbourg, the apron was empty.
But very quickly after that, 3 aircraft appeared established on the runway and one by one they started to fill up the apron, and very soon, it looked more like this...
It was time to depart for Vienna again after a short stop in this deserted in-the-middle-of-nowhere airport. As we were lining up on RWY25 (I think that's what it was) I took a quick picture without getting the FA
's attention who would have told me off for "using electronic equipment during take-off"
Since this is a short flight, no food is served. You can order it if you like. Coffe and Tea on the other hand were served free of charge, so I had a quick tea to keep me awake. And finally the moment I had been waiting WEEKS for
took me into the cockpit. I met the crew who was very friendly (thanks to them for the amazing experience again!). The FA
gave me a bottle of soft drink and even a shoulder massage after strapping me into my seat. Now that's what I call service
The door closed, and I was finally there in the cockpit again enjoying yet another flight from the jumpseat.
Note: Look at the hapiness in my face!!!
I had a chat with the pilots who were very friendly, professional, and wild guys. They asked me about my work, and I asked about theirs. We went through the arrival route and the landing and that kinda stuff. They were also very funny guys those two
I took a LT
exposure when we were descending and had not reached the beginning of the STAR yet (it was hard to keep the camera still with my own hands).
When we were cleared to descend below FL100 the pilot requested "free-speed" which we got. This enabled us to maintain 330-320 kts until the base leg which was awesome. He kept making jokes about this too I was giggling the whole way through our descent
As soon as we passed the first point of the STAR, we were cleared dirctly to SNU, then WW411, WW412, and WW413. When we were turned for final, we had to decellerate 220 kts because of a preceding aircraft. We got turned heading 190, then we locked in the LLZ and GS
. I took this pic at that point which is not very clear, but you can see the runway lights. You can also see the new control tower which has only been operational since 10 days on the right
Then I took this picture when we were decerating to our V(ref) which is also fuzzy since these are all LT
A few moments before touchdown, I made the last airborne picture where you can see how the aircraft was perfectly aligned on the LLZ and GS
doing 139 kts having passed the "minimums".
We had a beautiful and soft touchdown, and decelerated slowly to vacate directly onto TWY India via Bravo3. We en parked on remote stand 7Echo, where the bus came to pick us up. I unstrapped myself, shook hands with the crew, and told them how I was eternally grateful... and I truly was because I love sitting in the front! LOL
As I was getting off the plane all the passengers waiting in the bus were giving me dirty looks for holding it up... hehehe
I made one last picture to add to my souvenir collection of this flight, and then the bus departed. I was devastated that it had to come to an end
...and the best part about the whole experience is that I had friends on both sides (Luxembourg and in Vienna) with scanners recording the ATC between our aircraft and the Air Traffic Controllers for TWR and APP. This made the experience all the more great because everytime I listen to the file now, it reminds me of certain (cool/funny) things that were going on in the cockpit at the time
Austrian Airlines... I LOVE YOU! May there be many more happy landings and take-offs in the jumpseat for us