AMS 5th and 6th of November...Who's Interested? (by Pilot kaz Aug 21 2005 in Non Aviation)
Of course I had to get on this one, so started searching around for cheap fares to AMS. I live equidistant between BHX, EMA, LBA, MAN and DSA so it had to be one of those really. DSA/EMA were ruled out due to lack of flights, BHX was mainly KLM who were expensive, so that left jet2 from LBA. I had vowed to fly jet2 at some point, as well as fly from LBA (I have never even been there before) so it had to be that for a new experience!
£64 did the trick, and the meet soon got closer.
The night before the meet I had set my alarm for 3am, hoping to set off at 3.30 for my 7am flight. I went to bed, but couldn't sleep. The combination of being excited and feeling nervous about my flight (that I always do the night before!) At 1.30 I decided that if I wasn't asleep for 2am, it wasn't worth going to sleep for one hour, and I'd get on my way. By 2am I was still awake, so got out of bed and went straight to the computer to check if we were planned for a 737 or 757! Our flight had been operated by the 757 a couple of weeks previously, so we were hoping it would be a 757! Alas, our luck wasn't in and we had the 737-300.
I looked out the bedroom window and was surprised to see an aircraft overhead for such an early hour - a quick log on to FBOWeb confirmed it was an Omni Air DC10 heading stateside!
I got in the car in the freezing cold and set off, and for proof of the early hour I took a photo of my car's computer:
So, guided by the trusty GPS, I set off up the M1 for Leeds. It was as quiet as I expected for such an early hour. I was soon in Leeds, and while driving round the ring road was surprised to see a drunk staggering along the road in the middle of nowhere at 3.30am!
I arrived at LBA at 4am and pulled into the short stay car park.
I would be flying over with Dave (Capital146) and Sharron (alcregular) this morning. I sent Dave an SMS to say "I'm here!" to which I got a reply saying "OMG you're well early - I haven't left yet!"
I visited WH Smith that had just opened, and bought a Red Bull to help wake me up. I sat and drank it outside WH Smiths.
I then went for a walk to explore this little baby airport!
Movements for this time of the morning:
The airport seemed quite busy for this time of the morning, there was an Astraeus flight to KEF and a Jet2 flight to MHV due to leave about the same time as us.
Jet2 check in area ("The Shed" )
I wandered back past the internet terminal, and caught a glimpse of the famous blue A.net screen! It must be alcregular! I went to say hi, and we went to wait for Dave.
Dave rang me at 5am to say he was here, and I told him we were waiting at check in. We checked in and were told the flight was quite busy. We went through to airside to grab a coffee and a croissant for breakfast!
You could tell which passengers were heading where, the old people with small coats were obviously going to MHV, the old people with huge coats and flat caps were obviously heading to KEF, and everyone else was seemingly heading for AMS!
I was surprised how much there was airside, quite a lot of shops and places to sit.
Notice the fit blonde heading away from the bar!
Eventually, we were called for boarding. I don't remember which door we boarded through, but it wasn't a long walk.
Our aircraft (sadly blocked by the Servisair wagon!).
We boarded from the rear, we were on row 19. I took 19B, while Sharron was in A and Dave was in C.
Flight: LS201 LBA-AMS
Aircraft: B737-300 G-CELX
Photo © Stewart Andrew
The flight was pretty full today, I took a photo as the crew were preparing the cabin:
The aircraft was quite comfortable, leather seats although they looked a little cheap. Some of the interior was a showing it's age a bit, e.g. yellowing plastic walls. All in all it was comfortable and clean though.
We soon pushed back and were taxying to the runway.
Our taxi route to runway 32:
We backtracked down to the end of the runway, and it was amusing to see the tyre marks from where the A320 ran off the runway a few months back still there!
Here is the video as we took off from LBA:
http://www.marshgiddings.com/aviation/LBATakeoff.wmv (please right click/save as).
Our departure route from LBA:
We took the LAMIX 1W departure which bought us out over the coast near Humberside. The friendly cabin crew soon came round with the buy-on-board service, which I thought was pretty reasonably priced, although I had eaten at LBA so didn't need anything. We flew out over the North Sea at FL310 with East Anglia off to the right, and I asked Sharron to take this photo:
Thanks Sharron - cool shot!
We soon began our descent and we could see the ships heading across the North Sea, as well as an oil rig!
We spied an Arkefly 767 off to the left, and we flew the approach in formation with him. I guessed we would be on the Polderbaan considering our location!
Our arrival on the LAMSO 1A STAR:
ILS for runway 36R:
I started videoing our arrival:
Sure enough, we touched down in the middle of nowhere and started the long taxi to the terminal.
We were all amused by the flight attendant's advertising of their new routes to Prague - by the end of it the entire cabin was laughing!
here is our nice long taxi in:
We pulled in alongside ndebelebev's easyJet A319 from LPL and entered the new H pier. You can tell this is LCC territory - no airbridges, nothing at all in there apart from gates.
It's not a problem though as you enter into the H pier which is home to KLM long haul so there are plenty of facilities there on the way out. There is also additional security after duty free, which I thought was interesting, at least it stops people buying anything dangerous at duty free.
We went through a packed customs (the Asian heavies had all just landed), and went through to meet with the other A.netters in arrivals! We had a brilliant day alongside the Kaagbaan and on the viewing deck, my photos are here:
and a video from the day is here:
Soon enough, the sun went down and it was time for our flight back.
Dave, Sharron, Kaz and I checked in at the same time, Jet2 have a self check in facility at AMS where you can select your seat. I thought this was quite interesting for an LCC, a great extra service. It is actually run by Menzies Aviation and you can also check in for Arkefly amongst other LCCs.
We went through and sat chatting for a while. Our flight was due to board at 19.20, so at 19.00 we weren't unduly rushing about. Kaz went to check the screens, and came back shouting "You have to go - it says gate closing!"...
Sure enough, there it said, "19:10 Gate Closing". We said a quick goodbye to Kaz and had to rush through security, where we were held up by Dave having to remove his belt and we then legged it down to the gate where people were walking across the apron already!
The departure time said early 19:11 (even though scheduled time is 19:45) and as we boarded the aircraft the doors were closed and steps drawn away. A few other people had been caught out as well and were as out of breath as us!
Flight: LS206 AMS-LBA
Aircraft: B737-300 G-CELV
Photo © Mint Photography-Kevin Minter
Soon after, we pushed back and were on our way! Phew that was close! I guess with not many people all checked in they just wanted to get home! There was a very light load tonight, which we estimated at around 50 pax. Dave, Sharron and I had a row each to ourselves, as did most of the other passengers!
We taxied out to the Kaagbaan, where we had watched departures all day.
Here is the video of our takeoff:
We followed the VALKO 1S SID from runway 24, and headed off across the North Sea back towards the UK. The captain came on to announce our route, and that we would be flying at FL330 this evening. Again we flew north of East Anglia, coasting in over Humberside.
I bought a coffee for £1.50 from the cart, and dozed for a bit spread across the three seats. Nice flat beds, jet2!
I could see a few fireworks out of the window on the ground, little flashes of light, and every so often an orange glow with lots of smoke!
The cabin crew advised us to watch out for the "Beautiful fireworks as we approach over Leeds". You'll see from the video how wrong she was!
As we began our approach into Leeds, we could see a few fireworks on the ground which looked pretty cool. Shortly after we hit a bank of cloud/smoke, which stayed with us for the rest of the approach (from the seatbelt sign being switched on at 10,000ft). It was a very bumpy approach, and we couldn't see anything other than the light at the end of the wing. At one point the entire wing was shrouded in smoke.
And here is our ILS approach onto runway 32:
We bumped and bounced down the approach, and the flaps were making some strange noises. The aircraft banked left and right in the wind, when finally, some street lights appeared level with the aircraft and within 5 seconds we smacked down into the ground. Full reverse thrust and spoiler followed, a true carrier landing!
We made a swift backtrack,before taxying into our stand.
We soon went through very quick customs, and said our goodbyes. Having been up for 41 hours already I now had an hour long drive back to Nottinghamshire! I set off from LBA at 21.05 and was home for 22.10.