Depart: Approx 1830
Arrive: Approx 1930
Beech B200 Super King Air G-IMGL (operated by J-Max Aviation)
Photo © Andrew Scott
Photo © Globalpics
I had been in Grays, Essex to see my home town football team earn a place in the Conference Playoffs by winning 2-1. At half time, our chairman invited me to fly back up north with him and a few guests, as they had a spare seat on their chartered aircraft. I didn't need to think for long - flying wins every time, particularly against a 5 hour drive!
After the match, we got a minibus from the ground to Southend airport; a drive of approximately 30 minutes. We pulled up opposite the pax-less passenger terminal. Our group then went straight to flight ops, where the flight dispatcher was awaiting us. Several of the party made use of the toilets, after enjoying a bit too much to drink during the second half! I made a beeline for the window, and saw several stored ATPs (ex BA), 2 BAe 146's (Flightline and TNT) and an ATA Brazil 737-200 (TF-ELL; wearing a livery which looks very similar to FlyJet's).
A few photos taken on my camera phone:
Boarding our aircraft
We were escorted to the aircraft by the dispatcher, where we were greeted by the captain and entered via the rear door. I took a seat at the front, which was a sideways seat, offering an excellent view into the cockpit. Once we took our seats, the captain signed off the paperwork and took his seat. Engine startup commenced as I looked on, and we commenced our taxi to runway 06. I saw a BAC Express shoebox outside Air Livery, which I presume was about to be painted into the new scheme. There was also an F-28 from the same company parked on the apron next to the stored ATPs. Over on the far side of the aerodrome was a Magic Blue ATP.
We held at hold point C1, as a Cessna landed, before backtracking. We held for a short while, before the power was applied. The captain held the aircraft on brakes for until about 70% N1, at which time they were released and we shot down the runway. It was certainly an interesting sensation to be flying sideways - the seatbelt is not as useful at keeping you in place as it would be in a forward-facing aircraft!
After climbing on runway heading for a short distance, we turned east towards LAM. The copilot turned round and told us it was OK to start on the food now at about 8000' - sandwiches were passed around, and a basket of various snack items was provided. Additionally, there were cubby holes holding beers and other drinks - I had a Coca Cola and a couple of sandwiches, followed by a mini-tub of Pringles.
Our routing for this flight, as seen from the PFD on the flight deck, was LAM-BPK-POTON-EBOTO-LESTA-ROBIN-POL, cruising at 18,000'. The flight was smooth apart from turbulence departing SEN. As we left ROBIN, we deviated slightly from the route to POL (Pole Hill, near Bolton) in order to make a more direct routing to Blackpool. Thus we flew over Manchester, Wigan and Preston on our descent, before intercepting the localiser for BLK's runway 28. We descended over BAe Warton, and through the haze could be seen Blackpool Tower as well as the nuclear power stations at Heysham.
We made a firm, but not uncomfortable landing on runway 28, and reverse thrust was used to bring us to a controllable taxi speed. We exited to the left, at the first available taxiway, which led straight to the JMax hangar in which the plane is based. We were marshalled in, and the engines were stopped. We were soon disembarking - a few interesting aircraft were in the hangar, but I couldn't linger. I was soon on the road home, and was in at 8:15 - my dad made it in 3 hours and 30 minutes later!
G-IMGL being towed into the hangar
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