Thu Apr 13th
Flight LH 3675
From: Geneva, Switzerland To: Frankfurt, Germany
Seat: 4F (C Class)
Photo © Omar Saffe - Spot This!
I boarded the plane after a couple of orange juices in the LH lounge in GVA, just to be sure to keep awake. The 0445 alarm was quite hard, but well, I was looking forward to it!
I boarded quite late, at about 0640, and the plane qui about 75% full. The takeoff was at about 0710. It was a 733, quite nice place given its age. The service aboard was a little drink before takeoff, and then, a little breakfast aboard the plane, after takeoff. A little juice, some fruits, yougurt and so on. Quite basic but nice to have a little something in the stomach. We flew for about 1hr before we started turning in the waiting pattern in Frankfurt. We were there about 10 minutes so we landed at about 0830, a bit late, but way enough time to take the next flight.
Shorly after take-off, flying over the Alps.
The beautiful Alps again.
Thu Apr 13th
Flight LH 438
From: Frankfurt, Germany To: Dallas, USA
Seat: 11K (C Class)
Photo © Jason Bisson
I had time to deboard the plane and get to the terminal B to get my flight, and relax at the lounge for a while. I was at the gate in terminal A. My biggest problem was to know if I'd get the new C-Class. I've heard the old one was quite bad, and I wished I wouldn't get it. There was a lot of people in the terminal at that moment, and I had to crawl through all the people in time, as I was told the security checks could get very long in the B terminal, where most flights to the USA leave. I had a passport control check first, and as everyone passed through that one very quick, I had to give an address where I was going to stay... I thought I'd only have to do that aboard the plane! But well, it was badly organized, people behind me were getting mad at me, and I was trying to hurry to not keep them waiting too long...
Then, once that was done, the security and X-Ray checks. There was a F&C Class pax line which was really faster, and I took that one. It was quite quick, but they had to check my camera for explosives etc... which took some time, but is was fine. One orange juice at the lounge, a quick smoke and I boarded at about 0930. There was a jetway but a staircase at the end with a bus waiting... Quite strange! We were brought to our beautiful 340 by bus at 0940, parked a remote stand, and boarded. I was in the last bus so boarding was completed in no time and we had a little welcome drink... and the new C Class!
We took off at 1010, and I was looking at my IFE during the takeoff to look at the Airshow. Then, I took out my book, and looked at the IFE... it had blocked... So I aked the F/A, and she had to restart it.. Oh well, it took some 10 minutes, I was in no hurry but it was painful, as the same happened to my neighbour an hour later and then again in the whole C class (which led to a complete IFE restart...)
My IFE being restarted after 30min of flight!
Thank god, it never happened again during the flight. We were given some peanuts and a glass of wine at about 11pm and then we had lunch. It was a great meal, with a small Caneloni with cheese, then a salad with chicken, beef with rice, cheese and a desert. The food was quite good, the beef was nothing special though. The Wine was excellent, it was a Bordeaux. Can't recall which one exactly, a 2003.
The Seat itself... well, what can I say, it's excellent! There is a remote control on the armrest, and the whole is electric. You can put it in any kind of position, which is really nice. You can adjust the legrest, the part where you sit on, and the back. There are also some pre-configured positions, the "Sleep & Dine", the "Relax" and "Sleep". The first one is the sitting position, the second one is the back down, legs up a bit, nice to watch TV or read a book, and the last one is completely flat, with a little angle.
There are a few negative points to me. The first one is the storage. There is one place next to the screen, but you can't fit a lot. A big book and a magazine at the most. The legroom is huge but as soon as you recline your seat (& lift the footrest), you can't have anything on the floor in front, and there is no or little space on the sides (if sitting at a window seat). There is one laptop storage but it's way back (almost behind you if sitting), and that's about it. The second negative thing is the "relax" position of the seat, which is strangely very high. When you put that position in, your seat lifts about 30cm (1 foot) up, and you feel like you're very high. It is quite painful when you want to reach anything, you're far away...
But all in all, it's very comfortable, even after 11hrs flight!
Reaching the Canadian Coast
We quickly crossed the Atlantic (we reached Canada after 7hrs) but we were flying quite slowly, as there were very strong wind against our nose, which made our ETA in DFW about half an hour late. Oh well. I was comfortable!
The IFE is excellent, though a bit slow to react sometimes.... It has a good choice of movies (about 20 of so) and documentaries, Airshow, and other stuff, but this is only in C class. Y has normal screens on the ceiling, that's it! Looked really uncomfortable! Except the fact it crashed twice, I looked at 3 movies (Harry Potter, Bend It Like Beckham, Chicken Little) and played some of the games available, thought boring after a few minutes. There is also language courses, and other features I didn't try. Very positive point is the number of languages available for the movies. It usually had at least 6 (Eng/Fre/Ger/Ita/Esp/Por/etc..)
We had a little lunch-dinner (don't really know, it depends on the time zone ) before takeoff. Quite light bit very good.
We finally landed in Dallas after 10h45 minutes, at 1355 local time, that means 25min late on the schedule. Weather was perfect, and temperatures about 28C. Great!
We drove to Denton where we had rented our Piper Cherokee Warrior III N9855S to fly to Longview, TX (GGG). It was a 1.6 hours flight. We landed there, and there was not much going on, some abandonned planes and a few jets.
A Citation at the Longview Airport
The second day we made quite some flying. We went through 5 different states (Texas, Missisipi, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia) We first reached Monroe, LA (MLU) in 1.6 hours. We made a lunch and fuel stop there. There was a plane sitting there that was flying to Memphis, a Continental S340.
Continental S340 in Monroe, LA (MLU)
We then continued to Bessemer, southwest of Jackson, AL (EKY), where we fueled again. This leg took us 2.4 hours, which was long with all the flying from the day before and the jetlag... Finally, 1.4 hours more were necessary to reach Atlanta Peachtree Dekalb Airport (PDK) where we left our plane.
Our Piper Cherokee Warrior III N9855S in Atlanta PDK
The weather's still great, so we go out to fly. We first fly to McCollum Field (RYY) in 0.5hrs to the airfield we used to fly when I lived in the USA (I lived there 1993-1995 in Atlanta. I returned back to Switzerland some time after). From there, we flew RYY to Lawrenceville-Gwinett (LZU) - 0.5 hours) to have lunch, some big fat american burger!!
The afternoon, we flew Lawrenceville-Gwinett (LZU) to Clayton (4A7) south of Atlanta, (0.6 hours) just next to the raceway. From there, after refueling, we flew back north to PDK, but were authorised to fly though the Bravo Airspace over the ATL Hartsfield Airport for some Photo job (which I did) at 5500ft. The view was great!! (1.0 hours flight). We then reached downtown Atlanta and were allowed to go down to 3000ft and I made som cool pics too.
View of ATL Hartsfield from 5500ft.
Day off, so I went spotting to ATL, pictures on A.net very soon! :-p
We went down to Florida on that day, from PDK back to Clayton (4A7) first to fuel up (we always carefully selected the cheaper fuel airports, as prices can go from $2.70 a gallon to $4.90 a gallon (100LL) depending where you go!). That first part was about 0.6 hours long, and once we crossed all of Georgia, we reached the Florida coastline where we lined up and landed in Destin, (DTS) after a 2.4 hours long flight. Quite busy on that day with the end of the easter holiday, we counted no less than 18 jets on the airport! We then went to have lunch at the local Hooters (had never been there before!!) and then checked in at the Hilton in Sandestin resort. Really cool place!
The Destin (DTS) airport from above.
Day off in the Sandestin Resort, some excellent place with a beautiful beach and areas, and the sea was nice and warm, and the pool too. Relaxing and sunburn day!
My birthday! Unfortunately, the gift was given by the Weather Channel, which was t-storms heading for us, and in the Texas area it was raining bad. We had to leave the place quickly and fly back, otherwise we would've gotten in trouble... Missing our plane in Dallas back to Switzerland It didn't happen, don't worry!
This day was very long! We flew first from Destin (DTS) to Foley, AL (5R4) in 0.9 hours to get some fuel. All that time, we flew about 250-300ft ASL (AGL too) over the beach, looking at all these ladies in bikinis . Foley is a few miles inland, so we left the beach south of the field. That leg took 0.9 hours, and then, we flew along the coast again all the way to Dauphin Island, AL (4R9), (0.5 hrs) which is an airport with its runway built on the sea. Very nice to see! The airport was completely empty, we were the only ones there, I actually even went on the runway walking to take a pic!
Dauphin Island Airport, AL (4R9)
The next leg was certainly the most impressive of all, as we flew all the way in 1.6hrs to New Orleans and over all the destroyed area (Katrina hurricane). We flew over Biloxi and New Orleans downtown, and the area completely devastated is purely incredible. I would never have thought it was THAT bad...
Biloxi, competely devastated by Katrina
The infamous Dome in New Orleans, badly hit by Katrina, undergoing renovation work.
We landed in Reserve, LA (St- John The Parish Airport (1L0) where we had our lunch, a subway sandwich and water. We fueled there and flew 1.4 hours to Pineville, LA, next to Alexandria to make a little break before a last leg to Shreveport, LA Downtown Airport (DTN) in 1.1 hours. We had sun the whole day in the end, but it looked like the clouds were still hanging over Dallas...
In the evening, we went to the restaurant for my birthday and went spend some $$$ at the casinos there. It was nice!
The weather still looked not too good in Texas, but we still decided to try it. We flew with only one stop to Denton (DTO). The stop was in Winsboro, TX (F51, 1.1hrs) where we did refuel the plane. Then, to Denton, it was 1.1 hours again and we had to fly around 2 thunderstorms, but the weather was not that bad and we were happy to be back to our "homebase".
A "flying day" again, but this time more for Leisure. We started off with a flight from Denton (DTO) to Gainesville (GLE) where we didn't really stop, we only did "touch & go's" so I could practise landings & takeoffs (though I have no pilot's license, I usually flied the plane 2/3s of this trip!!), and we then flew to Falconhead, OK (37K) where we met an old friend. It's a country club with a golf course, and we had lunch there. That flight was (including GLE) 1.0hrs.
Before Falconhead, we flew along a river no more than 60ft AGL (20m) and that was really funny. The river was wide and there were trees on the sides, and they were higher than we were... Excellent!
Flying 60ft AGL over the river!
We then flew from Falconhead to Lake Murray Airport, OK (1F1) in a 0.3hr flight. This airport is actually also a Golf Club! We landed there, took some golf clubs, some balls and we went to the driving range, which was pretty cool!
That's me hitting some balls in Lake Murray, OK (1F1). Our plane is just behind us! Is that a "fly thru golf-course"?
We then made a Flight that went from Lake Murray to Cedar Mills (3TO), Lake Texoma (F31) and to Majors (GVT) airfield (1.2hrs). We flew over that airport the day before and I had seen 707s there. Unfortunately, when we landed, we were told that Photography is prohibited (we went there to take pics!). Oh well, whatever, we took off back again... Denton was reached in 0.8 hours.
This day was the most special, as we made something we ourselves called "Expedition 21". The plan was to land and thakeoff on all the 21 hard runways inside the Dallas Fort Worth Class Bravo (we excluded the turf rwys). This made 21 airports in 1 day!
Here's the flightplan:
Denton (DTO) - Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)
We stopped there as you have to pay a tax. We were told the landing fee was 25$ there... Well it went up to 90$!!! Damn were we furious. Then I spotted a bit as I was inside the airport "fence" so cool views on takeoffs.
Takeoff from DFW's runway 17R after taxiing HA/A/L/EH!
Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) - Love Field (DAL) - Adisson (ADS) - Airpark Dallas (F69) - Northwest Regional (52F) - Fort Worth Alliance (AFW) - Hicks (T67)
We had lunch in Hicks. That part was fun, specially taxiing in DFW is a real maze, very funny with our map of the airport on the knees passing between Boeings and MDs everywhere! The same in DAL with Southwest jets everywhere! Then...
Hicks (T67) - Copeland (4T2) - Fort Worth Meecham (FTW) - Sycamore (9F9) - Fort Worth Spinks (FWS) - Arlington (GKY) - Grand Prairie (GPM) - Reb Bird Dallas Executive (RBD) - Midway Regional (JWY) - Lancaster (LNC) - Mesquite HQZ).
We stopped in Mesquite to have a look as there was a stock car race there, so we looked for a car and once it was all okay, we finished the trip:
Mesquite (HQZ) - Rockwall (F46) - McKinney (TKI) - AeroCounty (T31) - And finally back to Denton (DTO).
The evening, we went to that stock car race in Mesquite with the plane, and flew back to Denton during the night. Was really excellent to see the city lights from up there, navigating with VOR and GPS to find your way and avoiding the big antennas in the Dallas area!
Our airplane sitting in Mesquite ready to bring us back to Denton.
On that day, we flew 6.8 hours! We were tired, but had to do our luggage and we went to bed at 1am...
Here's the map of what we flew. The start point is Denton (nortwest in red&yellow).
Time to go back.
I went spotting in the morning, DFW is not as good as I hoped... way too much AA planes everywhere! And the weather was not great that day... oh well! It was nice though. We then checked in and proceeded to the lounge. Good surprise, the plane was A340-300 D-AIGC, the special Star Alliance livery!
I "accidentaly" got near the crew and asked the Capt & FO if I could pre-preboard the plane to take some cabin pics, which they accepted! Really cool!
LH's 340 Y class cabin of the plane I was flying on that day
LH's new C class I was seated in. Looks quite good, don't you think?
Flight LH 439
From: Dallas, USA To: Frankfurt, Germany
Seat: 11H (C Class)
Photo © Alex F.
Same as the flight to go to Dallas, nothing much to add, the wine and food were still as good, and I could sleep a little bit on the flat-bed (with an angle). It was enjoyable! I had the aisle seat that time, which is just as good as the window seat! Flight departed 15 min late in FRA and arrived on time in FRA.
Flight LH 3662
From: Frankfurt, Germany To: Geneva, Switzerland
Seat: 2F (C Class)
Photo © Steve Albrecht
Good seat, the 2F! It's just at the bulkhead, the first row on the right side of the plane, enjoyable flight with a quick breakfast, and already I'm back home to Switzerland!
There we go. To all who read all the way down, congratulations! I hope you enjoyed my report. I'm going to bed now, it took 3hrs+ to write it, I wonder if I didn't write a.net's longest post ever
By the way, total flying time (excluding the commercial flights) was 30.4 hours, flying approximately 2500nm.
Anyway, any comments welcome!! Have a good time!!
[Edited 2006-05-05 01:36:24]