mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:02 am

OK, so it wasn't really inaugural as the aircraft operated into BLK first, but it was the first BLK-IOM flight so it still counts...

Clickable thumnail images - will open larger image

Saturday July 15th
BPS103 BLK-IOM
Depart: 1120 (Actual: 1125)
Arrive: 1155 (On Time)
Let L-410UVP-E5 Turbolet HA-YFG

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alan Lebeda
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andy Marks-ManxAirPix



I booked this trip on the spur of the moment, when forum user 'Skidmarks' posted that this new airline was available for booking. Not something I'd normally do, however their website stated they would be using a Let-410 on the flights, and that combined with a special offer for the first tickets sold me on the idea! Unlike many startup airlines, Manx2 got off on the right foot with a decent, informative website, and an online booking system (powered by AirKiosk) - @lpha1, take note!

I arrived at BLK at 10am, interested to see what the extension to the terminal has achieved (answer - a lot!), and whether there would be any 'festivities' to mark the flight. There weren't! When the desk opened at 1020, I was 2nd to check in, and received a hand written boarding card noting Gate 2 would be our gate. Before going through security, I noted the changes to BLK since my last visit. These were quite extensive, with 14 check in desks (previously 5!) and a more modern feel. There was also a WH Smith, due to open on Monday - BLK is going up in the world! Adverts for Ryanair, Monarch and Jet2 were everywhere, though Manx2 had managed to squeeze in a few, too.

I proceeded through to security, which was still the single-machine system, however the departure lounge has improved enourmously! It is spacious and bright, with a much better duty-free shop and a nicer cafe, plus plenty of seating.


Outside, the apron has been expanded, with proper parking spaces for aircraft in place.

As I waited, I watched a procession of GA traffic taking advantage of the gorious weather! An interesting looking Bi-plane arrived, which attracted the attention of a few staff - not sure what it was, though. Also on the ground was a BAe Hawk, in black, and an untitled BAe146.

Our aircraft landed on runway 10, and taxied towards the terminal, where it was parked by a marshaller:


5 passengers disembarked. A couple of minutes later, our flight was called. 7 of us boarded.


The cabin was laid out in a 1+2 formation, and free seating was in effect. I took seat 2A. The seats were narrow, but suprisingly comfy. The seatpocket contained a sick bag, Manx2 branded safety card and a Manx2 promotional brochure. The first officer gave us the safety demonstration, as Manx2 have no flight attendants. The two pilots were eastern European, evidently working for 'BASe Air Kft', from whom the aircraft is leased.

Soon, the engines were started and we commenced our taxi to runway 10. We held behind two GA aircraft, who were waiting for a helicopter departure. Once the helicopter had left, ATC speedily dispatched the light aircraft, and lined us up.

The takeoff was great fun, very powerful, and with plenty of yawing motion. As we climbed, Blackpool tower came into view, along with the Pepsi Max Big One.


We turned 180º to the east, and overflew the Golden Mile, which was very busy. I also got an overview of BLK.



We were soon over Morecambe Bay, which was seeing plenty of shipping traffic, as well as lots of activity on the numerous gas rigs.

Before long, we were descending. The wind meant that we flew past IOM, swinging a 180º turn again to line up with runway 10.




Our final descent took us over a very colourful island.



We taxied in past the BA Connect maintenance hangar, which had two ERJ-145s inside. We were marshalled into a remote parking stand, as one half of the apron is undergoing redevelopment, and is unsuitable for aircraft parking. Once the engines were switched off, the FO left his seat to open the door for us. I took the oppurtunity to get a flight deck photo and a cabin photo.



We got out, and stood in the sun waiting for the bus - the FO was advised that in future, he shouldn't disembark us until the bus was with the aircraft. I took the opputunity to shoot G-IONA, which was parked two stands away.



Our bus on its way.

Also on the ground was FlyBE DH8-400 G-JEDI, and Loganair Saab-340, G-LGNB.



We were deposited at Gate 4, and walked through to arrivals.

I spent my 5 hours in the Isle of Man around the airport perimeter, wandering to the 'Manx Flyers' flying club, where I had my lunch. Typically, while indoors four aircraft arrived in an hour. After my lunch, only one departed, which was a little disappointing!


Some photos from my wandering:





Saturday July 15th
BPS104 IOM-BLK
Depart: 1700 (On Time)
Arrive: 1735 (On Time)
Let L-410UVP-E5 Turbolet HA-YFG

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alan Lebeda
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andy Marks-ManxAirPix



I arrived back at the terminal at 1550, and proceeded to Manx2 checkin, which was unoccupied at the time. I waited a short while until someone appeared and checked me in. I recieved a printed British Airways boarding card, with 'Free Seating' handwritten on it. I then moved upstairs to departures.


I passed through security, and was soon sitting by a window watching the aircraft - on the ground were G-BRYY, G-MABR, EI-REF (Euromanx), G-IONA (Air Atlantique) and G-RHUM (Atlantic Express), which was parked next to our aircraft, HA-YFG once again.

Our flight was called shortly, by the guy who checked me in. He tore my boarding card, and asked me to wait for the one remaining passenger - giving just two passengers on the flight! We were both escorted to the bus, and while we waited for a driver got chatting about the start for Manx2 (he said it was pretty good, generally) and what I'd been doing all day - the agent was also interested in aviation, and knew the Aero club well.

Once our driver arrived, we were soon underway to our aircraft. This time, I took seat 4A, which is a little less obstructed by the engine. With only two passengers, we were boarded very quickly. The same first officer as my outbound gave the safety briefing before engines were started. Soon we were taxiing to runway 10.




We were soon lined up, after a departing GA aircraft, and we performed another powerful departure.




As we climbed to our cruise altitude, the town of Douglas came into view



The flight was a little bumpy, probably because of our low altitude (which was announced, but I struggled to hear it thanks to the noise of the props!). Since my earlier flight, a sign had been added to the cabin:


It is interesting that Manx2 have branded everything; a good way of increasing your brand identity (and again, a lesson that could be learnt by a lot of start-up airlines). Their adverts were certainly prominent in both BLK and IOM airports.

We descended over Blackpool for a visual approach into runway 28.

The tower and two of the piers. Blackpool North station can also be seen.


The descent was quite turbulent, though not horribly so. In the distance I saw the Heysham nuclear reactors, beyond which lies my home town of Morecambe. As we turned to runway 28, BAe Warton also came into view.


As we approached the threshold to runway 28, the GPRS system sounded, with a 'Too Low, Flaps' sound, which was a little novel! I think we performed a high-speed approach, in order to allow us to cover as much of runway 28 as possible - there are only two taxiways to turn off at, one of which is right at the end, the other of which is in the middle, but is used by a lot of light aircraft. The pilot floated the landing, before making a smooth touchdown and quickly engaging the reversers on the aircraft - they are certainly effective, and it is easy to feel them kicking in.

We took the end taxiway, and taxied past the parked BAe-146, G-BLRA, which was wearing the new livery of BAe Systems, who own and operate the aircraft on charter duties.


Also on the ground was Jet2's G-CELK 'Jet2 Edinburgh', preparing for its next flight.


We were once again parked by a marshaller, though facing in the opposite direction to our arrival. Again, the first officer opened the door for us, and we both disembarked. We were met by a Servisair staff member, who took us to domestic arrivals, which seemed ridiculously lonely with only two passengers!







Once through arrivals I returned to my car, which was parked off the airport in a nearby residential area (saving: £16!).

Overall, Manx2 offered a decent service for a decent price, giving some much needed competition to BNWA on the BLK-IOM-BFS route. They have made a real effort, ensuring everything was in place for them to start flights, so that the initial date could be kept. They also gace a positive impression with a painted aircraft and plenty of branded literature and information. I wish them all the best for the future!

The Let-210 was also novel - in the UK it is possible to fly them sometimes with parachute clubs, however on this occasion it was nice to fly one without having to jump out of the back door!

I hope you enjoyed my report; please feel free to comment!
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BMIFlyer
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:31 am

Great report Martin Big grin

Cheers,


Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
9VSPO
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:44 am

Thanks for that Martin. I was actually going to book that flight but Andy wasn't home and they wanted £88! How much did you pay? Btw, some pictures of the IOM would be nice or did you just spend all day at the airport?
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:48 am

Quoting 9VSPO (Reply 2):
Thanks for that Martin. I was actually going to book that flight but Andy wasn't home and they wanted £88! How much did you pay? Btw, some pictures of the IOM would be nice or did you just spend all day at the airport?

I paid £78, which wasn't too bad - though I did it more for the aircraft than the flight itself!

Andy was kind enough to leave a map for me though, which helped me find the Aero Club at least! Only had 4 hours, and it took me an hour each way to get to the aero club - on the wayy there I got lost several times, on the way back I took it slow and just enjoyed the walk, so no time for the rest of the island! Though Manx2 do offer an early morning flight too during the week, which I'd have taken if I had the time off!
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9VSPO
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:54 am

If you want to do it again one day when the flights are cheaper let me now! I would have come and took a pic of you departing BLK if I'd have known!  Smile
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:01 am

I'd love to do it again, but funds and time are limited, and come September I'll be dahn sarf (at the spiritual home of @lpha1, incidentally), making day trips from BLK difficult  Sad
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theLUREnyc
Posts: 185
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:35 am

Very interesting report and pics! So nice to see something a bit different from the usual 'SQ F to SIN' -type reports!

The LET is such a cute plane! Looks like an ATR crossed with a Twin Otter.
For a 19-seater, that cabin looks 100 times nicer than that of the 1900D (yuk!)
 
NZ8800
Posts: 408
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:39 pm

Looks like a great experience to fly in the LET, interesting looking aircraft. And it does look more comfortable than the 1900Ds (!)
Also good to see the other aircraft about, including a colourful SAAB 340, blue engines and all  Smile

By the way, - just wondering - does IOM have customs/immigration or are all its flights within the common travel area?
MDZWTA ~ Mobile Disaster Zone When Travelling Abroad
 
Capital146
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:40 pm

Quoting Mhodgson (Thread starter):
I booked this trip on the spur of the moment, when forum user 'Skidmarks' posted that this new airline was available for booking.

Ahem, I believe that was my thread, Martin!  Wink

I was hoping you'd do a trip report on these flights. I've been curious about Manx2.com since they first formed and announced that they'd be using the LET-410 and that they'd also be flying into my nearest airport, LBA, from August.

From a recent press release by them it seems that they are very pleased with forward bookings, particularly from BLK, so lets hope the situation of 2 pax on a flight is not set to be commonplace!

Fares seem to vary wildly on their services, presumable due to the number of seats already sold on each flight. Was looking yesterday and it's possible to get a LBA-IOM day return on certain days during August for just £59 return incl taxes, which is even less than the prices they advertise on their home page! Yet on other days the price goes beyond £80 one-way!
Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:42 pm

Quoting NZ8800 (Reply 7):
does IOM have customs/immigration

It does have a seperate 'international arrivals' area in the terminal.

Quoting Capital146 (Reply 8):
Ahem, I believe that was my thread, Martin!

My bad - sorry!

Their press releases certainly imply a certain optimism about the future - certainly a good thing!
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Contact Air
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:48 am

Very interesting report and great pics! I enjoyed reading about this new airline a lot! So once again a start-up on the Isle of Man, and this time with a very exotic aircraft! Aviation scene out there seems to be very lively. I have visited the Isle of Man twice: once with the "old" Manx Airlines back in 2000 and once on Emerald Airways from LPL last year. Both airlines aren't in service any longer...

Christoph
 
9VSPO
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:18 am

2 passangers! Is that all there was?  Sad
 
Ndebele
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:21 am

I cannot believe it! A Let-410 in western Europe. Those IOM-routes are always good for nice start-ups with exotic equipment. I enjoyed your report very much, also because of the nice pics.

Quoting Mhodgson (Thread starter):
Since my earlier flight, a sign had been added to the cabin

What a nice small detail

By the way, in the background of one pic, there are several aircraft parked which look like Emerald. Do they have their whole fleet parked at BLK? What about FlyJEM's ATPs, are they also parked at BLK now?

Regards, Alex.
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:00 am

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 12):
By the way, in the background of one pic, there are several aircraft parked which look like Emerald. Do they have their whole fleet parked at BLK? What about FlyJEM's ATPs, are they also parked at BLK now?

There are a few parked up at BLK; there is also one of the ATPs at IOM on a crosswind runway.
At BLK:
http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/23004/IOM0001.JPG
http://www.atomic-album.com/showPic.php/23004/IOM0002.JPG

Quoting 9VSPO (Reply 11):
2 passangers! Is that all there was?

7 on the outbound, 2 on the inbound. Not brilliant, though hopefully loads will increase, bearing in mind Saturday evening is a crap time for business and not brilliant for starting trips.
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9VSPO
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:39 am

BLK last weekend.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b389/airbusfan/08-1.jpg
 
TUGMASTER
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:08 am

Great report...


Have booked BFS-IOM-BLK in september for £49.99.....can't be bad.

rgds

T
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:41 pm

Some slightly better photos:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Hodgson
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Martin Hodgson

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A3204eva
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:18 pm

Flightplan for your flight if you're interested  Smile (was the Fp last time I looked)

EGNH-EGNS:
EGNH DCT MORBY W2D VANIN DCT EGNS

EGNS-EGNH:
EGNS DCT IOM W2D MORBY DCT EGNH

I don't think we'll ever get a bigger security team. They seem to be able to cope. They always used to catch me going through with my mobile when I forgot to take it out of my pocket (which was every time I went through to a flight  Wink)

 Smile
"They have lady pilots......... they're not that good, but they have 'em"
 
mhodgson
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Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:51 pm

Thanks for those, Scott - very interesting, as I always assumed it was pretty much EGNH DCT EGNS! While it more or less is, I never realised there was a proper flight plan behind it all.
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A3204eva
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:36 am

They may as well fly DCT but they can't. There's an airway, so they gotta follow it  Smile (even though it's so short and OCAS).

TBH a lot of the times the flights to and from EGNS, once airbourne, cancel their IFR flight and continue VFR. Even if they remain IFR, 90% of the time they'll take the visual app. They only fly around FL35/FL45 anyway (generally).

 Smile
"They have lady pilots......... they're not that good, but they have 'em"
 
UK_Dispatcher
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:32 am

Very interesting report and pics - I did not realise Manx2 were going to be using this a/c type - well worth the trip report.

Many thanks for sharing.
 
Door5Right
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:37 am

Nice day out for you, Mr. Mhodgson!

Good to have a report on this new venture on A.Net so soon. Well done.
My soul is in the sky...
 
MYT332
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RE: Manx2 Inaugural Flight - BLK-IOM-BLK

Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:09 am

Good one Martin, nice to see some new pics of the terminal at BLK although to be honest, it still looks very shit! It looks like a bad conference hall. Big grin

I remember when you booked these flights too, I was thinking about doing the same thing as I've never been to IOM but alas.

Liking the pics too, your wandering was worthy of one of my trips.  Wink

Alex
One Life, Live it.

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