Continuing on from Part 1 of my earlier trip report, see "E-Jets in Australia", my day trip was not to end in Canberra (CBR
). I had onward reservations to fly to Sydney, then back up to Brisbane, with a couple of hours spotting time thrown in at SYD
for good measure.
Getting to CBR
was a breeze and my first EM190 flight was successful. I exited landside for a few moments to see if there was anything of interest in the terminal, but nothing really grabbed me, so I decided to pass through security and go to the gate to see if I could get some pics of my arriving EM170 that was scheduled to take me to Sydney as DJ651.
On passing through, I was detained for a further screening after the initial “random” check for explosives revealed a positive result! I’ve never had this before but they then took down details of my flight and asked a few questions. I was a little on the nervous side because I was not relishing the thought of having to explain why I was only in CBR
for 2 hours, only to fly to SYD
for 2 hours and then head back to Brisbane on the same day - if I had said it was just to ride the E-jets, I am sure I would have been taken away for even further questioning. Hmmm. In any case, I passed the second screening and managed to answer questions as to where I was going and why without arousing too much suspicion and was allowed to go on my way.
Heading to the gate area which was quite small, but probably adequate for the E190/E170 loads, I managed to get a nice vantage point for some spotting and to get a glimpse of my E170.
A couple of shots from CBR
Also was pleased to see one of the RAAF B737NG VIP aircraft arrive. I worked on the legal team involved in the purchase of these aircraft in 2001 from Boeing.
Not much in the way of variety, but CBR
is certainly becoming an E-jet haven, with all Virgin flights being operated by this type.
One in…one out
After a coffee and snack, another little E-jet arrived. Delivered in December 2008 and fitted in an all Y78 configuration, “Little Miss Sunshine Coast” VH
-ZHF would be operating my flight today to SYD
. Here she is arriving into CBR
Boarding through Gate 5, the aircraft must have been only ¼ full. Many seats were empty, including my entire row. I was in 19A at the rear of the aircraft. There are 20 rows on the E170s. Virgin Blue’s E-jets seats look like this.
At the gate, with our reflection
Legroom and seat were very comfy, and no noticeable difference in the interior from the E190 I had just stepped off.
As we were fully boarded in no time at all, there was no chance of a delayed departure today. We pushed back early and commenced our taxi to the departure runway, passing sistership, VH
-ZHA who had just arrived at the adjoining gate. Safety demonstration was done manually (as it is on all DJ
flights), and our crew today was just as cheerful and friendly as those on DJ1212.
Little arriving traffic meant that we had no wait once we got to the end of the runway. Departing toward the south off Runway 17, here are a few take off shots.
We headed directly south for a bit, past Queanbeyan, which meant we’d left the Australian Capital Territory and were pretty much over New South Wales within a couple of minutes. Climbing out was quite bumpy but the E170 handled the rough quite admirably. A sharp left bank over the Googong Reservoir and we started tracking in a northeasterly direction, next stop, Sydney.
Cruise flight time was a very short 25 mins, but still enough time to enjoy another E-jet experience. From memory, we were not offered any purchases from the BOB menu as the flight time was so short. I can’t recall whether we were offered drinks, but I did not purchase anything.
Barely enough time to enjoy the scenery of the interior of New South Wales, we started to see more signs of urban activity as the outskirts of Sydney came into view. I was really hoping that we’d approach SYD
from the north, as I was on the correct side of the aircraft to get some views of Sydney’s famous landmarks. Today, it looks like I would be in luck (for once).
We approached over Sydney’s north west before banking around to line up to make our approach to the main north - south runway at SYD
. On the way, we got some great views of the city and the inner west before touching down smoothly.
Central Sydney and Balmain (foreground)
Parramatta Road - busy with traffic as usual
Welcome to Sydney!
A short taxi to our gate and my E170 flight was over. Little Miss Sunshine Coast resting at the gate, having completed DJ651 from Canberra.
I had a couple of hours before my homeward bound flight to Brisbane (which was operated by a Pacific Blue B737-800), so I managed to capture some of the action at SYD
that afternoon. Here are a few snaps taken from Terminal 2.
Aeropelican (based in Newcastle) Jetstream 31
Strategic’s sole A330
Qantaslink Dash 8 - 300, now in the new revised colours
One of the handful of RR
763s arrives after operating another domestic flight
In sum, flying on Virgin Blue’s E-jets was a great experience. My day trip was a success, and I was lucky to have some great weather. The aircraft were immaculate inside and out, and all my flights were on time. Service onboard was delivered consistently by friendly crew. It also made me realise how lucky we are in Australia not to have the inclement weather (even in winter) that we’ve seen in Europe and the US lately that has caused absolute chaos for the flying public. Thanks for reading.
Comments always welcome.