MY FIRST TURBOPROP FLIGHT WITH FLYBE
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Do you know the feeling that you've just got to book a flight somewhere? Well, I surely have this feeling once in a while. At the end of April I was in the booking-mood again so I booked two "cheap tickets": Eindhoven to London Stansted with Ryanair and back from Birmingham to Amsterdam with BMIbaby. This, however, is not what this trip report is about.
It was just a few days prior to my flight from Eindhoven to London and I was in the middle of my examination week for my study. I felt rather miserable with the idea that I would probably not be flying any new aircraft types this time. I just had to fly something new… So what else could I have done than search for some nice deals out of Birmingham (yes I know I should have learned for my examinations instead of spending time looking for flights)?
Since I could only book the flights just a few days in advance I didn't expect to get any reasonable priced tickets. Still you never know and I tried to find some good FlyBE-deals on the evening on which I was supposed to be learning. The British low cost carrier flies to a lot of cities from Birmingham but Edinburgh immediately caught my attention. I had never been to Scotland before but I had seen some interesting photos of the city on the web. Before long I had filled in the departure date and arrival destination and clicked on the search button…
I was more than happily surprised when I saw the ticket price: 0,02 GBP!! After taxes and everything was counted up to the ticket price I ended up to be able to get a return ticket from Birmingham to Edinburgh for just under 60 pound (no luggage, no pre-assigned seats). Not at all bad when you are used to not getting anywhere for anything bellow 90 GBP which is the case at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (my hometown airport). I was even more excited when I found out that the return flight was scheduled to be operated with the beautiful Embraer 195.
No time was to be lost. I got my Amex card and booked the flights. When my parents came back from shopping I said: "Hey, I'm up to Edinburgh the day after tomorrow". You should have seen my mother's face…
P R E F L I G H T
The day before departure to Edinburgh I checked in online. I hoped that I would have been able to select a seat at this point. Unfortunately this was not possible and I got seat 14A on both the inbound and the outbound flight. The only thing I could do was hope that the flight was half empty so that I could switch seats.
The alarm went off at 7AM the day of departure. After a quick breakfast we (James Ralph, a fellow plane spotter and myself) were off to the airport. It was only a short drive to the airport and we were at the airport at around eight o'clock. There was next to nobody at the security that morning. In no time we were airside.
1. I passed this Embraer 195 when walking to the terminal.
2. Arriving at Terminal 2.
3. Since it was a bank holiday the airport was very quiet that morning.
Terminal 2 is a nice little terminal with (at least) one good spotting location. At the right far end of the terminal there are some huge windows. Until our flight was ready for boarding I stayed there and looked at all planes arriving and departing. One of the planes that was on stand that morning was the Dash with the "environmental livery". Would that be the aircraft that would fly us to Edinburgh?
4. The unofficial spotting area in Terminal 2./5. Departure information on airport monitor.
Since the boarding gate is not announced until boarding actually starts, I constantly looked on the TV monitors. At around 8:45AM flight BE847 was ready for boarding. Unfortunately I cannot remember from which gate my flight departed .
Only one FlyBE employee was at the gate. After my passport and boarding pass were checked by the lady I walked on and found myself with all other passengers in a small waiting area. The area soon became pretty full and I got a bit worried that I would not be able to get a different seat. Luckily all passengers had soon arrived in this waiting area and we were allowed to go on to the aircraft.
F L I G H T
Aircraft: DHC-8 402
Registration number: G-JECK
Delivery to FlyBE: 15/01/2006
Previously in service with: FlyBE is the first operator of this aircraft
Photo © Mark McEwan
Photo © Ton de Haan
Photo © Szabo Gabor
Photo © Gerry Hill - WorldAirImages
After going downstairs and outside I first saw our aircraft. Unfortunately it was not the Environmental plane which was parked right in front of me. That day the morning flight to Edinburgh was operated with G-JEC, a four year old Dash-8.
6. The aircraft that would take us to Scotland.
7. This was my first flight on a turbo prop so I had to take a photo of those engines.
8. Just five steps up and you're in the aircraft.
After taking some photos of the aircraft I climbed the stairs and entered the plane where I was welcomed by one of the two female flight attendants on the flight. I walked around halfway into the plane when I got to my seat: 14A. Guess what? It's probably the worse seat in the plane for taking photos out of the window. To be more exact, it had no window. Luckily a very nice gentlemen who was seated behind me was willing to change place with me. Although the window at 15A was very, very dirty, at least it had a window.
Soon all people were onboard and the front door got closed. The crew welcomed us over the intercom and soon started the safety briefing. FlyBE's safety demonstration is prerecorded and a bit informal which was nice for a change. It took another five to ten minutes before we got pushed back from the parking position and the captain started those enormous propellers.
Birmingham has only got one runway and this morning they used runway 33 for both take offs and landings. The terminal where all FlyBE flights depart from is very close to the beginning of that runway so taxi time was only a few short minutes. Only once we reached the runway I realized that the flaps had been extended. They seemed to have extended very quietly… What a shame, I love noisy flaps. However I do also like noisy engines and those two PW150A surely are.
We taxied on to the runway and were pushed back into our seats. Rotation…. and air born. What I liked about flying the Dash-8 is that the wing is above you and you can see the landing gear go in. The landing gear was hidden in the engine in a matter of seconds. After a few unstable turns through the clouds we were heading north and climbed to our cruising altitude.
9. My seat for the short hop to Edinburgh.
10. I couldn't see very much out of the window because most of the view was blocked by the engine.
11. Landing gear folding away.
12. Quite a cloudy day at Birmingham today.
Once the seat belt signs had been switched off the two flight attendants started the inflight service. FlyBE does not offer anything for free but you can purchase warm drinks, beverages and snacks if you want to. I had a good but very expensive cup of tea. Not many people ordered anything.
13. The menu.
14. Good old PG tips.
The two cabin crew members were both friendly and jolly. They did a very good job calming down the small child next to me who was crying at take off. It was his first flight ever and I guess he was a little scared. "Don't worry honey, we are in the air now, the most scary part has well passed. You can watch out of the window now and see all the clouds….. " I heard one of them say while drinking my tea.
15. Climbing to cruising altitude.
16. The cabin of this 4 year old aircraft. Flight load was pretty high as you can see.
After I finished my tea I got out of my seat to walk around the small cabin. The seat configuration is 2-2 but eyed pretty spacious. The seats were all leather but looked very worn for a just four year old aircraft. I've flown in much older airplanes which were in a much better shape than this Dash-8.
When I walked to the front of the plane the engines got louder and louder. In the first few rows it is very noisy. Try to avoid seats here if you want to get a sleep on board. Apart from being noisy, the floor trembles like hell in the front. After taking some photos out of the windows at the front I got back to my own seat for the remainder of the flight. The legroom was sufficient for such a short flight as this one.
17. From the front of the plane I had a much better view of the engine.
18. Legroom. Note that I am only 1,70 meters tall
The flight from Birmingham to Edinburgh took a little under one hour. Once we got closer to Edinburgh and started our descend, the weather turned from scattered clouds to overcast. With some bumps we descended into the Edinburgh area. We flew over the city of Edinburgh and made a couple of left hand turns before we touched down on runway 24.
19. Descending into the Edinburgh area.
20. The outskirts of cloudy Edinburgh.
21. Landing gear down.
22. Scotland as I expected it would be: green.
23. Short final.
It was just a short taxi to the gate and within ten minutes the doors were opened and we were free to unfasten our seatbelt. Before I left the plane I asked one of the flight attendants if she could take a photo of me in the cabin. She was happy to do so.
I left the plane through the door at the rear of the plane and slowly headed to the terminal building, taking some photos of the aircraft while walking over the tarmac. "Could you please stop taking photos, sir", I was asked. At the time they asked me this I luckily had already taken a couple of photos.
24. That's me after landing.
25. Walking to the terminal building.
The terminal of Edinburgh somehow reminded me a little of the terminal of Copenhagen Airport. It has huge windows with lovely views of all arriving traffic. And until late in the afternoon you have the sun behind you. That is, if you are there on a sunny day, which I wasn't.
Because of the poor weather and the rather boring air traffic I went into the city for a couple of hours. It's a beautiful city built around a couple of high hills. The view you get up one of those hills is absolutely worth the climb up. I've included some pictures of the city center bellow.
Thank you for taking your time to read/view this trip report. I hope you've enjoyed it. All comments are very welcome,
Former flight reviews:
Blasting away to CPH on a SAS MD-82
Goodbye to KLM’s F50, or not?
Great flight with Baboo
Planned flight reviews
A rollercoaster ride on a FlyBE E-95
[Edited 2010-06-20 12:24:42]