I checked the schedules of Saravia and Polet and decided to go to Vnukovo thursdaymorning and try to buy a flight to Saratov and preferably back to DME
on the same day. At least Saravia only has Yaks so no chance on being bused to a 737 again! If that wouldn’t work out, I could fly UTAir ATR to Voronezh and back by Polet Saab 2000. If that also wasn’t possible, at least I would go and spot the Tu-104 gateguard at Vnukovo. Due to me taking the aviaexpress train I didn’t manage to see it yet.
In Vnukovo I asked if I could fly out to Saratov and back today. I was lucky; seats on VKO
-RTW were available. Ideally I would have taken a later flight back to DME
because that would be a different Yak-42 but these were full. The Roundtrip was 7500 Ruble, about 180 euro, worth it.
Thursday 1 September 2011
Moscow Vnukovo (VKO
)- Saratov (RTW)
Actual: 13:24-14.43 (1:19 hr)
Distance 732 km
Economy seat 15F, window
1st flight on a Yak-42
After yesterdays experience I was still relieved there was a real cardcarrying Yak-42 at the gate. The first time in Russia we boarded thru a walkway. I noticed how simple and flimsy the interior looked like. The open overhead panels or the fuel nozzles looked like they picked them up at the local car and van repair shop. There were also no oxygen masks. Hmm hope they are right in trusting this aircraft so much. Also Saravia was the first airline I saw with no Inflight magazine.
The seat at an emergency row was comfortable.
Yes, we got em !
We took off and more then the other aircraft, it seemed a bit unstable. The take offs were like in a classic propliner; taxiing to the beginning of the runway, roars the engines for a minute and only then taking away the break and taking off.
An An-12, I won’t be flying on that one soon
Putin or another comrade probably makes a trip… two of the Il-96s were out and at take off we climbed over 2 taxiing Il-62Ms !
The lovely town of Saratov, pity I didn’t have time to visit it, same plane return flight today…
Then turning, decreasing and increasing speed and engine sound all the time. I felt safe on every flight but I doubted a bit this one (I already wrote this down before the unfortunate crash of another Yak-42 with the Icehockey players 6 days later).
Thursday 1 September 2011
Saratov (RTW)-Moscow Vnukovo (VKO
Actual: 15:52-17:17 (1:25 hr)
Distance 732 km
Economy seat 18A, window
2st flight on a Yak-42, 2nd on this exact airframe
As I was to fly back on the same aircraft, I had no time to loiter landside and returned to the tiny check in hall for my flight back. Indeed of course it was the same airplane. There were about 7 Yak-42s at the rework and parked but few of them seemed operational.
Yaks being reworked
Finally saw the Tupolev 104 gateguard of Vnukovo in the minibus back to town
Friday 2 September 2011
Moscow Domodedovo (DME
)- Chisinau, Moldova (KIV
Air Moldova 9U
Actual: 11:00-11:43 (1:43 hr)
Distance 1131 km
Economy seat 28A, window
60th flight on an A-320, 1st on this airframe (cn 249, ex SAA and TAM)
The airplane came in around 10.05 but luckily the departure wasn’t delayed much. I sat at the last row on the left. A normal Airbus flight. The aicraft has a reasonable long history, being cn 249 and having flown with South African and TAM before. I was a bit disappointed with the service, just a sandwich while I heared that they do hot meals on most international flights. The F/A’s seemed more bothered to push their tax free sales on the 2nd half of the flight.
Interior of A-320
The reason of going to Chisinau was a pleasure flight on an An-12 which was planned for that weekend. Unfortunately a month before we got the message that the aircraft was sold on to Azerbaijan and therefore not available. Still about 6 enthousiasts, including airliners.netter Loran, had already booked flights and hotels to Chisinau so we decided to hang out for pizza’s and beer that evening. I had rebooked departing the next morning while most others stayed for the weekend and managed to fly on an An-2 and Mil helicopters. We think about trying to fly on an An-12 and An-72 next year, please PM
me if you are interested.
I made a short trip in a minibus to Tiraspol of Transdinestria, an unrecognized ‘independent’ country who wanted to split off from Moldavia. A bit weird customs procedure, luckily a friendly other passenger helped me out filling forms and going to the right desk.
Customs coming back into Moldova from Transdinestria
It was raining very hard and after a short walk around the station, I decided to take the ride back already… Afterwards I heared surprised comments that I was able to get in and out for free with no ‘bakshees’ to be paid etc.
Saturday 3 September 2011
Scheduled: 07.00- 08.30
Actual 07.31-08.32 (1:01 hr)
Distance 597 km
20th flight on a Fokker 100, 1st on this airframe (ex AA
, Jetsgo, Moldavian)
I took an early cab thru the deserted misty streets of Chisinau to the airport. Entering the hall I was shocked to see total chaos and possibly 200 argumentative people queing up for the Carpatair desks. I was worried; are those people all trying to get on one little Fokker? After about 25 minutes, which seemed to be an eternity, I could check in. The CSR told me there would be 3 different flights, I was on the ‘A’ and the first to depart so I should go to the gate. It was very foggy but I managed to see all three Fokker 100s were parked on the apron. I flew on 2 of them a few years ago but this time I was lucky and the bus stopped at the 3rd, the one still in Moldovian Airlines titles. Does Chisinau always get extra aircraft? If that is such a busy place, should Carpatair try to rebuild its Moldovian Airlines outfit again and fly directly to destinations in Italy to which most passengers seem to connect?
At Carpatair I almost missed the laissez faire attitude on Russian airliners; there it was no problem if you had bags on the seat next to you or your seatback reclined during landing (they are too often broke to bother I guess), but here on a EU country airline the flight attendants were stern.
Boarding YR-FZA, still in Moldovian Airlines livery
Thru the fog you can see pieces of ground close underneath
For the short flight this bread was nice
Saturday 3 september 2011
Scheduled: 09.25- 10.55
Actual: 10.10-11:22 (2:12 hr)
Distance 1231 km
Economy, seat 7F
7th flight on a Saab 2000, 1st on this frame (ex HB
-IZW), my 860th flight overall
All flights were delayed half an hour due to one late incoming aircraft, probably a Fokker 70 from Italy containing connecting passengers. Luckily I had enough time in Dusseldorf to get my train.
Luckily our bus stopped at the Saab this time, YR-SBC and not dumping us at the now all too wellknown Fokker 100s. I
Timisoara is the hub for Carpatair
t was a sunny warm day and the flight was very smooth and uneventful. But this 5th flight was the first time that Carpatair let me down a bit foodwise. On all my flights on them I was impressed, I still drool thinking of the huge piece of apple crumb pie they even served on my 2001 flight to Cluj on a Saab 340… but this time we got a comparible packaged sandwich while ‘meal’ was on the itenerary and I had a hot meal on my 2009 flight on them from Dusseldorf. Anyway I was happy I finally flew on their Saab 2000 as well, an aircraft I have always liked. Flew on them on Swiss, OLT, Darwin Air and FlyLAL all between 2003-2005 but failed to have their now biggest operator so far.
Midway we passed over Vienna
At Dusseldorf I headed to the station for my pre booked ride to Amsterdam. I found out the fast ICE train would bypass Dusseldorf and was rerouted over Mönchengladbach and Venlo, a trip which took 2 hours longer. So I came home a bit fed up, but writing this report I realized I had a good time overall. Pity I couldn't avoid flying on one 737 and one A-320 but still the majority of this itenerary was on Russian and rare western types. The trip took me to some backwaters though, the trunk routes like St Petersburg-Moscow are now all 737, A-320. I wonder if a trip like this will be possible 6 months from now, seeing how quickly the Russian types are being grounded, replaced and scrapped.