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North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:22 am

As written in the other forum, my English is not perfect but I will do my best......
This is a short trip report for the second North Korean aviation tour this year.
The first one was organised in May and this one in July.
Some new sightseing flights were added for that second tour, all from Pyongyang to pyongyang : An-24, Il-76 and Mi-8.

On July 13th (Friday), all the tour participants met in Beijing in a Korean restaurant to know each other and have the last informations about the tour itself.

On July 14th (Saturday), we met at Beijing airport for our first Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang.
The usual aircraft on that route is now the Tu-204 (Air Koryo has two of them, a Tu-204-100 and a Tu-204-300) but Juche Travel organised an Il-62-M flight for us (sometimes, Air Koryo adds a second flight on that route and if you are lucky, you could fly a Tu-154-B or even an Il-18).
The aircraft was the P-881, the flight was on time and here is the video :
Once arrived at Pyongyang airport, we received our group visa for customs inspection. No stamp in our passeport.
All of us had to let our mobile in a bag at the airport as they are not allowed in North Korea as GPS.
Personal computer and camera are allowed. (some restrictions apply for professional cameras but nobody had to let it's camera even some of them looks....... very professional).
After that, we met our guides. We were 30 participants and divided in two groups.
We had one coach and two guides for each group.
We left the aiport for a first Pyongyang visit.
We reached Pyongyang after +/- 30 minutes and our first stop was the "Arch of Trimph" celebrating the victory against Japan in 1945.
We were supposed to make a 30 minutes walk from that point but, because of heavy rains, we had a drink in a local restaurant before going to our hotel, the Koryo, located in the city center, 100 meters from the main train station.
We had diner in the hotel.

On July 15th (Sunday) we had a coach ride to Kaesong and the South Korean border. We visited the DMZ and had lunch in a restaurant where a "Royal Court" style meat was served in bronze bowl (it was possible to eat dog in that restaurant. +/- 10 ordered and most of us tatsed it).

On July 16th, (Monday), we had 4 sightseeing flight organised from Pyongyang.
The first one was on an Il-76 (P-914). The duration was 35 minutes.
Here is the video

Just after this fist flight, the second one had to take off.
The aircraft was an An-24 (P-632).
I didn't make that flight but here is a video showing the taxi to reach the runway (+ a Tu-134 arriving from China)

As the Mi-8 has a few seats avaible, two flights were organised.
I flew on the second one.
It's still unclear to know if that helicopter belongs to Air Koryo ot to the Army as even in Air Koryo colors, it's not written on it and as the registration (108 without P) seems to be a military one.

In the afternoon that day, we visited the Korean War Museum where we saw a vast display of military equipment from both side including preserved military aircrafts and a lot of propaganda. After that, we visited the USS Pueblo, spy ship that caused an international incident back in 1968.

On July 17th (Tuesday), we had our Tu-134-B3 flight to Samjiyon.
Here is the video of that amazing flight
Once landed at Samjiyon, we were able to talk to the Tu-134 crew while ground staff was removing the stairs all all ground equipment around the Tu-134 to give us a chance to make nice pictures.
After that, we boarded 3 small coaches to reach the Mt Pektu at the Chinese border.
This is the highest point in North Korea (2700 m) and one of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.
We stayed in a local hotel.

On July 18th (Wednesday), we flew back to Pyongyang with the same Tu-134 as the day before.
Once back in Pyongyang, we visited some monuments and museum.

On July 19th (Thursday) we were supposed to fly on an Il-18 to Hamhung but, because of a typhoon in that area, our flight was cancelled.
Instea, we visited a barage and stayed in a hotel with hot thermal springs.

On July 20th (Friday), we came back to Pyongyang by coach and, as the typhoon over Hamsung ws finished, we flew there with the Il-18 (P-835)
We had a lunch at the Majon Beach Villa Ressort, one of the best hotel in North Korea, 50 meters from a sand beach and then flew back to the airport for the return flight to Pyongyang.

On July 21st (Saturday), we had the flight back to Beijing with the Tu-204-300 (P-632).

Some participants had booked a flight to Shenyang (China) instead of Beijing as a Tu-154-B was expected on that route.
Unfortunately for them, the flight was operated by Il-62.

For those interrested, there are no safety cards onboard the Il-76 and Mi-8.

I'm sure some english perfect speakers will add some more informations and photos in that short trip report.
I had a very good time there and already plan to go back newt year (I've been there in 2005 already flying Il-62 and An-24).
I don't want to debate about politic situation in that country but, regarding the trip itself, you will discover a different world with amazing monuments and sceneries + of course, aviation.

Once again, sorry for my english.
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:49 am

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:32 pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to upload the videos, and to share such a unique experience.
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:59 pm

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:34 pm

Hi Regis,

I was expecting some North Korean trip reports coming in already. Nice to hear you've had such a great time and you enjoyed your flights.

I enjoyed watching your clips. Especially the cabin and cockpit views.

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Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:12 pm

Enjoyable read and your English is fine, no worries. Thanks for posting.
You can cut the irony with a knife
Posts: 714
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:06 am

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:03 pm

Thanks for a great trip report!
Can you tell me what seat numbers you had on the IL-62, TU-134, IL-18 and TU-204?
Dewmanair...begins with Dew
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 2:56 am

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:28 pm

Hahaha looks like someone wants to book the best seats   - On the Il-18 get row 04 A - 04F is a completely scratchd window ...

This is 27F on the Il-62

And 19A (or 18A...???) on the Tu-134

Nice report Regis ! I hope you forgive me if I had a few pics. Again thank you for the videos ! Hope to see you soon !

P-881 on approach to Beijing and our ride to Pyongyang

P-814 on the ramp at Samjiyon

P-912 on the ramp at Pyonyang

And a couple of non-aviation shots

Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:47 pm

Hi Regis,

I saw and commented your videos on YouTube already. It was great to see them and be able to compare your experience in July to my experience in May.

Obviously you guys did better in terms of equipment since the IL-76 & Mil-8 were added to the flying programme (on account of our good behaviour in May, I might add   ). I am going back in October just for these, plus hopefully the Tu-154-B/-B2 this time, since the only people on the two trips so far who actually got it wanted the Tu-204!

The scheduled international flights between the two trips panned out as follows:

PEK-FNJ (Sched. IL-62M)
May: IL-62M, P-885
July: IL-62M, P-881

FNJ-SHE (Sched. Tu-154)
May: IL-62M, P-885
July: IL-62M, P-885

FNJ-PEK (Sched. Tu-204)
May: Tu-154-B2, P-561 (the Tu-204 operated a charter to PEK at the same time)
July: Tu-204-300, P-632 (the Tu-154 operated a charter to PEK at the same time)

At least those on the July trip who returned to SHE got to experience both IL-62 registrations rather than the same one twice as we got in May. Quite different they are, too. P-885 has a much more classic interior than P-881, with the open hat racks and nice blue trim on the side panels. Here are a couple of photos I took on P-885 in May:

The An-24 was different too. In May it was P-537, a 1966-build -B version. In July it was P-532, a 1974-build -RV version.

Thanks for posting the report. You've really got me looking forward to the next trip now!

Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:14 am

RE: North Korea Aviation Tour July 2012

Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:23 pm

Quoting SIBILLE (Thread starter):
The first one was on an Il-76 (P-914). The duration was 35 minutes.

What you didn't realize was that the entire flight was operating off of Windows XP & MS FlightSim X!  

Great trip report and videos! Thanks for sharing!

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