As promised Trip 2 and trip 3, as I was enjoying the days too much, and due to restrictions I didn't make as many notes, but I have done a full report to be published in the next few days which has the Milan trip.
Trip 2 LGW-MAN
On a cold and wintery Morning in December 100 fellow enthusiasts gathered at Gatwick for the 2nd Enthusiast day run by Monarch. I was also on the 1st trip which was to Gibraltar from Luton but today would be a lot bigger; I arrived in the Long stay car park nice and early at 0845 for the 1015 meet. Like normal my day started with Breakfast at Weather spoons where I enjoyed a nice bacon sarnie. As I finished I meet up with someone who was on the original trip so we took quick trip to have a look at the improvements to the North terminal.
I will compliment Gatwick on a great job. Yes there is still quite a bit to be done but it was a nice experience to fly though there again after many years. My only complaint would be the lack of facilities on the piers meaning a trek back to the main and quite small departure lounge against an influx of people who are going to the gates.
When we arrived at check in we were informed of the cancellation of the day’s first part, an airside tour of Gatwick, the reason was some heavy snowfall has caused the ops team to start a clearing operation leaving no one to do the tour. Sadly even though when we had got to departures there was no snow the tour couldn’t be reinstated. Our Aircraft for the days flight would be G-SMAN, an A330-243, my first flight on the subtype and ironically this was the last aircraft I logged after several years of trying. It was running slightly late from its trip to Goa the day before, which allowed for some good spotting time around the airport.
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G-MAJS waiting at the gate for its next flight
I must compliment the organisation of Monarch and the ground staff at this point, the information given was excellent and the only thing which went AWOL was when people went to the aircraft gate and not gate 6 thanks to the domestic departures rules.
Flight number:MON349 LGW-MAN
Type and reg: A332 G-SMAN
1st flight on aircraft and 1st on subtype
3rd A330 flight.
We were bussed to the aircraft before boarding via Air Bridge; the crew were to come around with us on the tour and were brilliant throughout, as were the Monarch representatives who has painstakingly organised the entire trip with a little help they said!
We were parked on stand 17 and after a short delay of around 25 mins or so and an easyJet A319 going tech on the taxiway we made our way to A1 for a LAM4M departure from 26L. Before we departed the flight deck told us the full route as well as the settings being used which was a flex temp 57 degrees departure using flap 2 with a v1 of 135kt and using flap 3 on the arrival.
After a few minutes waiting for an EZY319 EIN320 and a company 320 we lined up for a powerful and short take off after a RYR738 had vacated.
After departure the moving map was shown and it seemed to indicate an early route direct was given to LAM.
We followed the standard route and climbed to FL180 for the flight routing LAM BUZAD TNT for the DAYNE2A arrival 23R. On the approach it was clear only the Manchester side of the Pennines has seen some snow. We came out of the cloud at around 600ft and it seemed we made a full auto land to vacate next to the viewing park, a quick taxi to T2 followed even though we were sent the long way round as the US airways A333 was just pushing back, oh well more photo time. Once parked we de boarded at the rear onto a coach for the tour. We were given a cut down tour in the end due to the small delays we picked up but we were shown all the terminals and they did open the doors for some photos but weren’t allowed off the bus.
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We were dropped off at the Monarch hanger when we were treated to a fascinating tour from the engineers during the tour we went on G-EOMA which was in a sorry state after returning from the Hajj lease. The flight deck was clearly the nicest part. And also we had a look around G-FCLI which was on a C check and around 10 days away from delivery.
After we went back to T2 and through Security which took a little time, as I don’t think we were expected, however within 15 minutes I was in departures a quick stop off at Smiths for food and we had a go to gate 213 on the board. This turned out to be premature and also left me without hot food. We boarded on time for the return.
Flight number: MON017 MAN-LGW
Type and reg: A321 G-OZBI
1st flight on aircraft and 2nd on subtype
2nd A321 flight.
After boarding we were made to wait due to 1 de-icing truck being around for the airport, We were delayed around 45 mins or so , with this delay a small Q and A was held onboard while we waited for both the de icing and also for our new slot.
Finally we made a move, the lights dimmed and we made our way to 23R for a HON1R departure, again a short roll in the A321 and we were up and away to FL190. An uneventful flight followed and after KIDLI we were vectored round a very busy looking bit of airspace with at times 4 aircraft in view. We were put on a crosswind leg before joining left hand downwind for a landing on 26L. After landing we taxied to the domestic pier and after a brief flight deck visit I made my way back to the car.
Overall A great day out and an excellent follow up trip. I just hope more are done as they have shown to be very popular.
As I am having issues posting pictures from web picasa, here is the link to see the days photos https://plus.google.com/photos/105836590561032110571/albums?banner=pwa&gpsrc=pwrd1#photos/105836590561032110571/albums/5686868449264378513
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Aircraft- G-OZBP (A321-231)
Again Apologies about the photos until I can upgrade my Flicrk or sort my web picasa to display here are the photos
The trip for me started the day before finishing at 1300 to go home and drive to Manchester where I would stay the night in the nearby Travelodge, a bargain at £30 for the night just 2 weeks before, I decided to do this as the day was to start at 0600 at Terminal 2 at Manchester but it also gave me a opportunity to walk round to T1 car park at night to get some shots for the 1st time.
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One from the car park the night before
After a decent night’s sleep I headed to the long term car park at T2, this was cheaper than to park and get a taxi from the hotel. On arrival I met with the organisers and got my return Boarding passes, I had already pre booked 11F an over wing exit on the scheduled A320 but due to Manchester only having 1 A320 available (heading to GIB) we had an upgrade to the A321.
Security was simple and after having some breakfast I headed to the gate to meet with the other enthusiasts on the trip. The fight was planned to arrive at 0900, to miss the morning TLS shuttle from Harwarden. On arrival we had a presentation from the day’s Hosts, Airbus UK on the factory before we went around the 32S/330/340 lines where we could see the build form the first stage of the milling to the finished product awaiting their journey to Hamburg or Toulouse by road or air. Sadly no beluga was in the day we were their but in the afternoon we became the 1st group to look around the new A350 plant.
After a interesting and informative tour we boarded G-OZBP again for the flight back to Manchester, on both flights we didn’t go past 6000ft and were in the air less than 20 minutes both ways, even though it was short it was fun. On arrival back to Manchester we were given a tour of the Manchester hanger which had 1 Monarch A320 and 2 First Choice A320’s one which was in the new Monarch paint as it was about to enter service as G-OZBW.
After a long day I started the long journey home.
Overall a fascinating insight to the world of the wing makers and how they are made, which was made by one of the shortest but fun flights I have had, if it was done again I would certainly go back as it was a unique opportunity to see inside the plant and also in the monarch hanger.