Well thought I would and try and do another one of these even though I have done already one on this route but as my father always says :
Practise makes perfect!
This trip was all done really cause of my brother who works for a company up in Aberdeen Scotland in IT was on business to Mexico. He tried to get his boss to give him a short break back at home here in Grand Cayman but he wasn’t too happy about that (neither really was my brother’s wife!- if she wasn’t going, then there was no way he would be able to!).
However he was able to get some deal with his boss that allowed him to fly via MIA both ways (rather than fly direct to IAH and then down to Cuidad del Carmen) and we then decided that on his way back home, we (my parents and I) would go up and meet him in Miami for the weekend that he was heading back to Aberdeen.
With the tickets booked I was looking forward to getting off this Island for a little shopping therapy and also to see my brother which I hardly get to see due to the distance between us. Many of you may think I’m mad wanting to get off a Carib Island even when I have such a job that allows me to do see all these nice sweeties!.
Found out that this Ferrari P180 is not owned by Ferrari but apparently Ferrari has something to do with making these cool aircraft!
This great DC-3 brought in a bunch of cows! I actually wasn’t able to see them get off but apparently co-workers said you couldn’t see anything as they were basically rammed into the truck waiting for them!
Pity my camera can’t pick up that much of the great noise this aircraft makes! Really is a beauty!
Seat: 5A (Business)
On Friday I received an email confirming I had been successful with my Upgrade so I was going to be able to sit in some comfort for the short flight (not that AA Y is that bad tho, I just have 53 upgrade stickers that need to be used!)
Woke up at 5:30am kind of feeling very tired but excitement kicked in soon enough and with a cup of tea I was ready to go to the Airport at 6:00am! Arriving at the airport at 6:20am check in was a breeze and before long we were through towards security which was rather busy (due to a flight to Kingston and another to Miami) but we were through with plenty of time to spare. My mother then went off to the duty free to purchase a rum cake for my brother who had requested one.
View of the check in area in GCM. GCM is currently in the phase of designing a new airport which will be a well needed upgrade! GCM is pretty much at full capacity during mid-day till early afternoon when most of the commercial airlines come into GCM. Usually there are no seats in the departure hall during this time and it can be rather hot as the AC is a bit on the weak side! All I know is when they decided to start building this new terminal, it will be a heck of a lot worse due to the fact that this government can’t stick to one plan and have something built and then decided that it’s not right and then knock it down again and again and again! It is really frustrating!!
We sat down in the departure hall which for GCM, is very small now a days! I forgot about my camera as I put it into my bag for security and Immigration and forgot about it till I was on the aircraft!
Soon boarding was called and we made our way up to the gate and made the walk to the aircraft. Our aircraft today was parked at the last stand this morning due to the fact that AAs morning flight the day before was cancelled and the aircraft was in the usual AA stand. This flight actually left GCM before we began boarding with just the Captain and F/O, the cabin crew were on our flight as dead headers. I presume the aircraft was fixed but I would of thought that the Cabin crew would of just gone back on her instead of taking up seats on our flight (which was full and two of them were in business class for the journey-not that it really matters where they sit to me, just thought they would of gone back on the other aircraft)
Nice leg room for the short flight today. I do like these seats on AA and think they are very comfortable for short journeys.
View looking down the apron at GCM. KX 732 (VPCYB) getting ready for her flights to KIN and MTB.
View of the Wing from my window. AAs 738s look great I think with these winglets. My mother asked me actually how much they cost as she was reading in AAs in-flight magazine about AAs fuel saving plans and how these winglets saved fuel. She was shocked to hear that they were 2 Million. One of the crew soon came around with a tray of water or orange juice. I decided a glass of water was all I needed and would have an OJ later on (as it’s a bit early for anything else IMO!)
This aint no DL flight! Using DL air stairs as AAs were being used for the other aircraft that was here!
For all of those who don’t recognise this man, this is Todd Martin the tennis player! Has come close to winning some of the major tournaments but never got to that. He was down here playing in a small tournament hosted at the Ritz Carlton (Legends Tournament) which had the likes of Jim Courier, Wayne Ferreira, Mats Wilander and John MacEnroe (MacEnroe actually is not worth paying money to go and see play as he is still a child and can’t grow up!)
Nice shot of the old and new KX! Old C/S is on her way to KIN while the new KX (VPCKY) is heading up to MIA like us (leaves a little bit earlier than AAs but doesn’t mean that is the case everyday!)
Good shot now of the new colours with the sun shining onto her. These colours are growing on me but I feel the white body is just too bland!
VPCKY pushing back for her trip to MIA. She is actually 10 mins behind schedule today but that’s not bad for KX!
Soon our door was shut and we were ready to head off to MIA. We pushed off on time at 7:40am and started the engines and made our way along to taxiway Charlie and then down to the end of the runway. Now unfortunately one of the Dead heading cabin crew sat beside me and I thought I better not video the T/O. However I did get a quick photo of us at the end of the runway.
Look back down runway 8 just before takeoff.
Takeoff was great as usual for these 738s! We soon were at 500 feet and the captain executed the Standard Instrument Departure for our flight (We used the Stingray 2 departure rather than the normal Rikel 2- both go to same waypoint but the Stingray2 takes you over Stingray city so tourists can get a final look).
Our routing today was the standard flight route for flights out of GCM heading up to MIA and the Eastern Seaboard:
UG877-RIKEL-UG877- DEBOR-UG877- UCL-UG448-UVA-UG448-TADPO-UG448-MTH-DVALL1
A shot looking westwards toward the famous 7 mile beach (which is actually only 5 miles long!- Caymanians aint the best for measuring distances!)
Looking back towards Owen Roberts. Aircraft fly runway heading till at least 500 feet then make the turn to the Northeast for RIKEL.
Looking onto the North Wall. Our Barrier reef which on one side is probably at the deepest 15 feet and on the other it quickly goes to around a 100 feet were the wall starts and heads down pretty much vertically to 6000!
Heading away leaving paradise behind! (not for long though for me!)
The flight climbed pretty quickly although there was light turbulence all the way really to the south of Cuba due to a front over the area. The cabin crew began doing their normal routine and were soon up and about getting ready for the beverage service onboard the flight today. Normally the crew in first just come around and ask what you would like but today they had a trolley and served us from it which was different. However I saw that they actually continued into the back so they must also serve some of the first rows in Y also now. I just asked for a glass of orange juice and it came with a little biscotti type of biscuit which I still think is a bit weak for a biz class seat even if the flight is only an hour! KX serve you a hot breakfast and in the back you get a muffin but AA only serve you a little biscuit! Not that I am really complaining for the flight but It would be nice if AA could do something a little more (heck a granola bar would be an improvement!)
As the cabin crew were finishing up serving people, the captain came on and welcomed us onboard and told us more about the flight today. He expected us to be maybe a little bit ahead today but he still seemed more optimistic that we would arrive more or less right on our scheduled time. He then also went on and did the usual dribble about not congregating in the aisles and all that rubbish that, frankly, I always just tune off to now. I have been on so many AA flights when they say this and it seems to make no difference at all! (especially on the trans-atlantics I have done when there is regularly a queue for the bathroom!
Looking down to the south coast of Cuba. This flight directly heads over the Cayo Largo Sur VOR. You can see this big weather front also that we had to sit through for the first segment of the trip.
I tried to get this photo to show both north and south coasts of Cuba. They are noticeable but I thought it was an interesting picture.
I do believe this to be Havana as our aircraft goes over the VOR for MUHA. I still haven’t actually gone to visit Cuba yet and as KX fly there from GCM I really should get my act together before Castro kicks the bucket and mass American tourism comes to Cuba! Apparently though according to friends the prices have really increased since their last trips.
We soon left Cuba and began heading for the FIR boundary of MUFH and KZMA where we then began our decent into the Greater Miami Area. The cabin crew came around to make sure that all the rubbish was removed and that seats were in their upright position and everything was stowed as usual.
Key west as we approach MTH.
You can clearly see EYW here (at least I believe this to be EYW). For many of the private aircraft that come down to GCM and then head back up to the USA, EYW is their first port of call and they have to stop to get customs and immigration checks done before continuing onto their home base or where ever the aircraft is needed (there are some aircraft that can get customs clearance so they don’t have to do this).
The well known Key Bridges. As you can see, one of them has a gap! I believe this is the bridge in the film ‘True Lies’ that was used with the Harriers and trucks. We are making the turn over MTH at this moment in time to head onto the DVALL1 approach into MIA.
Our decent was smooth and we were using runway 9 today for landing so the approach takes us over the everglades and then down into MIA.
Looking back to where the everglades stop and the beginning of the huge land reclaiming sites.
Looking down onto Dolphin Mall. Didn’t go there this time but have been there in the past and it’s still not as good as others around due to the fact that it is still out in an area which is being heavily developed. In 5 years time it should be a lot better as more shops move out to it.
On final approach now heading over the vast warehouses near MIA.
Here is the video of our landing. Sorry about the noise. It seems that my finger must have been rubbing along the mic when I was filming this. Next time I will take more care! You may see that on landing there is a China Airlines cargo aircraft! I never have seen them at MIA before. Nice addition to MIA!
Great view of all 727s!! KX use DHL on Tuesdays and Thursdays for cargo so we regularly see these birds down in GCM. However would love to see a DC-10 like the one in this photo at my ramp!!
Our flight soon taxied across runway 12-30 and our gate today was at the E satellite which AA seems to be using again due to the closure of concourse A-C for the building of the new terminal.
Not many of these 732s around anymore. KX are about to get rid of their last one so won’t be seeing them anymore in GCM .
Our gate for us today was E21 and it was a great site to see all the huge AA300s! MIA is really home for the mighty ScAArebus!
A rare site at MIA for the AA gate staff already waiting for the aircraft! Normally when I fly in the staff are not ready for the flight and you kind of sit around for 5mins waiting for them. An improvement AA!
Soon the engines were spooling down and the airbridge was moved into position. We were soon all waiting and while this was happening my Mother decided to pluck up some courage and speak to Todd Martin who was in the same row but the other side. Pretty much just small talk about how did he like our island and he said he would definitely be coming back for a proper vacation the next time! I felt sorry for him actually as Todd Martin must be well over 6,3 and he pretty much had to cowl when standing up under the overhead bins and it still looked like he had to duck when walking down the aisle! Obviously Boeing doesn’t take into account the height of people over 6 feet! :P
The E satellite is a bit odd as it seems that it was suppose to be a lot larger (gate E20-50 some of the signs say) but the gates here I believe only go up to I think E35 (E20-E35). I wonder if anybody can shed some light on this if they have any blue prints of how big the E satellite terminal was suppose to be. Also if anybody knows why the satellite was never expanded to be of its original plan then I would be very grateful for your help. It has been pondering my brain for long enough!
The terminal is connected to the main terminal by a 2 trams that run along the top of the E concourse. It takes only a couple of minutes to transfer between them and is always running. You can get some good photos of concourse D,E and F from the train as she moves back and forth between the stations. Mine, however haven’t come out that great as I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing (trying really to hang onto a handrail as the train accelerates at a fair pace!)
The Silverbird! AAs great 777.
An AA 763.
Soon we were at immigration and thankfully there was hardly anybody there (normally the afternoons at immigration can be terrible with waits over an hour!) we soon were through immigration and headed downstairs to the baggage claim area. The wait there was not long at all and within 20 minutes we were passing through customs and out to arrival section where my brother (who had arrived the night before from mexico) was already waiting for us.
Part 2 to follow!
Quoting Albird87 (Thread starter): You can clearly see EYW here (at least I believe this to be EYW). For many of the private aircraft that come down to GCM and then head back up to the USA, EYW is their first port of call and they have to stop to get customs and immigration checks done before continuing onto their home base or where ever the aircraft is needed (there are some aircraft that can get customs clearance so they don’t have to do this).
The airport on the second to last island (with the three crossing runways) is Naval Air Station Key West.
You can barely see EYW, a single runway, on the left middle of the last island. Barley, though.
Quoting Ocracoke (Reply 2): The airport on the second to last island (with the three crossing runways) is Naval Air Station Key West.
Ah your right! I have never been to/seen EYW anyway and well just presumed but now i do remember that the coast guard C130s fly out of there right?
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3): - He is funny though, nice chap actually, have met him a few times.
This was beyond funny! I mean i went to see him play tennis as I knew he would do his stuff but i would of thought that the man would be taking it light heartedly but he was questioning nearly every second ball!
Also one person in the crowd was winding him up ever soo slightly and he then went ballistic at the guy! I know its what the guy wanted but MacEnrow should know by now not to be tormented! The guy is like a spoilt brat!
Great report AlBird87!! It's nice to see some reports from GCM. Your shots are great!! It's always an awesome sight flying in & out of GCM.
I just moved to Cayman in March after visiting a friend of mine several times that moved here in 02'. My wife & I 'caught the bug' - so we finally decided to quit visitiing, and finally just move here!! And to top it off, I got a condo that is more or less right under the flight path into GCM (Right by the cricket pitch south of the runway). When I lived in Vancouver, I lived close to the airport and I got so used to it, that I told my wife we had to get a place close enough to GCM for me to keep getting my aviation fix. Otherwise I may go nuts & have to join 'A.A.' (Aviation Anonymous).
I snapped a bunch of pics last month when I had to leave for my work permit to be processed (I Flew GCM-MIA-SEA-YVR on AA/Alaska, and return YVR-IAH-FLL-GCM on CO and Spirit) and I've just been to lazy to post the report & the pics. I'll get on it soon though...your report 'inspired' me!
Cheers and thanks again for the report. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Maybe I'll bump into ya @ Rum Point or something!
Quoting LeftCoaster (Reply 7): Cheers and thanks again for the report. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Maybe I'll bump into ya @ Rum Point or something!
Hey great to hear from another person on the rock!
Quoting LeftCoaster (Reply 7): Otherwise I may go nuts & have to join 'A.A.' (Aviation Anonymous).
Well you do know about this island! If your not working, your drinking! God this island has a bad influence on the liver!! lol!
Im guessin your in the Coco Retreat area then? I have a friend that lives there and yes you can get some good photos there of the arrivals on 8! Actually depatrues on 26 there are great. I was in my car at the lights there and BA had rotated late and wow i just wished i had my camera! would of been a bute!
Just noticed you work as a radio man? Which station you at?