BMIFlyer
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Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 12:01 am

Hello  Smile

I wasn't at first sure if I was going to write this report, as I had to wait until the flight mentioned "no longer operates" (for security reasons) hence why it has actually taken me so long to release it (since the day I actually took the flight). But alas, I hope you will enjoy it anyway.  Smile

The following report is about my flight home on "shore leave", with FlyGlobespan, whilst I was on deployment in the Gulf between September 2008 and March 2009.


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Photo © Tibor Mester




Leg 1:-

Date: 31 Jan 2009
Departure Apt: IUD (Al Udeid, Qatar)
Arrival Apt: BZZ (RAF Brize Norton, UK)
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER (G-CEOD)
Flight No: RR8841 (GSM 8367)
Seat: 6A - Economy Class

The 30th of January 2009 was to be the day I flew home on leave. However, bad weather and "ATC Delays" would soon change that......

It all started on the evening of the 29th of January, when I checked in for my flight at the 'British Passenger Terminal', Al Udeid Airbase (AUAB), Qatar. The base is one of the biggest USAF bases in the world, and is literally in the middle of the desert, but that doesn't prevent it from having its own fair share of "operating difficulties".

I knew the military "passenger service agents" who would be checking me in that night (I am one myself) as they were part of my deployed unit in the middle east, so I was almost guaranteed a seat in C class on this aircraft (there were 3 rows IIRC), provided no VIPs were due to fly on it.

Anyway, my flight was due to leave at 0730 local time on the 30th, and I was glad that I was able to be flying home in only a matter of hours, so settled down in the departure lounge watching TV and eating snacks.

During the night of the 29th, the excellent weather changed - very quickly, to such an extent that at 2am o the 30th, I couldn't see 50 feet in front of me due to..... FOG!!! Yes, there you have it, a very thick blanket of fog had moved in and effectively shut down the base, grounding all flights. We were soon informed that even C130 pilots were choosing not to land due to the zero visibility on the runway. That was an extremely rare event, apparently.


At around 0500 local on Friday, I went to speak to the agents, and was told that our aircraft was ready to leave DXB, for the short hop over to the base (the crew stopped in DXB between trips). "Thank god" I thought, but then I remembered the fog and thought, "even they can't land in this, or are the pilots going to try"???

At 0700 local, we were informed that the aircraft was waiting for permission to depart, and we would be told when it was in the air. Ok, that was pretty good, or so we assumed. The flight kept getting later and later, and by the time the fog cleared, at about 11am, the crew had been on duty for over 6 hours, and because of ATC in Qatar not telling ATC in the U.A.E that AUAB was now open again, the crew eventually timed out on hours. Darn it  Sad


So, the next thing was to tell the pax what was happening. Because of crew rest requirements, the new departure time would now be 0200 local on Saturday 31st January!! Now, in an ideal world, you would expect chaos, but this being the military, it was rather simple, and the news was rather well recieved by most of the troops  Smile

I was asked (well, more 'ordered' really) to "help out" the passenger handling agents, and happily obliged in helping them find 130 beds for the men and women who were on the flight with me. It was off to the "transit" part of the base for the troops - huge accomodation tents that can hold about 50 persons each.


Eventually, by the early afternoon, I had been awake for 32 hours and was told to "go get some sleep" by the captain in charge of my unit, and to report back later that evening at 2200hrs.


That evening (Friday), I was ordered back on duty, and was relieved at about midnight when we were informed that the aircraft was "in the air", and heading our way, woohoo! Big grin So, with the aircraft on route, it was time to check in 130 pax for the flight, and it had to be done in about 1 hour, and no more.

So, as a team of 6, we managed to complete this task, much to the satisfaction of our Staff Sergeant, who for once managed to stay cheerful. Unfortuately, my C class seat was not forthcoming, due to a high ranking officer flying on the aircraft, with his protection team, et al (All seats were taken in C by those people, and flight crew rest seats too).

At 0200hrs local (Saturday 31st) the flight landed, and the ground crews immediately got to work loading the baggage tins onto the aircraft, while we loaded the pax onto buses for the short trip to the aircraft. After al the formalities had been completed, we departed at 0315 local (0015Z), some 19hrs behind schedule! Our flight would be flying IUD-PAD-BZZ, and would now arrive BZZ at 0900 local on the Saturday, instead of the scheduled 1445 Friday.... Ouch  Sad

Takeoff was very quick, due to the aicraft being half empty, and not long after departure, the in flight service commenced. We were served a breakfast meal while the in flight movies were shown.



Safety on board


I fell asleep not long after the meal was served, and woke up over europe to take a few pictures from my seat.





Troops on board (all in uniform of course)


At 0800 local time (0700Z), we landed at Paderborn Airport.

Paderborn Airport




After only 50 minutes on the ground (!), with a change of flight deck crews, and some added fuel, we were ready to depart for Brize Norton. A snack was served during this very short hop, and after overlying LHR, we landed at Brize Norton airbase exactly at our revised scheduled time of 0900 local (0900Z).

Crossing the English Channel


A view of LHR from above



A few minutes after arrival, we deplaned and after a 1 hour (!) wait for my bags, I boarded a bus to Oxford, where 30 of us in our desert combat uniforms then boarded another bus (rail replacement) to Reading, from where we caught trains to London Paddington.

During my leave, I flew to the United States to spend time with my friends in Indiana, and this will be written about in another trip report soon, once I get around to it  Wink

I must apologise for the poor picture quality. For obvious reasons, the Canon 350D didn't go "On Ops" with me! I used a small pocket camera instead.  Smile


I Hope you enjoyed this report  Smile

Comments Welcome as always......



Lee



PS: I would like to point out (again) that the flight mentioned above no longer operates.
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
Daleaholic
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 12:05 am

Great report and a good insight into those military charters Big grin Glad you got back safe!
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henkybaby
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 8:17 am

Fun read. Thanks for posting.
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airbuseric
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 8:36 am

Very interesting to read about this flight. Thanks.
Shame that you didn't get in the forward big seats, although I guess that with only a light load, you had sufficient space in Y-class?
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fca767
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 9:01 am

Very nice...thanks...  Smile
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 9:17 am



Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 3):
Shame that you didn't get in the forward big seats, although I guess that with only a light load, you had sufficient space in Y-class?

Yeah, I had an entire row to myself, it was fun Big grin
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
Sketty222
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 12:03 pm

Cheers for this report Lee
Its not that often that we get an insight into the military charters, especially the ones carrying UK troops.


Look forward to the TR of your trip to the states
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PlaneHunter
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 4:43 pm

Hi Lee,

thanks for posting this interesting report, always nice to read some "different". Quite odd to see you stopped at PAD. Stronger headwinds than expected on the way?


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat May 30, 2009 7:22 pm



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
Quite odd to see you stopped at PAD. Stronger headwinds than expected on the way?

No we offloaded a handful of Germany based soldiers, and also that's where the crew changed over.
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sun May 31, 2009 4:57 am



Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 8):
No we offloaded a handful of Germany based soldiers, and also that's where the crew changed over.

Ok, I see. Thanks!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ba319-131
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:02 pm

Thanks Lee,

Interesting insight into MOD charters.

I know chap in the army, his flight dates to Afganistan move 6 times from the initial date, just amazing!

Cheers

Mark
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BMIFlyer
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:04 pm



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
I know chap in the army, his flight dates to Afganistan move 6 times from the initial date, just amazing!

Yeah, that is usually due to availability of the L1011's.

Thanks,


Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
StefanPAD
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:33 pm

Hi Lee,

interesting to read a report covering my regular airport PAD. Did you enter the airport or did you stay aboard?

It would be interesting to see pictures from IUD, but I suppose you are not allowed to show.

Thanks for sharing.

Stefan
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:45 pm



Quoting StefanPAD (Reply 12):
Did you enter the airport or did you stay aboard?

We stayed aboard, but had a fire truck parked next to the aircraft during the refuelling.

Quoting StefanPAD (Reply 12):
It would be interesting to see pictures from IUD, but I suppose you are not allowed to show

I could show, as I took quite a few, but alas it would take me a while to dig them out!
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
Aleksandar
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:34 am

Hey Lee, it is an interesting TR. I really enjoyed it  bigthumbsup 
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IH8BY
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:03 pm

Nice trip report Lee... it's not often that there are trip reports into my 'local airport' posted!
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BW424
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:24 pm

One of a kind TR. Very interesting and enjoyable read
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:38 am

Interesting report, very nice to read!
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fxramper
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:28 pm

Great report Lee, glad you made it back safe. Did you get your nuts warmed?
 
antonovman
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:46 am

Nice report Lee, I work for FlyGlobespan at BZZ. Glad you enjoyed the flight
 
AY104
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:34 am

A very unique and interesting TR indeed!
Great to get an insight into the logistics of a military flight operation. Something that probably a lot of us don't think about. Interesting to learn about the "Customer Service" side of things.
Thanks again.
Cheers,
Carl
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Atlanta
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:25 am

Really great TR!

Also Thank you for Serving!

Atlanta
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BMIFlyer
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RE: Military Charter Flight - Flyglobespan 767-300ER

Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:12 am

A few pics from IUD (well, did take a while to find them)  









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