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HGL
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City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:15 pm

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During a recent trip to Hamburg I organised a day excursion to London. I got there flying KLM and CityJet via Amsterdam. For the return sector I chose BA CityFlyer for a particular reason: I wanted to fly the Dornier 328. This report covers that flight.

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Map courtesy of gcmap.com. Copyright: Karl L Swartz

Having arrived into London City Airport, I follow the signs for transfers and arrivals only to find they ended up at the same place. Never mind. I am directed to one of the automated passport scanners and in no time I emerge into the entry hall of the terminal. I decide to step outside so that I can say that I was actually in England for the first time in ten years. After a few minutes I go back inside and up the stairs to the departures area. This involves going through security first but the queue is dealt with efficiently and it doesn't take long.

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The terminal, while small, is busy. Much of the space is taken up with franchises and the principle if you want to sit down, you pay. There is public seating available but there are few vacant places. There are the usual eateries, a bookstore, a chemist and inevitable duty free store. The scrolling news panel has the habit of changing colour, casting a green, blue, red or black hue over the space below.

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Dotted around the place is a number of destination boards showing flight times, departure gates and status. Most flights won't show up until thirty minutes before departure, as is indicated.

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Whenever I'm at an airport I try to see what aircraft are about. From one of the restaurants, I see a plane from flybe and go to take a shot, only for a young man to break from eating and helpfully suggest taking it from through some doors. He shows me the way and indeed the view is better. Thank you, Sir.

The aircraft registration is appropriate enough - G-FLBE - although when delivered it was painted in Olympic Air colours, to whom it was leased for a year. It was ferried YYZ-YYR-RKV-BHX on delivery in October, 2009. When returned to flybe it was ferried ATH-AOI-EXT and is now named Spirit of Exeter.

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The only other aircraft that I can get a clear shot of is also a Bombardier 402Q with flybe. This originally had the test registration C-FDHP, is equipped with two PWC PW 150A engines and was delivered on the 19 March, 2004. It carries the name Spirit of Edinburgh.

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Boarding is called and passengers are invited to go to Gate 3. At the moment there are construction works in progresss so the passage isn't all that glitzy. Once complete there will be additional departure areas offering about 600 seats. But for now I follow the crowd down the stairs to a room where a gate agent checks my boarding pass and wishes me a pleasant flight.

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Boarding isn't immediate but from within the room, with its full-length windows, I can see the awaiting Dornier that will carry me to Hamburg. Passengers' checked-in bags are being loaded. I can also see a Swiss Tail and a Puffin.

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The door is opened and as passengers walk across the apron I see the Swiss Tail is departing. It is a British Aerospace Avro RJ100, powered by four LY LF507-1F and configured CY97. It was originally with Crossair but was inherited by Swiss in 2002.

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Also leaving is G-LCYJ, an Embraer ERJ190-100SR. I do like the way that BA has managed to incorporate the airport code into some of its aircraft. This one flies for BA CityFlyer, having been ferried SJK-REC-TFS-EXT on delivery in early March, 2010.

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There is something about the lines of a Dornier 328P that I like. D-CIRI, although painted in BA livery and serving a route marketed as BA CityFlyer, is operated by MHS Aviation. Air Engiadina, KLM Alps, Swisswings, Lions Air, City Star, Cirrus, Rhein-Neckar Air and Sun Air of Scandinavia have all at one time or another made use of this aircraft.

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A smile and words of welcome as I board and make my way to seat 3A. For a single passenger the A seats are ideal: they offer both a window and direct aisle access. My window gives me a view of one of the two PWC PW119B engine housings and the propellor. I can also see that Puffin again. It is another aircraft that has been around the traps since it was first delivered in October, 1999.

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While boarding continues I check out the contenst of the seat pocket. There is the multi-lingual safety card and a couple of magazines: high life and business life.

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On the flight deck the right seat waits patiently while the captain carries out some checks. Soon an announcement is made welcoming us on board, informing us of the expected flight time and the weather conditions on the way. This is followed by the safety demonstration, given in English and German, pointing out the clearly marked exits and the lighting that will guide the way if needed.

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As we begin to move forward, I notice that the Puffin has gone and I can now see the aircraft that was next to it. It is a cleanskin ATR 42-500 that was first delivered to Cimber as OY-CIL in late November, 1996 and operated for Lufthansa. It then became part of the Cimber Sterling Fleet until they went belly-up. Stored for a year it is now with Sparrow Aviation and operated by Danish Air Transport.

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The Dornier taxis to Runway 27, along the way cutting off the nose of an Embraer. ;) The Puffin in front of us about to commence its take-off roll is with Aurigny and is an ATR 42-500. It has seen service with Contact Air, TRIP Linhas Aéreas and AZUL Linhas Aéreas Brasileiris before moving to Guernsey in April, 2015

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Last edited by HGL on Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Qui omnes despicit, omnibus displicit.
 
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HGL
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:16 pm

We pause for a moment at lane M and then enter the runway for take off. I enjoy the sensation of the seat in my back and the sound of the engines as they drive us forward and into the air.

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The Dornier passes over the Royal Victoria Dock and Canary Wharf, offering a view of Millwall Outer Dock to the left and Greenland Dock on the right in this photograph. As it banks to the north and east I manage to spot Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast. Seeing all the towers that have gone up since I lived in the UK some years ago, I cannot help but think "Dubai-on-Thames".

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Soon we are over South Woodford and the junction of the North Circular Road and M11 Motorway. We don't want to go to Cambridge so we follow the A12 over the Essex countryside.

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The aircraft passes through the clouds and England disappears from view. It was a brief visit but enjoyable for all that.

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The disappearing view seems a good time to start a meal run. The CSO makes an announcement that a light meal will be served and that drinks are available. Should anyone like to have a second drink they are available in the galley or by using the call button at our seats.

The meal consists of salmon and pasta salad. This looks fresh and proves tasty as well. To accompany it I ask for some red wine and receive a Casa La Punta from Chile. It is a suitable drop for drinking from a plastic beaker. ;)

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By the time I have finished the meal and wine, we are passing over the Netherlands coast. It is now time for the pilot and flight officer to be attended to. "Knock and the door shall open".

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The progress of the flight is smooth, in fact one of the smoothest flights I've been on for a while. Through a break in the cloud, I notice that we crossing from the Netherlands into Germany as we fly over the Ems River. A little later the sinking sun shows up some ice crystals on the window as we cross the Elbe near Glückstadt.

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The aircraft has commenced its descent into Hamburg and as we pass through the clouds the towns and villages of Schleswig-Holstein come into view. Pretty soon we are over the golf course and Kupferteich in Treudelberg.

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Continuing the descent we pass over Hummelsbüttel and line up for the approach. We come in on Runway 23 and taxi to a remote stand, passing an aircraft bearing the Lufthansa Crane. It is D-AIZH, an Airbus A320-214 that originally flew as D-AXAW. It used to be configured CY156 and named Ahlen. But it was reconfigured to CY168 in 2011 and later renamed to Hanau. Aber warum?

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The aircraft comes to a stop and the usual announcements are made. Passengers are up, even before the guys with the chocks are ready and despite needing to wait until the transfer bus arrives.

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As passengers alight by the aircraft steps from the now quiet Dornier and board the bus, the checked-in bags are being unloaded. The CSO ensures everyone has deplaned and is on the bus to be taken to the terminal.

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As the bus pulls away I capture a couple of parting shots. I have enjoyed the flight. On many occasions I have seen this aircraft at a stand and even photographed it a few times, once from the opposite side of an Emirates Boeing 777! But today I finally got to fly it before BA CityFlyer introduces the Saab 2000 on this route from September this year.

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This concludes the City Triangle series. Three different airlines, three different types made for an interesting day trip. Now I wonder what I can do next?
Last edited by HGL on Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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capicua
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Moin, moin, HGL!

A nice daytrip you had there. Great how you managed to create three comprehensive TR's out of these relatively short hops. Will we also get a report on the longhaul flights?


HGL wrote:
D-CIRI, although painted in BA livery and serving a route marketed as BA CityFlyer, is operated by MHS Aviation

That was one of the Dorniers I saw at HAM when departing for CCS on TP back in May. I remember you commenting on it.


HGL wrote:
Air Engiadina, KLM Alps, Swisswings, Lions Air, City Star, Cirrus, Rhein-Neckar Air and Sun Air of Scandinavia have all at one time or another made use of this aircraft.

It´s got around quite a bit it seems.


HGL wrote:
The meal consists of salmon and pasta salad. This looks fresh and proves tasty as well.

This looks really palatable!


HGL wrote:
I ask for some red wine and receive a Casa La Punta from Chile. It is a suitable drop for drinking from a plastic beaker

Ouch, that hurt! But then wines served in Y aren't usually grand crus either.

Thanks for this TR series!
C.
"The greatest sight to see is the world - look at it!" (Kurt Tucholsky),
and getting there is half the fun!
 
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HGL
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:57 am

Moin, Moin, Capicua!

capicua wrote:
Great how you managed to create three comprehensive TR's out of these relatively short hops.

Thanks. I like to do the separate reports to concentrate on just the one airline or type in a fair manner. Besides, I take far too many photos to upload all at once. ;)

capicua wrote:
Ouch, that hurt! But then wines served in Y aren't usually grand crus either.

Actually, the wine was pleasant enough. It's more a comment on the flimsy plastic beaker but that's standard in Y anyway.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Tschüüs!
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aerdingus
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:38 pm

Brilliant! I really enjoyed reading about the DO328, and loved the detail of the a/c that you saw also. Thanks :)
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agrflyer
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:17 am

thanks for posting it was a pleasure reading it. How many minutes did it take from arrival until you were back in the departure hall? I will soon have a 30 minutes connection on the same airline through LCY.
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HGL
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:05 pm

Hi Aerdingus!
aerdingus wrote:
Brilliant! I really enjoyed reading about the DO328, and loved the detail of the a/c that you saw also. Thanks

Thanks! Glad that you liked it.

Hi Agrflyer!
agrflyer wrote:
How many minutes did it take from arrival until you were back in the departure hall?

Thanks for your kind word. From the time the aircraft pulled up at the stand to my being through passport control and security was about ten minutes but that was due to the on time arrival and there being no lengthy queues. Enjoy your flights.
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terrificturk
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:06 pm

very nice report and wonderful photos... one side note, however: The flight is operated under SunAir of Scandinavia, incl. the crew and catering and all the rest of it. SunAir is the franchisee of BA, MHS just a sublessor of the actual aircraft. In the past they also supplied flight crew, but AFAIK that has also changed now and pilots are sourced from SunAir.
The inflight service is SunAir for sure... they usually win an award for best service of a scandinavian airline, regularly beating another company, which I think is called SAS...
 
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HGL
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:59 am

terrificturk wrote:
The flight is operated under SunAir of Scandinavia,

Thank you for your comments and for your contribution regarding the aircraft. It is the case that the HAM-LCY route was previously sold as BA, operated by Sun-Air of Scandinavia. However at the time of booking the BA website indicated the flights as being BA CityFlyer, operated by MHS Aviation. It was still showing that when I selected my seat on check-in. So, I guess it was natural for me to take BA's word. :)

At the time BA were transitioning to operating the route by Eastern Airways with a Saab 2000, although this month they have also been operating the route using an E170 and even a BAe 146 operated by Cello. That would have been an interesting catch. As to D-CIRI, I believe that it has recently been operating the BLL-LCY route.
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seansasLCY
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:32 pm

The flight isn't operated by Sun Air. It was previously but it is now back with BA Cityflyer - hence the smaller meal onboard of just a salad - Sun Air usually provide ice cream and liquors even on morning flights. But it is being operated using a leased Dornier from MHS Aviation.

Sun Air will now launch Bremen-LCY.
 
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:02 pm

thanks for the inputs... I would have guessed that HAM-LCY is considerably better than BRE-LCY... and yes, onboard service by SunAir is top !
 
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HGL
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Re: City Triangle 3: MHS Aviation Dornier 328 to Hamburg

Sun Oct 16, 2016 1:09 am

Hi seanasLCY and terrificturk.

Thank you both for your additional comments.

terrificturk wrote:
I would have guessed that HAM-LCY is considerably better than BRE-LCY.

BA Cityflyer planning to operate the HAM-CLY route initially with a Saab 2000 from Eastern Airways (but also in practice with an Embraer 170) in place of Sun-Air with a Dornier 328 would suggest that the demand was there to operate a larger aircraft. The move has the added advantage of the new BRE-LCY route to be operated by Sun-Air. A win-win situation all round.
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