April, Oslo Back and forth to Gardemoen for work over the day. Braathens and Malmö Aviation by the time being merged, flew BAe 146 this day and I travelled with their logojet "Dagens Industri". Two aircrafts got pictured in OSL and nothing really interesting. Weather was totally crappy...
May, Prague It was time to try the new direct charter to Prague. Travel Service operated a twice weekly service with 737. Nice weather, cheap beer and good food in combination with lots of walking. Its a beautiful city! The museum at Kbely was also quite interesting but for me the most interesting stuff, all the preserved airliners were out of reach as being parked on the active military base. Once again we managed to talk us into an airfield, this time via VZLU test facilities and got full access to the Ilyushins, Avias, Lisunovs, Tups and Yaks.
A short visit to Rusyne perimeter with the rental car gave some Air Ostrava SAABs, some stored CSA Tu154s as well as both CSA A310s.
May, Keflavik / Reykjavik By the time working with Icelandair I was off to Reykjavik to get my uniform. A visit to the facilities at Keflavik including a ramp tour which led us to the poor FH227 written off during a ferry flight to the United States. This one had a history in Sweden flying for Malmö Aviation. When we visited the aircraft had been carried off the apron by heavy winds. Fate was unknown for this one with severe damage to the fuselage as right maingear broke during the accident. Then we headed downtown to Hotel Loftleidir at Reykjavik Airport.
After finishing the work business I was inspired by the DC-3 having made some flights earlier that day and I talked to the very helpful Firecrew who gave me a quick ramptour. I was told the DC-3 only flew for a month per year and I felt quite lucky to get some action shots when it came in for the last landing this day. Some Dorniers and also Flugfelag F50s joined my collection but unfortunately time ran out and the F27 from the coastguard parked on the far side is still missing. It was quite a chock how expensive this country is, specially after being in Czech Republic only days before.
June, Paris / Zurich Pressconference by Crossair announcing they signed up with Embraer to buy E145 and E170. I flew via Zurich to Charles de Gaulle as it took place at Le Bourget Airshow. Short transfer and only some pictures through the glass while running between the gates.
I found some time to check the static display as well with the usual mix of aircrafts. Most interesting was the Antonov 70. It made a very strange sound with those 16 blade contrarotating props. Airbus presented a Beluga and Boeing had a 717. Usual amount of bizjets in the display as well.
Made a quick stroll along the perimeter and got a bunch of bizjets before heading back to CDG.
Had a few hours left before my flight back to Zurich departed. At the remotes next to the northern terminal I found part of the Star Airlines fleet including the leased Air Transat Tristar. Most of the time where however spent at the south terminal.
Some hours transfer before going home offered among others Korean 744, Gandalf Do328 and Air Afrique A310. Of course a number of Swissair aircrafts as well...
August, Tallinn / Moscow / St Petersburg Being more and more interested in the Russian airliners and less of those in the western world I decided to join one of the british tours to Russia. This one was concentrated to Moscow region and the MAKS airshow.
I joined the group in Moscow as for me the best way was flying Estonian Air via Tallinn. A quick ramptour gave me full house of Enimex fleet as well as a stored Tu134 and some ELK L410's.
Starting at good old Yakovo Airlfield. Well thats what many people call Bykovo. When you enter the apron you can aesily understand why. Yak after Yak is hiding here and there is also a Yak 42 rework facility here. Once proud Bykovo Avia by the time already had many aircrafts parked and the number of movements on this field is very limited. There are also Sukhoi fighters being looked over and usually they are brought here by Il76's. The mysterious Il-14 guarding the enterance is still not identified. As with many places here in Russia, you need separate permissions from different companies on the airports. This time we had no permission from the rework and we were not let into the large storage area on the northern part. To bad as it hosted many nice ones... When done with Yakovo we enterd our bus and continued to the next field.
Myachkovo is a quite small field hosting many private aircrafts to small for my interest, Yak 18's and 52's. Also lots of helicopters. Anyway, our two main rules were "Don't walk on the runways" and "stay inside the airport fence". A couple of An2's, L410's, An32's and a sole Il14 were joined by Atran Il76's and An12 in different stages of maintenance. But the An30's is propably what made this airport famous for enthusiasts. There are almost 30 of them based here. Most of them are not flying but Myachkovo Air Service operates a couple of them. We were supposed to make a flight with one of them but they got another mission that day. Among the stored ones you will find an aircraft which made meassurements over Chernobyl after the accident. We were warned not to touch it as it was still radioactive...
Back at Sheremetyevo and our airport hotel we made a quick one to the remote parked Il86 next to the terminal. This ended our first day on this Moscowtrip.
We started the day at Khodynskoe Pole, the old central airport where Ilyushin had a rework facility. By the time it hosted one of the miltary museums with lots of fighters. At least there was an Il14 for me. The museum was later thretened by construction sites for new appartments. They actually started to cut some of the fighters before a decision to keep them seem to have been made (?)
Then off to Kaluga, a military base used for training airforce pilots. Lots of helicopters and a couple of L29's and An2's which we were offered flights with. I joined the An2 and during the complete flight we were carefully watched so nobody took any pictures through the windows. A quick tour of the old terminal area where the civil hulks were left. Two An12's, a bunch of sad looking An2's and an An26 got pictured before we had to leave.
Today we made a visit to the Lukoil VIP terminal next to Aeroflot maintenance and storage area. All different areas need separate permission but we managed to extend our access at least to the storage area.
Later that day the group were heading for some military activities and some of us were not interested at all. Instead we decided to stay at SVO and found our way to the approach. Excellent photo spot but the weather turned worse and we continued around the airport to the international terminal where we knew about a restaurant overlooking the airport.
We had to start with a really low profile. It was hard to see the Syrian Tu154 push beneath us without being able to touch the cameras. Reason was theEl Al flight some gates away with the usual extra security and guards. Well at least we got it on approach earlier... Restaurant staff are not really happy about having spotters around and when they told us they were going to get a guard if we didnt stop taking pictures we had enough for today and went back to the hotel.
We were going to spend one full day each at VKO and DME. To get different traffic the plans were to start at VKO and end up at DME today and the other way around Day 7. However bustransfer takes some time so Im not sure we got most out of it. One good thing though is that the number of aircraft not moving during the day might have changed until next time.
We got a pretty nice tour with lots of movements and including a visit to the control tower which gave good views over the field. The visit was really worth it.
Then off to DME with its beauty guarding the entrance. This mighty Tu114 was unfortunately broken up during Summer 2006 due to heavy corrotion. So was sistership -76640 at Vnukovo.
Quite a lot of traffic moving there as well. The sad thing for us photographers were that we weren't allowed to get out of the bus so most pictures had to be taken through glass whilst moving around. The spotters were happy though! From now on I will always check the photopossibilities before and my next russian tour was with another group. The remaining stay at DME became better as we stopped by the active runway for a while and outside the bus we could get some nice ones passing.
Moscow Airshow, unfortunately a bit disapointing, I thought it was going to be bigger. But there was definitely a large number of highlights making my day! The NASA Tu144, Tu334, flyable Il14 and Li2, bunch of Il76's and Tu204's and lots of other stuff.
Then we were also offered pleasure flights with the Il14 and Li2, to much money for me to try both and as I already tried a DC-3 I thought the Il14 would be nice! (Sadly the Li2 crashed in 2004) The Il14 cabin config was really something, what about 3+0 clubseating? Seats were from an Il62 or maybe Il86 and placed along the left hand side! Taxiing through the "secret area" passing Aeroflot Tu144's and Il18's, Tu95's, Backfires and other stuff was great but unfortunately yopu can't be at both sides of the aircraft in the same time... We made a lowpass over Myachkovo and then back to the 5km runway of Zhukovsky.
One of my new friends were engaged in a german Il18 project and we talked a lot with the crew onboard the Concors aircraft in the static display. We were offered seats on the technical ferryflight to DME some days later but how to get to the aircraft on our own? What would they say at DME upon arrival? How to find the group again? Would they at all make the ferryflight that day? To many questionmarks even if I never flew an Il18. This aircraft was lost 2005 in an accident at Caracas operated by Aerocarribean.
Back to Zhukovsky, this time to the far side of the airfield to watch the airshow. Being on this side of the runway was perfect! Airshow right above us, taxiway some meters in front of us, sun from behind and no crowd! The flying display was not what I hoped for. From earlier pictures I've seen takeoffs like nothing else including banking Il96's with wingtips barely clearing the ground. This year flying was quite careful and slow, the large airliners made very short ones and it was only Il96T, Il114, Tu334 flying. The Tu334 display started with a takeoff side by side with a Tu134 and continued with formation flying. Waterbombing with the old Be32 and also the jetamphibian Be200 were also nice and even though I don't really fancy the fighters, it's always nice to see and hear them. The Su35 with its vectorthrust system flew like nothing I've ever seen before (or later). Pure jet power and breaking every dynamic law there is.
Once again a trip to Domodedovo and again the busride around the airport without being let out of the bus. At least we managed to keep the ride shorter to give us photographers more time without the damn windows in the way. Spotters not so happy this time but fair enough! DME offers lots of Il62's and 76's but I think the highlight of the day was the Tyumen Il18 passing us on the way out. Quick negotiations with the security escort and we were let of the bus to get decent pictures! Actually the only westernbuilt aircraft "disturbing" us was a Turkmenistan 737.
Time limit already exceeded and rushing to VKO for the afternoon hours and some stops on different sides of the apron to photograph parked and moving traffic. Lots of Il86's and Tu154's among bunches of Yak40's and others. Once again disturbed by a westernbuilt, this time a BAe125 from Yemen, it was ok...
A short visit to Tushino, the central grassfield in Moscow were a couple of An2's and Il14's are based. Also home of some private helicopters.
Then off to the well known Airforce Museum at Monino. High expectations once again - and once again rather disapointed as many of the airliners were not at the museum yard. Quickly leaving our group with the guides talking about the WW1 aircrafts, we ran around the far area where all the interesting stuff were parked like the Tu114, Tu104, Tu124, An8, An10, An22 and others. We heard they didn't really like having people there. Propably because the aircrafts are not restored yet. And when being almost ready with our pictures a couple of dogs tied up to helicopters and aircrafts, barked as we passed and we were quickly told to come back again. It's a pitty they dont have the Il76 in the display yet. Many aircrafts are stored in the active area of the base.
After a nightly train ride to St Petersburg we started at the old Leningrad airfield, nowadays known as Rzhevka. Home of many private aircrafts and by the time a place with most An2's together I've ever seen. (That would change radically some years later when visiting Tyumen). Some An30's joined a single Yak40.
Lots of Mi2 helicopters in storage as well and we were offered a ride in one of the active Mi2's. Really nice with a short and vibrating ride over the city before coming back again. Note the russian horizon indicators which doubles the bank angle instead of follow the horizon!
Continuing to the main airport and a short rather unorganised ramptour which me and my german friend had to quit because we had a Pulkovo flight to catch back to Moscow as we both were leaving from there.
At Sheremetyevo, we spent the afternoon in the restaurant. This time without being kicked out. Last real dinner before the trip back home which for me took place late the day after.
As I flew "regional" with Estonian Air to Tallinn, my flight left from Sheremetyevo 1. I walked to the approach for a final session of photographing, The weather was a bit crappy to start with but eventually it cleared up. Being alone with the locals without knowing any russian was not really with the best feeling but I tried to keep a low profile. I got MIAT A310, Komiinteravia Tu134, Yamal Tu134, Transaero 737-200 and -700 plus lots of others.
Then after checkin, passing the customs with some worries (nobody collected our entrycards upon arrival) but it was ok. When waiting in the gate I took one last picture at SVO of a former AJT Tu154.
September, Warsaw The spectators terrace at Okecie is quite good, but by the time of our visit half the apron was closed due to construction works. At home we only had the 735's and E145's and therefor the 733's, 767's and ATR's were the main target this time. Only got one 767 but the ZK registered 733 was the highlight of the day. We didn't manage to get it until shortly before our return flight. We also saw Air Ukraine Tu134, Air Moldova An24 and a couple of Government Yak40's.
October, Helsinki The company I worked for set up an office at Vantaa and I was asked to coach the local employees. Traveled a couple of times back and forth booked on SAS but always trying (and always with success) to rebook my returns on Air Botnia. Much nicer staff as well as service AND you got to fly the old Fokkers instead! Not much time for photographing but got some of Air Botnia fleet, by the time consisting of F28's and S340's. Also Sabena A319 and Gazpromavia Yak42.
November, Manchester Skyways introduced the new route ARN-MAN with the Junglejet. Invited to join a flight and during the late evening stop in Manchester I made a quick tour to the hangar area where 5 ex Britsh Airways DC-10's were parked.