May, USA Finally another
roadmovie with my two crazy friends. This time we took it one step
further and flew to the States. In Tucson, Arizona we rented a Jeep Liberty
oneway and headed for the deserts. The "Pushtruck Desert Tour 2008" were to begin.
Flying ARN-LHR with British A320 and a reasonable time for terminal
transfer and mandatory USA security check. We soon found out the views
from American gates were rather limited and walked further out among the
gates. We thought it was a little strange that we as departing
passengers after all the security were mixed with the arriving
passengers... Answer came when we walked back after getting bored on the
views, the transfer corridor we used on the way out gave us the simple
message "No entry". Now we suddenly were arriving passengers for the
second time within a few hours, now in a little hurry as we once again
had to make the long distance, security checks and the long distance
back again. Arriving at the security check it was no problem to pass the
queue, same security guard as before (quite surprised to see us once
again!) and then off to our gate in time for boarding without having to
LHR-ORD with American Airlines 777 was a nice experience. Real friendly
staff, propably some 100 years old (!) but with a great mind of service.
The 777 was a nice machine to fly as well, smooth and quiet. No problem
to fall asleep... Arriving in Chicago where extremly crappy weather
welcomed us. The few hours transfer here were spent looking at American
Eagles Embraers in loads. We couldn't wait to arrive at the sunny side
of the states and a fair amount of pictures were taken through glass and
with this dull weather.
ORD-TUS were operated by American Airlines MD-80 and we arrived late
evening. We picked up our rental car and made some midnight recognition
at Hamilton to get something to dream about for tomorrow like a ZeroG
727 and what appeared to be a Ukrainian MD-80.
Then off to Ryan field. We decided to sleep in the car the first night
as it was only some few hours til dawn. We parked next to the DC-4 apron,
made some decal works on the car and slept well...
After a good night sleep (can be discussed...) we had enough light to
start our photo session. With a tight schedule we decided not to wait
for the perfect sunny side shots of the DC-4s and we were soon off back
to Tucson and Hamilton Aviations famous apron.
Much candy parked close but with sun against us and extreme amount off
ground clutter, our visit didn't give that much of quality pictures.
Many interesting highlights barely visible and no ramp access gave us a
frustrating start. Around the corner though we found the Flying Hospital
L1011 as well as the first of three Caravelles to be passed on our tour.
Before we set off for Pima we drove around to the terminal side of
Tucson and got a sole 732 from Sierra Pacific.
Arriving at Pima a while before opening gave us some time to drive along
the fences at Davis Monthan alowing some views of more or less scrapped
KC-135's. Then back to Pima Museum and it sure was a great
exhibition. Off course the airliners and bigger military ones were the
highlights here but there were a large amount of interesting fighters I
never saw before. Also a large number of remarkable designs like the
Budd Conestoga, the worlds first (and only?) aircraft in stainless steel,
shotwelded! If I wouldn't be in the DSLR-world nowadays, much
would have been passed without pictures but now we walked row up and
down getting almost everything. Impressive sight with the latest
addition to the collection being the "Six turning - Four burning" B-36 Peacemaker. Huge one - really! The Caravelle was represented here by the
ex Aero Service / Good Year aircraft. This was the first Caravelle
delivered to United Airlines. After a very time-effective tour of the
museum we had some minutes brake before the bus to AMARC left.
Unfortunately the bus had tinted windows and no possibility to open up
anything. Again thankful for not having any filmcosts and large amounts
of Hercules, KC-135/137 and P-3 Orions were pictured. The "Celebrity
road" where one of each type were kept offered among others the only
DC-8 used by the Navy. In total the area kept not more than 4400
aircrafts at the time and even though we couldn't get more than a small
part of this, the sight was rather impressive with rows of Galaxys and
Starlifters waiting its fate and large numbers of F-16's and other
fighters being cocooned.
When back from the bustour we drove off to some of the private
scrapyards around Davis Monthan. We found some Albatros amphibians at
one place and then a bunch of C-117's and C-130's as well as a P-3 doing
some predelivery checks before going to Brasilian AF.
On the way to Phoenix we had some mandatory stops to attend. First out
Avra Valley, former home of a Constellation society. The field had been
fenced recently and the two Connies left as well as some DC-4
firefighters were not
within range from outside. Seemed to be a big setback for us but we
found a worker with great hospitality who let us in. A rather quick
walk up to the propliners before we were off again.
Marana, home of Everett. Hospitality once being great here but very hard
nowadays to get ramp access. We found a perimeter road at the far side
of the runway offering very limited views of the higlights parked. Great
anyway to see the second Supertanker.
Chandler Memorial, in the middle of nowhere, also turned out to be a
huge disapointment. The axeman left almost nothing of the large amount
of propliners used to be withdrawn here. Some sad looking ex Biegert
DC-4s were just about it. It was my first time in the region so everything was new to me but at Avra my friends didn't take a
Finally arriving at
Phoenix in the afternoon and we found out the parking decks on each side
of the crossing taxiways were still accesible. Everything perfect then...
except the fact we had a cloudy sky... in Phoenix... Now the hunt for
Southwest could begin, with approx 450 of them to catch! We set the
first goal to 100 but imediatly raised it to 150 as being a reasonable
level for this trip.
We found a
Motel in Phoenix and a late evening walk searching for food and beer was
carried out before we went to bed.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 18.
After yet a good night sleep we made an early start looking for the
local Subway in order to get some breakfast. Turned out it was not that
easy but we finally made it and from now on every morning started with a
"foot long" sandwich. We also made sure to locate a Subway in the
evenings. Then off to the morning parkingdeck and we stayed at the
rooftop all morning.
When the sun were at highest we decided to tour the nearby fields,
Goodyear. Here we found an A340 being turned into scrap as well as some
British AIrways A320's in sad states. But we started along the fence
next to the stored aircrafts. The old DC-7 were still here waiting
for it's flight to God. Seems they still hadn't got the "sign". A couple
of MD-80's and 727's also here but the highlights were the VIP DC-8-72 and
GirJet 747F. The latter one visited one of my home airports when still
operating but I only heard about it afterwards. Now being on american
register but still in full colors. Also parked here were the former
Skybus fleet of A320's but on the active ramp far from reach with the
Then continuing to
Mesa Falcon Field where we found some Douglas props, Grumman amphibians and a
couple of bizjets. New fences all around this airport didn't make life
easier for us.
Phoenix for the afternoon session. More Southwests and US Airways, this
time from the other parkingdeck. The sun that always shine here once
again let us down partially and we finished earlier than planned.
Same motel in Phoenix hosted us tonight.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 80.
Today yet another day on the roads. We started with the morning rush
Phoenix before rolling towards Las Vegas. On the way out from the
airport we made a quick stop next to the terminal where Honeywells old
flagship, the 720 were still parked. Not offering any good views and
maybe yesterdays photos across the runways were better? We heard the
aircraft was scrapped some months later.
From here the roads climbed higher and the scenery around us
became more and more alike the swedish woods. With elevation well over
6000ft and huge snowy mountains around us, we made a stop at
The only movement we saw being a Dash 8 from US Airways
(one we saw this morning in PHX). Some bizjets and an amphipian were
also present but otherwise pretty lame.
Kingman became the next big disapointment. This was the only airport we got an
answer from before our trip. They told us they were "between fleets" and
we now understood they really meant it. Except for some DHL 727's and
TriStars on the far side, being parked here for years already, the only
thing left of the masses of aircrafts used to be here seemed to be some Do328's and 146's.
A sole DC-4 and some Canadair firefighters were nailed before we were off again,
now heading for Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Another thing, when driving
in the desert, make sure to use the gas stations you see. Don't think
you will make it to the next one...
A small glance of the Canyon in the far distance but the Hoover Dam was
something extraordinary. The impressive sight of this huge complex was
highlighted with the bridge they are building over the gap. Waterlevel
in the dam was pretty low at the moment so I guess they had a rather dry
period. We were now running on fumes and luckily our expectations of a
gas station next to Hoover Dam was true...
Boulder City Municipal being the home of Scenic's Twin Otters. New fence
once again cut our way of great photos. At least one of the odd looking
DH's were partly outside. They have large panorama windows, looks like
We arrived in
Vegas late afternoon and already from great distance you could see the
remarkable skyline of The Strip. Eifeltower, Space Needle and many other
remarkable buildings. We made some recognition next to Las Vegas Sands
apron wishing to see at least one of their 747SP's but only a Gulfstream
and BBJ were visible. We drove to the other side of the field, took a
while, it's a rather large airport nowadays. Arriving the runway end
just in time to miss Las Vegas Sands 767 but waiting until dusk at least
gave a Hawaiian 767 and a Philippine A340 with some bizjets arriving in
We checked in to one of the older, smaller motels in the beginning of
The Strip, just next to the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. The
motel was called Diamond Inn and a large pink elephant welcomed us at
the entrance. Everything here was painted in pink and babyblue... We
walked part of The Strip in the evening looking for dinner but didn't
stay up long.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 128.
With rwy 25L in use for arrivals we positioned us at the approach after
checking the northern part of the huge airport. Weather was not 100%
clear here in Vegas either and some high clouds disturbed us during the
day. Despite this, the temperature was above what I would call nice.
Thats how it is in the desert... Large amount of bizjets coming in but
nothing really spectacular. The 737-200 of EG&G were all at their
parkings and didn't move at all during our stay. Huge disapointment as
was the lack of Las Vegas Sands VIPfleet...
In the evening we decided to check The Strip and some of the casinos.
You can't go to Vegas without gambling and in Mandalay Bay I lost my 5
dollars but now I've at least gambled! We went further down The Strip
and turned out to be just in time for one of the shows from Bellagio's
fountain's. Spectacular!!! Continuing via Venetian with its gondols
inside next to the alleys of shopping under an artificial daylight
heaven, passing an Eifel tower, Statue of Liberty and then came to
Treasure Island. Enjoying a big Scull of Frozen Margerita whilst waiting
for the Sirens of TI to give their show on the pirateships. Even more
spectacular than the fountains... We took a taxi back the 3,5km we
walked (plus all walking inside the casinos). Slept well some few hours
Same motel hosted us tonight.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 201.
Early morning wake up call. Breakfast at Subway off course! Tuff shit,
the Subway we located at The Strip yesterday was a late opening one. And
then, when you are in desperate need of it, suddenly all Subway
restaurnts turn out to be well hidden. We couldn't find a single one...
Well most problems solves at the end and we were soon, after some
recognition, positioned next to rwy 25R. From here we had really good
view of the lineups and with very short awacs landings on 25L were in
reach as well.
When the sun had moved to much and morning rush was over, we moved to
the same spot as yesterday. The heat exceeded yesterdays levels and
early afternoon the sign next to us topped at 113F (didn't get that on
picture though) which is 45C. Pretty painful even if the car had AC, it
didn't manage this heat. Clear blue sky, many bizjets and some odd
companies mixed the amount of Southwest, Continental, Delta and Alaska.
We stayed here until 4pm before leaving bound for Victorville. After a
whille we realized that sun dropped rather quickly and it was approx
300km from Vegas.
We arrived at Victorville just before sunset finding out that we faced
all aprons directly into the sun. Good thing at this hour that sun was
almost gone! We found a number of TriStars and some 757's within reach
but it sure was frustrating to see the large number of ex Delta TriStars
in the far distance. They were aimed for an Air Force tanker project
which later was cancelled. Quite surprised also to see the former Air
Luxor TriStar in one of the hangars, being worked on. This one used to
be stored at Amsterdam after blowing up one engine.
From Victorville we had another 120km to Mojave where we found Best Motel,
another cheap one just next to the airport! After checking in our number
one target was the local Subway for tomorrows breakfast (this time also
checking the opening hours). Then off to one
of the local roadrestaurants along the street. A decent meal and some
beers before going to bed.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 296.
After a good nights sleep in the motel, not being sure about ramp
access, we looked for perimeter roads (or maybe should say "off roads"
along the storage line. We got some kind of pictures of most aircrafts
on the short term parking. The more interesting ones like the CV880s and
stuff were not within reach from here though.
We drove to the airport office and found out they still arranged tours
with photopossibilities. Nowadyas they don't let you out of the car but
we could at least drive with the door open. Our driver told us we could
take pictures of everything unless said otherwise. Very promising start!
First aircraft we passed obviously included in this category were the
DC-9 N932ML of US Navy. Then we toured the short term parking getting
better pictures of everything we took from the perimeter earlier. After
this we headed for the most interesting area with the APSA CV990, TWA
CV880 and the Aero California DC-9 fleet. Almost there our driver brifly
told us this whole area were a non photography site. HUGE disapointment!!!
Reason being the private owner of this site had bad experience of its
customers being published in magazines with partly scrapped aircrafts
associated with their logos. We realised it was no idea to discuss this
further although I don't think APSA (shut down in 1971) would have
something against photos of their Coronado... Anyway, we were at least
able to get the Stargazer TriStar which was a real highlight! Worth
noticing that some swedish fighters are still represented at Mojave. Two
stored Lansen and a couple of Drakens operating as trainers for airforce
Being famous for Lockheeds Skunk Works projects (U-2, SR-71 and F-117 )as well as being the
home of Lockheed TriSta,
Palmdale ended up on our schedule. Not much to be seen here for
civilians but a small museum near the entrance hosts some SR-71s, B-52,
C-46 and a NASA Jetstar. Decided not worth wasting time and money on
entrance fees, we just walked the museums fence.
Van Nuys is the home of the third and final Caravelle we were supposed
to get on this trip. We soon found out this was a really tuff airport
without ramp access. Many pappstrutar (light aircrafts) and bizjets
parked almost on top of each other. Heat haze on everything and far
distance to everything. The Caravelle were still there and was recently
striped with advertisement for some TVshow on one side.
Next stop was Bob Hope Airport. Rather busy bizjet traffic and some
Southwest, JetBlue and US Airways. We arrived in the middle of the
lunchpeak and after the movements we continued towards Ontario.
Ontario is a huge UPS base but there were else to be found here as well.
Some prehistorical BAe 125's, a freighter 727, a Mexican 737 and some
ordinary airliner traffic. Turned out that UPS apron were surrounded by
high walls giving less angles to choose from. DC-8s not within range,
one MD-11 barely acceptable and the only ones free of clutter being a
757 and a 767. Both types operates at my homebase...
Chino announced they had an airshow the days before. Didn't help us
coming now... A Convair prop welcomed us at the entrance and a DC-3 in
old PSA colors by the "Planes of Fame". During the airshow a flying
Convair as well as a Martin 404 had been their but not visible at this
time. After trying to navigate to the far side of the airport finding
out our GPSmap didn't know about the new community built in the area, we
finally found a maintenance area with some bizjets and a 727. The
nozzles mounted on one of the Gulfstreams parked here was one of the
worst I've ever seen. They definetly matched the ones used on the
Another airport we passed was
San Bernardino, former AFB, where no activities at all were seen. Some
lonely 727's were parked here and we climbed at rusty ladder giving us
great view of the aircrafts.
Unfortunately we arrived at
March AFB after the closure of the museum. Here some great military
transport aircrafts are to be found. Some pictures from the fence but as
it was double most part and lots of trees in the way, only a few
aircrafts were pictured before
setting off again. Still a long way to drive before sunset.
On the GPS we found French Valley, another field not on our schedule. Some wingclipped Twin Otters and a Piaggio
to be seen here before we
drove to the mexican border.
We read before about a 747SP parked in
Tijuana. We also studied pictures of the aircraft at home in order to
find the best plan for photographing. With a rental car you can not
leave the country. A walk from the border crossing could be an idea but
you don't want to leave the car unattended that near the border and
walking from the border crossing in an industrial area didn't really
fancy our thoughts. Some of the pictures we saw on the net were taken
from the USA side of the border and with the sun quickly falling from
the sky we made some recognition along the border fence before finally
giving up with this picture as the only result.
Just north of Tijuana you can find
Brown Field Municipal. Hospitality once again and gates were opened. Not
much to get but two Twin Otters, a Learjet and a Gulfstream were simply
bonus for our long journey down to Mexico...
We decided to drive to
San Diego this eveining for maybe take some of the morning rush next day. The
weather seemed a little unstable though so we left the decision for
tomorrow. Some recognision was carried out and some lousy shots at ISO
800 (1/25s) before we checked in to a nearby motel and walked to a nice
little pub enjoying a great dinner and some beers.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 302.
With extremly bad weather in San Diego we decided to move on. Our goal
today was LAX and on the way we passed
Long Beach. This used to be home of the DC-9 and the famous sign were
still present at the productionhangar. Nowadays all civil production is down
since the cancellation of the 717program. They are now building the military
transporter C-17 and we saw predelivery aircrafts for both USAF and RAF.
Weather was still crappy when we arrived to famous Bird Restaurant next
to rwy 25L. Approaching aircrafts in dull weather with bright background
is the worst ever situation and we soon moved to rwy 25R instead. After
some recognition we found a parking deck from where we could get both
approaches and lineups. After the Qantas A330 arrival we decided to move
back to rwy 25L. Weather cleared up for a while and we got some nice
sunny shots. With the sun came the heathaze and unfortunately the ferry
of a Southern Air 747 came in rwy 25R. Can't get'em all...
More clouds came in and made our photosession lousy once again. We then
decided to check the aprons on the south side before stopping at
Imperial Hill. The World 747BCF as well as two 727's from Champion Air
were great to get. The latter company were about to close business some
weeks after our trip.
Arriving at Imperial Hill just after the China Eastern A340 in special
colors passed. Well we got it when it taxied back but distance were
longer by then. We stayed for a short while before getting bored with
the crappy weather and distance to the runway. We decided to check out
the aprons on the west side between the runways. No luck at all here,
fences and buildings carefully blocking every corner. We decided to find
some accomodation for our LAX-period instead. Found a small motel next
to the approach for rwy 24L/R.
After settled in our motel, we made some more recognition. It was still
too early to give up photographing. We found a multilevel carpark
belonging to a hotel nearby the approach offering good views. Took maybe
30min before security kicked us out of there. Not reasonable at all, no
understanding of our hobby, simply explaining the hotels guests were
worried. This turned out to be pretty good anyway as it took us only a
short while to find another similar parkingdeck with even better view
where we stayed without trouble the few hours left this evening. From
here we could reach the lineups of rwy 24L/R.
A well longed shower at our
Motel 8 before strolling down the neighbourhood to the nearby Sizzlers
steakhouse. Fabulous food and great prices. In darkness well back at the
motel we had some beers and played with the cameras. ISO 1600 and 1/15s
were a quite interesting experience.
Then hitting the pillow preparing
for yet another day at LAX.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 316.
Morning until noon once again spent next to Bird Restaurant after the traditional
Subway breakfast, this time at Imperial Hill where we located one the
day before. Weather finally being perfect again.
In the afternoon we found our way back to the parkingdeck we used
yesterday. In the shadow from the car we enjoyed yet another afternoon.
More and more boring with the same traffic and no surprises at all. The
interseting freighters used the other runway. This included an Astar
DC-8 as well as a Capitol Cargo 727F.
When bored enough and sun dropping to fast we went back to the motel for
a shower and the final dinner in states. This one like yesterday at
Sizzlers. Some bears later and overloaded with meat we rolled (!) back
to the motel and watched approaches from the pool for a while before
going to sleep.
Total amount of Southwest so far - 348.
A tour on the highway along the freighter aprons with some quick stops
for a DC-8 and some FedEx DC-10s before a final session at the
prakingdeck. Early morning the lineups showed off decent light while the
approaches were in terrible headlight.
When light was good enough for approach shots we moved to a small yard
on a local street next to the motel. Here we stayed the rest of the day,
kicking ball while waiting for approaches. In the early afternoon we
were approached by a security guard from a nearby industry building. He
were not happy with the fact we made photos of aircrafts. He told us to
stop this or he "would call the police". Keep in mind we were staying on a
public place. We simply told him that we appreciated this fact very much.
He then got upset that we didn't pay him more attention
and then with hostile attitude announced that he would "at
least note our cars registration". We told him it was a great suggestion
and welcomed him to do that as well. We kept on taking photos and half
an hour later there were still no sign of any police whatsoever.
We were at this time pretty sure the securityguy only fooled us but our
then interupted when a policecar finally turned up. In the background,
our securityguy followed the next 20 min carefully. Being used to this
situation (as being the fourth or fifth time) from the past week, all three of us already had our passports
and papers ready when the officers got out of their car. "No,no,no - you
can wait with that. We only wanna talk" said the officers. The following
conversation between us and the officers presented many laughs and
cheerful attitudes! They explained about the call, they explained we
didn't do anything wrong, they asked us how long we were going to
stay, they checked our papers a.s.o. When one of the officers noticed the
name "Björn" in one of the passports he said "Oh now I have to ask you,
Björn, what does it meen? We have this babycarriage of the swedish brand
Babybjörn. So far we called it the babybear."
We explained to him it was perfectly correct and after those cheerful 20
min the officers finally wrote down a small note and handed over to us.
This business card had the officers names and a number-of-the-case. If
we were horassed by anyone else we were told to simply show this card if
they didn't believe us. It told we had already been checked and accepted. We were then told by the officers to have a safe
trip home before they saluted us and drove off! We only had some hours
left of this trip but we were happy anyway!
Specially when thinking of certain securityguys and the propable dark
clouds now surrounding him...
Before checking in we had some time left after leaving our rental car so
we checked the rooftop of one of the multistory carpark. Severe heathaze
made this recognition a quick one and we headed for the airconditioned
terminal instead. Some pix through the glass, closing the circle with an
American MadDog, as the "Pushtruck Desert Tour 2008" began 9 days ago.
Then another smooth 777 flight, this time pretty tired and this time
Total amount of Southwest on this trip - 364 !!!
Transit in LHR didn't give much and we grabbed something to eat
before our Stockholm flight left.
After counting everything together at home I
came up with a decent number of new airliners for the collection:
145 US Airways (+ 45 US Airways Express)
104 American Airlines (+ 37 American Eagle)
65 United Airlines (+ 49 United Express, + 32 Ted)
53 Northwest Airlines (+ 2 Northwest Airlink)
49 Alaska Airlines (+ 17 Horizon)
46 Continental Airlines (+3 Continental Express)
40 Delta Air Lines (+ 30 Delta Connection)
31 Air Canada
13 Allegiant Air
And lots and lots of other birds... In total 1994 new ones!
September, Beijing After being in
the states in May we once again started to scan the net for cheap
Miami were the hottest plan but then we soon found out Finnair had some
very good deals on its Asian routes. We talked about Bombay as more and
more pictures shows up from there. However we were already half into
August and going to India preferably needs some preplanning. Second
option was Beijing, quite civilized city and only arrangements needed in
beforehand was hotel and visa. Flying Finnair via Helsinki is a good
option, I tried it before, and even better was the fact the HEL-BJS
route was operated by MD-11. New type for me and propably last chance
for me as most MD-11s are now converted to freighters with Finnair ones
to follow as well. Same three lads from the USAtrip were now transported
by OH-LGA for some 8 hours. Closing up on 20000 aircrafts in the
collection it was no problem to pass it on this trip as many of the
airliners overthere doesn't show up here.
Some hours transfer in Helsinki and staying at the busgate
downstairs resulted in some of the widebodies from Finnair including
OH-LGB with Moomins and OH-LQE in Oneworld colors. Finally we got to
board our Trijet and headed eastwards.
We arrived in Beijing and the brand new terminal late morning and as
hotel checkin were at noon we decided to stay at the airport for a while.
Our hotel were 4km away but we didn't find it on the maps before so we
had no idea of the exact position. From the dropoff zones you just
needed to walk along the road some 100m and you had a good view of the
arrivals at rwy 36R as well as departing aircrafts using this runway.
However the aircrafts from the old terminal usually entered via
intersection and was a little to far for my 300mm (x1,6 = 480mm) lens.
We tried also to find out a pattern for the runway usage but it seemed
they were using all three runways for both arrivals and departures at
the same time. There could actually be three aircrafts on parallell
finals at the same time! It seemed like most China Eastern, China
Southern and Hainan Group aircrafts used rwy 36L and most Air China and
Shandong AIrlines aircrafts used rwy 01. Then a mix of airlines used rwy
36R. No problems at all with authorities, policecars regularly patrolled
the dropoff zone but we were obviously not of interest. Then we took a
taxi to the hotel which turned out to be near one of the highways. This
didn't bother us as approach for rwy 36L were along the highway!
Checking in to the hotel and asking for a room as high as possible and
facing the highway was no problem. The view from the room for morning
approaches were quite alright! We made us comfortable in the room and
after some struggle managed to open the windows, even though we wished
it could have slide some more to the side. Three of us in the small open
part were a little tricky but it worked out. At this time light was from
above/rear and we decided to grab something to eat and then heading for
the airport again to shoot some afternoon rotations on rwy 01.
Taking a taxi from the hotel was interesting! We asked the portier to
arrange one and obviously they had some unofficial deal with some locals.
He wanted a fixed price without the meter and even if 50 CNY sounds
cheap, we only payed 12 CNY for going opposite way. His offer were
turned down and we grabbed a passing taxi on the streat instead. We
never payed more than 15 CNY for the hotel/airport trips. Higlight of
this visit was the Air China Olympic Torch A330. Worth mention is we
also had our first chat with the police this afternoon. We stayed at the
ramp on the east side of the dropoffzone this time. It was quite warm
and we had shorts on and t-shirts off in the sun.
After a while we noticed a police car had stopped near us. The officer
were struggling for maybe 10min in his seat with his uniform and holster
before he finally got out of the car. As he approached us we thought
this might be the end of our photosession. He gently saluted us and on
weak english finally said "Excuse me sir... Please put on shirt..." So
we did and he said "Thankyou" and went back to his vehicle and drove
off! So that was it, photographing no problem but we maybe should have
known better about chinese dresscodes. Half an hour later same car
stopped again. Same officer approached us. What now? "Excuse me sir...
Cars... Dangerous..." Yes sir we no, we are careful. "Oh... Careful...
Oh... Very good... Thankyou..." He once again saluted us and went back
to the car and drove off. That was it, no more talks with the police
near the terminal. We stayed another couple of hours before going back
to the hotel for a shower and then to a local restaurant to try the
Our plans were to stay at the hotelroom during the morning to
get some traffic on rwy 36L. We soon found out saturday mornings were
really slow and when finally first movement showed up, it was a takeoff
rwy 18R. Shit! What to do now? Reschedule our plans, off course, but how,
do some recognition yes, but where? We decided to start exploring the
old terminal and we were soon in a taxi on the way. Finding out Deer Jet
apron were next to this terminal and after a quick session there we
walked the terminal finding out there were very limited spots except for
a long walkway between the two main buildings. Glass off course and APU
blast and shit but what to do? We needed breakfast anyway so we tried a
restaurant in the terminal and tried to find out what to do. Weather was
a bit lousy as well this morning and one of my friends didn't feel to
well. He decided to go back to the hotel.
The two of us left were still hungry on taking photos and even though
the weather didn't change we were desperatly trying to find some
photoposition for the 18R/36L traffic. We tried several buildings next
to the remote apron. We noticed a Transmile 727F were parked here but
the best view we could find only offered us a view of the Hainan
aircraft next to it. Walking all the way south along the cargobuildings
only to find out there were no views what so ever from the morning side.
At this time they had at least switched runways and we decided to go
back to the new terminal instead. Witt the lack of sun we could make
approaches on both rwy 36R and 01 as well as departures on 36R. We also
could see what was coming in next to our friends position in the
hotelroom. Some of the landings we noticed passing him were the Ryanair/Mongolian
B738, Aeroflot 767 with special flower colors and the Air Koryo Il-62...
We waited until EI-CSG departed rwy 36R before going back to the hotel.
Turned out our friend was in the shower when the Ilyushin passed. After
this knowledge he promise himself (and us) that he would never ever take
a shower again! With almost no heathaze this dull day, my picture of the
2,3km from the approach to rwy 36L turned out better than I thought even
though I had to crop away some sky...
As traffic did not cheer us up we decided the afternoon would be a
great time to spend at the Aviation museum in Datangshan. It's located
in the Xiao Tang Hill north of Beijing. It was some 30km from our hotel
and we decided to take a taxi and have this one waiting for us at the
museum. Nearest airport is Shahezhen Airforce Base and there is a 4,5km
long taxiway connecting the base with the aprons and underground hangars
of the museum. It opened to public in 1989 and has since managed to
collect over 200 aircrafts of more than 100 different types. Mainly
fighters are displayed, among them several different versions of what we
know as "Mig-15". A number of civil transport and passenger aircrafts
are also on display. Two and a half Trident, three Curtiss C-46, some
Lisunov Li-2, Ilyushin Il-18, Antonov An-12 and in the row of Antonov
An-2's we found one on floats, well it was actually a Nanchang Y-5 but
remarkable anyway! The tunnel through the
mountain also offered great exhibitions of aircrafts, engines, models
and weapons. Some of the airliners outside were in desperate need of
attantion like the old Orbis DC-8-21. But at least it has been saved
instead of scrapped which is good! Museum is well worth a visit!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the terminal and the traffic
on rwy 01. When they towed an Air China A330 to the gate next to the
runway and we could no longer get the departing traffic, we switched
side and stayed by rwy 36R for a while before heading back to the hotel
and then down the village to get some food.
After yesterdays dull weather this morning was according to our wishes.
Sunny and landing from the south. Sundays also pretty slow but we could
now enjoy the hotels continental breakfast next to our window keeping an
eye at the approach. Rossiyas recently delivered 767 as well as the
Aeroflot special scheme we didn't get the other day came along with the
usual China Eastern and Southern mixed with Hainan, Xiamen and Air
Berlin. At noon they once again switched runways and we decided to try
approaches for rwy 18R and the afternoon side.
Taxi heading north trying some roads close to the perimeter and we
found a great spot just after touchdown and VERY close to the runway.
After saying bye bye to the taxi we walked the last 50m just to find out
the local police hidden around the corner didn't want us there... What a
pitty as action shots from here were at a distance for maybe 50mm lens
on the China Cargo 747 just applying its thrustreversers... Now we had a
long walk ahead of us and it was pretty warm. Finally we found a decent
spot at the approach after 30min walk. We had some discussions with the
police here as well but they let us stay at this spot after checking our
papers and got an explanation about this hobby of ours.
We gave up quite early today as we had plans for some shopping. Taxi
to SIlk Street and Pearl Market. A multistory building with small shops
(3x3m) and hungry saleswomen. Here you can buy almost everything as long
as you have the energy to bargain. It's definitely worth it. I'm still
happy with the coat and bags I bought really cheap overthere.
Early morning once again offered good sunny view from the room and just
after finishing our breakfast they once again switched runways. At least
we got the second mongolian and a China Cargo 744F before.
As it was still morning and light was still from the morning side, we decided to stay at the old terminal for a
while despite the fact we had to stay behind glass. It was not too
tinted and it's always nice to
get some new angles and approaches don't give you any reference to where
When traffic slowed down too much we went to the new terminal instead in
order to try some takeoffs. Just in time for the FInnair departure rwy
18L and today it was our MD-11 on the BJS route. Aircrafts not as heavy
were not in range at all and when the Air Berlin A330 was gone as well
we went to the same spot as yesterday next to rwy 18R approach.
Even warmer than yesterday and not a single cloud insight, our friends
were there today as well, the local police in the roadblock as well as
the local homeless guy randomly walking around without lifting his feet
from the ground... For some reason he became the main subject in all our
chats... Well you have to remember which three individuals this
Chinatour consisted of...
Final afternoon of this trip and once again (!) the controllers decided
to make a runway change. Not good as we had not checked rwy 36L
approach. With not so many hours of light left we decided to try find
some spot rather than going all the way to the new terminal. We did find
a garbage dump, perfectly suitable for our purpose. Well the smell was
not but photoangle was great. We stayed until dawn and for the last time
this trip a taxijourney to the hotel. Well back we relaxed in the
poolarea for a while before grabbing something to eat and celebrating a
pretty good trip at the local bar.
Time to go home. Early departure from the hotel, breakfast in the
terminal and after some shopping we headed for the gates in the northern
part of the 2,8km long complex. Some photographing through terrible
glass before it was time to board the same MD-11 bringing us here.
MD-11 sure is a fast flying bird. But despite the publiced groundspeed,
flight time was about 8 hours home as well...
Well back in Helsinki and extremly dull weather we noticed an ATR parked
by the hangars. Luckily we were parked remote just next to that apron
just within reach for the telelens. The few hours transfer felt like a
long long time. We had a bite in the restaurant and finally it was time
to board the fourth flight of this trip.