Henry Tenby - Classic Airline DVDs / Entrepreneur / and more » Henry Tenby Aviation Reporter https://www.henrytenby.com The latest aviation and internet business news from Henry Tenby Thu, 27 Sep 2018 15:35:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Amsterdam Aviation Fair 2018 Was an Amazing Success! (PHOTO REPORT) https://www.henrytenby.com/amsterdam-aviation-fair-2018-was-an-amazing-success-photo-report/ https://www.henrytenby.com/amsterdam-aviation-fair-2018-was-an-amazing-success-photo-report/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2018 16:14:10 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5364
Niels Dam and Henry Tenby give the "thumbs up" to the 2018 Amsterdam Aviation Fair.

Niels Dam and Henry Tenby give the “thumbs up” to the 2018 Amsterdam Aviation Fair.

I had the great pleasure of attending the 2018 Amsterdam Aviation Fair at the Van der Valk hotel at Schiphol Airport on February 25, 2018.

It was truly an amazing success! There were over 200 tables and 1000+ plus attendees which makes it the world’s largest airline collectibles show! It certainly rivals or exceeds the size of some of the US national Airliners International Conventions, which were considered the grand-daddy of airline hobby shows.

Everything under the sun for airline fans were at the show. There was a huge selection of aircraft models, both the professional display models and diecasts, and huge amounts of books, printed matter, pins, posters, and massive assortments bric-a-brack airline collectibles.

I can’t wait for next year’s AMS show and wish them all the best in their organizing this awesome event!

We offer a very special thanks to Patrick van Rooijen and his team for staging such an amazing event! For show details please visit http://aviationfair.com

This is show organizer Patrick van Rooijen officiating the door prize raffle.

This is show organizer Patrick van Rooijen (far right) officiating the door prize raffle.

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Taipei Sung Shan Airport circa 1971 (China Airlines Assistance to Uncle Sam During the Vietnam War) https://www.henrytenby.com/taipei-sung-shan-airport-circa-1971-china-airlines-assistance-to-uncle-sam-during-the-vietnam-war/ https://www.henrytenby.com/taipei-sung-shan-airport-circa-1971-china-airlines-assistance-to-uncle-sam-during-the-vietnam-war/#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:17:35 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5344 During the early 1970s when the Vietnam War was raging in Vietnam, Taipei was a strong US ally and their international airport at Taipei (Sung Shan) was a major depot and transit point for the US military.

As is clearly evident in the colour slides taken in 1971 by the late Rick Wargo, we can see that maintenance was performed on an assortment of US military transport aircraft at this location. Specifically, the China Airlines hangar was either made available to the US military to conduct depot repairs, or repairs were contracted out to the airline. The fact that in some of the photos we can see that the hangar roof signage “China Airlines” has been changed to “INA AIRLINES” suggests that the airline did not want to advertise whatever the arrangement might have been, whatever the case.

Taipei’s Sung Shan airport is very much a city airport in that it is very close to the city centre, and in later years a larger international airport (CKS) was constructed quite some distance from the city. That said, to this very day, Sung Shan remains a very busy and popular airport, largely serving airlines that connect Taipei to other cities on the airline and in the region.

But back in 1971, the international traffic at Taipei Sung Shan airport was rather impressive. The presence of Flying Tigers Douglas DC-8-63s, and Northwest Orient and TWA Boeing 707s, suggests the airport was a popular transit point for long haul services bring US servicemen from the Continental US to serve their tours of duty in the Vietnam War. Many of these very flights might have also had transit stops at Honolulu, which was also a popular Vietnam War charter transit location.

The regional airline scene of the day was also extremely interesting with Korean Airlines Boeing 720, JAL DC-8-61, Philippine Airlines DC-8 (series -30 and -50), Cathay Pacific Convair 880, Thai International DC-8-30, and Hang Khong 727-100 presence at Sung Shan also being noted in the period photos.

The ROC Taiwan domestic airline scene was a lot less developed than today, with local service provided by China Airlines NAMC YS-11, 727-100 and DC-4 aircraft, and Far Easter Air Transport Dart Heralds. It seems the photo vantage points at Sung Shan airport in 1972 consisted of an elevated apron view from the airport terminal building, as well as several outside photo spots by the runway and taxiway. It is believed that excellent photo spots remain near the airport ring road under the final approach, as the close confines of the city’s developments require aircraft to make very low approaches over the road.

Of course we must be very grateful that the late Rick Wargo took these very interesting photos, and we extend very special thanks to Rick’s wife Karen for making these images available so they could be shared and enjoyed.

China Air Lines DC-4 at company hangar at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

China Air Lines DC-4 at company hangar at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971. Notice the “China Airlines” name on the hangar roof. This was changed soon after this image was taken, as explained below.

Awesome view of FEAT Far Eastern Air Transport Dart Herald B-2011 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Notice all the USAF military transports parked at the "INA AIRLINES" hangar. A fictitious name most likely, as these aircraft were receiving maintenance here in support of the Vietnam War efforts.

Awesome view of FEAT Far Eastern Air Transport Dart Herald B-2011 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Notice all the USAF military transports parked at the “INA AIRLINES” hangar. A fictitious name most likely, as these aircraft were receiving maintenance here in support of the Vietnam War efforts. And China Airlines preferred not to advertise the fact.

Philippine Airlines DC-8-30 PI-C829 operating a sked service from Manila at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Philippine Airlines DC-8-30 PI-C829 operating a sked service from Manila at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

US Navy C-47 South East Asian based aircraft at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Notice the Chinese characters on the forward fuselage.

US Navy C-47 South East Asian based aircraft at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Notice the Chinese characters on the forward fuselage.

USAF Lockheed C140 Jetstar O-35960 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Probably on a maintenance visit or some other Vietnam War related VIP charter. Note the Vietnam War camouflage scheme. This aircraft was used to test navigational aids.

USAF Lockheed C140 Jetstar O-35960 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Probably on a maintenance visit or some other Vietnam War related VIP charter. Note the Vietnam War camouflage scheme. This aircraft was used to test navigational aids.

China Airlines Boeing 727-100 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Probably taken soon after her initial delivery from Boeing.

China Airlines Boeing 727-100 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Probably taken soon after her initial delivery from Boeing.

Hang Khong Viet Nam Airlines Boeing 727-100 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Most probably operating a sked service from South Vietnam.

Hang Khong Viet Nam Airlines Boeing 727-100 at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Most probably operating a sked service from South Vietnam.

Northwest Orient Boeing 707-351 N367US on a Vietnam War troop charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Northwest Orient Boeing 707-351 N367US on a Vietnam War troop charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Malaysia Singapore Airlines Boeing 707 at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Malaysia Singapore Airlines Boeing 707 at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Nice nose on shot of a Thai DC-8-40 at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Nice nose on shot of a Thai DC-8-40 at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Korean AIr Lines Boeing 720 HL7403 at Taipie Sung Shan Airport November 1971

Korean AIr Lines Boeing 720 HL7403 at Taipie Sung Shan Airport November 1971.

China Airlines DC-4 about to touch down at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

China Airlines DC-4 about to touch down at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Northwest Orient Boeing 707-351 N366US on a Vietnam War troop charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Northwest Orient Boeing 707-351 N366US on a Vietnam War troop charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

TWA Boeing 707 turning onto the active at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971. Probably Vietnam troop charter.

TWA Boeing 707 turning onto the active at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971. Probably Vietnam troop charter.

Southern Air Transport Lockheed Hercules at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Southern Air Transport Lockheed Hercules at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971. Most certainly a Vietnam War related supply charter.

Philippine Airlines DC-8-50 PC-C803 operating a sked service at Taipei Sung Shan airport November, 1971.

Philippine Airlines DC-8-50 PC-C803 operating a sked service at Taipei Sung Shan airport November, 1971.

Japan Air Lines DC-8-61 JA8041 scheduled service at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

Japan Air Lines DC-8-61 JA8041 scheduled service at Taipei Sung Shan airport 1971.

China Airlines NAMC YS-11 B-158 landing at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

China Airlines NAMC YS-11 B-158 landing at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. This type was very short lived with China Airlines and photos are quite rare.

Thai International DC-8-30 HS-TGO operating a sked service Flying Tigers DC-8-63 N782FT operating a Vietnam War charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Thai International DC-8-30 HS-TGO operating a sked service Flying Tigers DC-8-63 N782FT operating a Vietnam War charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Flying Tigers DC-8-63 N782FT operating a Vietnam War charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Flying Tigers DC-8-63 N782FT operating a Vietnam War charter at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Fabulous view of Cathay Pacific Convair 880 VR-HFY at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Fabulous view of Cathay Pacific Convair 880 VR-HFY at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971 on her way to the active for the return sked flight back to home base of Hong Kong Kai Tak.

Flying Tigers DC-8-63 mid apron at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971.

Flying Tigers DC-8-63 mid apron at Taipei Sung Shan airport circa 1971. Most likely operating a Vietnam War charter.

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Five engined Boeing 747 BOAC Classic at Zurich Klotten in May 1972 https://www.henrytenby.com/five-engined-boeing-747-boac-classic-at-zurich-kloten-in-may-1972/ https://www.henrytenby.com/five-engined-boeing-747-boac-classic-at-zurich-kloten-in-may-1972/#comments Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:23:37 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5317 Back in the 1960s and 1970s aircraft manufacturers devised special engine pods so that passenger jetliners could easily transport a spare engine between locations, often during the course of a schedule flight.

The first generation jetliners including the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 were factory engineered for this special engine carrying capability. Special hard points were established on the underside of the wing between the fuselage and the inboard port side engine, and aerodynamically shaped engine transport pods could be easily and quickly anchored to the hard points.

Even the DC-10 and Boeing 747 (series 100 and 200) were engineered with this special feature. Photos of a four engined DC-10 are extremely rare, and fine engine 747s are not a lot easier to find.

In May of 1972, BOAC attached a fifth engine onto one of their then new 747-136 aircraft which positioned into Zurich’s Kloten Airport with the spare engine, which was possibly bound for locally based Swissair, which had just taken delivery of two brand new 747-257Bs of their own.

The photos below were taken of that special visit by a Swissair employee who kindly gave me a small number of slides he took back in the day. (He wishes to remain anonymous.)

BOAC Boeing 747-136 5 engine ferry into ZRH MAY 1972

BOAC Boeing 747-136 5 engine ferry into ZRH MAY 1972

BOAC Boeing 747-136 5 engine ferry into ZRH MAY 1972

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Hickam AFB Honolulu in 1940s and 1950s Vintage Color Slides Discovered https://www.henrytenby.com/hickam-afb-honolulu-in-1940s-and-1950s-vintage-color-slides-discovered/ https://www.henrytenby.com/hickam-afb-honolulu-in-1940s-and-1950s-vintage-color-slides-discovered/#comments Sun, 28 Jan 2018 06:24:34 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5277
This is the arrival terminal building at Hickam Air Force base as seen in the 1940s and early 1950s.

This is the arrival terminal building at Hickam Air Force Base as seen in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu rose to prominence in public awareness after the Japanese attacked the US military installations at Pearl Harbour and the nearby airfields on Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands. The attacked occurred on December 7, 1941, a “date which will live in infamy” as famously proclaimed by US President Roosevelt, and from that day to current times, Hawaii (and Guam to a much lesser extent) remains as the western most homeland base of deference against attack from unfriendly forces that may originate in the Pacific. Which unfortunately, even today is a worry in the ever changing dynamics on the Korean peninsula.

After the end of World War II, large inventories of aircraft that were built for the war effort were kept on hand based at Hickam Air Force Base, near Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands, as American would never again let her guard down in this all important theatre. Although the US forces remained in Japan after the end of the war, to oversee the democratic rebuilding of that country, military supplies and personnel that were transported by air from the continental United States, would use Hawaii as a rest point during the long, trans-Pacific air journey. Of course, propeller driven aircraft of 1940s and 1950s simply did not have the trans-Pacific non-stop ranges that we take for granted today, that are matter-of-fact with current jet airliners.

As a collector of 35mm colour aircraft slides going back to the early 1980s, I recently acquired some vintage colour 35mm kodachrome original slides taken during the 1940s and 1950s that were taken at Hickam Air Force Base. The images and colours have retained their brilliance and have been preserved quite remarkably against fading, despite their age. This is evidenced from the scans of the images, as presented below. Sadly, I do not know who took the slides as there is no photographer name indicated on the slide mounts. That said, many thousands of US servicemen and related family members and support personnel transited the Hawaiian Islands during this fascinating post war era. It was not only Japan and other US allies such as the Philippines and Korea that were within the US sphere of influence, but it was also at this time that the US military was engaged in nuclear weapon testing (above ground atmospheric detonations) in the South Pacific. And much of the logistical support for these tests was staged via the Hawaiian Islands.

Aircraft that were prevalent at Hickam during this interesting time frame consisted of prop driven transport planes such as USAF MATS (Military Air Transport Service) Douglas C-54 Skymasters, Boeing C-97 Stratocruisers, Douglas C-47 Dakotas, Curtiss C-46 Commandos, and Fairchild C-82 Packets and C-119 Flying Boxcars, many of which were locally based at Hickam, whilst others were transient visitors. And of course there were fighter attack aircraft also based at Hickam, which is evidenced by these historic views of the Hickam apron loaded with rows of both Republic P-47D Thunderbolts and Curtiss SB2 Helldivers.

US Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar is serviced on the ramp at Hickam Air Force Base in Holoulu, Hawaii, circa early 1950s.

US Air Force Fairchild C-82 Packet 557736 is serviced on the ramp at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, circa early 1950s.

A view to the active dispersal apron, loaded with USAF P-47D Thunderbolts, also referred to as "jugs" because of their jug-shaped fuselages.

A view to the active dispersal apron, loaded with USAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolts, also referred to as “jugs” because of their jug-shaped fuselages.

This young fellow was a keen aircraft photographer back in the early 1950s or late 1940s. He seems to be holding a fairly nice camera for the day. It is shame we do not know his name, as he might very well be the fellow who took all the images presented on this page. We are grateful to him for his efforts so that we may enjoy these images of how things were, some seventy years ago.

This young fellow was a keen aircraft photographer back in the early 1950s or late 1940s. He seems to be holding a fairly nice camera for the day. It is shame we do not know his name, as he might very well be the fellow who took all the images presented in this report. We are grateful for his efforts so that we may enjoy these images of how things were, some seventy years ago.

A USAF MATS C-54 at rest on the Hickam apron, as viewed through the forward crew door on a sister C-54. Circa early 1950s.

A USAF MATS Douglas C-54 Skymaster at rest on the Hickam apron, as viewed through the forward crew door on a sister Douglas C-54. Circa early 1950s.

USAF P-47D Thunderbolt and a North American T-6 Texan, both looking very new with factory polished metal fuselage and wing surfaces. This images taken at Hickam probably dates from just after the end of World War II.

USAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt and a North American T-6 Texan, both looking very new with factory polished metal fuselage and wing surfaces. This image taken at Hickam Air Force Base probably dates from just after the end of World War II.

A very busy and well protected Hickam apron, circa mid to late 1940s. We have rows of Curtiss Sb2 Helldivers, as well as Corsair IIs.

A very busy and well protected Hickam apron, circa mid to late 1940s. We have rows of Curtiss SB2 Helldivers, as well as rows of Vought F4U Corsairs (left side).

Hickam Air Force Base transient apron circa early 1950s. We have a Pacific based USAF MATS C-97 Stratocruiser, with a serviceman and his wife or girlfriend are seen in lower centre frame. The flower lei on the woman is a Hawaiian tradition that dates back generations.

Hickam Air Force Base transient apron circa early 1950s. We have a Pacific based USAF MATS C-97 Stratocruiser, with a serviceman and his wife or girlfriend seen in lower centre frame. The flower lei on the woman is a Hawaiian tradition that dates back generations.

Hickam Air Force Base transient ramp Gate Number 1, with a MATS C-121 Connie and a C-54 resting between flights.  This images most likely dates from the early 1950s.

Hickam Air Force Base transient ramp Gate Number 1, with a USAF Pacific Division Lockheed C-121 Constellation and a USAF MATS Douglas C-54 Skymaster resting between flights. This images most likely dates from the early 1950s.

Very historic image of USAF P-47D Thunderbolts lined up on the Hickam AFB apron taken during post World War II in the late 1940s. Glorious kodachrome.

Very historic image of USAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolts lined up on the Hickam AFB apron, taken during post World War II era of the late 1940s. Glorious kodachrome.

Another fine view of the Hickam AFB transient apron, which is teaming with Douglas C-54 Skymasters. Hundreds of these were built for the war effort, and after the war, the US military had a huge inventory, which were luckily still on strength and were able to support the supply efforts of the Berlin Airlift. It is possible this image taken at Hickam was taken before the Berlin Airlift, just based on the large number of locally stationed aircraft.

Another fine view of the Hickam AFB transient apron, which is teaming with Douglas C-54 Skymasters. Hundreds of these were built for the war effort, and after the war, the US military had a huge inventory, which were luckily still on strength and available to support the supply efforts of the Berlin Airlift. It is very possible this image taken of the Hickam apron dates prior to the Berlin Airlift, just based on the large number of locally stationed aircraft. During the Berlin Airlift, many of these aircraft were re-assigned to Europe.

A World War II surplus Boeing B-17 and an army olive four-bladed C-46 Commando at rest on the Hickam apron, late 1940s.

A World War II surplus Boeing B-17 and an army olive scheme four-bladed Curtiss C-46 Commando at rest on the Hickam apron, late 1940s.

Hickam was naturally a major repair facility for the US Air Force, as seen by these maintenance sheds, which remained at Honolulu well into the 1980s. This early 1950s image shows  49033 USAF MATS C-45 Skymaster. The "Hickam" title on the tail denotes that this aircraft was locally based.

Hickam was naturally a major repair facility for the US Air Force, as seen by these open-air maintenance sheds, which remained at Honolulu as prominent fixtures well into the 1980s. This early 1950s image shows USAF MATS Douglas C-45 Skymaster 49033. The “Hickam” title on the tail denotes that this aircraft was locally based.

Looking good! A USAF MATS C-97 Boeing Startocruiser 0694 having just arrived either from the West Coast or the Far East. Here passenger door is open and she rests at Hickam's "Gate No 1" in this period early 1950s kodachrome view.

Looking good!USAF MATS Boeing C-97 Stratocruiser 0694 has just arrived either from the West Coast or the Far East. Her passenger door is open and she rests at Hickam’s “Gate No 1″ in this period early 1950s kodachrome view.

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Belavia Tupolev Tu-154 Final Phase Out – End of an Era https://www.henrytenby.com/belavia-tupolev-tu-154-final-phase-out-end-of-an-era/ https://www.henrytenby.com/belavia-tupolev-tu-154-final-phase-out-end-of-an-era/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:35:29 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5093 Airliner World Magazine
February, 2017
Story and photos by Henry Tenby

The Tupolev 154 looks the business from any angle. Her tail is all power. No plastic airplane here my friends. I could fly these aircraft all day long. What a muscular machine this is.

The Tupolev 154 looks the business from any angle. Her tail is all power. No plastic airplane here my friends. I could fly these aircraft all day long. What a muscular machine this is.

For fans of Russian aviation, October 9, 2016 marked a major milestone when the last ever scheduled flight of a Tupolev Tu-154 took place, bringing an end to 44 years of scheduled airline service for the reliable, classic Russian tri-jet.

Belarus national airline Belavia operated their one and only operational Tu-154M EW-85741 on their scheduled route between Minsk 2 and Saint Petersburg, and the special flight was attended by a group of international aviation enthusiasts who travelled to Minsk as part of a special “final farewell tour” arranged by Boris Vlassov of Paris based Merlin Tours.

The Tupolev Tu-154 first flew in 1968, and was first delivered to Aeroflot in 1970, and entered scheduled passenger service with the Soviet Sate airline in 1972. Some 1,025 examples were manufactured with the most recent delivery being to the Russian Defense Ministry in 2013. Aeroflot was the main operator of the Tu-154, which operated the airline’s medium to long haul services from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, when western types first started to appear in Russian skies in response to escalating fuel costs. The Aeroflot Tu154 fleet peaked in the early 1990s as Tu-154M has been in mass production since 1984, and the Aeroflot fleet stood at 652 Tu-154s (including 112 M models), according to JP Fleets. When the Soviet Union broke apart in the late 1980s, many of these aircraft were transferred to the newly created local airlines of the former CIS states.

Looking back from today, Belavia and other CIS and Eastern European carriers operated Tu-154s on scheduled and charter routes spanning back many decades, however between the mid 2000s and 2016, their numbers dwindled rapidly down to Belavia’s one remaining example. The Tu-154 jetliner was reliable, well-built, and well-suited to the harsh winters and operational demands of the region. As second hand Boeings and Airbuses became more available at reduced prices, the drab Western types replaced the venerable Tu-154 fleets of Eastern Europe. And the Tu-154 is now a rarity.

Merlin Tours put word out of this specific tour in the summer, which was coupled with joy rides on other classic Russian types at Minsk, with the AN-12, Yak-40, AN-26, AN-140, AN-30, AN-2 and the gigantic Mil-26 monster helicopter also featuring on the itinerary. Aircraft availability for such tours cannot always be assured due to maintenance and operational factors, and the loss of the AN-12 and a date change for the Tu-154 final scheduled flights were factors the tour participants had contend with in deciding to attend the 3 day tour.

Irena, Olga and Boris of Merlin Tours at Minsk 2 Airport main terminal building departures level.

Iryna Baranava, Olga Sikorskaya, and Boris Vlassov of Merlin Tours at Minsk 2 Airport main terminal building departures level.

Two pervious Merlin Tours also featured the Belavia Tu-154, one being the last ever scheduled flight of a Tu-154 into Western Europe, which operated A Belavia scheduled service from Geneva. And the other from Warsaw. However in both instances, the aviation tour participants were only able to sample the one inbound sector to Minsk on the Belavia Tu-154 as part of their tour. This year’s tour was unique in that the tour participants were able to fly two live sectors on the Tu-154, the outbound and return flight back to Minsk.

About 35 of the 40 participants on the tour opted to attend the Belavia farewell Tu-154 flights, which required a Russian visa, even though the passengers would be in transit at Pulkovo airport in Saint Petersburg. The cost of the Russian transit visa processed for the author in Ottawa was a very steep $250, probably due to the currently frosty relations between Canada and Russia. The transit visa costs for Europeans was only 35 Euros. That said, many wondered why a visa was even required in the first place when the Minsk – Saint Petersburg Pulkovo flight is considered a “domestic” flight for the local passengers.

Sunday, October 9, 2016, started with a very early group meeting in our hotel lobby. The tour participants were told to meet in the lobby of the Hotel Yubileiny at 0600 am where boxed breakfasts were presented and busses departed at 0630 am precisely for the one hour ride to Minsk 2 airport. It was a dark and very cold morning, punctuated with very heavy torrential rain, which endured through most of the day. Arrival at Minsk 2 was met with the first light of day, and with our boarding passes distributed in advance, the group passed very quickly and efficiently through security to the gate area. Given that it was an early Sunday morning flight, we were surprised that the flights were pretty much fully booked in both directions.

That's our flight: Belavia flight 941 to Saint Petersburg, boarding at 0800 am for an 0830 am published departure time. This is Belavia's last ever Tupolev 154 scheduled service, marking the end of a very long era for the type, and the airline. A group of 40 hard-core airline buffs assembled in Minsk that weekend to partake in these last ever Belavia Tu154 flights as part of a special tour arranged by Merlin Tours.

That’s our flight: Belavia flight 941 to Saint Petersburg, boarding at 0800 am for an 0830 am published departure time. This is Belavia’s last ever Tupolev 154 scheduled service, marking the end of a very long era for the type, and the airline. A group of 40 hard-core airline buffs assembled in Minsk that weekend to partake in these last ever Belavia Tu154 flights as part of a special tour arranged by Merlin Tours.

Even though it was lashing down rain, the group was happy the Tu-154 was not parked on a gate which an airbridge, thus we were relieved to know we would be bussed to the aircraft so that would board via the airstrairs. Boarding the aircraft on the ramp would allow for a lot better photo and video opportunities than via an airbridge. At 0815 the bus delivered our group to the waiting Tupolev, and as most of the group selected seats in the rear cabin to savour wing and engine views, and the fabulous harmonics of the Soloviev D-30KU engines, we were last to board.

The airstairs could only accommodate a handful of passengers at a time due to weight limits, and with the rain teaming down by the bucketful, we took shelter from the harsh elements under the wing of the aircraft. Which provided an excellent opportunity for photography that was appreciated by all. This allowed for detailed shots of passengers boarding on the airstairs, and signature T-tail shots of the Tupolev classic.

World famous Russian aircraft fan Michael Reich from Switzerland, under the wing of the Belavia Tu154 seeking shelter from the rain before boarding.

World famous Russian aircraft fan Michael Reich from Switzerland, under the wing of the Belavia Tu154 seeking shelter from the rain before boarding. Michael is also a DPRK Air Koryo regular!

Pissing with rain while boarding Belavia Tu154 at Minsk. Destination .. Saint Petersburg. A pleased as punch Henry Tenby savours the moment in the lashing rain by taking an iPhone selfie.

Pissing with rain while boarding Belavia Tu154 at Minsk. Destination .. Saint Petersburg. A pleased as punch Henry Tenby savours the moment in the lashing rain by taking an iPhone selfie.

"Aviation Fanatics Seek Refuge from the Elements under Wing of Classic Russian Jetliner." Now that's a photo caption!

“Aviation Fanatics Seek Refuge from the Elements under Wing of Classic Russian Jetliner.” Now that’s a photo caption!

As it was chucking it down during our boarding, many of the aviation fans took refuge from the elements under the wing of the Belavia Tu154, to let other passengers board in a non rushed manner. Standing under of the wing of a Tupolev 154 prior to an active service is not something one gets to savour every day! Hence the abundance of cameras!

As it was chucking it down during our boarding, many of the aviation fans took refuge from the elements under the wing of the Belavia Tu154, to let other passengers board in a non rushed manner. Standing under of the wing of a Tupolev 154 prior to an active service is not something one gets to savour every day! Hence the abundance of cameras!

The mighty Tupolev 154! Holding her own on the soaked-to-the-skin apron at Minsk. Prior to departure for Saint Petersburg.

The mighty Tupolev 154! Holding her own on the soaked-to-the-skin apron at Minsk. Prior to departure for Saint Petersburg.

Merlin tours made the brilliant decision to invite our Flight Attendants to join us at the special buffet dinner the night before, held at a lovely restaurant a short walk from the hotel in central Minsk. This gave us an opportunity to meet our Flight Attendants and vice versa, and they volunteered they were ok to be filmed on the flight. So it was nice to be welcomed by familiar faces as we boarded the warm and cozy Tu-154 from the harsh elements for our Belavia flight B2 941, the last scheduled Tu-154 departure from Minsk.

Non aviation fans board the Belavia Tu154 on the saturated Minsk apron for Belavia flight 941 destination Saint Petersburg (LED) on the morning of October 9, 2016. Our scheduled departure time was 0830 so this photo was probably taken just after 0800 am. A fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning! (You can tell these are non aviation fans as there are no cameras!)

Non aviation fans board the Belavia Tu154 on the saturated Minsk apron for Belavia flight 941 destination Saint Petersburg (LED) on the morning of October 9, 2016. Our scheduled departure time was 0830 so this photo was probably taken just after 0800 am. A fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning! (You can tell these are non aviation fans as there are no cameras!)

Seated in 25A provided a fabulous view of the Tu-154 trademark landing gear fairings and even the engine, and the chiseled, rivet lined features of wing. Engines were started at approximately 0825 am, and the fabulous alarm bell ring of the three Soloviev engines was music to the ears for the aviation fanatics onboard who made the effort to attend this amazing event.

We were lucky as on both flights we enjoyed long taxis to and from the active runway, which gave the added joy of savouring the engine sounds of the classic Russian tri-jet. Lined up on Minsk’s runway 31, throttles were advanced to take-off power at 0845, and even though the Tupolev was full, we climbed into the saturated morning air with minimal effort amidst a fury of thunder and crackle from the Tupolev’s engines. Passengers on the right side of the aircraft were briefly treated to a view of the aircraft parking stands and terminal building before we quickly disappeared into the very low cloud base.

Another wing view from seat 25A on Belavia Tu154 last ever sked service (Minsk-Saint Petersburg-Minsk on October 9, 2016).

Another wing view from seat 25A on Belavia Tu154 last ever sked service (Minsk-Saint Petersburg-Minsk on October 9, 2016).

View through the window from my seat 25A as we climbed through the clouds up to our cruising altitude outbound from Minsk. This photo was probably taken about 10 minutes after take-off.

View through the window from my seat 25A as we climbed through the clouds up to our cruising altitude outbound from Minsk. This photo was probably taken about 10 minutes after take-off.

View from my seat 25A looking forward. Note the two overwing exit rows at mid cabin. These would also be good seats, with extra noise as a bonus due to the old seals of the emergency exits.

View from my seat 25A looking forward. Note the two overwing exit rows at mid cabin. These would also be good seats, with extra noise as a bonus due to the old seals of the emergency exits.

Can't get tired looking at Tupolev 154 cabin views, this time from the rear lavs looking forward, about 15 minutes after departure from Minsk.

Can’t get tired looking at Tupolev 154 cabin views, this time from the rear lavs looking forward, about 15 minutes after departure from Minsk.

Once we got to cruise we had time to explore the cabin of the Belavia Tu-154. This selfie was taken at the very back row near the lavs. That's Boris from Merlin Tours on the left, and one of our Flight Attendants in the centre.

Once we got to cruise we had time to explore the cabin of the Belavia Tu-154. This selfie was taken at the very back row near the lavs. That’s Boris Vlassov from Merlin Tours on the left, and one of our Flight Attendants in the centre.

After about ten to fifteen minutes we reached our cruising altitude in the relaxing sunshine above the clouds and the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off. Several of the aviation fans then politely left their seats to come to the back of the rear cabin to take photos of the unique bathrooms aboard the aircraft, and for the obligatory cabin and rear engine/wing view photos, while savouring the much louder engine sounds in the rear cabin.

This was a very civilized affair, with the regular passengers and the flight attendants being most accommodating and understanding. Even though the flight attendants had to perform their inflight duties of serving drinks and a small meal from their service trolley (which needed to be transported up and down the aisle), everyone had plenty of opportunity to get their photos without the stress of being rushed. Several participants were able to visit the flight deck, and even more would have accepted the invitation if the flight was not so short in duration.

View through the window in the emergency door at row 30. it is a very unique view that can only be a Tupolev 154 .. or a Tu134.

View through the window in the emergency door at row 30. it is a very unique view that can only be a Tupolev 154 .. or a Tu134.

Commencing our let down into Saint Petersburg, from airways direct from Minsk.

Commencing our let down into Saint Petersburg, from airways direct from Minsk.

Henry Tenby savours the extra leg room and sweet sound of the engines at cruise, aboard Belavia Tu154 from Minsk to Saint Petersburg. Very last row in the house.

Henry Tenby savours the extra leg room and sweet sound of the engines at cruise, aboard Belavia Tu154 from Minsk to Saint Petersburg. Very last row in the house.

Cabin view looking forward from the rear most seat in the Belavia Tu154.

Cabin view looking forward from the rear most seat in the Belavia Tu154.

There is no window in the very last row of the Tupolev 154, but you do get a lovely amount of leg room to the emergency door, and fabulous sound qualities. It is a very good place to spend some time when flying on a Tupolev 154.

There is no window in the very last row of the Tupolev 154, but you do get a lovely amount of leg room to the emergency door, and fabulous sound qualities. It is a very good place to spend some time when flying on a Tupolev 154.

Belavia Tupolev 154 engine and wing view as seen through the window at row 31.

Belavia Tupolev 154 engine and wing view as seen through the window at row 31.

Tu154 wing all cleaned up in cruise.

Tu154 wing all cleaned up in cruise.

This photo gives a pretty good view of the set up in the very last row of a Tupolev 154. You get loads of leg room, lots of noise (specially if the seals are weak on the emergency door) .. and if you stretch forward you can use window in the emergency door.

This photo gives a pretty good view of the set up in the very last row of a Tupolev 154. You get loads of leg room, lots of noise (specially if the seals are weak on the emergency door) .. and if you stretch forward you can use window in the emergency door.

Forward looking cabin view on the Belavia Tu154 from row 31. The cabin was a bit tired for her years, but everything was clean and in good working order.

Forward looking cabin view on the Belavia Tu154 from row 31. The cabin was a bit tired for her years, but everything was clean and in good working order.

As shown in this photo, the actual emergency door exit is at row 30 on the Belavia Tu154, and the very last row is one behind at row 31. Row 30 only has seats BC and DE (A and F have been removed so as not to interfere with emergency door exit procedures).

As shown in this photo, the actual emergency door exit is at row 30 on the Belavia Tu154, and the very last row is one behind at row 31. Row 30 only has seats BC and DE (A and F have been removed so as not to interfere with emergency door exit procedures).

This is the view seated on the last row seat 31A. WIth seat 30A removed there is loads of leg room. But it is a rather long stretch to access the window for photos and filming. Note that seat 29 has the cabinet of the slide raft between the chair and window, and this makes for a very interesting setup for camera etc.

This is the view seated on the last row seat 31A. WIth seat 30A removed there is loads of leg room. But it is a rather long stretch to access the window for photos and filming. Note that seat 29 has the cabinet of the slide raft between the chair and window, and this makes for a very interesting setup for camera etc.

We only had about 30 minutes at cruising altitude before we commenced our decent to St. Petersburg. At this time, I sat back in my seat having nicely explored the rear cabin, and was seated by a well dressed local gentleman in his mid 30s, who spent the duration of the flight on his computer. He asked about the special occasion and why our group was taking so many photos.

Having explained that an international group of aviation fans had assembled in Belarus for these final scheduled flights of the Tu-154, he smiled in approval. As is often the case when flying on classic jetliners, the locals are typically oblivious to the fact that they are travelling on a special aircraft, and these flights were no different in that regard.

After a flight duration of exactly one hour we touched down at Saint Petersburg Pulkovo airport at 0945 am, under cloudy but dry conditions. After enjoying an extended taxi to our remote parking position, the tour participants donned yellow high visibility vests, which were issued to us back at the hotel, so officials could identify our group and expedite our arrival and departure formalities without delaying the outbound departure of the flight.

Given the tight turnaround times for the aircraft, it would be impossible for a regular passenger to have arrived on the inbound flight, and departed on the outbound flight from Saint Petersburg as there was simply not enough time. Our quick turnaround was only made possible by special advanced arrangements put in place with the authorities and Belavia by Merlin Tours.

All the regular passengers deplaned the aircraft and our group waited until they were off, and then we deplaned as a group. We were permitted to quickly take our apron shots of the aircraft before boarding the bus, but time was very short. First we had to be processed through customs and security as arriving passengers, then we had to hustle upstairs to the departure level and go through security again as departing passengers.

Belavia had wisely pre boarded all the Saint Petersburg originating passengers. An apron passenger bus then transported our entire group out to the waiting aircraft, where again we were allowed to quickly take our photographs. The airstairs were positioned at the centre cabin door, so the flight attendants opened the forward cabin door and were waiving at us for the photos, as was the Captain from his open cockpit window. This was a very nice touch, which was well appreciated.

Henry Tenby selfie with Belavia Tu154 on Saint Petersburg apron. Someone needs Botox!

Henry Tenby selfie with Belavia Tu154 on Saint Petersburg apron. Someone needs Botox!

Henry Tenby poses for an iPhone selfie while at the top of the boarding stairs in Saint Petersburg, Russia. We're boarding the Belavia Tu-154 for the last sked flight of this type. End of an era!

Henry Tenby poses for an iPhone selfie while at the top of the boarding stairs in Saint Petersburg, Russia. We’re boarding the Belavia Tu-154 for the last sked flight of this type. End of an era!

Nose shot looking forward from the airstairs as we depart Saint Petersburg.

Nose shot looking forward from the airstairs as we depart Saint Petersburg.

The rugged features of the Tupolev Tu15 are evident in this study of the upper wing to body intersection. I just love the Tu-154. What a fabulous machine!

The rugged features of the Tupolev Tu15 are evident in this study of the upper wing to body intersection. I just love the Tu-154. What a fabulous machine!

Aviation freak nirvana: The crew of the Belavia Tu-154 observe the aviation fans filming away as they board the aircraft for the type's last ever sked service departing Saint Petersburg, back to home base at Minsk.

Aviation freak nirvana: The crew of the Belavia Tu-154 observe the aviation fans filming away as they board the aircraft for the type’s last ever sked service departing Saint Petersburg, back to home base at Minsk.

Study of gear, flaps and slats as the Belavia Tu154 sits at rest on the Saint Petersburg apron. Our Tupolev was pretty much the only iconoclast Soviet classic on the field that day. Sterile, plastic western types of sadly permeated the Russian scene. What a sad state of affairs.

Study of gear, flaps and slats as the Belavia Tu154 sits at rest on the Saint Petersburg apron. Our Tupolev was pretty much the only remaining Yeoman Soviet classic on the field that day. Sterile, plastic western types of sadly permeated the Russian scene. What a sad state of affairs.

All the non aviation fans were already on board the aircraft, and then the group of aviation fans were brought out to the aircraft. We were allowed to line up and take shots on the ramp before boarding. A special thanks to the Russian authorities at Saint Petersburg for allowing this. It made for a lot of happy visitors to Russia! Notice the Captain waiving in the cockpit window.

All the non aviation fans were already on board the aircraft, and then the group of aviation fans were brought out to the aircraft. We were allowed to line up and take shots on the ramp before boarding. A special thanks to the Russian authorities at Saint Petersburg for allowing this. It made for a lot of happy visitors to Russia! Notice the Captain waiving in the cockpit window.

Nice nose study of the Belavia Tu154 on the Saint Petersburg apron, prior to departure back to Minsk.

Nice nose study of the Belavia Tu154 on the Saint Petersburg apron, prior to departure back to Minsk.

Well deserved credit goes to Merlin Tours and Belavia for making the necessary arrangements in Saint Petersburg that helped expedite the efficient turnaround of our group. There were a few hiccups but it was largely successful, and their efforts made the impossible possible.

For the return flight B2 942 back to Minsk, I was seated in 26F, beside two local young men who were to pass the time playing games on their phones, and sleeping. Clearly they were oblivious and uninterested in the proceedings! The cabin of our 1991 build Tu-154M was looking rather tired, but given its 25 years of service, in a tough environment, one could say it stood the test of time quite successfully. The seats were comfortable, the seat pitch was adequate, there were no broken seat belts, air vents, lights, arm rests, table trays, or bathroom accessories. Something you cannot say when flying on a 777 or A330! So the Russian’s built a good product in the Tu-154. And most importantly, the windows were in excellent condition, with minimal marks, and very few scratches or abrasions. This allowed for excellent filming and photography through the windows.

On the apron at Saint Petersburg. Flaps set for take-off. We're about to taxi off stand for the generous taxi to the runway. The Tu154 is one hell of a lovely aircraft. And this view is the money shot of wing views.

On the apron at Saint Petersburg. Flaps set for take-off. We’re about to taxi off stand for the generous taxi to the runway. The Tu154 is one hell of a lovely aircraft. And this view is the money shot of wing views.

Exactly one hour after our touch down at Saint Petersburg were starting engines at 1045 am. The Saint Petersburg Pulkovo ramp was filled with a sterile selection of western aircraft, and it was an honour to be aboard the one and only Russian built passenger carrying classic, in mother Russia. After another lengthy ten minute taxi, we were lined up on the runway and throttles were advanced to take-off power at 1100 am. The cloud base was a lot higher than at rain-soaked Minsk, so we enjoyed a better and clearer take-off with more to see than our Minsk take-off.

The return flight to Minsk was pretty much a mirror of the outbound flight. The aviation fans were free to leave their seats to explore the cabin at cruising altitude, and everyone was very careful to not get in the way of the flight attendants. They again performed their duties while being fully cooperative and understanding of the aviation fans. On both flights the very last row 31 was un-occupied, so it was possible to relax in these seats and savour the noise. And this was a good location to take photos of the cabin (without blocking the aisle) and through the window viewing the engine and very unique sight of the trailing wheel-bogie fairing. In addition to stretching out one’s legs with the very generous leg room at row 31!

I can watch this view all day long! The classic, penultimate Tu-154 wing view. Beats the pants off any Airbus of plastic Boeing or Embraer. As seen from seat 26F.

I can watch this view all day long! The classic, penultimate Tu-154 wing view. Beats the pants off any Airbus of plastic Boeing or Embraer. As seen from seat 26F.

Unique window view on board the Belavia Tu-154 en route between Saint Petersburg and Minsk. Taken from the last seat in the house. Which was actually not occupied.

Unique window view on board the Belavia Tu-154 en route between Saint Petersburg and Minsk. Taken from the last seat in the house. Which was actually not occupied.

Rear cabin as viewed looking forward from the rear lavs. We're at cruise between Saint Petersburg and Minsk.

Rear cabin as viewed looking forward from the rear lavs. We’re at cruise between Saint Petersburg and Minsk.

Note the little table that covers the emergency raft and slide at rows 30/31. This is a nice place to be when flying on a Tupolev 154.

Note the little table that covers the emergency raft and slide at rows 30/31. This is a nice place to be when flying on a Tupolev 154.

Row 31 seat E beside the rear emergency door on the Belavia Tu-154. Although one seat removed from the side wall, it is still an excellent seat for punters, due to the amazing sound quality and fab engine and wing views.

Row 31 seat E beside the rear emergency door on the Belavia Tu-154. Although one seat removed from the side wall, it is still an excellent seat for punters, due to the amazing sound quality and fab engine and wing views.

The blokes beside me decided to sleep away their time on the last every Belavia Tu154 sked service back to Minsk from Saint Petersburg. They were completely oblivious.

The blokes beside me decided to sleep away their time on the last ever Belavia Tu154 sked service back to Minsk from Saint Petersburg. They were completely oblivious. Silly sods.

Belavia Tu154 cabin view looking forward from my seat 26F inflight on our way back to Minsk. Pretty close to a full house.

Belavia Tu154 cabin view looking forward from my seat 26F inflight on our way back to Minsk. Pretty close to a full house.

One tour participant from Canada was suffering from a cold and decided to stay in his seat for the duration of the flight. So he stayed in his seat and savoured a nice hot cup of coffee. He noted that the coffee was actually served hot instead of at tepid bathtub temperature as is the case on many other airlines. This small service detail was something that made the flight that more comfortable.

Meanwhile back at Minsk, the atrocious weather conditions persisted with heavy rain and very low ceiling. After a decent through what seemed like never ending cloud, we broke through the cloud base just short of the threshold and touched down at 1205, with a magnificent reverse thrust and blast of water clouds from the runway. Our Tu-154 gripped the runway firmly holding the centre-line with an iron first. The Tu-154 is a heavy aircraft, and seemed to endure inclement weather better than lighter weight current day aircraft. It was interesting to be able to sample the ample capabilities of the Tu-154 in her true element. For the return sector we enjoyed an air time of 65 minutes from Saint Petersburg.

After rollout the cabin windows quickly obscured with rain drops, and our flight attendant welcomed us to Minsk, without mention of the special occasion, being that this flight B2 942 was Belavia’s last ever scheduled Tu-154 service, marking the end of a thirty three year unblemished record of reliable service with the airline. The cabin broke into applause, and there were at least 35 smiling faces in attendance that memorable morning.

Much to our surprise, as we entered the remote parking stand at Minsk, the airport fire department provided a water cannon salute over the aircraft, which very nicely cleaned the cabin windows for perfect viewing lasting just long enough for us to taxi onto our parking stand and shut down engines.

View from my seat 26F just as we pulled into position on the parking stand beside a 737-300 logo jet of Belavia.

View from my seat 26F just as we pulled into position on the parking stand beside a 737-300 logo jet of Belavia.

All the regular passengers deplaned while our group remained on the aircraft, where we were able to speak with the crew and photograph to out heart’s content. Those who wanted were able to photograph the cockpit, and the Flight Engineer (a young fellow and keener) positioned the aircraft’s log-book labeled EW-85741 on the Flight Engineer’s desk specially for our photos. Some noted that the green paint used in the cockpit is the same green paint used in the cockpits of Russian military aircraft. As a group we were leisurely allowed to exit the aircraft and take exterior photos from apron, or from the shelter of the waiting bus. Thus marked the end of an era for very well designed, robust, reliable, Russian built classic.

Forward economy cabin on the Belavia Tu-154 looking aft. All the aviation fans sat in the rear cabin to sample to superior noise quality.

Forward economy cabin on the Belavia Tu-154 looking aft. All the aviation fans sat in the rear cabin to sample to superior noise quality.

Waiting for the last of the aviation fans to deplane from the Tu-154 on the apron at Minsk.

Waiting for the last of the aviation fans to deplane from the Tu-154 on the apron at Minsk.

We were very lucky and pleased that the last Tu-154 flights operated from the open ramp instead of an enclosed jetway.

We were very lucky and pleased that the last Tu-154 flights operated from the open ramp instead of an enclosed jetway.

The lines of the Tu-154 are unique and pleasing to the eye. Note the cargo ramp at Minsk in the background.

The lines of the Tu-154 are unique and pleasing to the eye. Note the cargo ramp at Minsk in the background.

Mid cabin emergency exit row on the Belavia Tu-154.

Mid cabin emergency exit row on the Belavia Tu-154.

Belavia’s two other retired Tupolev Tu-154s were parked at their Minsk maintenance base, in company with the Belarus Government Tu-154, which of course remains active. So what awaits the future for EW-85741? Apparently, Belavia have a few charters to Siberia booked for the aircraft in the next few months, and it will be available as a back-up aircraft.

On October 13, the aircraft positioned to Gomel in Eastern Belarus, where it operated a charter to Surgut in Central Russia. Apparently, Belavia also has a handful of charters to Siberia booked for the aircraft over the next few months. But the Tupolev is running out of hours as an overhaul is due, and the aircraft is expected to be permanently retired in the next few months. As is the case with many Russian aircraft, her engines are owned and leased from a third party, in this case being Aeroflot, and the engines will go back to Aeroflot upon retirement.

As of today, approximately 40-50 Tu-154s are believed to remain in active service. For the aviation fan looking to fly on a Tu-154, there is essentially only one option available: join an aviation tour to the DPRK and have a joy ride on an Air Koryo Tu-154 (two of which are believed to remain operational). The other operational Tu-154s all belong to government agencies within Russia and former CIS States.

A very special thanks must go to the Belavia flight attendants for being so helpful and accommodating to the group. Their efforts made for a very special experience that is truly rare in this day and age. Very special thanks are extended to Belavia for allowing this special aviation event to happen with their special cooperation. And special thanks to Boris Vlassov, Olga and Iryna of Merlin Tours for having the tenacity and patience to organize this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event.

The log book of Belavia Tu154 EW-85741 sits on the navigator's desk, after our return from Saint Petersburg.

The log book of Belavia Tu154 EW-85741 sits on the navigator’s desk, after our return from Saint Petersburg.

Belavia Tu-154 front office. The green dash paint features prominently in Russian cockpits.

Belavia Tu-154 front office. The green dash paint features prominently in Russian cockpits.

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Neat Little Vegas Aviation History Display at McCarran Airport https://www.henrytenby.com/neat-little-vegas-aviation-history-display-at-mccarran-airport/ https://www.henrytenby.com/neat-little-vegas-aviation-history-display-at-mccarran-airport/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 18:54:20 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5071 Very recently I came across a very neat little display of models, photos and ephemera charting the aviation history of Las Vegas McCarran Airport when I passed through the airport.

As you come up from the underground train when you arrive at the terminal and gate area where the Air Canada flights operate from, walk to your right (in the opposite direction of the Air Canada gates) and you’ll see the display on your right hand side.

It seems like most airports are only interested in selling as much as possible to passengers and don’t give a stuff about their history or people that are helping promote the airport’s history. So this was a very pleasant surprise to see at Las Vegas. Congratulations to the airport for putting this display together.

Bonanza Air Lines Fokker 28 1/72 metal model made by Verkuyl, circa mid 1960s. This is a demonstration model made for Fokker. Bonanza never did take delivery of Fokker 28s.

Bonanza Air Lines Fokker 28 1/72 metal model made by Verkuyl, circa mid 1960s. This is a demonstration model made for Fokker. Bonanza never did take delivery of Fokker 28s.

Alamo Airways of Las Vegas was an air taxi back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Here are some of their brochures and ephemera of the day.

Alamo Airways of Las Vegas was an air taxi back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Here are some of their brochures and ephemera of the day.

Las Vegas promotional brochures issued by United Airlines in the 1950s.

Las Vegas promotional brochures issued by United Airlines in the 1950s.

Las Angeles based MGM Grand Air operated 727-100s and DC-8-62s in First Class configuration. Their main route was coast-to-coast but they also operated a Las Vegas service during a brief period in the 90s.

Las Angeles based MGM Grand Air operated 727-100s and DC-8-62s in First Class configuration. Their main route was coast-to-coast but they also operated a Las Vegas service during a brief period in the 90s.

In the 1950s and 1960s third level air taxis acquired piston airliners including DC-3s, C-46s, DC-4s, Connies and other types to bring gamblers from California to Las Vegas for gambling junkets.

In the 1950s and 1960s third level air taxis acquired piston airliners including DC-3s, C-46s, DC-4s, Connies and other types to bring gamblers from California to Las Vegas for gambling junkets.

Bonanza was an airline that specialized in flights to Nevada, as demonstrated by this period billboard (upper right).

Bonanza was an airline that specialized in flights to Nevada, as demonstrated by this period billboard (upper right).

It was Bonanza Air Lines that flew the first commercial flight from the new Las Vegas airport on December 15-16, 1949, as promoted on this period timetable issued by the airline.

It was Bonanza Air Lines that flew the first commercial flight from the new Las Vegas airport on December 15-16, 1949, as promoted on this period timetable issued by the airline.

The Hacienda Hotel and Casino had its own airline called Hacienda Airlines to fly passengers to Las Vegas for gambling junkets. Here are some pilots wings from Hacienda Airlines.

The Hacienda Hotel and Casino had its own airline called Hacienda Airlines to fly passengers to Las Vegas for gambling junkets. Here are some pilots wings from Hacienda Airlines.

A letter from McCarran Airport to Clark County DA dated October 30, 1962, regarding property lease details between the airport and the county.

A letter from McCarran Airport to Clark County DA dated October 30, 1962, regarding property lease details between the airport and the county.

Vintage Western Airlines ticket jacket and TWA Flight Information dating from the 1950s.

Vintage Western Airlines ticket jacket and TWA Flight Information dating from the 1950s.

Bonanza Air Lines flight bag and 1960s postcards from Las Vegas McCarran airport.

Bonanza Air Lines flight bag and 1960s postcards from Las Vegas McCarran airport.

An assortment of 1970s and 1980s ephemera from airlines that served Las Vegas during that era, including Air California, Sunworld, Pacific Express, Republic Airlines, and Western Pacific.

An assortment of 1970s and 1980s ephemera from airlines that served Las Vegas during that era, including Air California, Sunworld, Pacific Express, Republic Airlines, and Western Pacific.

This is a view of the historic wall display at Las Vegas McCarran airport that showcases the history of the airport and the airlines that have served the State since the late 1940s.

This is a view of the historic wall display at Las Vegas McCarran airport that showcases the history of the airport and the airlines that have served the State since the late 1940s.

Wall display case with airline display models of aircraft that served Las Vegas and were given to the airport by various airlines.

Wall display case with airline display models of aircraft that served Las Vegas and were given to the airport by various airlines.

UPS Boeing 727-100F 1/100 scale model made by Wesco Models.

UPS Boeing 727-100F 1/100 scale model made by Wesco Models.

National Airlines Boeing 727-35 and 727-235 both in 1/100 scale. Probably made by Pacific Miniatures, circa mid 1970s.

National Airlines Boeing 727-35 and 727-235 both in 1/100 scale. Probably made by Pacific Miniatures, circa mid 1970s.

National Airlines Douglas DC-10 1/100 scale made by Douglas model shop, or Pacific Miniatures. Circa mid 1970s.

National Airlines Douglas DC-10 1/100 scale made by Douglas model shop, or Pacific Miniatures. Circa mid 1970s.

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Aeroflot TU-104 visit to Vancouver Airshow Sunday June 15, 1958 https://www.henrytenby.com/aeroflot-tu-104-visit-to-vancouver-airshow-sunday-june-15-1958/ https://www.henrytenby.com/aeroflot-tu-104-visit-to-vancouver-airshow-sunday-june-15-1958/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:49:13 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=5004
Aeroflot TU-104 jetliner CCCP-175445  at the Vancouver airport airshow on Sunday, June 25, 1958. It was here that Boeing's 707 Test Pilot  Tex Johnson told the TU-104's pilot what he thought about the aircraft after having had a flight on it that day: "“In my twenty-one thousand hours of piloting time, the TU-104 is the sorriest damn airplane I have ever had the misfortune of flying in.”

Aeroflot TU-104 jetliner CCCP-175445 at the Vancouver airport airshow on Sunday, June 25, 1958. It was here that Boeing’s 707 Test Pilot Tex Johnston told the TU-104’s pilot what he thought about the aircraft after having had a flight on it that day: ““In my twenty-one thousand hours of piloting time, the TU-104 is the sorriest damn airplane I have ever had the misfortune of flying in.”

An airshow was held on Sunday June 15, 1958 at Vancouver’s Sea Island Airport as part of the Province’s 100th anniversary celebrations. The race for leadership in the passenger jetliner market was heating up in the late 1950s with numerous aircraft builders bringing brand new jet powered airliners to the forefront.

The cold war realities brought the Americans and the Russians face-to-face at the Vancouver Airshow with Boeing bringing their new Boeing 707, and the Russians bringing their new Tupolev TU-104 jetliner. Both jetliners performed demonstration flights that day, and the story of the friction between the two competing aircraft builders was relayed to the public in newspaper stories of the day.

What follows is an account as described by the Price George Citizen paper that was headlined “Incident at Vancouver Airshow: Russian Pilot Gives – And Gets – Emphatic ‘Niet'”

The East-West curtain was parted for a day in Vancouver on Sunday, June 15, 1958, and what might have been become an international aeronautical incident, was actually averted.

The giant Russian airliner, the all-jet Tupolev TU-104, was on public view at Vancouver’s International Airport at an airshow. Air Force officials estimated 100,000 people attended the airshow, part of a two-day British Columbia centennial event.

But Russian-United States relations became a little strained at one point during the day. Captain T. T. Frolov, the Russian plane’s pilot, had been granted permission to make a courtesy flight and visit to Victoria airport from Vancouver – a mere 75 miles as the jet flies. But the trip had to be cancelled.

The flight path of the aircraft would have brought it close to the international border where San Juan Island (American Territory) juts into Canadian territorial waters in the Georgia Strait.

Captain Frolov, fearing slight drift might accidentally cause him to cross the US boundary, asked that assurances would be given so that his aircraft would not be challenged by U.S. jet interceptors. Canadian Air Force officials were told by the Americans that no such assurances would be forthcoming from the U.S. Air Force authorities.

The Russian pilot was told “Nobody will say, they the Americans won’t scramble, even if just to take a look at you.” Therefore, diplomatically, the TU-104 flight to Victoria was cancelled, and instead a courtesy flight over greater Vancouver was planned, with government officials, aviation representatives from both Canada and the USA, and newspapermen being invited aboard.

Earlier in the day, Captain Frolov and his officers were taken on a demonstration flight aboard the Boeing 707 jet Stratoliner, as guests of A. M. Tex Johnston, Chief of Flight Testing for the Boeing Aircraft Company. Once the 707 was aloft, Tex Johnston invited Captain Frolov to sit in the pilot’s seat and handle the 707’s flight controls for most of the hour-long flight.

Captain Frolov said the Boeing 707 had “beautiful flight control” and seemed impressed with Boeing’s new jetliner. Later the same day, a reciprocal invitation was extended by the Russians to the Boeing 707 crew to join the Tupolev TU-104 demonstration flight. Johnston asked if the favour could be returned so he could handle the controls of the Tupolev TU-104. Frolov said “niet”.

Johnston then asked if he could sit in the Co-Pilot’s seat and Captain Frolov again refused the request, explaining that it took two trained men to fly the Russian plane. At this point, Johnston retired from the discussion, but later said the TU-104 appeared heavy to handle and slow to respond. Tex Johnston was quoted in the media as saying “For my money their plane is obsolete”.

At the airshow’s ground display, a number of people collapsed in the 100-degree outdoor temperature near the Russian plane, which was a major attraction of the airshow. On one occasion, the barriers around the TU-104 were carried away by the crowd when told to stand back to avoid being scorched by the jet exhausts.

In his book Jet Age Test Pilot, Tex Johnston provided a detailed account of the events that took place at the 1958 Vancouver airshow. Specifically, he recalled that when they were back on the ramp upon arrival from the TU-104 demonstration flight, with the deplaning stairway in place, and the engines winding down, Tex Johnston turned to the navigator and said, “I have a message for the Captain. Please tell him that in my twenty-one thousand hours of piloting time, the TU-104 is the sorriest damn airplane I have ever had the misfortune of flying in.” The navigator sat and looked at me. “Go ahead. Tell him exactly what I said.”

As airline history would transpire in the decades after this event, the Boeing 707 family of jetliners became the staple of international jet travel, and were only replaced when more fuel efficient wide-body jetliners were delivered to the world’s airlines in the 1970s. Conversely, the Tupolev 104 was a commercial failure with only 201 airframes built by the time produced ended in 1960. The Tupolev 104 was only operated by Aeroflot and Czech State airline CSA. By comparison 1010 Boeing 707s were built by the time production of the last 707 variants ended in the early 1980s.

This interesting facet of the history of the jet race coupled with Cold War tensions, took place on the apron at YVR, some half century ago. And now you know the story!

Photo source: unknown

On Sunday June 15, 1958, an Aeroflot TU-104 jetliner CCCP-175445 participated in an airshow held at Vancouver airport in celebrations supporting the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Province.

On Sunday June 15, 1958, an Aeroflot TU-104 jetliner CCCP-175445 participated in an airshow held at Vancouver airport in celebrations supporting the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Province.

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JetFlix.TV Streaming Aviation Channel Launches on All Mobile Devices https://www.henrytenby.com/jetflix-tv-streaming-aviation-channel-launches-on-all-mobile-devices/ https://www.henrytenby.com/jetflix-tv-streaming-aviation-channel-launches-on-all-mobile-devices/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:30:58 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4988 JetFlix.TV offers full length aviation movies on demand for a low monthly subscription fee, which gives unlimited access to all movies.

JetFlix.TV offers full length aviation movies on demand for a low monthly subscription fee, which gives unlimited access to all movies.

Vancouver based Henry Tenby has launched the world’s first on demand streaming service for aviation fans, and the new JetFlix.TV platform currently features over 70 full length aviation movies which members can view by paying a low monthly fee, similar to the Netflix business model.

According to JetFlix.TV founder Henry Tenby, “our classic airline movies are curated from special sources or exclusively created in house.”

Airport videos, classic airline movies, aviation fan trips, and movies from aviation’s golden age all come together in the growing JetFlix.TV platform offering international aviation buffs a one-stop destination that lives on their mobile devices to “learn, be entertained, and become passionate about aviation” explained Tenby.

Tenby decided to launch the classic airline themed SVOD as a logical extension and rebranding of his aviation DVD business, which has been operational for ten years. “As customers dramatically stopped buying DVDs, the business of producing content on silver discs more or less died overnight” according to Tenby.

The JetFlix.TV SVOD business model is quite different than YouTube which is an AVOD, or advertising based VOD service. YouTube is mostly offering viewers short duration, low production value aviation video clips, versus full length shows offered at JetFlix.TV. Many specialized niches like spots, travel, cooking, and business have been able to create highly supportive and active subscriber communities using the SVOD business model, thus Tenby feels the aviation sector is also ripe for this opportunity.

Moving forward, JetFlix.TV will be working with airlines, manufacturers and airports that are interested in being featured on the channel. And according to Tenby, “there is no shortage of global aviation partners for us to work with and use their story to inspire.”

“It is not just about the future. The past is just as interesting as it is where we came from as an industry” according to Tenby. Many JetFlix.TV viewers are passionate about aviation and airline history. “So working with airlines to help digitize, preserve and share their visual film histories and archives is something that is also high on our agenda” explained Tenby.

Contact:
Henry Tenby, President – JetFlix.TV
support@jetflix.tv

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Bavaria Fun Jet BAC One Elevens remembered https://www.henrytenby.com/bavaria-fun-jet-bac-one-elevens-remembered/ https://www.henrytenby.com/bavaria-fun-jet-bac-one-elevens-remembered/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:42:00 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4851 Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY inflight circa early 1970s.

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY inflight circa early 1970s.

In the early 1970s, Bavaria focused their operations at Munich specializing in holiday charters to Mediterranean sun destinations, and by 1972, the airline had a fleet of seven brand new BAC One Elevens. D-AILY featured in the airlines promotional materials, and I recently came across some interesting 35mm slides produced by Bavaria to promote their new BAC One Eleven jets to the media, which were taken by G. Rauchwetter.

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY with four other Bavaria BAC One Elevens

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY with four other Bavaria BAC One Elevens on the ramp awaiting passengers.

Flight attendant and cocktail service aboard Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet circa early 1970s.

Flight attendant and cocktail service aboard Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet circa early 1970s.

Bavaria and Germanair were actually both owned by the same financier, and striving to save costs in the areas of administration and maintenance, closer coordination between the two company’s charter operations began in December, 1974, however the two companies kept separate identities. By the summer of 1975, the combined fleet was comprised of eleven BAC One Elevens, and two Fokker F28s.

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY inflight circa early 1970s

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet D-AILY inflight circa early 1970s as viewed from the passenger cabin of another BAC One Eleven.

On March 1, 1977, Bavaria and Germanair fully merged and the name “Bavaria/Germanair” was adopted, with 1.1 million IT passengers being carried that year from operations at Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. Later in 1977, Hapag-Lloyd acquired 100% of the company and fully absorbed the company into their own charter operation in 1979, after government approvals had been put in place.

Bavaria’s lovely BAC One Elevens continued to operate in Germany flying IT charters with Hapag-Lloyd through 1981, when they were replaced by factory new 737-200s.

(Background info on Bavaria: The airline came into existence in 1957 as an air taxi company based at Munich. In May, 1964, Bavaria acquired an Handley Page Herald and commenced IT charter work on behalf of several German tour operators. A second Herald was acquired in 1965, and in 1967 the airline took delivery of its first BAC One Eleven jet. By 1968 the prop planes had been retired and the airline was now all jet equipped.)

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet at Palma early 1970s

Bavaria BAC One Eleven Fun Jet at Palma early 1970s.

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Miami Airport Observation Decks expansion early 1960s https://www.henrytenby.com/miami-airport-observation-decks-expansion-early-1960s/ https://www.henrytenby.com/miami-airport-observation-decks-expansion-early-1960s/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:03:09 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4848 I recently came across some old kodachrome slides taken at Miami Airport in the early 1960s, that show the development and expansion that took place at the terminal and observation deck between 1962 and 1965.

From the two main images below, we can see that the gate area finger was doubled in width, which meant a new observation deck was added on the right side, at a slightly lower level, giving a view to the south side apron. They even had the thought to provide park benches for the comfort of the visitors to the deck.

Miami Airport observation deck March, 1962

Miami Airport observation deck March, 1962. Note the Pan American DC-8 and DC-6 parked to the right, and the Avianca Boeing 720 tail on the left side.

Miami Airport observation deck November, 1965

Miami Airport observation deck November, 1965. Noe the observation deck has been added to with a new slightly lower level deck on the right side, that is accessed by steps. The benches are a nice touch. Those were the days!

For an airplane lover, this must have been nothing short of heaven, as from these great viewing facilities at Miami airport spotters could easily see all the comings and goings as the airline industry was transitioning from props to jets. And what not a better place to see this from than Miami, which is where the classic Latin American airlines mixed company with American classics, including Pan American Airlines, which had a large maintenance base at Miami.

I have included two extra kodachrome images also taken at Miami from the observation deck. The earlier one dates from 1961 and we can see to the far North side of the field where Pan American Airline’s maintenance base is a propliner fan’s dream come true. It looks like a large number of the airlines Stratocruiser fleet is parked in storage, having recently been retired and are awaiting new owners. The brand new Panagra DC-8 and some Pan American DC-6s (which were still active) can also be seen in the distance at the maintenance base.

Miami Airport circa 1961

This kodachrome was taken at Miami Airport circa 1961, looking North as a Pan American DC-8 gets airborne. Note the rows of Pan American Stratocruisers in storage at the Pan Am facility, and the Panagra DC-8.

Miami Airport NOV 1965

Miami Airport NOV 1965 as viewed from the observation deck looking North. A National DC-8 gets airborne. Note the early 727 for Eastern lacks emergency exit outlines.

Unfortunately I do not know who took any of these slides. But I am happy to share them here for historical reference and appreciation.

Special thanks to Jon Proctor for sharing his excellent Miami observation deck photos below. Jon was lucky enough to make a few visits to Miami’s observation deck in the 1965 and 1971 to record the proceedings. It is evident that Miami’s obs deck was a gold mine!

Feb, 1965: National Electra N5017K rests at the gate. Note the empty observation deck above the aircraft. (Jon Proctor photo)

Feb, 1965: National Electra N5017K rests at the gate. Note the empty observation deck above the aircraft. (Jon Proctor photo)

FEB, 1965: Avianca Columbia Connie HK-184 as seen from the observation deck with afternoon sun. (Jon Proctor photo)

FEB, 1965: Avianca Columbia Connie HK-184 as seen from the observation deck with afternoon sun. (Jon Proctor photo)

Miami Airport NOV 1965

Miami Airport NOV 1965 as viewed from the observation deck looking North. A National DC-8 gets airborne. Note the early 727 for Eastern lacks emergency exit outlines.

March, 1971 Eastern Electra N5534 prepares for departure. (Jon Proctor photo.)

March, 1971 Eastern Electra N5534 prepares for departure. (Jon Proctor photo.)

February, 1965. Two Eastern Airlines Boeing 720s in the then new Hockey stick scheme at Miami airport as viewed from the observation deck. (Jon Proctor photo)

February, 1965. Two Eastern Airlines Boeing 720s in the then new Hockey stick scheme at Miami airport as viewed from the observation deck. (Jon Proctor photo)

March, 1971: National DC-8-21 N6572C was a Miami regular. (Jon Proctor photo)

March, 1971: National DC-8-21 N6572C was a Miami regular. (Jon Proctor photo)

February, 1971. Eastern Airlines big boy and little boy. Both were common at Miami once upon a time. (Jon Proctor photo)

February, 1971. Eastern Airlines big boy and little boy. Both were common at Miami once upon a time. (Jon Proctor photo)

April, 1977: Delta 727-100 N1635 at Miami. This aircraft came from the Northeast Airlines fleet. (Jon Proctor photo)

April, 1977: Delta 727-100 N1635 at Miami. This aircraft came from the Northeast Airlines fleet. (Jon Proctor photo)

March, 1971. A rare Pan American Boeing 707-121B N707PA pulls into the gate are at Miami as viewed from the observation deck. (Jon Proctor photo)

March, 1971. A rare Pan American Boeing 707-121B N707PA pulls into the gate are at Miami as viewed from the observation deck. (Jon Proctor photo)

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Farewell to ATI’s DC-8s https://www.henrytenby.com/farewell-to-atis-dc-8s/ https://www.henrytenby.com/farewell-to-atis-dc-8s/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:34:24 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4777 Classic DC-8 view. Engines about to be started for one final time.

Classic DC-8 view. Engines about to be started for one final time.

Story and photos by Henry Tenby, as presented in the October, 2013 issue of Airways Magazine.

Some would have thought the era of passenger carrying JT3 powered Douglas DC-8s came to an end many years ago. Operating out of the limelight and under the radar of many, Little Rock based Air Transport International (ATI) has been operating two DC-8-62 combis and a DC-8-72 combi under contract to the US Air Force for the past few decades, but by the time this story appears in print, their lastDC-8s will have been retired., having been replaced by newer 757 combis.

In mid-May, we travelled to Sacramento to document and bear witness to DC-8-62 N799AL’s last ever departure from the Continental United States. On a hot and sunny Thursday, May 9, 2013., we were welcomed by ATI’s Sacramento maintenance base Director Robert Dobler at their McLellan Air Park DC-8 engineering facility.

ATI McClellan manager Robert Dobler (far right) and the McClellan maintenance crew pose for a group portrait and the last day of ATI DC-8 operations. The service now operates with ATI 757 aircraft.

ATI McClellan manager Robert Dobler (far right) and the McClellan maintenance crew pose for a group portrait and the last day of ATI DC-8 operations. The service now operates with ATI 757 aircraft.

The nacelles of the DC-8-62's JT3D engines were modified to Stage III via the conversion process offered by Burbank Aeronautical Corporation II.

The nacelles of the DC-8-62’s JT3D engines were modified to Stage III via the conversion process offered by Burbank Aeronautical Corporation II.

ATI employees about a half dozen maintenance engineers at McLellan Airport (the former McLellan AFB) that care for the aircraft. The California based DC-8 operated the USAF passenger and cargo supply contract between Travis AFB and Hickam AFB, and between Hickam and various US military points in the South Pacific, primarily to Kwajalein Atoll and Wake Island, both approximately five hours air time from the Hawaiian Islands. Typically the aircraft would operate the service weekly or bi-weekly, with passengers filling the rear 32 seat passenger cabin, and perishables and food in the forward cargo hold.

The DC-8 was ferried to Travis AFB from Mclellan before and after each charter rotation, a distance of about 50 miles, which would usually take some fifteen minutes. At the time of our visit, the DC-8 arrived at Travis right on schedule at 0900 am, during which time ATI’s contract groomers and cargo handlers readied the aircraft for its 12 noon departure to Hawaii. As the aircraft was on her last ever flight from California, ATI had the aircraft specially cleaned and polished in anticipation for the hand over to the Naval Air Museum Barber’s Point later in the week, a process which started on the Friday afternoon and finished on Saturday evening.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL receives attention from the polishing crew for its final trip. Taken the night before the last flight, May 11, 2013.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL receives attention from the polishing crew for its final trip. Taken the night before the last flight, May 11, 2013.

We met the ATI maintenance crew at 0600 am on Sunday, May 12, 2013, at the McLellan hangar and the aircraft was pushed out to her parking position for the last time, to be readied for her last positioning flight to Travis AFB. To stand under the wing of the DC-8 and savour her magnificent lines as the tractor pushed her back and into the cool morning air was a sight to be remembered forever. With no time wasted the stairs were positioned to the forward door and power was attached to the aircraft while the crew did their final checks for the morning’s flight.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL pushed from the hangar at McClellan for her last ever flight to Travis, on May 12, 2013.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL pushed from the hangar at McClellan for her last ever flight to Travis, on May 12, 2013.

Engines are about to be started for the last ever ATI DC-8-62 departure from McClellan, on May 12, 2013.

Engines are about to be started for the last ever ATI DC-8-62 departure from McClellan, on May 12, 2013.

We jumped in the rent a car and departed McLellan at 0700 am sharp for the 50 minute drive to the Travis main gate, all thanks to minimal road traffic on a quiet Sunday morning. Without time to waste, we met up with Ellen Hatfield, Travis AFB Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, and Lt. Col. Larry Suter (C-5 Galaxy Captain and a fellow aviation historian) just after 0800 am and surveyed photo positions on the Travis control tower and the roof of the Terminal building, opting to document the historic event from the control tower and the main ramp where the DC-8 would be parked. Lt. Col. Suter manned a camera on the control tower while the author based his video camera and tripod on the edge of the cargo ramp.

Filmed from the Travis AFB control tower, ATI DC-8-62 N799AL makes her last ever landing inbound from McClellan on May 12, 2013. She departed a few hours later for Honolulu carry military passengers and cargo.

Filmed from the Travis AFB control tower, ATI DC-8-62 N799AL makes her last ever landing inbound from McClellan on May 12, 2013. She departed a few hours later for Honolulu carrying military passengers and cargo.

At exactly 0845 am Ellen and I were in position on the grass by the cargo area facing the runways, and I received a text on my cell phone from Robert Dobler “Here we come” signaling they were departing McLellan at that very moment, and would be smoking into Travis on finals in a matter of minutes. True to his word, some fifteen minutes or so later we detected the tell-tale trail of smoke in the distance to the east, as the DC-8 was lining up for a straight in approach to 21R. It was a crystal clear morning, and as typical of Travis (which is situated in a valley) the winds were very strong, not ideal for video sound filming, but the DC-8 rolled out with full reverse trailing a cloud of smoke as she braked with plenty of time to make the intersection turn to the parking area where we were anxiously awaiting her arrival.

ATI's DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

ATI’s DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

ATI's DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

ATI’s DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

ATI's DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

ATI’s DC-8-62 combi had a 32-seat aft cabin. A fixed smoke barrier and 9g bulkhead separated the forward cargo section. Each row of seats, set at 34 inch pitch, lined up with a generously sized window , which is larger than a 787 window.

The DC-8 nosed in to her parking position nose-to-nose with a World 747-400, also a Travis regular. (Side note: The World maintenance crew were happy they had a 747 on their hands instead of a company MD-11 .. which they lovingly referred to as a “Maintenance Delay Eleven!”) With help from the World engineers on site, we are able to visit the flight deck of their 747 to get some elevated nose on views of the ATI DC-8-62.

Nice under wing and engine study of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis.

Nice under wing and engine study of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis.

Maintenance Director Robert Dobler and Engineer Phil Sisco decided to ride aboard N799AL’s last flight to Travis, which was operated by DC-8 Check Airman Captain Brad Watts, First Officer Stephanie Swain, Flight Engineer Scott Olson, along with Flight Attendant Sandra Lucas-Detrick and another Flight Attendant, all seasoned ATI DC-8 veterans.

Robert Dobler and Phil Sisco are both former USAF maintenance engineers, and worked on C-5s and C-141s at Travis. before they retired from the military and joined ATI. During the DC-8’s time on the ground at Travis Phil Sisco explained that N799AL is engine configured with an intermix, which means that has JT3D-3B engines on the port side, and a JT3D-7 on the starboard side. The difference between the engines is in their thrust rating. The -3B is rated at 18,000 pounds, while the -7 is at 19,000 pounds.

Henry Tenby interviews ATI maintenance engineer Phil Sisco on the apron.

Henry Tenby interviews ATI maintenance engineer Phil Sisco on the apron.

With only one or two JT3D-7 engines, the aircraft is operated at -3B power settings or less. Under normal conditions, the -3B’s 18,000 pound thrust rating works out to an EPR setting of 1.83. The 19,000 pound thrust rating of the -7 would be achieved with an EPR setting of 1.87. Doesn’t sound like much, but it is difference of a thousand pounds of thrust. With an intermix configuration, the crew does not set throttles and thrust levels individually. They all get the same takeoff setting, with a de-rated power setting somewhere between 1.78 – 1.82.

Phil Sisco explained that the fuel burn of a JT-3 engine is 1,100 – 1,300 pounds per hour at idle, and 2,500 – 3,000 pounds per hour at cruise (over 30,000 feet). On take-off each engine will be burning 5,000 pounds of fuel per hour. It is not difficult to do the math to see that the DC-8 (and 707) are thirsty aircraft. They were designed for fuel at 10 cents a gallon .. not $4 a gallon. A quick calculation reveals that the DC-8-62 will burn seven to eight thousand dollars per hour of fuel in cruise. Over a five hour flight, factoring in a take-off, the fuel cost per average leg can easily approach $50,000 to $60,000.

Captain Watts started on the DC-8 in 1988, and has been with ATI twenty years, and has been with the company’s DC-8 combi program since it started in 1993/1994 (originally as ICX with their first oil charter operations into Russia). With 7500 hours of flying experience on the DC-8, Captain Watts was joined another ATI DC-8 veteran in the right hand seat by First Officer Stephanie Swain.

Cockpit crew for ATI DC-8-62 N799AL last flight was DC-8 Check Airman Brad Watts, First Officer Stephanie Swain (born same year as the DC-8) and Flight Engineer Scott Olson.

Cockpit crew for ATI DC-8-62 N799AL last flight was DC-8 Check Airman Brad Watts, First Officer Stephanie Swain (born same year as the DC-8) and Flight Engineer Scott Olson.

First Officer Swain started her aviation career as a ramp hand at an FBO in Ohio in 1982, and eventually earned her pilots license and commercial license, and in 1994, got her first DC-8 job flying a DC-8-55 freighter. She’s been with ATI for the past fifteen years with 5500 hours on type to her credit.

When asked if the ATI DC-8 crews tend to stay on the same routes, First Officer Swain explained “the way our lines are made up we tend to bounce around a lot, for instance in March I did Thule, I went to Japan, and I did part of this segment out of here .” Which is not out of the norm for the maintenance engineers, who also do a fair bit of travel tending to the DC-8s. ATI’s McLellan based maintenance expertise tends to visit Hawaii and Japan, while the company’s east coat based staff can visit Thule and Ascension as part of their job duties.

Even though the DC-8 is no stranger to First Officer Swain, she shared a humorous insight in that “a lot of times your taxing in and you’ll hear on the radio someone ask what kind of airplane is that, or even up in the air we’ll hear them ask what kind of airplane just passed over us?” Captain Watts added “Some of the younger voices on the radio just don’t really know what it is.” When asked what year the aircraft was built, Flight Engineer Olson answered “1968” .. to which Flight Engineer Swain responded “the same year I was born!” Which really does highlight that the aircraft is older than many people realize, and most people in the industry who aren’t enthusiasts will have no idea what is DC-8 is all about!

Flight Engineer Scott Olson started his career in the US Air Force in the mid 1970s and developed a maintenance expertise and then worked as an AWACS Flight Engineer, a position which he held for ten years before moving onto airline work as a civilian. When asked to compare the AWACS 707 to the DC-8, Flight Engineer Olson joked “The DC-8 might have been a better airframe for them to use, but that’s my preference as I’ve been on this (the ATI DC-8s) for 19 years now.”

A USAF C-17 passes overhead as ATI DC-8-62 N799AL is readied for her last flight from Travis on May 12, 2013.

A USAF C-17 passes overhead as ATI DC-8-62 N799AL is readied for her last flight from Travis on May 12, 2013.

As for the future and the new 757 combi replacements, Captain Watts explained “I look forward to doing something new, but the airplane is hard to give up after this many years. It has served us well and has done everything that’s asked of it.” When asked the question if the aircraft could continue to fly, Captain Watts explained “With enough money you can do anything. The airplane will need a some costly avionics upgrades, and the airframe itself is perfectly viable, and our -72 series aircraft meet al lot of the noise and emission requirements even today.” He further explained “the major structural mods have been complied with, so there is no real end to the airframe.”

Flight engineer's office on the ATI DC-8-62.

Flight engineer’s office on the ATI DC-8-62.

Fuel costs aside, Captain Watts pointed out that finding DC-8 maintenance expertise is a challenge as “many people have moved on to other types of work.” In other words, with so few DC-8s remaining operational, those with DC-8 type experience have moved on to maintaining newer aircraft. “The DC-8 has old systems, and they have to be maintained hands-on so to speak!” was how Captain Watts explained the situation. So it will be a challenge for some other operator to continue with the ATI DC-8s, and there have been a few casual inquiries out of Africa regarding the aircraft. Suffice it to say, if the aircraft are sold into Africa, they won’t likely see the light of day again .. certainly not by western aviation fans.

Even flight training on the DC-8 is getting more difficult as the type fades into the twilight. The one and only DC-8 flight simulator that ATI is licensed to use is with the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. Captain Watts explained that they have stopped using it, and if other customers stop their use as they move on with newer aircraft, the simulator will also likely fade into the twilight.

Pallet loaders are used for the quick loading of the ATI DC-8 at Travis.

Pallet loaders are used for the quick loading of the ATI DC-8 at Travis.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL sits on the travis AFB for the last time on May 12, 2013.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL sits on the travis AFB for the last time on May 12, 2013.

N799AL had 89,364 hours in her log book as she sat on the Travis ramp on Sunday May 12, 2013, one hour prior to her last departure for Hawaii. The days that would follow would be her last days in the air prior to retirement, the plan being to fly to Hickam that afternoon, then operating an out and back flights to Kwajalein Atoll on Monday and Tuesday (five hours air time each way from Hickam), the crew would rest in Honolulu on Wednesday, and on Thursday, May 16, 2013, they would operate an out and back to Wake Island, marking the last ever revenue flight for N799AL.

Which is quite an accomplishment given the years of service and pedigree of the aircraft. Originally delivered to SAS in 1968, it went to Scanair in 1979, and then spent the 80s with Arista, Northeastern, Thai, Royal Thai Air Force, Arrow, Hawaiian, Air Marshall Islands, Zantop, and finally to ATI in 1998. To this day the aircraft was affectionately know as “Little Ami” .. a cute reference to its service with Air Marshall Islands.

After 45 years and 110 days of service, N799AL made her last ever flight on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Captain Watts and his crew welcomed their guests from the Naval Air Museum Barber’s Point and the military for a special delivery flight from Hickam to Barber’s Point. The flight departed Hickam at 4:03 pm (Hawaii Standard Time) and circumnavigated the Island of Oahu landing, at Barber’s Point at 4:40 HST. The aircraft will actually be kept in ground running operational condition for the time being, and the museum is planning to do some high speed taxi runs later this summer.

Great engine view as cargo is loaded aboard ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis AFB.

Great engine view as cargo is loaded aboard ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis AFB.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL main deck cargo door.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL main deck cargo door.

N799AL had run up against a heavy D check, which is required every 25,000 flight hours. The aircraft was actually accepted by ATI off a D check in 1998, thus the aircraft clocked up 25,000 flight hours in 15 years, which is 1600-1700 hours per year, which is a terrific testament to the reliability of the aircraft. During the entire duration the aircraft has been configured as a 32 seat combi in support of the military. The fact that the DC-8 was 45 years old, made her no less capable of logging similar flight hours of a new generation Boeing or Airbus.

The retirement of N799AL left ATI with just two operational DC-8s: The -72 was still on contract in Japan, and DC-8-62 N41CX was still on the contract on the east coast serving the USAF resupply contract between Baltimore and McGuire AFB to Thule Greenland and Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. With route proving and certification trials well under way with the new 757-200ER combi aircraft, both DC-8s are expected to retire by “the end of the summer” according to Captain Watts, and will be stood down as the 757s enter service.

The ATI 757 combi’s MTOW is 255,000 pounds versus 335,000 pounds for the DC-8-62. The 757 will carry 42 passengers versus 32 on the DC-8-62, and will burn a third less fuel, saving the Air Force millions of dollars a year. The relatively high utilization of the DC-8s and the resultant high fuel costs conspired against it versus the 757. With the checks coming due on the DC-8s they had simply come to the end of their practicality in this specific commercial application.

Honolulu bound military passengers board ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis AFB for the last time ever on May 12, 2013.

Honolulu bound military passengers board ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis AFB for the last time ever on May 12, 2013.

Nice study of the tail of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis.

Nice study of the tail of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at Travis.

During the interim period until the first 757 goes into service, there was discussion of DC-8-62 N41CX being positioned to the West Coast to operatr the Travis-Hawaii-South Pacific contract. Which still may happen, if even for just a few weeks, or a month or two. Suffice it to say, the days of the DC-8 in service with ATI are now winding to an end quite rapidly. If N41CX still has airframe time remaining when the 757 replaces it on the contract, the aircraft will be kept operational as a back-up and available for ad-hoc charter until such time that she time expires to her next overhaul check. DC-8 enthusiasts can hold some hope in knowing that an enthusiast flight might be arranged in the Fall by the author, pending sufficient interest.

Fond memories of N799AL and all the ATI DC-8s will remain with the military personnel who relied on the aircraft for their decades of service. USAF Lt. Col. Larry Suter (a Travis based C-5 Galaxy Captain) explained the situation for Airways: “I’ve spent a lot of time in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and this aircraft delivered the fresh fruit and vegetables literally for the last ten years. So every guy there that has eaten a salad at the officers club, or has eaten a fruit, has this airplane to thank. Without this DC-8, there would have been nothing to eat except canned food on that island. “ Hats off to the DC-8 and ATI for a job well done. And long may the tradition continue!

ATI DC-8-62 on the Travis ramp. Passengers have boarded.

ATI DC-8-62 on the Travis ramp. Passengers have boarded.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL starts engines for departure at Travis AFB for the last time ever on May 12, 2013.

ATI DC-8-62 N799AL starts engines for departure at Travis AFB for the last time ever on May 12, 2013.

A DVD documentary on this DC-8’s last flights will be released by HenryTenby.com DVDs soon.

The author would like to thank for following individuals for their help in preparing this article:

USAF Lt. Col. Larry Suter
Robert Dobler, ATI
Ist Lt. Angela Martin, USAF Media Operations Travis AFB
Ellen Hatfield, Deputy Chief Public Affairs, 349 Air Mobility Wings, Travis AFB

Henry Tenby poses for a selfie on ATI DC-8-62 N799AL in the hangar at McClellan. Notice the size of the window.

Henry Tenby poses for a selfie on ATI DC-8-62 N799AL in the hangar at McClellan. Notice the size of the window.

The author Henry Tenby poses for a portrait in the F/O's seat.

Another selfie I could not resist .. a portrait in the F/O’s seat. Wont get that chance again.

Nice tight shot of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at McClellan on May 11, 2013.

Nice tight shot of ATI DC-8-62 N799AL at McClellan on May 11, 2013.

Once a common sight. Fully extended flaps of a DC-8. What a sight!

Once a common sight. Fully extended flaps of a DC-8. What a sight!

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ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport lots of Pacmins: FULL REPORT lots of pics https://www.henrytenby.com/ana-festa-shop-haneda-airport-lots-of-pacmins-full-report-lots-of-pics/ https://www.henrytenby.com/ana-festa-shop-haneda-airport-lots-of-pacmins-full-report-lots-of-pics/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2016 19:10:20 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4769 ANAFestaShopHanedaentranceDATE OF VISIT: November 27, 2015

Hearty congratulations are offered to ANA for their ANA FESTA shop at Tonkyo Haneda airport Terminal 2. The shop is easily found on the lower arrivals floor of the terminal.

Before I get to the review I need to point out one interesting fact. The Japanese as a people are fascinated with miniaturization. And always have been. The making and admiration of models has been in their culture for a long time. Japanese model makers have long been obsessed with perfecting the details of their models and this is evidenced in the large community of train model fans in Japan, as well is in the aircraft model space too. And this obsession is also evidenced as soon as you step into the ANA FESTA shop.

Unlike the JAL Shop at Haneda Terminal 1, which was a great disappointment, the ANA FESTA shop is a gold mine for airline fans and serious aircraft model collectors. ANA has gone to great efforts to stock their store with ANA branded goods that are unique, which you will not find anywhere else.

Like the JAL Shop, the ANA FESTA shop is a store with a store. But it takes up about half the available floor space and is nothing short of an Aladdin’s Cave. There is so many nice ANA things to admire and look at that you could spend quite some time at the store. Even with the sun shining outside, and a sense of urgency to get up to the observation decks for plane spotting, one feels compelled to keep on looking around the shop just incase you missed something on earlier viewings.

ANA postcard collection ANA FESTA shop Haneda

Congratulations to ANA on this amazing historic aircraft postcard collection at the ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport.

There is plenty of ANA branded clothing, calendars, caps, stationary, luggage, etc. But I was most impressed with the set of historical JAL airliner postcards, covering aircraft from the early 1960s to current day. What other airline on the planet would go to the effort to produce a large series of aircraft postcards of their old timer aircraft? Kudos to ANA!!

For the 1/200 diecast airline model collector, there cannot be any other place on earth where you will find a larger selection of ANA diecast models. The store even offers some very nice non-ANA diecast model planes. The 1/144 scale JSDF P-3 Orion diecast model was very impressive. I had not seen this model anywhere else.

Various 1/200 ANA models at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport

Various 1/200 ANA models at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport.

The 1/72 high detail plastic ANA YS-11A models are absolutely fabulous. They are available in several different variations priced around $200 and I have not seen them available anywhere in North America or Europe. So they must be custom made specifically for the Japanese home market.

The main attraction has to be the very large selection of custom produced Pacmin models. You cannot buy these models directly from Pacmin, and again, these are hundred percent exclusive for the Japanese home market. They may be available at other specialist aviation shops in Japan, but this was the first time I have seen them.

As they are imported into Japan from the US, one has to factor in the cost of the models to start with, plus shipping cost, import duties and taxes. The result being the Pacmin models carry a very high price tag. But exclusivity never comes cheap.

The star attraction in the Pacmin department was the 1/100 scale R2-D2 Star Wars Boeing 787-9 model. What an amazing work of art. No doubt this model was produced in very limited numbers, and the high level of detail must contribute to the stratospheric price circa $2400. Almost equally impressive were the 1/100 scale Pacmin models of the standard ANA livery 787-9 and the 777-9X in the Boeing demonstrator livery.

ANA R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

ANA 1/100 scale R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda, priced at over $2400.

ANA R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

ANA 1/100 scale R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda priced at $2400.

ANA R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

Side profile of ANA 1/100 R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda.

ANA 1/100 scale R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

ANA 1/100 scale R2-D2 787-9 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda priced at $2400.

ANA Airbus A320 1/100 Pacmin model at ANA FESTA shop Haneda

World’s most expensive Pacmin? This is a 1/100 scale ANA Airbus A320 Pacmin model offered for sale at the ANA FESTA shop Haneda for $1200 US dollars!

I was shocked to see the Pacmin ANA Airbus 320 models carrying such exorbitant prices tags priced well in excess of $1000 US. The 1/144 scale Pacmin ANA 747-400 LAST is a model of the very last ANA 747 that was in service with the airline, JA8961. The Pacmin 1/144 ANA 787 model is also very lovely, but both models carry $500 price tags. Two of my favourite Pacmin models would be the 1/72 Embraer RJ model and the 1/100 Dash-8-400 model. Let’s put it this way: you could easily spend $3000 to $40000 in this shop if money was no object.

Compared to the JAL Shop, which was a ghost town, the ANA FESTA shop had a lot more people window shopping and looking inside at all the neat stuff on offer. So many people were taking lots of photos of the Pacmin models with their cell phones, so I felt at ease when taking the photos that appear below. As I too took them with my cell phone, and there was nobody running around saying “no photos please”.

I very much look forward to my next visit to the ANA FESTA shop and highly recommend that all airline fans and serious aircraft model collectors make the effort to visit this shop when next at Haneda airport. You’ll be pleased you did.

ANA Pacmin models at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

ANA Pacmin Airbus models at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda.

ANA 1/72 YS-11A models at ANA Festa shop at Haneda Airport

ANA 1/72 YS-11A models at ANA Festa shop at Haneda Airport.

Inside view at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport

Inside view at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport.

Inside view at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport

Inside view at ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport. Loads of great stuff available for the serious airline fan.

General inside view at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport.

General inside view at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport, showing various assortment of models.

ANA A321 Neo Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

ANA A321 Neo Pacmin 1/100 scale model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda, priced at $1500. For the Pacmin freak with a large budget.

ANA Pacmin 747 whale model in 1/200 scale at ANA Festa Shop Haneda

ANA Pacmin 747 whale model in 1/200 scale at ANA Festa Shop Haneda, priced at $160. Perhaps not made by Pacmin.

ANA Pacmin 787 1/100 scale at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport

ANA Pacmin 787 1/100 scale for sale at $1800 at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport. For the well healed collector.

ANA Pacmin models at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport

ANA 787-9 in 1/00 scale and DHC-8-400 1/100 scale both by Pacmin offered for sale at ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport.

Nice assortment of ANA models at ANA FESTA shop Haneda

Nice assortment of ANA 1/200 scale models at ANA FESTA shop Haneda.

Lovely 1/100 scale ANA 787-9 Pacmin model on offer at the ANA FESTA shop

Lovely 1/100 scale ANA 787-9 Pacmin model on offer at the ANA FESTA shop at Haneda airport. Priced at $1700 for the serious Pacmin collector.

Last ANA 747-400 1/144 Pacmin ANA FESTA shop Haneda

Various assortment of ANA Pacmin models at FESTA shop Haneda

Various assortment of ANA Pacmin models are offered for sale at the ANA FESTA shop Haneda airport.

Boeing 777-9X Pacmin model at ANA FESTA Shop Haneda

This large 1/100 scale Boeing 777-9X Pacmin model was for sale at the ANA FESTA Shop Haneda. Price: $2100 US approx.

ANA Embraer RJ90 1/72 Pacmin model at ANA Festa Shop Haneda

ANA Embraer RJ90 1/72 Pacmin model at ANA Festa Shop Haneda. This is a lovely model. Possibly my favourite at the shop!

ANAPacmin787144scale at ANA FESTA shop Haneda

NEW RELEASE: ANA 787-9 JA830A 1/144 scale Pacmin model for sale a the ANA FESTA shop Haneda, at $500 USD approx.

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JAL Store at Haneda airport: detailed report with photos https://www.henrytenby.com/jal-store-at-haneda-airport-detailed-report-with-photos/ https://www.henrytenby.com/jal-store-at-haneda-airport-detailed-report-with-photos/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:59:46 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4727
JAL 787 floor model by Pacmin

The JAL Shop is basically a store within a store, and is less than a third of the store’s total floor space.

DATE OF VISIT: November 27, 2015

In the lower arrivals level of the JAL Terminal 1 at Tokyo’s Haneda airport there is a JAL Store inside the pilot gift shop. It is pretty easy to find the shop, and I have provided a photo below showing the front of the shop.

The centre-piece attraction of the store (at the time of my visit) was a 1/25th scale JAL 787 Pacmin model, which was for sale. The only other Pacmin JAL model for sale was a 1/100 JAL 767 at $800. The shop had a rather small selection of 1/200 diecast and plastic models, but there were no models that were exclusive to the shop that could not easily be purchased elsewhere (in Japan or abroad).

A limited supply of JAL branded merchandise was available, including some uninspired shirts and golf jackets, magnets, folder covers, pens, ball caps and nap sacks. The large format wall calendars were OK but nothing earth shattering.

The JAL store is basically a store with a store, and only occupies about 1/4 of the shop’s floor space, with the remainder of the store selling snacks and convenience items. In comparison to the ANA Festa Shop over at the ANA Terminal 2, the JAL Store was something of a disappointment.

It would have been a lot better if they had a much larger selection of Pacmin JAL models, more custom produced JAL merchandise, a selection of historic JAL postcards would have been nice, and it seemed like JAL simply did not put the same level of enthusiasm and interest into their store, compared to the effort that ANA puts into their ANA Festa shop.

Only if you happen to be very curious could I recommend wasting the time to go and visit this shop. If your time at Haneda is limited, I’d recommend spending it on the Haneda observation decks, and at the ANA Festa shop instead.

JAL Shop entrance at Haneda airport Terminal 1

JAL Shop entrance at Haneda airport Terminal 1.

JAL 787 floor model by Pacmin

The JAL Shop is basically a store within a store, and is less than a third of the store’s total floor space.

JAL Shop Haneda airport Tokyo

The JAL Shop at Haneda airport Terminal 1 (lower arrivals level) has a very limited selection of models. Not ideal for professional model collectors.

JAL Shop Haneda airport Tokyo

All you will find at the JAL Shop at Haneda are some plastic snap together models, basic model kits, and some common diecast models.

JAL 767 Pacmin model JAL Shop Haneda

Other than the large JAL 787 floor model, the only other Pacmin on offer was this 1/100 JAL 767-300 for $800.

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Tokyo Haneda airport spotting report by Henry Tenby https://www.henrytenby.com/tokyo-haneda-airport-spotting-report-by-henry-tenby/ https://www.henrytenby.com/tokyo-haneda-airport-spotting-report-by-henry-tenby/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2016 13:51:58 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4675
Henry Tenby on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

Henry Tenby on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

After waiting many decades, in December of 2015, I finally had the opportunity to spend a morning aircraft spotting at Tokyo’s amazing Haneda airport. I waited for a crystal blue sky day, and easily took the train from Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo (journey time was about 45 minutes each way, which included changing trains as there is no direct train to reach the terminal buildings).

Haneda has three separate and distinct terminals: one for ANA, one for JAL, and the International Terminal. The train will drop you off either at the International Terminal or the domestic terminal area. Once at the domestic terminal area you can take a free shuttle bus between the ANA and JAL terminals.

And the good news is that all three terminals boast massive, open air observation decks that span each of the terminal roofs and offer great views. However, you want to keep reading, as I do offer a valuable recommendation for aircraft photographers, as not all the decks are equal. My visit spanned the morning hours and I arrived around 10 am .. and departed back to central Tokyo around 1 pm.

TOKYO HANEDA – JAL TERMINAL 1:
My first Haneda deck to visit was the JAL terminal (which is Terminal 1). The deck itself is first rate and it faces south towards the International Terminal and central runway area. So unless you are there very early morning, you’ll have to deal with looking into the light, which is not ideal for photography or video. But you do get some nice morning views of the JAL aircraft on the bridges, and decent push-back shots can be achieved until mid morning. I spent about half an hour at the JAL decks before making my way over to the ANA terminal (Terminal 2).

JAL 767 being serviced at the gate. Taken mid morning on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1.

JAL 767 being serviced at the gate. Taken mid morning on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1.

This would be the best view available at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1. Photo taken around 10 am.

This would be the best view available at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1. Photo taken around 10 am.

The obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1 was a ghost town at 10 am, certainly on the day I was there. The ANA Terminal 2 obsdeck is a lot better.

The obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1 was a ghost town at 10 am, certainly on the day I was there. The ANA Terminal 2 obsdeck is a lot better.

The obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1 is not the best, although it is worth a quick morning visit when light it best.

The obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1 is not the best, although it is worth a quick morning visit when light it best.

Spartan JAL aircraft on the gates viewed from the obsdeck on Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1.

Spartan JAL aircraft on the gates viewed from the obsdeck on Tokyo Haneda JAL Terminal 1. Photo taken around 10 am.

TOKYO HANEDA – ANA ALL NIPPON TERMINAL 2:
The Haneda ANA terminal faces North – Northeast, so basically you have good light all day, with great apron views of all the ANA aircraft pulling into the gates, pushing back and starting engines, and good runway action as well. The deck again spans a good length of the ANA terminal roof area, and if you have limited time and want to maximize your photo and spotting results, I would suggest spending most of your Haneda time on this deck. Like all the Haneda decks there is a wire mesh, but there are plenty of big openings designed specially for cameras to be poked through, and there are plenty for everyone. I did notice loads of Japanese aviation fans on the decks, and everyone was keen on taking pics and videos, but you’ll never have to worry about missing a shot due to lack of available photo holes in the mesh barrier.

ANA 777 on the gate viewed from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA 777 on the gate viewed from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2.

ANA 777 starting engines viewed from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA 777 starting engines viewed from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2.

Punters enjoying the day on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

Punters enjoying the day on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2.

ANA triple seven being serviced at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA triple seven being serviced at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA big boys on the gates at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA big boys on the gates at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

North end view from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background

North end view from the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA All Nippon 777-300 about to push off blocks, obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background

ANA All Nippon 777-300 about to push off blocks, obsdeck view at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

Punters soaking up the atmosphere at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background

Punters soaking up the atmosphere on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

Loads of open space even on a busy day on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

Loads of open space even on a busy day on the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2.

ANA All Nippon 737-800 at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background

ANA All Nippon 737-800 at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA Star Wars 767 at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background

ANA Star Wars 767 at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2 with Tokyo Bay in the background.

ANA All Nippon fleet spotting at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2

ANA All Nippon fleet spotting at the obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2

Massive open air obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2

Massive open air obsdeck at Tokyo Haneda ANA Terminal 2, there is room for everyone.

TOKYO HANEDA – INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL 3:
One my way back to central Tokyo I paid a quick visit to the International terminal obsdeck. You basically have to get on the train and it is the first stop past the domestic terminal on your way into Tokyo. You can’t knock the International observation deck. The views are decent, but for me personally, I prefer the Japanese domestic traffic over the international traffic. Like the ANA terminal, the International deck also faces to the North – Northeast so light is good for most of the day, with the sun at your back. The only thing I did not like, for runway views there are many light standards at the edge of the parking apron which interfere with photographing aircraft on the move on the runway. This is specially troublesome for those shooting video. The many light standards basically ruin the video as you pan aircraft at speed. So for all these reasons, personally, I would not return to the International terminal observation deck next time I return to Haneda.

Lots of space on the obs deck at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

Lots of space on the obs deck at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

ANA 767-300 at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

ANA 767-300 at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view at Haneda International Terminal. The people are keen spotters!

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal

Obsdeck view from Haneda International Terminal. Notice the lamp standards that get in the way of runway photography.

SHanghai Airbus A330 at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

SHanghai Airbus A330 at Tokyo Haneda International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Observation deck Haneda Airport International Terminal

Haneda Airport view across the field to T1 from the International Terminal

Haneda Airport view across the field to T1 from the International Terminal

Hopefully you have found my Haneda airport spotting report useful. Please add your comments below, which I welcome. And, if you can share this post on your Facebook page … I would be very appreciative of your efforts in helping to promote my blog.

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Frankfurt Aviation weekend November 2015 was fantastic. Photo report by Henry Tenby https://www.henrytenby.com/frankfurt-aviation-weekend-november-2015-was-fantastic-photo-report-by-henry-tenby/ https://www.henrytenby.com/frankfurt-aviation-weekend-november-2015-was-fantastic-photo-report-by-henry-tenby/#comments Thu, 25 Feb 2016 21:21:12 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=4180 The 2015 Frankfurt aviation weekend was a raving success. Like every year, on the first weekend of November we have two large airline conventions in Frankfurt which attract airline buffs from all over Europe, North America and Asia.

The airline slide convention organized by Chris Witt is always well attend with slide punters buying, selling and trading slides from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. At the same time, the Schawnheim aviation fair takes place a short distance away in the Turnhalle at Schwanheim. At the Schwanheim show you can find all sorts of airline collectibles for sale and trade, including airline postcards, models, pins, wings, books, printed matter, safety cards, videos, DVDs, photos, ephemera and pretty much everything you can image related to airlines and their history back to the early days.

I try to attend the Frankfurt shows every year, and it is always a great opportunity to meet up with old friends, and make new friends. If you have not attended the Frankfurt airline shows, do yourself a favour and make the effort. You will be very pleased with the weekend! Now to the photos.

If you enjoy this post, please share it with your friends using our social media share buttons on the side of the page.

Andreas Stryk, Hamish Telford, name not known, and Henry Tenby await the doors to open Saturday morning at the Schawnheim airline show, November, 2015.

Andreas Stryk, Hamish Telford, name not known, and Henry Tenby await the doors to open Saturday morning at the Schawnheim airline show, November, 2015.

FRA follow me van at front entrance of Schawnheim airline show 2015.

FRA follow me van at front entrance of Schawnheim airline show 2015.

Henry Tenby at Schwanheim airline show front door NOV 2015

Henry Tenby at Schwanheim airline show front door NOV 2015

You can't beat the food in Germany! Bring a big appetite!

You can’t beat the food in Germany! Bring a big appetite!

Cheers .. David Hartman and Henry Tenby enjoy some good old German ale!

Cheers .. David Hartman and Henry Tenby enjoy some good old German ale!

Verkuyl metal aviation models for sale at Schwanheim airline show 2015.

Verkuyl metal aviation models for sale at Schwanheim airline show 2015.

Verkuyl metal aviation models for sale at Schwanheim airline show 2015.

Verkuyl metal aviation models for sale at Schwanheim airline show 2015. The F27s and Lufthansa 707 are real beauties!

Great aircraft display models for sale at the Schwanheim airline show 2015.

Great aircraft display models for sale at the Schwanheim airline show 2015.

Main hall of the Schawnheim airline show 2015.

Main hall of the Schawnheim airline show 2015.

Alupa airline models of current manufacture on offer at Schwanheim aviation fair 2015. The Interflug models were around 100 EUR each.

Alupa airline models of current manufacture on offer at Schwanheim aviation fair 2015. The Interflug models were around 100 EUR each.

Alupa airline models of current manufacture on offer at Schwanheim aviation fair 2015. The wide bodes are 200-300 EUR each.

Alupa airline models of current manufacture on offer at Schwanheim aviation fair 2015. The wide bodes are 200-300 EUR each.

Henry Tenby's table at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Henry Tenby’s table at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Henry Tenby at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Henry Tenby at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Buckets of safety cards at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Buckets of safety cards at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show. Priced between 1 and 5 EUR each.

Main haul view at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Main haul view at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show.

Main haul was always super busy at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show. on the Saturday.

The main haul was always super busy at the Schwanheim 2015 airline collectibles show. on the Saturday. Lots of airline postcards on offer.

This Aeroflot IL-62 1/100 scale model was sold in seconds at the Schwanheim 2015 show. It went for a song.

This Aeroflot IL-62 1/100 scale model was sold in seconds at the Schwanheim 2015 show. It went for a song.

A very nice assortment of 1/100 scale airline models at the Schwanheim 2015 show. The Pan Am 707 is a wooden model from the 1960s.

A very nice assortment of 1/100 scale airline models at the Schwanheim 2015 show. The Pan Am 707 is a wooden model from the 1960s.

Pan Am 1/100 scale Boeing 707 in wood, a vintage 1960s Nemoto model, made in Japan. Now in the Henry Tenby collection.

Pan Am 1/100 scale Boeing 707 in wood, a vintage 1960s Nemoto model, made in Japan. Now in the Henry Tenby collection.

1/72 BOAC VC-10 monster of a model. For sale at the Schawnheim show 2015. Now in the Henry Tenby collection.

1/72 BOAC VC-10 monster of a model. For sale at the Schawnheim show 2015. Now in the Henry Tenby collection.

A yearly tradition. John Kimberley and Henry Tenby loading up the hotel van shuttle for the Monday morning ride to FRA for our flights home. Always come home from FRA heavier than when arrived!

A yearly tradition. John Kimberley and Henry Tenby loading up the hotel van shuttle for the Monday morning ride to FRA for our flights home. Always come home from FRA heavier than when arrived!

Attending the FRA Slide convention is always great fun. John Kimberley and Henry Tenby have been attending for many years.

Attending the FRA Slide convention is always great fun. John Kimberley and Henry Tenby have been attending for many years.

Chris Mak, Nicky Scherrer and Chris Knott at the Frankfurt airline slide convention in November, 2015.

Chris Mak, Nicky Scherrer and Chris Knott at the Frankfurt airline slide convention in November, 2015.

Pacmin models and Lufthansa Connie at Schwanheim show 2015

Pacmin models and Lufthansa Connie at Schwanheim show 2015. In the 300 EUR price for each one.

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