Henry Tenby Aviation Reporter – Henry Tenby – Classic Airline DVDs / Entrepreneur / and more https://www.henrytenby.com The latest aviation and internet business news from Henry Tenby Sat, 09 Oct 2021 21:59:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Aeroflot TU-104 visit to Vancouver Airshow Sunday June 15, 1958 https://www.henrytenby.com/aeroflot-tu-104-visit-to-vancouver-airshow-sunday-june-15-1958-2/ https://www.henrytenby.com/aeroflot-tu-104-visit-to-vancouver-airshow-sunday-june-15-1958-2/#respond Sat, 09 Oct 2021 21:56:54 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=8496

On Sunday June 15, 1958, 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 what he thought about the aircraft after having had a flight on it that day: “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.”

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!

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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1/72 YAK-40 Model CCCP87498 – Special Order https://www.henrytenby.com/1-72-yak-40-model-cccp87498-special-order/ Thu, 17 Jun 2021 14:22:54 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=8481 SPECIAL GROUP ORDER PAGE

CLICK HERECLICK HERE FOR CU-T1203 YAK-40 1/72 ORDER

We will be closing this order page in a few days so we can get these models into production for the collectors who are participating in this group purchase. I expect production to take about 2 months. And then another 4-6 weeks for delivery. Sadly there is no postage saving when purchasing 2 models (the postage cost for 2 models combined is exactly double to cost of a single model). For further info feel free to email me at henrytenby@gmail.com

1/72 AEROFLOT Yak-40 CCCP-87498 with stand
11″ length / 14″ wingspan
Price $199 plus AIR MAIL delivery:


YAK-40 CCCP87498 1/72




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1/72 YAK-40 Model CU-T1203 – Special Order https://www.henrytenby.com/1-72-yak-40-models-special-order/ Wed, 16 Jun 2021 23:54:09 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=8454 SPECIAL GROUP ORDER PAGE

We will be closing this order page in a few days so we can get these models into production for the collectors who are participating in this group purchase. I expect production to take about 2 months. And then another 4-6 weeks for delivery. Sadly there is no postage saving when purchasing 2 models (the postage cost for 2 models combined is exactly double to cost of a single model). For further info feel free to email me at henrytenby@gmail.com

CLICK HERECLICK HERE FOR CCCP-87498 YAK-40 1/72 ORDER

1/72 CUBANA Yak-40 CU-T1203 with stand
11″ length / 14″ wingspan
Price $199 plus AIR MAIL delivery:


YAK-40 CU1203 1/72




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The Great Convair 580 Fleet – North Central Airlines, Republic, Northwest Airlines https://www.henrytenby.com/the-great-convair-580-fleet-north-central-airlines-republic-northwest-airlines/ https://www.henrytenby.com/the-great-convair-580-fleet-north-central-airlines-republic-northwest-airlines/#respond Fri, 29 Jan 2021 22:39:37 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=8321 The Great Convair 580 Fleet – North Central Airlines, Republic, Northwest Airlines – A Photo History
Photos from the Collection of Henry Tenby
Write up by Henry Tenby

The Convair-Liner was a twin-engined, pressurized airliner built for the 40-50 passenger short haul feeder market of the post World War 2 era by San Diego based Convair General Dynamics.

Republic Convair 580 N2729R DTW DEC 1980

Republic Convair 580 N2729R DTW DEC 1980.

The Convair Twine was popular in the US as pretty much all the US major operators of the 1950s ordered the Convair Twin, including Braniff, United, Delta, American, Western, Eastern, Frontier, Continental, and of course North Central Airlines, the subject of this article.

Although North Central only initially took delivery of a handful of Convair Twins in the early 1960s, additional machines were acquired through the 1960s and 70s, and by the time the airline became Republic Airlines in 1979, the Convair 580 fleet exceeded 20 examples. The Convair 580 was a sturdy well built machine that lent itself to the harsh winter operating conditions of the mid west. The primary stomping grounds for the Republic Convair 580 fleet were the “local service” small towns that dot the landscape between Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, as well as spanning further West through the Dakotas.

In 1986/87 Republic Airlines was acquired by Minneapolis based Northwest Airlines, the 24 Convair 580s of Republic were panted into varying degrees of Northwest Airlines’ scheme. Most were hybrid schemes.

The Convair 580 images presented here are from the slide collection of Henry Tenby.

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact henrytenby at gmail dot com

I am looking to purchase 35mm Kodachrome aircraft slide collections. Please contact me: henrytenby at gmail dot com

Thank you very much for visiting this page, and enjoy!

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Mahalo ATR-42 Demo Flight to NWT AIR at YZF 1994 https://www.henrytenby.com/mahalo-atr-42-demo-flight-to-nwt-air-at-yzf-1994/ Wed, 29 Apr 2020 03:55:34 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6641

Photo taken in flight on the Magalo Air ATR-42 demo flight organized by myself and the manufacturer. I just remember it was fricking cold that day. Dan Murphy, NWZt Air’s General Manager is seated far left. (Henry Tenby photo)

Yellowknife – October 28 1994: ATR42 demonstration flight to NWT Air YZF-YZF, this was a 30 minute air time local flight. The aircraft was being ferried from the ATR factory in France to Mahalo Airlines in Honolulu, Hawaii, so they stopped in to visit us at NWT Air for a demo.

At the time, one of my job responsibilities whilst employed by the airline was aircraft leasing and fleet planning and analysis. I also worked very closely in this capacity with the DFO and the Manager of Dispatch, and the Cargo Manager. I was in regular contact with the folks at ATR and we put this impromptu visit together with somewhat short notice.

Dan Murphy my boss and our General Manager is seated far left. Donna Prouse was the first female pilot at NWT Air. Did she fly for Air Tindi prior to joining NWT Air? Then Wally LeMay. I think that is Ross Drewniak on the right side window. Photos were taken by me.

Mahalo ATR-42 N985MA tech stopped in Yellowknife on October 28, 1994, to give a demo flight to NWT Air staff. (Henry Tenby photo)

View of Latham Island in Yellowknife as viewed during the ATR-42 demo flight. My home was on Latham Island at 40B Otto Drive. (Henry Tenby photo)

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That’s the NWT Air hangar at Yellowknife airport as viewed from the Mahalo Air ATT-42. It was a bleak, cold, black and white day that October 28, 1994. You can see some Buffalo Airways planes parked at our facility.

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COVID CRISIS AT YVR – TOUR OF THE EMPTY AIRPORT https://www.henrytenby.com/covid-crisis-at-yvr-tour-of-the-empty-airport/ https://www.henrytenby.com/covid-crisis-at-yvr-tour-of-the-empty-airport/#respond Sun, 05 Apr 2020 03:15:06 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6609

April 2, 2020
Report by Henry Tenby

As a Vancouver based aviation enthusiast with interest in the aviation hobby and business dating back to at least 1967, I was curious as to how the effects of the deepening COVID crisis were impacting our local airport. Usually a hotbed of flight activity in normal times, with loads of flights from Asia coming and going on a daily basis, I wanted to see just how much things were wound down at YVR.

So I ventured out to YVR on the afternoon of April 2, 2020, and arrived at the main terminal around 5pm. The video report above documents exactly what I observed, and to put it bluntly, the airport is a dead zone. I also went to the south side of the airport to have a look at the scene for the third level commuters and the South Terminal, and the situation over there was much the same. Within 24 hours of uploading my report video it had garnered about 1,000 views, which for me is a hell of a lot of views as my aviation videos will typically generate maybe a few hundred views within the first few weeks of posting.

Several people took the time to share their thoughts with me. And I am going to share them here in the spirit of providing an historical reference to this situation at empty airports all around the world. Let us pray that the situation will not last for more than a few months.

Ron Kosys. – Coventry UK
Somewhat disappointing to see. It brings it home to me that it isn’t just the UK aviation industry suffering at the moment. I haven’t been to BHX since the stay at home restrictions were brought in, but BHX is worse than a ghost town. Britain’s second city in terms of population airport (but less busy than MAN due to its geographical location) is now down to THREE flights per day – one Lingus, one Ryanair (both Dublin), KLM (obviously Amsterdam), and a fourth three days a week – Qatar. And that’s your lot.

Lingus are rumoured to be operating it’s last flight tomorrow as was KLM – however KLM have now requested slots for an Embraer everyday next week rather than a 737. Another business – the Airport Authority itself – that could see itself asking for a bailout. The only other flying business is a couple of freighters a day, both of which bring in spares and supplies for the NHS. You no doubt saw it on the BBC online news that ground handling companies are all in dire trouble. If they fail, especially Swissport, we’re stuffed.

The former Flybe engineering hangar is now being converted into a morgue. Consequently you simply cannot get near the old side (cargo) now, it being heavily Policed after the press shot a stack of images from the car park the other day of vehicles going in and out, and published the lot. It’s almost as though the press have a campaign of trying to frighten a proportion of the population to death.

A Motor Sich An12 was due on Wednesday, slipped to Thursday, and then Friday before arriving in the dark last night. It left as soon as the airport re-opened this morning (it’s closed overnight now due lack of traffic), also in the dark since the clocks changed. Unless you ‘bent the rules’, time it right, and went to the park at the 15 end photography now at BHX is currently not really an option. It would be just my luck for me to be the one who gets checked whilst out getting my ‘daily exercise’. I do photography for the pleasure, not for the hassle. I forgot to ask Henry, I presume there’s a gaggle of Pacific Coastal at YVR as well?

As each day goes by it appears more and more that this sad situation is going to be with us for more than a couple of months. In order for things to start getting back on their feet, the UK needs other European countries to start improving at the same time. And when that time does come, how many airlines would have bitten the dust in the meantime?

Terry Rea – Vancouver, BC
Just watched your sad but current video of our present day situation @ YVR – sad times for the city and all our YVR staff. I just retired recently after my 52 year career starting with YVR-S Airport Control Tower – trainee. It was August 1967 @ Age 18 just finished High School (PW) at my first job and loving it ! Worked the Viscounts, Vanguards, DC4s, DC6s, Super-Connies, Electras, and the UA brand new B727-100, QF B707, etc! 52 years later still enjoyed working our YVR air traffic in our present, the 3rd, ATC Control Tower!

This reminded me of my shift on 9/11; we landed many a/c @ YVR with the FAA-mandated deviations, eventually closing our N Rwy to be used for aircraft parking. We then had to take care of thousands Pax and Crew on a moment’s notice – converted our new Parkade to an emergency care center providing food, water, blankets etc while we waited for advice on what to expect next! My midnite shift next day was eerily strange, with only 1 departure the whole shift – a LR35 Medevac – 3 days later we resumed operations best we could – it was controlled chaos after 3 days of strange emptiness, such as we have now.

Things will eventually normalize but its gonna be a rough ride for the Aviation Industry for a while. What a change from last year when we were setting traffic records. Take care and stay safe!

Kevin Hickey – Calgary, Canada
Very sad footage Henry. I walked through the YYC terminal last week and it was a ghost town as well. I saw the occasional bored staff member walking around and that was it.

It also looks like a Westjet graveyard here with multiple airplanes scattered all over the aprons, taxiways, and even on runway 08/26. It almost looks like they went out of business and all of the planes are taped and sealed up, including the 767s.

Flying in here is extremely quiet on the radio now and we are constantly being given all kinds of unusual shortcuts. The sky is empty. Edmonton has some Swoops and Flairs that look like they’re going to be sitting for a while as well, about two tails each from what I could see. Hopefully this is the last time that we witness anything like this.

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KLM RETIRES PASSENGER 747 FLEET TODAY https://www.henrytenby.com/747-history-klm-retires-passenger-747-fleet-today/ https://www.henrytenby.com/747-history-klm-retires-passenger-747-fleet-today/#respond Sun, 29 Mar 2020 17:35:57 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6566

March 29, 2020 – Vancouver, Canada
By Henry Tenby

It is with great sadness that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines retired their passenger 747-400 fleet today with the final flight being an inbound combi flight from Mexico City.

Henry Tenby with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Henry Tenby with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

I received a message this morning from my good friend Niels Dam who was specially in Amsterdam in the vacinity of Schiphol airport to witness the historic event of KLM’s final Boeing 747 passenger flight operating today. Amid the global economic downturn of the COVID crisis, airlines all around the world are parking their fleets in a fight for survival in the wake of evaporating passenger traffic as the world’s populations go into self-isolation mode.

Niels reported the inbound 747 from Mexico City did a wing wave while on finals, and the pilot made a special speech over the frequency thanking the world’s aviation fans for their interest in the aircraft and expressing his sadness that it was not possible for aviation fans to be present in droves for the event, due to the COVID situation, in the same way the Fokker 70 was retired from the KLM fleet back in November of 2018.

Niels Dam photographed the arrival of the last ever KLM Boeing 747-400 passenger flight at AMS Schiphol inbound from Mexico City, on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Niels Dam photographed the arrival of the last ever KLM Boeing 747-400 passenger flight at AMS Schiphol inbound from Mexico City, on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

The authorities closed the normal spotting facilities at AMS out of respect for social distancing and public safety so those aviation fans like Niels who were on hand to bear witness to the historic event had to view the 747 landing from a distance. Niels was able to park his car in a parking lot near the airport where he was able to take a few photos as the inbound KLM 747 passed overhead on its way to the arrival runway.

KLM really had no interest in promoting or discussing the significance of their passenger 747 retirement by doing any media reachouts, discussions or assistence on the matter. A message of inquirey sent a few weeks ago to KLM’s PR office generated a two word response that nothing was planned. Which was really out of character for KLM, specially considering the massive contribution the Boeing 747 played in the development of the airlines history over the past 50 years that the type has been in service with the company.

So what of the future for KLM’s 747s? For certain the passenger fleet is officially retired and parked at Schiphol airport as we are still in early days of the COVID crisis. If the aircraft are parted out and scrapped on site or ferried elsewhere, that is surely their end of the line. That said, the fleet is well maintained and could very easily be re activated if a future return to normal warrants their use on re animated routes.

The aircraft are probably long since paid for, so it would seem in haste to initiate immediate scrapping. If we look to past history, during downturns airlines park certain fleets only to reactivate them when times are better. Let us hope this applies to the KLM 747 passenger fleet.

KLM still retains three cargo 747 freighters, two of which are in KLM livery and one of which is in Martinair livery. No phase out date has been set for these aircraft so their flying duties will continue for the foreseeable future.

As a celebration of the Boeing 747 in the KLM fleet, Niels Dam and I spent some time exploring the retired KLM 747-300 PH-BUK that now forms a cornerstone display at the Aviodrom aviation museum as presented in the photos below.

Henry Tenby doing a main gear inspection of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands. Hydraulics look good, we need to change some balding tires for return to airworthy status!

Henry Tenby doing a main gear inspection of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands. Hydraulics look god, we need to change some balding tires for return to airworthy status!

Under belly gear study of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Under belly gear study of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands looking at bit worse for wear, no this is not the boarding steps at Kinshasa, Congo!

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands looking at bit worse for wear, no this is not the boarding steps at Kinshasa, Congo!

Niels Dam with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Henry Tenby with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Henry Tenby with KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam prepares to connect hydrant fuelling connection to KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam prepares to connect hydrant fuelling connection to KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands, for ferry flight to Lagos!

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam at main cabin door of Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam at main cabin door of Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam relaxing in turbine inlet of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Niels Dam relaxing in turbine inlet of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Once familiar wing view of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Once familiar wing view of KLM Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Upper deck cabin view of Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Upper deck cabin view of Boeing 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Henry Tenby at passenger door of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Henry Tenby at passenger door of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Flightdeck view of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Flightdeck view of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Interior main deck cabin view of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

Interior main deck cabin view of KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

KLM 747-300 PH-BUK at Aviodrome, Netherlands.

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AIRCRAFT MODEL COLLECTION – Aviodrome Museum Netherlands https://www.henrytenby.com/aircraft-model-collection-aviodrome-museum-netherlands/ https://www.henrytenby.com/aircraft-model-collection-aviodrome-museum-netherlands/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2020 19:27:38 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6538

By Henry Tenby (Copyright 2020) – see below for photos.

Along with my good friend Niels Dam, I recently had the opportunity to visit the fantastic Aviodrome aviation museum in Lelystad in the Netherlands.

Given the Netherlands rich aviation history spanning back over 100 years with both KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the famous Dutch aircraft builder Fokker, there is no shortage of vintage aircraft display models produced with the country, of which a very good sample is available for public viewing at the Aviodtome museum.

Being a huge collector of aircraft display models myself, I was extremely impressed with their collection. They had a large selection of pre World War II models made by the KLM in house model shop that was maaged by the famous Dutch model maker Hank Modermann. The highwing Fokker type models of the 1920s and 1930s featured wooden wings stained to look like the real planes.

The museum also has a number of nice wood and metal models made by Raise Up and Verkuyl between the 1940s and the 1960s. The highlight model display at the museum has to be the circa 1960 re creation of Amsterdam Schiphol airport in 1/50 scale. The KLM airliner models included in this centrepiece are the DC-3, Convair 340, Vickers Viscount, Lockheed Super Constellation, Lockheed L–188 Electra and Douglas DC-8. These models are all in wood and their accuracy and detail are magnificent. It is believed these masterpiece models were all made by Matthias Verkuyl. They would be unique pieces and I would estimate their values as priceless.

Transavia Holland707 in 1/100 metal made by Verkuyl is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Transavia Holland Boeing 707 in 1/100 metal made by Verkuyl is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Vickers Viscount 800 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Vickers Viscount 800 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Douglas DC-8 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Douglas DC-8 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Convair 340 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Convair 340 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Lockheed L-188 Electra in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Lockheed L-188 Electra in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Vickers Viscount 800 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Vickers Viscount 800 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Douglas DC-7 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Douglas DC-7 in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/50 scale as part of the Amsterdam Schiphol airport re creation at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Matthias Verkuyl, circa 1960.

This is a 1930s scale model replica of Amsterdam Schiphol airport, possibly made at the same time as the 1960s Schiphol replica. This display is available for viewing at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

This is a 1930s scale model replica of Amsterdam Schiphol airport, possibly made at the same time as the 1960s Schiphol replica.
This display is available for viewing at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

1950s era 1/50 wooden KLM DC-4 display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

1950s era 1/50 wooden KLM DC-4 display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Convair 340 in 1/50 scale made of wood as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Raise Up.

KLM Convair 340 in 1/50 scale made of wood as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. This model was likely made by Raise Up.

This is a 1/43 Lockheed factory sheet metal model of a KLM Lockheed 749 Constellation, circa late 1940s or early 1950s. This model is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

This is a 1/43 Lockheed factory sheet metal model of a KLM Lockheed 749 Constellation, circa late 1940s or early 1950s. This model is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/50 scale made of metal by Raise Up, as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/50 scale made of metal by Raise Up, as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

This is a small scale KLM Lockheed L-188 Electra in metal made by Raise Up circa early 1960s. This model is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

This is a small scale KLM Lockheed L-188 Electra in metal made by Raise Up circa early 1960s. This model is part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/72 scale made of metal by Verkuyl, as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation in 1/72 scale made of metal by Verkuyl, as part of the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Large scale vintage wooden model of a Douglas DC-5 PJ-AIW circa 1940s at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Large scale vintage wooden model of a Douglas DC-5 PJ-AIW circa 1940s at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Large scale vintage wooden model of a KLM Lockheed Lodestar PJ-AIT circa 1940s at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Large scale vintage wooden model of a KLM Lockheed Lodestar PJ-AIT circa 1940s at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden Fokker F.V display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden Fokker F.V display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Miscellaneous 1920s ear wooden KLM display models at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Miscellaneous 1920s ear wooden KLM display models at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

Vintage 1920s ear wooden KLM display model at the Aviodrome Aviation Museum. Type not indicated by the museum.

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747 SKYBAR at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – A Report by Henry Tenby https://www.henrytenby.com/747-skybar-at-amsterdam-schiphol-airport-a-report-by-henry-tenby/ https://www.henrytenby.com/747-skybar-at-amsterdam-schiphol-airport-a-report-by-henry-tenby/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 03:27:24 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6504

Report by Henry Tenby
Copyright 2020

As a hard core aviation fan, and a frequent visitor to airports and a fan of nice bars and restaurants while on the road, I had the very pleasant surprise to find the new 747 SKYBAR at the Corendon Hotel at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. This airport is famous for their on site attraction in the form of a retired former KLM Boeing 747-400. Along with a couple of friends we went to visit the 747, which was unfortunately closed to public access, so we were unable to go inside and have a look. But we did look at the enormous airliner at ground level and took some nice photos.

As it was cold, we went into the Corendon hotel to warm up and have a tea at their lobby restaurant. We asked about the possibility to take an elevator to the top floor to take a nice photo of their 747 with a view looking down on the aircraft from a dozen stories in the air. The front desk told us we would be able to do this by visiting their 747 SKYBAR on the top floor of the hotel, when it opened during the lunch hour.

So we waited in the lobby having our teas, warming up, and then headed up to the SKYBAR as soon as it opened and we were on the very first elevator of the day. I was totally impressed when I got up there, and was blown away by the fabulous view! Yes, the view of their Corendon 747-400 was excellent, but even more impressive is the bar and restaurant facilities and the wrap around windows which afford unlimited views to Schiphol Airport and the runway action. And they even have an outdoor roof-top beer garden which although was open, it was too cold to sit and relax during the winter months. But the outdoor terrace will be an amazing place to soak up the action when the weather improves with the warmer summer months.

The staff are very friendly and welcoming, and it goes without saying the avgeeks are more than welcome to visit the bar to soak up the action, provided of course that visitors partake in drinks or items from their generous menu. Not only is the Corendon SKYBAR a day time attraction, when the sun goes down this is rapidly becoming a star attraction for the night time cocktail bar crowd and those looking for an elegant place to relax with friends in an airport environment with a fabulous skyline view of the sprawling Amsterdam airport complex.

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Bob Dros Dutch Master Aircraft Model Maker: – Interviewed by Henry Tenby https://www.henrytenby.com/bob-dros-dutch-master-aircraft-model-maker-interviewed-by-henry-tenby/ https://www.henrytenby.com/bob-dros-dutch-master-aircraft-model-maker-interviewed-by-henry-tenby/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 01:08:44 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6495

SEE BELOW FOR MORE VIDEOS IN THIS SERIES:

By Henry Tenby, copyright 2020

As a collector of professional aircraft display models for more than thirty years, I have been an admirer of the fabulously accurate and beautiful aircraft models made by Amsterdam based Bob Dros of Bel-Air Models for a very long time.

His models are painstakingly made from solid clear perspex. This is a very difficult material to work with which results in very time consuming builds. But the models are highly realistic and feature clear windows which makes them something of a unique offering in the world of high end aircraft display models.

An introduction to Bob Dros by fellow model collector Ed Van Rooijen resulted in the amazing opportunity to visit Bob Dros at his home, library and workshop in Amsterdam, where Bob ever so kindly allowed the visit to be filmed, which is presented here as a series of seven videos. In these videos Bob Dros explains the background as to how became interested in making models of aircraft, and why he chose to work in the demanding model making medium of solid perspex.

Most of Bob’s models cover the period between World War 1 and World War 2, and focus on the transport aircraft of this area of development of the early years of the airline industry. Of course he also made models or aircraft and airliners of the post war years too. All of Bob’s models were and are special custom consignments by demanding collectors from all over the world. It typically takes a few months for a model to be built as they are all built from highly accurate plans, from scratch, and in many cases Bob has developed the plans himself using a variety of sources. His goal is to build the most accurate model possible.

Please feel free to visit Bob’s models and learn more about his perspex model building efforts at www.bel-air-models.com

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Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair 2020 Was An Amazing Success – Fantastic for Models! https://www.henrytenby.com/amsterdam-aviation-collectors-fair-2020-was-an-amazing-success-fantastic-for-models/ https://www.henrytenby.com/amsterdam-aviation-collectors-fair-2020-was-an-amazing-success-fantastic-for-models/#respond Fri, 28 Feb 2020 23:28:26 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6448

SEE PHOTOS BELOW – The Amsterdam Aviation Collector’s Fair was held at the Van Der Valk A4 Schiphol hotel on Sunday, February 23, 2020, and it was an amazing success! The Dutch have easily surpassed the American’s in offering what is now easily the world’s largest aviation and airline collectibles show. Most of the table stalls and vendors have airline related collectibles, but there is a broad base of aviation collectibles on offers to suite every taste. But the main specialization of offer are professional aircraft display models.

This page features two videos prepared by Henry Tenby on this amazing show, the first video (above) being a 15 minute look at the show from start to end. And the second video (below) features the fantastic selection of quality aircraft display models that were offered for sale at this show.

This year’s show featured just over the 300 tables, but it is noteworthy to mention the sheer abundance of professional aircraft display models (both airline and military) that were offered for sale at this show. I am now aware of any other show on the planet that consistently offers more display models for sale under the same roof. One would think that a country as large as the USA and with as many display model collectors as the USA would have a collectibles show dedicated to professional aircraft display models, but it is clearly not the case.

I think Americans prefer to sell their models on ebay in hopes of getting the highest price possible and do not want to take their surplus models to old school collectibles shows which are like the flea markets and antique shows of yesteryear. Which is a real shame. Selling on ebay is so impersonal and takes away from the fun of collecting, and attending real collectibles shows allows people to interact and meet new friends, and socialize with fellow collectors. Which is what I really like about attending the Amsterdam show.

Special thanks have to go to Patrick Van Rooijen and his amazing team of helpers for organizing such a to drawer show. Their efforts are extensive and span most of the year leading up to the show, and every detail is planned with military precision. The event is First Class in every respect and I am honoured to be associated with such an amazing event. For full information on next year’s show please visit their website at www.aviationfair.com for the the latest details.

Also featured below are a selection of photos from the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collector’s Fair. I hope to see you at the next year’s fair. Until then, happy collecting!

Raise Up 1/80 scale Air India Connie

Raise Up 1/80 scale Air India Connie

CIE Generale de Transport Lockheed 749 Connie metal model

CIE Generale de Transport Lockheed 749 Connie metal model

Fabulous selection of military and commercial aircraft display models for sale at the Amsterdam show.

Fabulous selection of military and commercial aircraft display models for sale at the Amsterdam show.

This is a 1/24 perspex cutaway model of a Boeing Stratocruiser

This is a 1/24 perspex cutaway model of a Boeing Stratocruiser made by Westway Models in the 1950s. It sold for a reported 20,000 euros to a model broker in Paris.

A selection of Topping Models military display models at the Amsterdam Aviation show 2020

A selection of Topping Models military display models at the Amsterdam Aviation show 2020. None of the models were priced, which I think is a bad idea.

Ed Van Rooijen's fabulous selection of vintage F28, F28 and F100 1/72 display models

Ed Van Rooijen’s fabulous selection of vintage F28, F28 and F100 1/72 display models at the Amsterdam Aviation Fair 2020.

Ed Van Rooijen's fabulous selection of vintage F28, F28 and F100 1/72 display models

Ed Van Rooijen’s fabulous selection of vintage F28, F28 and F100 1/72 display models at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Show.

This is a 1/100 Vogelaar Martinair Lockheed L-188 Electra which is a lovely model

This is a 1/100 Vogelaar Martinair Lockheed L-188 Electra which is a lovely model. The seller was asking 1100 Euros, which is much more than the model is worth.

Peter Casell with his wooden 1/50 DC-7 model, in need of serious restoration.

Peter Casell with his wooden 1/50 DC-7 model, in need of serious restoration.

Peter Casell with his hand made large scale flying wing model. Price was 900 Euros.

Peter Casell with his hand made large scale flying wing model with retractable landing gear. Price was 900 Euros.

Peter Casell with his hand made large scale Swissair DC-7C, which he sold at the Amsterdam Show 2020.

Peter Casell with his hand made large scale Swissair DC-7C, which he sold at the Amsterdam Show 2020.

Two 1/100 plastic DC-8 models from France, for sale at 100 Euros each at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

Two 1/100 plastic DC-8 models from France, for sale at 100 Euros each at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

A very nice 1/100 plastic Topping Models 737-200 in home country Transavia colours, circa 1975.

A very nice 1/100 plastic Topping Models 737-200 in home country Transavia colours, circa 1975. This 80 Euro model was sold at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

A 1/48 scale Swiss Air Force De Havilland Vampire model in metal.

A 1/48 scale Swiss Air Force De Havilland Vampire model in metal. A bit chunky but fairly priced at 70 Euros at the Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair 2020.

Two very nice 20 year old British Airways Pacmin models in 1/100 scale

Two very nice 20 year old British Airways Pacmin models in 1/100 scale, at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

A small scale Northwest Airlines L-199 Electra, possibly a 1/144 Raise Up model, in plastic

A small scale Northwest Airlines L-199 Electra, possibly a 1/144 Raise Up model, in plastic. Offered for sale at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

A nice selection of Swiss Air Force metal ID models of Russian military aircraft.

A nice selection of Swiss Air Force metal ID models of Russian military aircraft. Offered for sale at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

A 1950s era 1/100 scale KLM DC-6 by Raise Up

1950s era metal ID model of a Dutch Air Force F-84

My prize acquisition at the show! This is a 1950s era metal ID model of a Dutch Air Force F-84, I just love this model! I purchased it at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

KLM Vickers Viscount ashtray model in 1/200 metal by Raise Up, circa 1950s

KLM Vickers Viscount ashtray model in 1/200 metal by Raise Up, circa 1950s, offered for sale at 400 euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

KLM DC-4 in wood, possibly made by the KLM model shop in the 1950s

A large and impressive KLM DC-4 in wood, possibly made by the KLM model shop in the 1950s. Offered at 1150 Euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

Martinair Holland DC-10 in 1/100 scale by Verkuyl circa mid 1970s display model

Martinair Holland DC-10 in 1/100 scale by Verkuyl circa mid 1970s display model. Offered at 450 euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

Small KLM Viscount 800 in plastic circa 1950s by Raise Up

Small KLM Viscount 800 in plastic circa 1950s by Raise Up. Offered at 195 euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Fair.

Transavia Se210 Caravelle in 1/100 metal by Verkuyl circa early 1970s

Transavia Se210 Caravelle in 1/100 metal by Verkuyl circa early 1970s. Offered for sale at 400 euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Show.

KLM DC-4 circa 1950s in approximately 1/50 scale

Large metal toy like model of a KLM DC-4 circa 1950s in approximately 1/50 scale. Offered for sale at 450 euros at the 2020 Amsterdam Aviation Collectors Show.

Henry Tenby with a 1/50 Verkuyl metal DC-8-50

Henry Tenby with a 1/50 Verkuyl metal DC-8-50

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Wiking World War II German ID Models with Bob Dros https://www.henrytenby.com/wiking-world-war-ii-german-id-models-with-bob-dros/ https://www.henrytenby.com/wiking-world-war-ii-german-id-models-with-bob-dros/#respond Fri, 28 Feb 2020 22:52:19 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6444

I recently had the opportunity to visit with the famous Dutch model maker Bob Dros on a recent visit to Amsterdam, as arranged by my friend and fellow model collector Ed Van Rooijen. Whilst visiting with Bob he took time out to show me his amazing and near completed collection of Wiking Models.

These Wiking Models were made by a German toy company in the period of World War Two to help German troops and air force officers easily identify aircraft to separate friend from foe. These Wiking models were made of plastic, which was quite novel for the time as plastic was still in its infancy in terms of use beyond industrial applications.

After the passage of some eighty years since World War Two, these Wiking models have become quite hard to find. Over 150 of these ID models were produced and with so few coming to market, it is extremely difficult to build anything close to a complete collection. But Bob Dros has done just that, and it was no easy task, as he explains in this informative video.

Bob Dros resides in Amsterdam and has been building very detailed high quality models of aircraft in solid perspex. His models are very time consuming projects, and their price reflects their difficulty of construction. Bob’s perspex models can be viewed on his website, and we’d like to thank him for participating in this video.

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Dublin Day Trip – An Avroliner Outing https://www.henrytenby.com/dublin-day-trip-an-avroliner-outing/ https://www.henrytenby.com/dublin-day-trip-an-avroliner-outing/#respond Sat, 25 Jan 2020 14:51:36 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6371

By Henry Tenby (April, 2017)

Watch my full feature videos on this trip CLICK HERE

For North American flight hounds, the Avroliner RJ and BAe 146 series of airliners have largely been replaced by Embraers and Airbuses. There are no scheduled Avroliners operating in the US, whilst in Canada the type does appear on some First Air schedules (operated by Summit Air). Thus, it is not exactly easy nor affordable to experience Avroliner flying in North America.

Dublin-based low cost airline CityJet offers the Avroliner throughout their European network and I decided to sample their service. The Avroliner’s four-engine, short-runway capability makes it ideally suited for CityJet’s operations from London City airport. With their LCY-Dublin route being the most affordable within their network, it seemed the logical choice for the aviation enthusiast seeking a day-return for the sole purpose of experiencing flight aboard the Avroliner.

By booking a few weeks in advance, it was possible to secure a day return for our trip this past April, for the very reasonable price of GBP 94.60. By Canadian standards this represents a massive bargain, as compared to the cost of a First Air Avroliner flight in the Northwest Territories, where fares are generally high.

This particular fare class did not allow for advance seat selection earlier than 30 hours prior to departure. For the author this was fine as it was possible to secure excellent window seats the minute after the 30 hour rule passed.

For those who might want to stay at a London City Airport hotel the night prior to their flight, the ibis Styles London Excel hotel proved to be an excellent choice. Situated just a kilometre west of the airport, the ibis provided excellent service, an immaculate room, free wi-fi, free local and selected long distance calls, plus a full-English hot buffet breakfast, that included, eggs, ham, sausage, baked beans, cereals, yoghurts, toast, cheese, sliced meats, fruit juices, fresh fruits, and an assortment of coffees. Situated a 5 Euro Uber ride from the promenade runway photo location, it is the perfect hotel for spotters and flight hounds alike. Booked via Travelocity at an all-in rate of GBP 40 it was an excellent value and is highly recommended.

Having enjoyed the ibis breakfast between 0700 and 0730, the author took uber to the London City Airport (cost GBP Xxx) with boarding pass downloaded to his mobile, and was extremely impressed with the speed, efficiency and professionalism of the security screening staff.

Early morning weekdays at London City are extremely busy as this is a peak period of the day. Even with the throngs of passengers and line up, it still only took about ten minutes to clear security. The airport has gone to special efforts to have a dedicated staff member verbally reminding passengers to properly prepare their computers and fluids before entering the security line up. The end result is a highly efficient security experience for the passenger. Other airports would be well advised to study LCY’s procedures.

By clearing through security about two and a half hours prior to departure time, it allowed for a very relaxed visit in the boarding area. It seemed a luxury to enjoy a coffee and take some photos through the windows, which span the full length of the gate areas. For the aviation fan, the up-close apron perspective from the terminal gate area is completely different than aircraft spotting from the other side of the water.

Cityjet flight WX113 was called for boarding at 10 am, and after a ten minute wait in the small apron level holding area, passengers boarded Avroliner EI-RJI on the open ramp, which of course is an added bonus for aviation fans. There are no covered jetways at London City probably because of limited space and the logistical restrictions they would impose.

Settling into seat 09A there was an empty middle seat, and being a Tuesday morning, the flight was only about two thirds full. Which provided a very comfortable ride for all the passengers. We started engines right on our scheduled departure time of 1045 am, and given the amount of traffic, the airport’s efficiency continued.

After a slight hold and taxi, ten minutes later at 1055 we were lined up on London City’s runway xxx. The throttles were opened up for a very impressive run up against the brakes, 707, DC-8, or IL-62 style! It was a good ten seconds at maximum take-off power that the brakes were finally released, and we compressed into our seat backs as the Avroliner bolted down the runway.

Given our light load, we leapt from the runway after a short run and were climbing into the cool morning air just abeam the eastern edge of terminal building ramp area. The impressive short field take-off on its own was well worth the price of admission! At an altitude of perhaps three or four thousand feet, a short distance beyond the western confines of the airfield we commenced our northwesterly turn towards Dublin and the Irish Sea.

It was a lovely blue sky morning, sprinkled with puffy white clouds, and the sprawling English countryside below made the perfect setting for flying on a classic British jetliner over mother England. The fabulous trademark view of the Avroliner’s two wing-slung engines set against the open expanse of the fields below, served up a vivid visual comparison to classic inflight publicity photos from the 1950s of iconic Comets, Tridents, One Elevens and VC-10s, over the same countryside. It seemed like this was one of those flight experiences that one eventually looks back on with fond memories, when the era has passed and the experience can no longer be replicated.

The Cityjet flight attendants were polite and professional. Our inflight service consisted of a complimentary drink, and a “sweet or savoury” snack, meaning a bag of pretzels or a cookie. The Perrier on ice with a slice of lemon seemed like a good choice to savour the moment, as we flew towards the west coast of England and the Irish Sea.

The flight attendant kindly allowed a move up to seat 3F for the second half of the flight, to provide a different perspective and engine view for the arrival into Dublin. From our cruising altitude, the Irish Sea below seemed particularly rough and choppy with very large whitecaps randomly forming for as far as the eye could see. With the sun still shining through breaks in the clouds, the amazing shades of the green Irish landscape make it very obvious as to why the colour green is synonymous to Ireland, and the colour scheme of Aer Lingus!

After a wonderful 54 minutes in the air, our Avroliner touched down in Dublin at 1149 am, with a quick taxi to the Cityjet gate area at the end of the terminal xx finger. It should be noted the during boarding via the apron at London City and deplaning on the ramp at Dublin, no complaints or restrictions were levelled at the author when stopping to take a few photos and short videos of the aircraft. We have to be grateful to live in a civilized society.

With four hours to pass at Dublin airport between the arrival time, and the flight back to London City airport, the author found the perfect location to relax. Not wanting the hassle of leaving the gate area (and then running the risk of not finding a comfortable place to relax with an airfield or apron view), the best place to pass time is the ground level gates and seating area that spans the entire ramp level of the vintage, iconic, 1950s era terminal building at Dublin Airport.

Instead of going to the baggage claim area by the exit doors where the xx gate meets the main terminal building, take the hallway to the left to gates xxx xxx and xxx. This passage way leads to a semi-circular hall with hundreds of seats, and full-span windows with an apron view of the Ryanair gates on terminal xxx.

This provided a very quiet and peaceful setting to pass the time, and is highly recommended. The walls are adorned with historic photos of the airport, toilets are nearby, and free wifi makes for a very respectable place to relax or catch up on work. (Sorry about the “xxxx” fill spaces but I don’t know the various gate and terminal numbers and details.)

A similar number of passengers were on hand for the return flight WX118 to London Cit with boarding commencing at 1510 for the published 1530 departure time. This was a very non-rushed affair. There was no rushing the gate, no panic to get on the aircraft. Passengers boarded in small groups over a ten minute period, and the same back-end crew were operating flight 118. Comfortably seated in 12F aboard Avroliner EI-RJE, engines were started right on schedule at 1530, and the flight was airborne at 1545.

The slightly further rear seat gave excellent view of the Avroliner’s unique trailing wing flaps where they meet the fuselage, as they fan downward like a rooster’s wing during the approach and landing. The author again savoured a Perrier and the return flight was similarly enjoyable and relaxing as the earlier outbound journey. Having explained his interest in the aircraft to the flight attendants, they were most friendly and accommodating and there was no problem taking videos or photos of the wing views during the interesting phases of the flights.

After an hour or so in the air, we commenced our approach over East Ham, and landed on runway xx at London City with a total air time of sixty seven minutes.

The Avroliner simply rolled out toward the centre taxiway to the main apron area where we parked at the same gate 1 parking space that we departed from in the morning.

Stopping on the apron to take a few photos, literally within ten minutes of deplaning the author was on DLR train headed towards central London. Yet another testament to the convenience and efficiency of using London City Airport.

At the time of writing, Cityjet offers the best option for aviation fans seeking a reliable, guaranteed, cost effective Avroliner flight from London City. Whilst Swiss Avroliners can be seen frequently at London City operating the Geneva schedule, Swiss substitutes at will (using Embraers on the route) with no guarantee until one is strapped in and ready for departure.

Despite their age, there is still some life left in the aircraft, and its short runway capability does meet an operational need at London City with a lesser asset ownership cost than newer types. As long as low fuel prices prevail, the Avroliners will continue to serve specialist niches. But, as is all too common in the airline industry, situations can change over night. Thus, the Cityjet Avroliner experience from London City is an opportunity best not delayed.

Side Note:
Birmingham is another UK airport that presents flight hounds with a range of Avroliner opportunities. Both Swiss and Brussels still fly through Birmingham with Brussels being daily, and Swiss almost daily though in the traditional Lufthansa fashion. Swiss change the aircraft type to meet the demand for the flight. Consequently, the default aircraft type is a Helvetic Fokker 100 on the morning flight and an RJ100 on the evening flight, however, in reality both flights can be any one of the following types: a C Series, Fokker 100, RJ100 Avroliner, Embraer 190, Airbus 319, 320 or 321. Cello is also based at Birmingham with their BAe 146-200. CityJet will be operating one of the six daily KLM Amsterdam-Birmingham flights for the summer, with one or two RJ85 Avroliners being operated on wet lease to KLM.

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Flying the Yak-40 Tri-Jet https://www.henrytenby.com/flying-the-yak-40-tri-jet/ https://www.henrytenby.com/flying-the-yak-40-tri-jet/#respond Sat, 25 Jan 2020 14:40:03 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6368

By Henry Tenby (October, 2016)

For aviation fans seeking to add new and different types to their log book, the Russian built Yak-40 is a difficult type to secure a flight on in this day and age of composite Boeing and Airbus new generation airliners.

The Yak-40 could well be considered as one of the world’s first regional jets. Seating between 24 and 27 passengers, with a T-tail and three rear mounted engines similarly configured as a Boeing 727 or Trident, with rear airstairs, the aircraft was considerably smaller than other commercial jetliners of the day, and considerably larger than even the largest business jets of the day (such as the Lockheed Jetstar and Gulfstream II).

A straight wing and rugged landing gear made for reduced landing speeds and gravel strip capability, and the self-contained stairs made the aircraft ideally suited and self-sufficient for operations at remote, unpaved strips. Or equally comfortable transporting smaller passenger loads on lesser capacity inter-city regional routes.

In the early 1970s, an international sales campaign saw the Yak-40 demonstrated to a number of carriers across Canada that served remote, Northern and bush communities. The Yak-40 was demonstrated to International Jet Air in Calgary as well as Pacific Western Airlines in Vancouver. No Canadian orders were forthcoming and the type was never certified in Canada, although it did have limited success outside of Mother Russia in Africa, Italy, Germany and a few other niche operations.

It was in Russia and Soviet Block countries (Eastern Europe and Cuba) where the Yak-40 met with its greatest success and found an interested customer base. Many national airlines of these countries operated the type within their scheduled airline operations or as Government aircraft, and the some 1,011 Yak-40s were built at the Saratov Aviation Plant between 1968 and 1981.

In 1978, Aeroflot had 98 Yak-40s in their fleet. Production of the Yak-40 ended in 1981, and Aeroflot’s Yak-40 fleet peaked at approximately 145 examples in 1982, with the type serving over 200 smaller towns, cities and remote outposts across the Soviet Union.

The type’s history explains why the Yak-40 was a fairly illusive type, and difficult type for most aviation enthusiasts to log, unless of course you happened to reside in Russia or Eastern Europe. Today, approximately 40 Yak-40s remain operational, but most are with private companies and Government agencies within Russia. Outside of Russia it is nearly impossible today to book a scheduled airline flight on a Yak-40.

Ukraine-based Motorsich, the airline arm of the engine manufacturer, retains a single active Yak-40 UR-88310 in their passenger aircraft fleet. However, it is only used irregularly on their scheduled routes, mostly as a back-up aircraft. Many aviation fans have made special trips to the Ukraine and booked flights, hoping for the Yak-40 but only to be sadly disappointed when the Yak-40 fails to appear on the flight.

A group of 20 international aviation fanatics (from Canada, the US, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the UK, Poland, Russia, and France) were treated to the special opportunity of a joy ride on the Motorsich Yak-40 during the Belarus Aviation Tour in early October, 2016, which was organized by Paris-based Merlin Tours.

However, the primary attraction of the Belarus Aviation Tour was the final retirement flights of the Belavia Tu-154M, which marked the last ever scheduled flight of a Tu-154 outside of Russia. Several other enthusiast flights were also built into the tour itinerary (including joy rides on AN-26, AN-140, AN-30, and the Mil-26 monster helicopter).

To accommodate the Yak-40 joy ride, on Saturday, October 8, 2016, Motorsich put the Yak-40 onto their sked flight from Zaporizhia, Ukraine to Minsk, and it flew the route with close to a full load of fare paying passengers.

Interior cabin view of Motorsich Yak-40 at Minsk during our pleasure flight.

Interior cabin view of Motorsich Yak-40 at Minsk during our pleasure flight.

The aircraft had not actually flown in the month leading up to the joy ride, as it was not required for their schedule nor any charters, and was therefore air tested at Zaporizhia on October 1 to make sure the aircraft was fully fit for the planned flight for the aviation fans.

On the morning of October 8, the Yak’s scheduled flight to Minsk was monitored on Flightradar24, and a sense of relief was felt by all when it was confirmed the aircraft was actually well on its way to Minsk. Motorsich double crewed the pilots to make sure the joy ride and return flight back to the Ukraine that same afternoon was operated by a freshly rested crew.

Shortly after 12 noon our group of 20 aviation fans was led through security and bussed to the Yak-40, which was parked on the itinerant ramp in the company of quite a number of fascinating aircraft, including an assortment of IL-76s, AN-26s, a 747 classic and other goodies.

The group was held inside the closed bus as the specially chartered AN-30 for the tour landed, so landing photos were not possible. The AN-30 taxied to our spot on the apron and parked right beside the Yak-40. Once it shut down, the group was allowed off the bus onto the apron where we were able to photograph both the Yak-40 and the AN-30 in a fairly leisurely fashion, which was nice.

After about ten minutes on the apron we were summoned to board our Yak, and many of us took photos and selfies as we climbed aboard via the integral airstairs. Once everyone was comfortably settled into our seats an announcement was made by the flight attendants requesting that for their own comfort and privacy, they did not wish to be included in our photos and filming. Not an unreasonable request, and for the duration of the flight they were certainly friendly and welcoming.

Configured with 24 seats, the cabin was close to full as the Two pilots who brought the aircraft to Minsk from Zaporizhia sat in row 1 and slept for most of the flight, as they must have started their day earlier than the departure, and were in need of rest. But for everyone else on board, the adrenalin was running at overflow, specially as the three Ivchenko AI-25 engines came to life at 1245. Interesting side note: the engine maker Ivchenko is based at Zaporizhia and this is where the AI-25 engine was developed for the Yak-40 back in the 1960.

The Yak’s engine are most certainly old-school Russian sounding, very much reminiscent of a Tu-134 or Tu-154 starting engines. You get that un-synchronized alarm bell harmonic as the three engines play off each other that was typical of airliner jet engines back in the day.

Passenger wing view of Motorsich Yak-40 at Minsk

Passenger wing view of Motorsich Yak-40 at Minsk

There is not much sense of excitement when an Embraer, Airbus 320 or 737-700 starts its engines, but when a classic Russian jetliner starts engines, most lovers of classic jetliner rides will have smiles on their faces. And this was very much the case for everyone on the Yak-40 as the engines came to life.

Under cloudy but dry conditions, we took off at 1255, and from my seat 4D, just forward of the main wing leading edge, I enjoyed an excellent view of Minsk’s terminal building and ramp areas loaded with nice aircraft, before we entered the cloud base at a few thousand feet.

I am not sure if it was my imagination but within seconds of leaving the runway, it seemed like the aircraft wings were rocking up and down, almost like their aircraft was a bit unstable and required quick manual adjustments by the pilot. As our speed increased this sensation went away after about 15 or 20 seconds. Perhaps this is a characteristic behavior of the Yak-40’s straight wing, when the aircraft transitions to climb speed after leaving the runway. It was certainly a very different experience.

During the 55 minute flight we saw a mixture of blue skies, puffy white clouds below, with the ground visible from cruising altitude on our Yak-40. The generally good visibility made for a very pleasurable and unique flight experience.

For most of the flight, our friendly flight attendants remained in the rear cabin compartment near the door to the airstairs, so we did not see them too much. Although they quickly passed through the cabin to distribute a small sandwich and drink for those who wanted.

Quite frankly, many were too engrossed with the excitement of being on the Yak to partake in drink and food. Almost everyone got up from their seats during the flight to take the obligatory cabin photos and wing view shots from various vantage points in the cabin. Some aviation flight freaks even sequester themselves in the lavatory to photograph and film the curious configurations in such facilities aboard Russian built aircraft.

After what seemed a very generous time aloft, we were turned around and making our way back to Minsk, slowly descending through the clouds that were centralized in the area closer to Minsk. During the decent and approach we got to enjoy more engine harmonics are power adjustments, which tend to be louder as the three Ivchenko AI-25 engines are short and stubby and lack jetpipes or hush-kits to dampen the sound. The louder the better!

After 48 minutes in the air, we landed at Minsk at 1343 under cloudy, but dry conditions. The group collected their belongings and thanked the air hostesses for their hospitality, and slowly deplaned onto the apron for more photos, and there was not a single person who was a micron short of being 100 percent elated with the proceedings.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the Yak-40 flight experience, and for most, it was probably the first time on a Yak-40, and could very well be the last. Motor Sich has two Yak-40s in their fleet and with both now more or less relegated to charter work, chances for scheduled flights are essentially non existent. The punchy little Yak-40 bursts with atmosphere, it delivers a cozy yet comfortable ride, with jet convenience that similarly sized turboprops of today’s design have a tough time matching.

With a 3800 litre fuel capacity it is not a costly aircraft to own and operate. Hence its wide popularity and impressive service record. One has a sense of flying on a much larger aircraft when riding the Yak, and its rugged build and low cost are a testament to its success.

Even today approximately 40 Yak-40s remain operational, and with fuel prices likely to remain low for the foreseeable future, the type should be around for another five to ten years. That said, flight hounds should take advantage of a flight while they still can.

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Papeete – A Spotter’s Paradise https://www.henrytenby.com/papeete-a-spotters-paradise/ https://www.henrytenby.com/papeete-a-spotters-paradise/#respond Sat, 25 Jan 2020 13:42:39 +0000 https://www.henrytenby.com/?p=6345 Magnificent view of the international terminal at Tahiti’s Faaa airport.

Magnificent view of the international terminal at Tahiti’s Faaa airport.

Report by Henry Tenby (December 2016)

Although not the largest airfield in French Polynesia, the idillic South Pacific French protectorate’s busiest international airport is situated on the Island of Tahiti, in the town of Faa, a few kilometers from central Papeete. The destination is certainly well off the beaten track, but the location’s laid back way off life coupled with its stunning physical attributes make it a spotter’s dream come true.

Henry Tenby on the airport viewing balcony for hotel guests at the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Henry Tenby on the airport viewing balcony for hotel guests at the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

French Polynesia’s longest runway is actually at Bora Bora, which was built by the US military during World War ll, as a forward logistics and operating base to suppress Japanese aggression in the region. Today, Faaa is the airport where all the action is, and where most incoming air passengers will arrive to start their bucket-list Tahitian holidays.

The dominant international carrier is of course Tahiti-based flag carrier Air Tahiti Nui with their fleet or Airbus 340s (to be replaced by Dreamliners) that serve France, the US, Australia and Japan. To a much lesser extent, international services are also offered to Tahiti by Hawaiian Airlines, Air France and Air Cailan of nearby Reunion, which is just a few hours air time from Tahiti.

Nice airport views can be savoured from the balcony for hotel guests at the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Nice airport views can be savoured from the balcony for hotel guests at the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Most of the international long haul services arrive and depart just before or after midnight, thus not ideal for spotters, reggie bashers and photographers. Depending on the day, there are sporadic daylight departures of long haul services, the author having witnessed mid-day Air Tahiti Nui and Air Calin flights leaving around the lunch hour.

A visit to the airport’s departures hall reveals all scheduled flights and anticipated times for the coming 24 hours, and proved useful for spotting purposes. As there can be long lulls where the airport is completely dead. Internet access to the airport’s website arrivals and departures page is also useful in determining the best times to be on watch on one’s day of spotting.

Air Tahiti A340

We flew between LAX and Tahiti on an Air Tahiti Nui A340, which provided a very nice and comfortable ride. I believe this 4 holers have now been replaced by boring 787s.

Faaa boasts two fabulous spotting locations which will satisfy the most demanding of spotter. Both spots allow all airfield movements to be seen, and both spots are excellent for photography, with no hassles of fences, or need for ladders.

The first location is a small roadside observation point that is situated a few minutes by car or public bus to the east of the main terminal building on the way towards Papeete city centre. There is level parking spot for vehicles and the perch offers an elevated view of the runway perhaps a few thousand feet from the eastern threshold of the runway.

Henry Tenby spotting at Tahiti’s Faaa airport from the balcony of the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Henry Tenby spotting at Tahiti’s Faaa airport from the balcony of the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

There are no amenities and little shade from the sun, so spotters should exercise caution. French Polynesia is an affluent society that attracts affluent tourists and is extremely safe for tourists.

One can leave ipads and valuables on the beach with little risk of theft, so one does not have to be concerned for personal safety whilst spotting at this location. Locals often stop by in their vehicles and scooters to watch the planes, and it can be quite busy, but there is no problem of wild dogs or other inhospitable pests and animals. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water.

The other spotting location is the premier vantage point to soak up the action in full comfort. The Tahiti Airport Motel situated directly across the main road from the Faaa airport terminal building, provides three levels of shaded open air viewing balconies with 180 degree full-on airport views.

These balconies are accessible by all guests of the hotel, and each balcony level is complemented with comfortable chairs. The sun is favourable and from behind, bathing the airfield in beautiful light conditions for the entire day. Hotel guests come and go to spend time relaxing, to enjoy a snack or drink. It is the perfect place to put one’s feet up to soak up the proceedings.

The Tahiti Airport Motel is situated on the small hill that overlooks the airfield, so the viewing balconies are probably a hundred feet above the airfield elevation, thus the tropical blue ocean and the neighbouring island of Moorea provide what can honestly be described as one of the world’s best backdrops for aviation photography and spotting.

The two peak periods for aircraft movements are morning and late afternoon. Papeete based inter-island operator Air Tahiti operates a fleet of ATR turboprops on an extensive network of tourist, cargo and essential air service routes through French Polynesia.

Balcony view of Tahiti’s Faaa airport from the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Balcony view of Tahiti’s Faaa airport from the Tahiti Airport Hotel.

Between 0730 and 0930, there is a flurry of Air Tahiti ATR departures, there is a lesser mid-day flurry, and between 1600 and 1800 the aircraft all arrive back at Faaa at the end of their daily flying duties. Air Tahiti inter-island services mostly take place during daylight hours for flight safety reasons.

The most affordable Air Tahiti sector is between Faaa and Moorea, which typically costs about 50 Euros each way for the 15 minute flight. It needs to be booked in advance as the flights are 100 percent sold out by the day before or morning of desired travel date.

Tahiti Airport Hotel

Tahiti Airport Hotel Is a wonderful no-frills place to stay right cross the street from the airport terminal building. Perfect for your first or last night in Tahiti and the hillside location offers excellent spotting views of the airfield.

The more adventurous travel enthusiast might be interested in Air Tahiti’s travel pass, which provides unlimited travel for a fixed cost with several options available. Just depend how one wants to spend their precious time in French Polynesia; savouring the beaches or logging ATR flights.

From the Tahiti Airport Motel viewing balconies, spotters can view the full length of the runway, as well as aircraft on extended approach, and the inbound ATRs as they enter the pattern on downwind for the base and landing.

During the author’s two day stay at the Tahiti Airport Motel, the home field based French Air Force Falcon jet and Twin Otter flew several times each day, which was a nice treat. Otherwise, the vast majority of the airfield traffic consisted of the Air Tahiti ATRs coupled with the occasional day time long haul service.

Most tourists and/or aviation fans will only use the Tahiti Airport Motel twice: on the night of their long-haul arrival to French Polynesia, and the final day or night of their stay on the island, as a pre flight resting place for the midnight departure, which was the case for the author. Depending on the season, a room for two costs 100 to 150 Euros per night, and the property can be booked via all the regular online booking sites. Check-in time is 1500 and the hotel charges an extra 50 Euros for early check-in if available.

A grocery store is located a short walk along the main road to the right, and food provisions can be kept in the small fridge in each room. A very basic bread, cheese, cereal and coffee breakfast is included in the room price. The rooms are quiet, basic, and immaculately clean.

A word of caution is in order for first time visitors arriving during the darkness of midnight. Whilst the hotel is incredibly convenient, and barely a few hundred metres from the arrivals haul, it is located up a small road, and small set of steps.

After sunset, the area is pitch black, the walking surface is uneven with broken stones, and could be extremely hazardous to those unfamiliar with the lay of the land. Specially when carrying heavy bags. Twisting an ankle, or breaking an arm or leg at the start of a Polynesian holiday would be less than ideal. First time visitors should bring a small flash light to illuminate their way.

French Polynesia’s stunning, uncrowded beaches, welcoming island hospitality, and remarkable ocean experiences will make for an unforgettable holiday. Consider the following statistic: French Polynesia receives the same number of tourists in one year that the Hawaiian Islands receive in one week. So its very much a boutique destination unspoiled by the crowding throngs of mass tourism.

French is main spoken language of the islands, not English, and this facet coupled with high international airfares and high accommodation costs explain the small tourism footprint. That said, the visiting aviation fan can easily enjoy some spectacular aviation spotting and photography, for an overall holiday experience and memories that will last a lifetime.

Tahiti’s Faaa International airport

Tahiti’s Faaa International airport With Air Tahiti Nui A340 on the runway and the Island of Moorea in the distant background.

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