UK Aviation Tour
(or travel diary of a Spotter)
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Vulcan to The Sky Trust Office
Its 5 pm and I’m walking out of the office that is the business nerve centre for the Vulcan to The Sky Trust (VTST). The day has flown by and I don’t really know where the time has gone. I have spoken with a wonderful dedicated team of people that look after the VTST business back end, merchandising and aircraft spares warehouse.
This is a small very focused team that have contributed substantially to keeping XH558 in the air for 8 years. Their dedication and commitment is obvious in they way they all talk about their part of the operations.
I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour through the spares warehouse.
Here is a couple of images from there including a sneak peak inside a Vulcan Rolls Royce Olympus engine.
Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Heathrow
5th Sept to 6th
If you have to spend an overnight stop in an airport, Abu Dhabi isn’t too bad of place to do it.
My Virgin flight arrived around 11:30pm local time. after 15 hours in the air it was good to get out and stretch my legs. As I walked through the door of the 777 the midnight heat hit me. It’s still over 30 Deg C as I walked down the steps and stepped onto the bus the took us to the terminal.
There is only so much you can do in an airport when your stuck there for 9 hours. but after grabbing pizza at about 2 am and wandering around all of the still open shops I tried for some sleep before the call to prayer at 4:42am woke me. The gate areas have lots of seating and some of it is set up with foot rests so your somewhat comfortable sleeping. But when the guy two seats away kept receiving texts I gave up on sleeping all together and started to scope the place for good vantage points to photograph a sunrise, with not too much luck.
The sunrise was underwhelming and hazed, but I managed a couple of shots of the Etihad A380 that was my ride to London.
Brisbane to Sydney.
Saturday 5th Sep
As I sit in the aisle seat on VA942 , a Virgin Australia domestic flight from Brisbane to Sydney, my emotions are quite mixed. It’s an odd feeling being at the start of a substantial international trip and being on a domestic flight. I have plenty to be happy about. I’m heading to the UK to shoot some fantastic aircraft. I have scored an empty seat in my row so plenty of elbow room. And I have 10 days ahead of emersion in aircraft photography.
My check in was quite frankly a breeze. Having booked my flights through online agents Bestjet with the trip booked via Etihad, I had been somewhat concerned when I realised that the first part of my Brisbane to London trip was via the domestic terminal in Brisbane landing in Sydney exactly 2 hours before the Abu Dhabi leg departed. My concerns were around check in times and transfer in Sydney from the domestic to the international terminals. People that have travelled with me will be able to atest that I’m somewhat particular about getting to airports well before flight times. A quick call to Bestjet a few days earlier had relieved me somewhat. The very knowledgeable sounding help line staff had assured me that there would be no need for me to collect my bags at the domestic carousel and run across to the international terminal. She had assured me my bags would be checked through Sydney and I should even be checked on my Sydney to Abu Dhabi flight. I had finished that phone call feeling very comfortable that the professionals at the airlines would handle this type of thing seamlessly. Having completed my check in in Brisbane I was relived to be holding baggage checks and boarding passes all the way through to Heathrow. No issues with the 30kg bag weight courtesy of the generous baggage standards with Etihad and a full explanation of the simple process for transfer at Sydney. Even though the Virgin Australia check in counter lady admitted it was her first international check in she had handled it with ease.
Ok now I can relax and start to enjoy this a little more. Then to be pushing back in the 737-800 with an empty seat next to me … This trip has started well. I’m typing this as I land in SYD wondering if anyone of the spotters I know has photographed my aircraft as we land.