Dalaman, Turkey 15th July 2009 & 29th July 2009 by Chris Smith
My last ever family holiday set the scene for a rare & discreet spotting opportunity in Turkey. For once we were being loyal to DTVA and had booked the Wednesday morning Holidays 4 U (I don't recommend them by the way - use Goldtrail) flight, OHY4672. I was somewhat nervous about flying with Onur Air due to their recent ban from flying into Holland due to safety concerns. My fear grew half way through the holiday too when I noticed they put a Mad Dog on the Bodrum flight on 23rd July - no way was I gonna be boarding one of those rust-buckets home! Anyway, we arrived at DTVA at 0650 and knowing nothing out of the ordinary was planned, I wasn't in a rush to get through to the Gate, and good job too, because Check-in was very poor! The Servisair staff didn't seem to have a clue and they were so slow they were almost going backwards! I believe we were stood at Check-in for around 40-50 minutes!! The plastic tube which would be our home for the next four hours came in the form of TC-OAF. Upon boarding our bird, I rushed to be one of the first onboard in an effort to get a cockpit photo, however when I asked the Stewardess if I could, I couldn't understand her English due to the strong Turkish accent, and after asking her to repeat what she said three times, I gave up and retreated to my seat, 5C. From here the experience improved, the departure, although a little late, was one of the smoothest I've ever experienced, although about 10 seconds into the climb, a loud 'buzz' coming from the no.1 engine filled the cabin with a 'silent panic', the noise died down eventually, but I wondered if we'd suffered a bird strike? I doubt this now since we experienced the same noise on take off during the return leg. The approach into Dalaman was slightly unpleasant, we'd had steady turbulence throughout the flight but it was worse during the landing phase. I suspected a worryingly late touch down in Dalaman, and a quick look on Google Maps has confirmed it - about 1/3 of runway passed before we hit the deck - a larger aircraft would have probably had to go-around?
Durham Tees Valley 15-07-2009 0650 - 1016 (GMT+1):
G-FRAU FA20 d0800
Seen during flight:
Dalaman 15-07-2009 1618 - 1700 (GMT+3):
66-9224 F-5A Freedom Fighter
22-07-2009 1115: Turkish AF Eurocopter AS532 Cougar at about 6k, back 1140. (GMT+3).
Whilst away the only Internet I had access to was this website on my phone, and I saw that the second I turned my back we had several things of interest turned up!! Red Arrows, a UAE Falcon & the Cobham visitors to name but a few! Typical! Anyway, part two - I've never been on a holiday before where there's been such little aviation activity in the skies above the resort, so instead of looking at planes there were plenty of bikini's to look at, (from Dave - that won't do you no harm!) some of which consisted of only the bottom half, but since none of them made it back to my hotel room, it's pointless continuing, so on to the return leg! Due to the hobby, the coach trip to the airport to go home is my favourite part of the holiday (sad, I know!), so I couldn't wait to get there!! Upon arrival, we had a much more pleasant check-in experience, and it wasn't long before we were at the gate. It's difficult but not impossible to see what's in and pick off the reg's (bearing in mind it was the early hours and it was pitch black dark) and I was able to read off all the airliners that were present. Again, take-off was incredibly smooth, but annoyingly I found myself in the aisle seat again (I'd had an aisle seat on the outbound leg) and was pulling my hair out, still, I slept most of the flight anyway so it didn't matter until landing, when I missed what would have been a stunning shot of DTVA from about 3000ft just before we turned finals for 23!! Once we started the turn onto finals, things got a bit choppy onboard HMS TC-OAF (yes, I got the same damned aircraft twice, and it was a lot less comfy on the way back too!), after a relatively smooth flight, we were suddenly gripped by turbulence and at this late stage in the game, and taking into account that the pilot was making lot's of little corrective turns, as well as increasing/decreasing power to the engines to correct his speed, it became somewhat unpleasant. Once down, we turned off at Charlie and after hearing some horror stories about the amount of potholes and in general poor state of taxiway Delta, I thought a disaster was imminent, but luckily we made it onto stand 2 in one piece. On leaving the aircraft, I had a second attempt at a cockpit photo, this time the Steward gave me a polite "No, sorry". Aw well. That's it really - the next time I fly it'll be a purposely planned spotting trip likely - bring it on!!!
Dalaman 29-07-2009 0330 - 0640 (GMT+3):
66-9224 F-5A Freedom Fighter
Durham Tees Valley 29-07-2009 0855 - 0930 (GMT+1):
I'll apologise for the quality of the photos (links below) - I was unaware of what the Turkish views on plane spotting are, coupled with the fact there's a Military base on site, so most photos are taken discreetly through glass or the aircraft window. There's also some pics taken on the outbound leg of some airports we overflew if anyone fancies a game of "Guess the Airport!".