Almost A Mist Opportunity (by Chris Smith)

In a repeat of a similar trip on the same days last year, I went to meet an Aunt and Uncle in London, meaning a spotting trip was planned as well. I snubbed my favourite (and on this occasion cheaper) Travelodge at Bishops Stortford in favour of Heathrow Terminal 5 as I needed to play catch-up with both the BA and Virgin Atlantic fleets. I also did the trip 'the opposite way around' by going down the M1 and back up the A1.

I haven't been on nearly enough trips this year, mainly due to a promotion to managerial level at work coupled with a staffing crisis that has seen me doing six day 50-hour weeks. I've also had an immediate family member in hospital since August, so I was looking forward to this trip more than most if only to let off a bit of steam.

Two days before the trip, thanks to another cheap enough Travelodge rate, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to split up the journey by setting off a day earlier and night-stopping at East Midlands for the night-freighters, something I've wanted to do for quite some time.

I was concerned about heavy fog which was forecast but in the end it wasn't an issue, hence the title of this report!

Day One ~ Tuesday 25th November

I left home at 5.30pm and headed straight for East Midlands, arriving three hours later at 8.30pm. I started by driving around all of the south-side spots but didn't bother with north-side. I checked into my Travelodge and with views of runway 09 departures I set-up camp in the hotel room and picked them off as they left. Cargo movements start gathering pace around 7pm and carry on through to about 6am, I settled for the peak period between 8pm - 2am.  Thanks to Scott Cooper for help with this part of the trip!

East Midlands Airport (EMA / EGNX)
2030 - 2359

D-AEAQ * Airbus A300F4-622R EAT Leipzig  
D-AEAR * Airbus A300F4-622R EAT Leipzig  
EC-HAK * Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia Swiftair  
EI-STC * Boeing 737-476/SF Air Contractors Operating for EAT Leipzig
F-HSYS * Piper PA-34-220T Seneca V Corporate  
G-BIKJ * Boeing 757-236/SF DHL Air  
G-BMRF * Boeing 757-236/SF DHL Air  
G-CELO Boeing 737-33A/QC  
G-DHLG Boeing 767-3JH/ERF(W) DHL Air  
G-DHLH Boeing 767-3JH/ERF(W) DHL Air  
G-FIFA Cessna 404 Titan RVL Group  
G-SOUL Cessna 310R RVL Group  
G-XBLU Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign Datel Holdings Ltd  
N709EL Beech 400A Beechjet Gal Air Inc / Don Air  
N322UP * Boeing 767-34A/ERF(W) UPS Airlines  
OE-IBW * Boeing 737-4Q8/SF TNT Airways  
OY-JTK * Boeing 737-4Y0/SF Jettime Operating for TNT Airways
OY-SRI * Boeing 767-25E(BDSF) Star Air  
OY-SRK * Boeing 767-204/ER(BDSF) Star Air  
TF-FIH Boeing 757-300/W Icelandair Cargo  

Day Two ~ Wednesday 26th November

The plan for this morning was to have another quick drive around the various south-side spots to see what had changed before moving on to Cranfield, but after a local EMA spotter tipped me off about a Nas Air Embraer due in for re-spray with Airbourne Colours, I decided to wait for it, at the expense of a visit to Denham Aerodrome later in the day.

East Midlands Airport
0000 - 0225 / 0950 - 1030

D-AALH * Boeing 777-FZN/LRF Aerologic  
D-AEAE * Airbus A300F4-622R EAT Leipzig  
G-BMRC * Boeing 757-236/SF DHL Air  
G-BMRD * Boeing 757-236/SF DHL Air  
G-BTPA British Aerospace ATP/F Atlantic Airlines  
G-BUUP British Aerospace ATP/F Atlantic Airlines  
G-CELA Boeing 737-377/QC  
G-CELW Boeing 737-377/SF  
G-CWCD * Beechcraft B250GT Super King Air Clowes Estates Ltd  
G-FIND Reims Cessna F406 Caravan II RVL Group  
G-GDFE Boeing 737-3Q8/QC  
G-GDFF Boeing 737-85P Jet2 Holidays  
G-JMCO Boeing 737-3T0/SF Atlantic Airlines  
G-JMCP * Boeing 737-3T0/SF Atlantic Airlines  
G-JMCU * Boeing 737-301/SF Atlantic Airlines  
G-MANM British Aerospace ATP/F Atlantic Airlines  
G-OZBW Airbus A320-214 Monarch Airlines  
G-YRTE * Agusta A109S Grand Galegrove 2 LBG  
LZ-CGQ * Boeing 737-3Y5/SF Cargo Air Operating for EAT Leipzig
N719EL * Raytheon Hawker 400XP Edra Lauren Leasing Corp / Don Air  
OE-IAT * Boeing 737-4M0/SF TNT Airways  
SE-LPS * British Aerospace ATP/F West Air Sweden  
TF-BBD * Boeing 737-3Y0/SF Bluebird Cargo Operating for Air Contractors
VP-CQV * Embraer ERJ-190-100LR Nas Air  

East Midlands photos

Cranfield is an amazing place, lot's of nooks and crannies with various aircraft in various states, there is everything here including civil airliners, corporate jets, light aircraft, rotary, military, you name it, Cranfield has it! Away from aviation, the architecture is stunning too, lot's of modern, glass buildings and all of the hangars have spectacularly painted doors with decals and logos etc. You could visit every day for a year and still not have logged everything, my advice to anyone visiting is to make sure you have plenty of time, duck down every road, peer through every window, because with a place like this, you never know what you might find! I heard one maintenance company, "IAE", allowed hangar tours in return for a charity donation, but sadly they could not oblige due to an increase in MoD contracts, it is still worth going in and asking mind because it's worth a peer through the window as some aircraft can be read off. I came to Cranfield for three specific aircraft, my last BA 737, and the wrecks of two memorable crashes which are reportedly located in a compound on site, Citation 501 G-VUEM and EC225 G-REDU. Sadly, I only found the BA. Whilst here, I came across an old friend looking a little worse-for-wear.

Cranfield Airport (EGTC)
1205 - 1330

G-ASZU Cessna 150E Private In IAE hangar
G-ATHR Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee Azure Flying Club Thomson Airways old c/s
G-ATMM * Reims Cessna F150F Cranfield Aviation Training School  
G-AVGU * Reims Cessna F150G Private  
G-AVWU Piper PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow Private  
G-AWFZ Beech 19A Musketeer Sport III Bob Crowe Aircraft Sales  
G-BAUJ Piper PA-23-250 Aztec E Private  
G-BEUD Robin HR100/285 Tiara Private  
G-BFSR Reims Cessna F150J Private  
G-BFZO Grumman AA-5A Cheetah Private  
G-BGOG Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee Warrior II Private  
G-BKAS Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk Private  
G-BLAC * Reims Cessna FA152 Aerobat Private  
G-BMUT Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II Private  
G-BMVB Reims Cessna F152 Private  
G-BOFL Cessna 152 Private  
G-BOYB Cessna A152 Aerobat Modi Aviation  
G-BRUX Piper PA-44-180 Seminole Private  
G-BTNT Piper PA-28-151 Cherokee Warrior Azure Flying Club Thomson Airways old c/s
G-CDNI * Cosmik EV-97 Teameurostar Nene Valley Microlights  
G-CFZM BAe Avro RJ85 Triangle Regional Aircraft Leasing  
G-CIFG # BAe Avro RJ85 Triangle Regional Aircraft Leasing  
G-DOCB * Boeing 737-436 British Airways  
G-DTCP Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance Private  
G-FLYP Beagle B206 Basset II Key Publishing (Holdings) Ltd In IAE hangar
G-IMEA Beech B200 Super King Air 2 Excel Aviation  
G-LENX Cessna 172N Skyhawk November Xray Ltd  
G-OPFR Diamond DA42 Twin Star Private  
G-RATE * Gulfstream AA-5A Cheetah Grate Flying Group  
G-RATI Reims Cessna F172M Skyhawk Private  
G-RIZZ Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee Warrior II Modi Aviation  
G-ROWN * Beech B200 Super King Air Unity Aviation In IAE hangar
G-SBKR Socata TB10 Tobago Private  
G-SHIV Gulfstream American GA-7 Cougar Westley Aircraft Ltd  
G-TZII * Thorpe T-211B Private  
M-KELY * Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 Kelly Air  
M-PREI * Raytheon 390 Premier I Craft Air  
N340SC Cessna 340 Private  
N19753 Cessna 172L Skyhawk Private  
SP-KWN British Aerospace Jetstream 31 Unknown Stored
XS458/T Lockheed Lightning T5 Private  

Cranfield photos

Upon arriving at Luton the first aircraft I clap eyes on is our friendly local billionaires new toy N288Z taxing out to DTV! It's always a pleasure visiting Luton and happily it was rammed full. One area of concern however is the new fencing surrounding the new Signature Flight Support hangar - it's double the size of typical airport perimeter fencing and there isn't so much as a single gap to peer through. The same spotter who tipped me off about the Nas Air Embraer earlier in the day had warned me about this and said the CAA intend for this to become the standard fencing at airports across the country, if that happens, then we have a very serious problem.

London Luton Airport (LTN / EGGW)
1400 - 1505

Airlines / Movements / Other

D-ABBJ Boeing 737-86Q/W Air Berlin  
D-AMGL * British Aerospace 146-200 WDL Aviation  
EI-DPW Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
G-EZBI Airbus A319-111 easyJet William Shakespeare logojet
G-EZFE * Airbus A319-111 easyJet  
G-EZWE Airbus A320-214 easyJet  
G-OZBT Airbus A321-231 Monarch Airlines  
G-ZBAH Airbus A320-214 Monarch Airlines  
HA-LPK Airbus A320-232 Wizz Air  
HA-LWF * Airbus A320-232 Wizz Air  
HA-LWJ Airbus A320-232 Wizz Air  
HA-LWP * Airbus A320-232 Wizz Air  
HA-LYD * Airbus A320-232/S Wizz Air  
HA-LYH * Airbus A320-232/S Wizz Air  
M-ARDI * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) LGM Property Services  
N288Z Gulfstream G-VI (G650) Corporate  


9H-CIO * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 Comlux Malta  
C-FLMK * Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 605 Chartright Air Inc  
D-CJAF * Bombardier Learjet 60 JetAir Flug GmbH  
G-RAAA Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express TAG Aviation  
M-ABDP * Raytheon Hawker 800XP Kitlan Ltd  
M-YULI * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 Corporate  
N465QS Gulfstream G-IV NetJets Inc  
N689WM * Bombardier BD-700-1A11 Global 5000 Corporate  
TC-IPK * Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) Corporate  
VP-BJT Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 Corporate  
VQ-BGN Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) Rockfield Holdings  

Signature Flight Support

9H-WFC * Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 Air X Charter  
G-CHUI Cessna 560XL Citation XLS+ Air Charter Scotland  
G-IPAX * Cessna 560XL Citation Excel Pacific Aviation  
M-CLAB * Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 Shamrock Trading  
N998FA * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) Corporate  
OE-FWF * Cessna 510 Citation Mustang VIF Luftfahrtgesellschaft  
OE-HBG * Dassault Falcon 2000 Europ-Star Aircraft GmbH  


9H-IRA * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express XRS Emperor Aviation  
CS-DKK * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) NetJets Europe  
EC-LZU * Gulfstream G-VI (G650) Corporate  
G-GZOO IAI/Gulfstream G200 Galaxy NAL Asset Management  
G-KALS Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 Air Charter Scotland  
G-KLNR Hawker Beechcraft 400XP Saxonair Charter  
M-WIND * Gulfstream G-VI (G650) Corporate  
N31GJ * Gates Learjet 36A Corporate  
N104AR Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) Corporate  
OK-VPI * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) ABS Jets  
PR-CGI * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) Corporate  
TC-MZA * Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) Zorlu Air  

The Pond

9H-SMB * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 Albinati Aviation  
A6-AZH * Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) Elite Jets  
D-FFHZ * Pilatus PC-12/47 Pilatus Wings / Zollern Flugdienst  
ES-PVP * Bombardier Learjet 60 Panaviatic  
G-PEPI Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 London Executive Aviation  
HB-JEL * Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 G5 Executive  
HB-JGB * Gulfstream G-IV-X (G450) Corporate  
M-GRAN * Bombardier BD-700-1A11 Global 5000 Corporate  
M-IPHS * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) Islands Aviation  
M-MSGG * Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 605 Artoc Air Co  
N904G * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) Mototola Mobility Aviation Holdings  
N189DR * Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 Diamond Resorts  
TC-CLG * Hawker Beechcraft 900XP Servis Air Hava  
TC-DAK * Cessna 560XL Citation XLS+ TAHE Havacilik  
VP-BZE Dassault Falcon 7X Stork Ltd / Flying Lion  

South Stands

Previously the Ocean Sky Jet Centre, then the RSS Jet Centre, the south stands are now unoccupied and seem to be used merely as an overspill ramp.

OE-IGG * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express Glock Services GmbH  
SE-RDY * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G550) EFS European Flight Service  

Luton photos

When I got to Heathrow I went straight to my hotel, I had a five minute window to log some aircraft from my room before having to get ready to head into central London, by the time I got back, the night-time curfew was in place.

London Heathrow Airport (LHR / EGLL)
1605 - 2300

9M-MNC * Airbus A380-841 Malaysia Airlines  
A7-ACH * Airbus A330-203 Qatar Airways  
EC-GUQ * Airbus A340-313X Iberia  
F-GKXL Airbus A320-214 Air France  
G-EUPK Airbus A319-131 British Airways  
G-EUYP * Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
HB-IJX * Airbus A320-214 Swiss International Airlines  
HL7783 * Boeing 777-3B5/ER Korean Air  
LN-RNW * Boeing 737-783/W SAS Scandinavian Airlines  
PH-KZE Fokker 70 KLM Cityhopper  

Day Three ~ Thursday 27th November

The next morning, aircraft were disappearing into the fog before I could log them, so to avoid a complete wash-out, I cancelled visits to RAF Northolt and Elstree Aerodrome to give me more time at Heathrow. I made my way to Myrtle Avenue, arriving just as the sun came out. Unfortunately, I missed a shot of Virgin Atlantics new 787-9 by literally about three seconds.

London Heathrow Airport
0900 - 1050

5Y-KQT Boeing 777-2U8/ER Kenya Airways  
9H-AEH Airbus A319-111 Air Malta  
9K-AOB Boeing 777-269/ER Kuwait Airways  
9V-SKG Airbus A380-841 Singapore Airlines  
A7-BAO Boeing 777-3DZ/ER Qatar Airways  
B-KPQ * Boeing 777-367/ER Cathay Pacific Airways  
C-GITR * Airbus A319-112 Air Canada  
D-AIPE Airbus A320-211 Lufthansa  
EC-ITN Airbus A321-211 Iberia  
EI-DEM Airbus A320-214 Aer Lingus  
EP-IBA * Airbus A300B4-605R Iran Air  
F-HEPE Airbus A320-214 Air France  
G-BNLP Boeing 747-436 British Airways  
G-BNWM Boeing 767-336/ER British Airways  
G-BOAB * Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde 102 British Airways On display
G-BZHC Boeing 767-336/ER British Airways  
G-CIVE * Boeing 747-436 British Airways  
G-CIVS * Boeing 747-436 British Airways  
G-CIVV Boeing 747-436 British Airways  
G-EUOE Airbus A319-131 British Airways  
G-EUOF Airbus A319-131 British Airways  
G-EUUA Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-EUUE Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-EUUS Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-EUUW Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-EUYE Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-EUYO * Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-STBF Boeing 777-336/ER British Airways  
G-STBK * Boeing 777-336/ER British Airways  
G-TTOB * Airbus A320-232 British Airways  
G-VIID Boeing 777-236/ER British Airways  
G-VNEW * Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Virgin Atlantic Airways  
G-XLEA * Airbus A380-841 British Airways  
G-XLEE * Airbus A380-841 British Airways  
G-XLEG * Airbus A380-841 British Airways  
G-YMML Boeing 777-236/ER British Airways  
G-ZZZC Boeing 777-236 British Airways  
HB-JLS Airbus A320-214 Swiss International Airlines  
HS-TGF * Boeing 747-4D7 Thai Airways International  
LN-RRK Boeing 737-883 SAS Scandinavian Airlines  
N173DZ * Boeing 767-332/ER(W) Delta Airlines  
N798AN Boeing 777-223/ER American Airlines  
N825MH * Boeing 767-432/ER Delta Airlines  
N845MH Boeing 767-432/ER Delta Airlines  
OD-MRO * Airbus A320-232 Middle East Airlines  
PH-BGC * Boeing 737-7K2/W KLM Royal Dutch Airlines  
PH-BXA Boeing 737-8K2/W KLM Royal Dutch Airlines  
PH-BXS * Boeing 737-9K2/W KLM Royal Dutch Airlines  
TC-JOC * Airbus A330-303 Turkish Airlines  
V8-DLC * Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Royal Brunei Airlines  
VH-OQK * Airbus A380-842 Qantas Airways  
VT-ANH * Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Air India  
VT-JEM Boeing 777-35R/ER Jet Airways  
ZK-OKM * Boeing 777-319/ER Air New Zealand  
ZS-SXH * Airbus A340-313X South African Airways  

Heathrow photos

I had no plans to stop at Stansted, it was a quick blast round before moving on, so with this in mind I had no intention to go anywhere other than the north side business park, yet due to that muppet spotter infamously moving a bench, before placing his step-ladders on top of it in order to get a shot over the fence (!!) I was concerned the authorities would now be operating a zero tolerance policy on spotters. When I got there, there was the usual heavy police presence but there was also plenty of spotters and none of us received any bother. I did get some chew from a guy from Air Harrods but sorry pal if I'm not supposed to be there I'll hear it from the authorities not you!!

In a contrast to the fencing situation at Luton, I was delighted to find the fence at the main Air Harrods biz ramp has been replaced with the more common chicken-wire, making life a lot easier here. Whether that's a permanent move or not remains to be seen.

There were nowhere near the usual amount of Ryanair 737s in winter storage this year - just two in fact.

London Stansted Airport (STN / EGSS)
1225 - 1325

556 Airbus A320-214/CJ Prestige Royal Oman Air Force  
5B-DCJ Airbus A320-232 Cyprus Airways  
D-ACBN Airbus A319-115X/CJ DC Aviation  
EI-DAJ Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DCF Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DHH Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DLO Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DPL Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DYF Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DYI Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DYM Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DYP * Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-DWA Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-EBE * Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
EI-EXE * Boeing 737-8AS/W Ryanair  
G-CIEL Cessna 560XL Citation Excel Enerway Ltd Operated by London Executive Aviation
G-CPRR Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign Bookajet  
G-EZAX Airbus A319-111 easyJet  
G-IOIT Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar Unknown Stored PWFU, marked G-CEAP
G-IONX * Dassault Falcon 7X TAG Aviation  
G-LEGC Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 Delos Engineering Corporation Operated by London Executive Aviation
G-OWAY Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 601-3A Air Charter Scotland  
G-POWC Boeing 737-33A/QC Titan Airways  
G-POWD Boeing 767-36N/ER Titan Airways  
G-RBNS * Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 650 Portrack Global Ltd Operated by London Executive Aviation
G-TCDZ Airbus A321-211 Thomas Cook Airlines  
G-ZAPZ Boeing 737-33A/QC Titan Airways Revised c/s
M-ABEU * Bombardier Learjet 45 Ryanair  
M-ARSL * Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 Prime Air  
M-JCBA * Sikorsky S-76C J.C. Bamford Excavators  
M-SAID * Bombardier BD-700-1A11 Global 5000 S&K Aviation  
N595E * Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express Corporate  
N385PD Gulfstream G-IV Pelican Developments G-IV LLC  
N483DJ * Gulfstream G-IV Corporate  
N501HM * Gulfstream G-V-SP (G500) Palm Hill Equipment LLC  
VP-CON Bombardier CL-600-2B19 Challenger 850 FTC Consulting  
VQ-BSO * Dassault Falcon 7X Shell Aircraft Ltd  

Stansted photos

As mentioned at the top of this page, I did the trip backwards compared to normal, I thought this might be of particular benefit at Gamston given the later time of day compared to the normal 8am, but alas not and it was dead as usual.

Retford Gamston Airport (EGNE)
1530 - 1540

G-AZVG * American AA-5 Traveller Private  
G-BCKV Reims Cessna FRA150L Aerobat Private  
G-BCPN Grumman AA-5 Traveller G-BCPN Group  
G-BMXB Cessna 152 XB Flying Group  
G-BRPV Cessna 152 Eastern Air Executive Ltd  
G-BTVX Cessna 152 The Flight Centre 2010 Ltd  
G-BWEU Reims Cessna F152 Eastern Air Executive Ltd  
G-DJET Diamond DA42 Twin Star Diamond Executive Aviation  
G-EFSM * Slingsby T67M-260 Firefly Private  
G-LLMW Diamond DA42 Twin Star Private  
G-PETS * Diamond DA42 Twin Star Diamond Executive Aviation  

Gamston photos

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