This sentence as a foreword could summarize my state of mind today. Yes indeed, I had never expected to fly one day in a DC10, much less one operated by BG. Not even during the 2000's when I regularly spotted S2-ACR in ORY. Not even when I was writing the plane spotting bonus of a MAD-ORY FR two years ago. Never could I have believed that one day I would be on the other side of the telelens, experiencing one of the most beautiful planes ever made. S2-ACR is one of the very last DC-10-30 produced in 1988. It was her apt destiny to engage in this grand farewell tour which started with a Bangladesh to Birmingham trip, followed by this series of scenic flights, on the way to a museum in the US, apparently in Seattle. Alas, for undisclosed reasons, the museum postponed the reception of the aircraft, requiring the DC10 to fly back to Bangladesh. Its preservation is highly uncertain. I understood that the current thinking is to have her dismantled in Thailand, selling numerous parts together with its engines to FedEx, which would be more profitable than flying her back empty from Asia to the US, especially since that would require renewing her certification by the FAA… Flight BG004 which I share with you now is therefore the next to last revenue service flight of this beautiful bird.
[*]Paris (CDG) -> Birmingham (BHX) ; Airbus A320 Air France (F-HEPC) (in French) 23/02/2014 … Click here [*]Birmingham (BHX) -> Birmingham (BHX) ; McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 Biman Bangladesh Airlines (S2-ACR) 23/02/2014 … YOU ARE HERE [*]Birmingham (BHX) -> Paris (CDG) ; Embraer ERJ-195LR Flybe (G-FBEC) 23/02/2014 … Click here
Look for the intruder ;)
The BP made by Servisair = a mere cash register ticket… I'll have to take good care of it! Note that the destination airport is BBS. The reservation system cannot handle the case where the departing and destination airports are the same.
The Departures level, just before the security check.
Going to the panoramic gallery
The Arctic Lounge ^^
While the A320 which had brought me to the Promised Land heads back in bad weather, Flight BG002 is going to push back.
A beautiful AF takeoff despite the ghost of her enemy
UTA passengers to… Sorry ! Wrong century…
They nevertheless seem to have a problem with the GPU (Ground Power Unit).
Admire the vertically sliding door
The eventually solved the problem. Engine 3 start up, and pushback can start at last
Of course, she is not unnoticed ;)
Despite its (very) low quality, the picture below shows the impressive crab-like drift, a proof that Aeolus was in high spirits that day
Heading towards the boarding gate, over an hour later
OK, it should be over there…
Well, still over there?
Apparently, it is still the correct direction… Access to the ground level boarding gates is quite particular! The difference between landside and airside is quite subtle ;)
The bird is back.
The on-board souvenirs shop…
Let's shift to serious business now. A small PAXbus to start with…
The strong wind conditions do not seem to deter the airport staff from indulging in a picture taking pause.
Ongoing preflight visit
An apt name…
BG's DC10s where all in full Y cattle car configuration. So this is the first cabin. The central seats were not sold for these scenic flights
The projection screen is behind this.
Various wing views
The safety card
The remote control ^^. Neither the light nor the FA call would work.
An inflatable IFE is available in each backrest ;)
The table which folds in two halves
The seat pitch is very tight, but since I am not that tall either and since the seat was comfortable, fitting in was no problem.
A royal seat incline: these were the great times of long haul flights. I wonder if the seats were the original ones…
My small suite!
On the other hand, there has never been a cabin retrofit!
The individual lights had seen better days…
The in flight magazine… Too bad that the DC10s are already deleted from the fleet list
The GPU is ready for operation.
These signs appear to have been mounted upside down, but no problem, the wiring is correct!
All that is really old-fashioned… And yet, this was their newest DC10. I wonder if they older DC10s got a retrofit.
A small detail ^^
Service before pushback
The steam engine GPU springs into action !
Pushback. The GPU is used to start Engine #3, and then the two others are started during the pushback.
Slats are drooped
All systems go!
Picture/video tracking ;)
I hope you will manage to catch the ATC. I had brought my receiver, but forgot to change the batteries, so the sound level is very weak.
The window seats were sold out (at 150 GBP). The aisle seats (100 GBP) next to them were 80% full. Good thing that they did not market the central seats; it would have been unmanageable with all the moving around during the flight.
Let's try a makeshift corporate shot
Maximum reclining of the seat, two windows, a soft seat, the whirring of the air against the fuselage, the soft growl of the engines… Pure bliss!
Actually, I found this aircraft to be remarkably silent given its ancient design, apart from low speed aerodynamic noise.
Alas, descent is already starting… sigh!
A certificate was delivered to each passenger.
The video of the approach, to have a full taste of the so unique and delicate sound of the CF6-50.
And there we are back at the parking stand, after a 1:05 long flight.
One of the galleys
Haha ! This one appears to work !
A short tour in the cockpit. All the avionics are 100% original, apart from a few modern intruders, including an FMS and a last generation weather radar.
I can't avoid paying tribute to the real head of this aircraft: the flight engineer. The times of three-man cockpits are soon over…
A last glimpse at the last heir of long lineage, while the new generation takes off…
Domestic arrival this time: I do not have the hassle of the UK Border control this time.
A few hours later, just before boarding my own flight home, I witnessed the very last commercial flight of New Era.
Enjoy your retirement, Charlie Romeo !
PS : Special thanks to Marathon ;)
Birmingham - BHX
Birmingham - BHX
Comfort: Old generation seats (possibly original?): very comfortable with an incline that they unfortunately do not provide any more. That helps masking the tight pith cattle car effect.
Crew: all were very friendly, with a typically Asian sense of service. There was a lot of emotion in the flight deck crew.
Catering: you would not call it a meal, but this drink was welcome, even though there was no real choice of juice.
Entertainment: I award the top grade to thank the organization of this flight which was simply flawless! I would have a hard time really to grade the entertainment: it was impossible to tell if the projectors worked in normal revenue service, or test the sound channel. However, the individual lights and the FA call buttons were all out of order, except in the first cabin.
On time performance: all the flights were one hour late due in particular to the modification of the slots of the scheduled flights because of the weather.
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