Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MEL-PER-MEL on QF Economy

I decided to take a trip to Perth over the weekend to meet up with some friends. Hope you guys enjoy this trip report!

Airline: Qantas Airways
Flight No.: QF 485
Routing: Melbourne-Perth
Duration: 3 hrs 30 mns
Scheduled Departure Time: 0835
Actual Departure Time: 0835
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1045
Actual Arrival Time: 1015
Equipment: B737-800
Registration: VH-VZD

It was a wet and gloomy morning at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

My ride to Perth

Boarding began 20 minutes before departure time and I settled into seat 26F.

In the meantime, ground handlers were busy preparing the aircraft for departure

The flight took off from Runway 16 on time and the dark and gloomy weather became bight and sunny once we cleared the cloud cover

This Qantas Cityflyer service had a 100% load on economy

Seat pitch was a generous 31"

Breakfast was served about 30 minutes into flight with the selection being Sultana Bran or Scrambled Eggs. I choose the Scrambled eggs which came with a sausage, potato cake, sundried tomato, apple slices, and a muffin

With about 2 hours left in the flight I decided to catch up on some assignments from uni

We then proceeded over Western Australia, passing some of the largest mining areas of Australia

As we approached YPPH, the aerodrome was clearly visible thanks to the fine weather

A heavy right bank and we were on the glideslope for a Runway 03 approach

The landing was smooth with speedbrakes and reverse thrust applied

We touched down 30 minutes ahead of schedule thanks to the lack of regular headwind that usually affects this route according to the captain

Ground handlers were quick to service the aircraft to ensure a quick turnaround

After 3 days in Perth it was time to head back to Melbourne.

Airline: Qantas Airways
Flight No.: QF 648
Routing: Perth-Melbourne
Duration: 3 hrs 45 mns
Scheduled Departure Time: 0030
Actual Departure Time: 0035
Scheduled Arrival Time: 0605
Actual Arrival Time: 0615
Equipment: A330-200
Registration: VH-EBJ (Margaret River)

As this was an overnight flight and I did not get a window seat, I did not manage to capture many pictures on board. I was assigned seat 58F, the second last row on board one of Qantas' youngest aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 (Domestic config). The flight was about 75% full and supper was served on board with a choice of beef burgundy or stir fried chicken with rice. Both choices came with a dinner roll, Arnotts crackers and rich cheddar cheese. After supper, I slept through the entire journey till the captain signaled for landing.

Upon arrival in Melbourne, I managed to catch Yanayai Dreaming (sorry for the reflection!)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Melbourne Airport Annual Emergency Exercise 2008

On the 22nd of October 2008, I participated in the annual Melbourne Airport Emergency Exercise as a volunteer passenger.

Here are some chronological pictures of that event.

About 60 volunteers gathered in the International Terminal (T2) at 8.00 am for a briefing. We were given visitor Aviation Security Identification Cards (ASIC) before being divided into two groups, "passengers" and "meeters/greeters". This was done randomly and I was fortunate enough to be a "passenger". We were all given a card which states our fake "name" and role.

Once done with the safely and operational briefing, officials escorted us airside, past security to loading dock 1, where a bus was waiting to transport us to the mock-up aircraft at the end of Runway 27.

The aircraft was a scrap Fokker-28 and here are a few interior shots:

Once everyone was seated, smoke began to fill the cabin through vents on the side of the fuselage. Apparently the plane has "crash landed" and is now "on fire"

A few people started coughing and sneezing and it took only 30 seconds for the first emergency vehicles to respond to this "accident"

The aircraft was evacuated as four foam tenders from the ARFF (Aviation Rescue and Firefighting) services based in MEL sprayed foam down both sides of the aircraft.

It took another 5 minutes before local fire trucks from surrounding areas of Melbourne Airport started rolling into the accident scene.

This massive train of fire trucks was truly a sight to behold.

Firefighters then guided us across the field to the command post where paramedics assessed our condition and check for any injuries. Some of us were "injured" and needed treatment before being taken to hospital. The others were put on a bus to be transported back to the terminal. In the bus, Police officers gathered information from passengers to find out their name and age.

I took the opportunity to snap some photographs on the trip to the terminal. Sorry for the quality guys, used my mobile as cameras were not allowed and the slight drizzle which dirtied the windows of the bus did not help as well.

Qantas Terminal (T1)

International Terminal (T2)

When the exercise was underway, one particular aircraft arrived from LAX...

Nancy-Bird Walton (VH-OQA), Qantas' first A380 just arrived from her long trip back from Los Angeles. The bus stopped right in front of her and we were patted down by security before being allowed into the terminal. The first people who greeted us were AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services) personnel and the first thing they asked were "Sir, have you been to Africa or South America in the past 6 weeks" and "Do you have any plants or seeds on you". I was thinking, the last thing someone who just survived an air crash wants was to go through Australia's strict quarantine regulations. Details about passengers were then taken down by customs personnel and then we were made to wait in this holding lounge while the match details with our "meeters/greeters".

After about 45 minutes, my "given name" was called and I was told that my greeter was found and I was escorted to the departure lounge of Gate 9 to meet my greeter. Gate 9 was also the only A380-capable gate at Melbourne Airport. This enabled me to grab these shots:

After the "meet-up", we were then taken to loading dock 1 to board the bus again, this time for a special tour of Melbourne Airport's airside.

QF Boeing 747-300

The tour took us around the airport through all 4 terminals and as we were heading to the MRO section, I spotted this:

9M-MRJ which arrived in the morning waiting to depart as MH148 to KUL. The reason why this aircraft is sitting on the taxiway is because Melbourne Airport is currently undergoing major expansion plans and aircraft have to be towed in and out of certain gates for embarkation and disembarkation. This happened to several other aircraft including:

EK Boeing 777-300

SQ Boeing 747-400

After the tour around the maintenance facilities, which included Virgin Blue's latest asset:

DJ Embraer E-190

we were then taken on a tour on Runway 27.

Entering Runway 27. Ground vehicles have to change radio frequencies to the tower before entering any runway.

YMML Runway 27

Piano keys

We then had to stop as we approached the intersection with Runway 16.

Jetstar A320 with Go Roo's livery landed right in front of our noses.

After exiting the runway, we were taken back to the terminal for a debrief and that marked the end of this very interesting experience.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Socceroos vs Argentina

Event: Qantas Socceroos vs Argentina
Location: Melbourne Cricket Ground
Date: September 11th 2007
Time: 7.30pm

This was my first live football match in Australia. Been to the MCG before for AFL matches but not soccer and definitely my first time seeing a star studded international side with the likes of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Javier Saviola and Gabriel Heinze. The Aussie side had a few big names in their ranks with captain Lucas Neill leading EPL players such as Mark Schwarzer, Josip Skoko and Melbourne Victory's very own Archie Thompson.

70,171 strong crowd packed the MCG for this epic match

WyKeith and myself + cup of Cascade Premium Light

Craig came all the way from his comfy MCC seat to meet up. Close prediction mate.

May, Marcus and Chow Vi

The gang

As for the match, it was nothing really spectacular but nonetheless a close encounter between two teams who made it to the 2006 World Cup. Brilliant saves from both keepers coupled with a combined 3 shots to the crossbar/post by both teams. The highlight of the match has to be Messi's surging runs and a brilliant one touch passing play by Argentina that led to Messi being brought down in the box minus a given penalty. All in all, it was still an entertaining match and being there soaking up the atmosphere sure beats watching a match on the telly.