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Dubai shooting trip last weekend

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  • Tartan Pics
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2006
    • 2108

    Dubai shooting trip last weekend

    Trip report follows................
    Awrabest Scotty
    my shots on My
    my shots on JetPhotos.Net!
    Going QUOing
  • Tartan Pics
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2006
    • 2108

    PART 1
    Hi all
    This is a trip report of a recent shooting trip i took to Dubai
    Thursday Sept 19th Glasgow International
    Boarded Embraer 190 PH-EZN KLM1475 stand 28 at 0835,flight looked 100% full
    taxied to runway 23 departed 0845 cruising altitude was 33,000.

    Inflight catering consisted of a pack of nuts snack and drink...

    Arrived AMS runway 18C at 1050 local parked remotely and bussed to terminal.
    My next flight wasnt till 1435 so decided to head to the spectators terrace.
    Immigration clearance at AMS was a breeze,there are so many various
    immigration stations dotted throughout the terminal... spent the next few
    hours up the deck, not the nicest of day, but, hey ho.. shots will be in
    the "Commercial Aviation" forum for all destinations.
    Went back down airside at 1235 giving myself plenty time for immigration
    but again, could have stayed up longer queues straight through to airside.

    Had a wander about Schiphol airside for a while before heading to gate E6
    Amsterdam is slightly different from many other airports in that when you clear
    immigration there is no hand luggage scanner/body scanner... these are all at each gate
    Clearly having no queue of people after immigration waiting to scan speeds things up
    (Gets you into the multitude of shopping opportunities airside quicker!!) and having the
    security scans at gates does seem quicker, but, they must have literally HUNDREDS
    of scanners at Schiphol compared to what most airports would have, kudos to AMS for
    spending the money to eliminate huge queues.

    Anyways took a minute to get scanned at gate E6 and boarded Boeing 777-200 PH-BQO
    KLM427 to Dubai boarded about 1420, again a full aircraft, certainly no empty seats in Y

    Pushed back at 1435 and was airborne from runway 18L 1445 climbing to cruise altitude of 42,000ft
    IFE was pretty much as you would expect in a modern aircraft, seatback monitor with the removable
    handset in the seat armrest, but, was underwhelmed by the quantity of movies/TV on offer (for instance..TV
    had several shows on offer but only ONE episode of each)

    Food was a chicken curry of sorts with vegetables
    and profiteroles in cream for dessert, and a snack later in the flight. Crew were pleasant and helpful

    Flight routing pretty much direct south east via Munster,Gottingen,Leipzig,Prague into Slovakia then Romania

    over the Black sea to Bafra in Turkey then over BATMAN in Turkey, through NE Syria into Iraq over Kirkul
    East of Baghdad,Basrah,NE of Kuwait City

    over the Persian gulf into Dubai at Sharjah eastbound out to the desert
    before turning west back to a landing at Dubai on RW 30L at 2245 local and taxied to stand F10 in Terminal 1.

    Now is THE must frustrating part of it all, once off the aircraft the walk to immigration is very very long, a good 10 minute walk
    got into the immigration hall to see a very busy hall with maybe 40 immigration desks about 2/3rds of which were in use
    joined one queue which looked slightly shorter than others with maybe 20 people ahead of me... 95 minutes later i was STILL
    in the same queue!! it took literally 5-8 minutes to process ONE passenger and what made things worse was the queue beside mine
    was for 1 desk like ours, then they opened up the express desk for that queue... then unbelievably the empty desk between both
    queues opened and that TOO was ONLY for this other queue!! several people in my queue suggested maybe both queues share
    to some of the many immigration officers just wandering around checking their texts, this was greeted with the grunt of derision
    shrugged shoulders and walk away!! by the time i reached the front it was well after midnight and of course this is the busy time
    at DXB and the whole hall was rammed and could see bodies as far back outside the hall as i could see (Thank you KLM
    for arriving at an early time... god knows how long the poor souls at the back must have taken) So i get my turn with this immigration officer
    who while observing previous passengers with him clearly had no idea what he was doing, constantly going to another desk to ask a
    colleague how to do something (This of course delays both queues further) firstly you hand your passport over, he genuinely looked
    at my UK passport with a "Ooh.. never seen one of these before" look, going through EVERY stamp page having a look, then you are grunted to
    face a camera, 60 seconds later still there... then grunted to stand in front of a retina scanner (I think) you are grunted at to stare at the
    mirror while he moves this thing up down in out for ages till he gets what he wants... THEN... it's back for ANOTHER photo shoot
    at the camera, he then stamps your passport and your off...well nearly.... between here and the baggage hall unbelievably you
    have to queue up to put your hand baggage (Yes.. the same hand baggage scanned in at AMS) through a scanner and you pass through a body scanner!!
    WHY??? do they think passengers got a plane to deliver them drugs or whatever mid flight!!!
    After this madness a full 2 hours after leaving the B777 i arrived at the baggage belt where like a plum i stood for 15 mins watching bags go round and round
    then realising i was seeing the same luggage figured mine had got lost somewhere, went in search of a lost baggage office where i found piles of bags that had been
    taken from the baggage belt and dumped here (Mine included)
    After talking to a fellow traveler who flew Emirates via Terminal 3 they never had anything like the above horror story,
    so, maybe flying EK is DXB's "preferred" way
    A way to avoid this (which i found out later, but in hindsight now seems WELL worth it) is to use Marhaba Meet & Greet service
    Who for 96 of your US dollars per person will get you at the gate and escort you through to your taxi bypassing all the queues
    One other thing to note, i had heard horror stories of the taxi queue outside the terminal being a long laborious process
    i dint know if i had good timing but found myself there with lots of taxis and no passengers, the taxi guy ushered me into a black car (which i later found out are the expensive ones) The black ones charge 50 AED to start whereas the normal cream coloured ones are 25 AED (But taxi fares are quite cheap anyway)
    My hotel was a popular one with spotters/photographers.. the 2 most used hotels are Sheraton Deira and The Nojoum Apartments..

    I chose the Nojoum as it is set slightly further back from the runway direction offering far better shooting (The Sheraton has departures directly above) It has a rooftop pool which looks side on to aircraft arriving/departing, but only about 20 feet long break in the wall to view from, but should be adequate.. i visited the pool only once, the temperature was topping 96F which ain't for me!! so i deliberately chose an airport view room.. i had been pestering the hotel for weeks prior to be offere one of room numbers 501,502,511,510,601,609,701 or 709, all of which are great for spotting/shooting but not unexpectedly upon arriving was told all those rooms were full, but did get room 410.. same kind of room, just a little lower than others, but all in all a mighty fine room with a small balcony from which i was able to shoot all departing aircraft fairly well

    (Unfortunately DXB was on the 30s the entire time and never seen anything land on 12s...deps were sometimes a little high, arrivals on 12L/R would be great i'm sure) i have made a short video taken from my balcony, to give you an idea of the view.. at...
    Word of warning, the rooms with airport views are all 2 bedroom apartments (VERY spacious) and therefore more expensive than a single bedroom apt, but worth it IMO if you are doing a trip specifically to spot/shoot and like me are more a fan of the aircon than the sun, It has a 24hr market open across the road Al Kabayel which is good for stocking up on food and water for your advantage this hotel holds over the Sheraton is the balcony, no airport view room in the Sheraton has a balcony so you must shoot thru glass or from the rooftop pool there (And the Sheraton is more expensive) Shooting is pretty hopeless really until about 11am when the sun has moved round enough then improves until it gets dark about 6pm, haze (mist & heat haze) can be problematic too
    As for the traffic... endless Emirates of course, but, lots of other goodies too..stuff from the Indian Sub Continent, Iraqi, Iranian, African traffic (Even G-COBI the Cobham Beech 350 was doing calibration). Only had really 2 whole days in Dubai, shooting until dusk both days... at night on friday i took the Metro train to the city centre.. The Metro is fairly new with 2 lines only at the moment, but is a very easy fast and inexpensive way to get around..(specifically the Dubai Mall) to see the Burj Khaliffa (Worlds tallest building) and there is a water fountain show at the Dubai Mall Lake right under Burj Khaliffa with shows every 30 mins... well worth seeing, the Dubai Mall itself is astonishing in size and includes an absolutely massive Aquarium that can be observed from the mall without going in.. Burj Khaliffa boasts the worlds highest observation deck (...and highest restaurant) tickets can be booked for the tower but best done in advance tickets cost AED125 (21) for Adults AED95 (16) for 4-12 year olds in advance or on the day immediate for AED400 (69)
    On the saturday evening i had pre booked a ticket on the Big Bus Company Dubai Night Tour which lasts almost 3 hours and takes in all the main sights at night and includes an excellent sound and light show at Wafi "The return of The Pharaohs" the tour cost $34 US, it can be challenging to take shots at night from a moving bus though!! i settled to just video it!...
    Part 2 follows..........
    Awrabest Scotty
    my shots on My
    my shots on JetPhotos.Net!
    Going QUOing


    • Tartan Pics
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Feb 2006
      • 2108

      Final part... the return journey Dubai-Doha-Kuwait-Dammam-Amsterdam-Glasgow
      OK on the sunday it was time to leave Dubai i was flying with FlyDubai who operate from Terminal 2 which is next to cargo & opposite the big plush terminal 1 & 3 and a bit run down tired old terminal.. bag drop was simple enough and immigration was a breeze, it has a faw food outlets and something like 12 stands, all pax get bussed to the aircraft... there are a few airside view windows the aircraft all park nose in fairly near the terminal but there is so much clutter and constant bus movements that shooting becomes an art of timing!!..

      my flight was from stand F11,FDB003 Dubai-Doha on Boeing 737-800 A6-FDY

      (Was looking forward to going in one of these as i see FDB aircraft regularly at Glasgow!! as they get delivered via GLA) joined the bus which took a half mile trip to cover the 20 feet the nose of the aircraft was from the gate!!! (A 20 second walk, but the serrvice road to cross was like the M6!! so safety first on the bus it is)..

      The aircraft pushed back at 1450L to runway 30R and was airborne at 1500L.
      The inside of these is very nice... LoCo model, but you would'nt know it... i paid for a specific seat.. seat 32A which was the very last row this cost me AED5 (85 pence!!)

      seating is 3-3 i had the row to myself flight had 81 on board so about half full and it is the first 737 i have seen with an IFE.. a very good IFE at that... which offered more choice than the KLM long haul IFE,

      the Pre Flight safety message was done using the IFE and was actually very interesting, i made a video of it... cleverly done, as it makes you watch the safety presentation because it is entertaining!! video can be seen at.....
      Food could be ordered using the touch screen IFE too, you choose what you want hit confirm and the crew get the order and bring it to you and take payment..prices looked OK, all i got was a water and a can of coke (AED 5 each)

      The flight reached a cruise altitude of 20,000ft and took 44 minutes landing on rw33 at Doha at 1440L

      Doha is building a new terminal for the future but for now things are a bit tiresome... once landed taxied straight in to a remote stand, then buses take you on a 10 minute ride passing the departure terminal to the arrival terminal, you join the queue for immigration which goes down fairly fast, but, when i reached the front the immigration officer asked how long i was staying etc.... which i replied just 4 hours as i was leaving later on Kuwait AW, he said i cant clear immigration and was in effect "in transit" so went to the transfer desk explained this and they bussed me back down to the departure terminal where i had to find the transfer desk to sort my onward travel, of course i was only ticketed to Doha, so they spent an hour finding my bag and then getting me a boarding pass, however they only checked me through to Kuwait.. even though i had online checked in to Glasgow..meaning i would have to go through all the same rigmarole at Kuwait... because of this my time in Doha was decimated, there are a fair few windows all along the terminal which look out over the entire ramp and runway and seems to be north facing, so i got a few (thru glass) shots here, for spotting you could log just about the lot fairly easily here...

      time came for boarding my Kuwait AW flight KAC618 which happily for me was going to be my first time in an A310..9K-ALA...

      when it landed i noticed it parks on the other side of the runway from the terminal, so, joined the bus which has to slowly go the whole way to the end of the runway round it and back down 3/4 of the way and then into a huge remote ramp where the A310 was, boarded and got sat in seat 13A seating inside is 2-4-2 flight was very quiet and had the row to myself, the interior is VERY dated and has "old aircraft" smell to it, but clean enough,

      there is a very dated IFE (not in use) and grey leather seats with footrests!!! (Havent seen that in many moons)..

      taxied out at 1800 dead on time and departed RW33 at 1810 climbing to a cruise altitude of 28,000. A warm samosa style snack and drinks service was offered
      I had a look through the Kuwait AW inflight mag, found some interesting stuff... i come all this way and get an article about SCOTLAND!!

      Then found the "Travellers Prayer":

      And also a mention of a new Seoul airport???

      flight time was 50 mins landing in Kuwait International RW 33R at 1900L.
      I had a few hours here after sorting out my baggage and boarding passes issue again i went wandering to see if there was any views of the ramp possible to no avail, there are windows but only appear to be in the gates waiting area..inaccessable without a boarding pass for the flight, so, had a very nice pizza in the food court of this very dated old terminal while waiting to board my flight to Amsterdam via Dammam. The gate never opened until 20 mins before departure at 2200, boarding was pain free and joined KLM 417 Airbus A330-200 PH-AOB...

      flight was already half full with pax from Amsterdam going to Dammam, seating was 2-4-2, taxied out at 2205L to RW 33R
      quite a long taxi past many ramps of aircraft, spotters would have a frantic time "poling" things off!! eventually getting airborne at 2215L climbing to 24,000 for the 42 minute flight to Dammam... a place which TBH i had never even heard of, was expecting some tiny wee airport but no... landed on RW34L and taxied to the ramp only to have to wait for 20 mins till a stand became available a Saudi B747 on our stand also in were various Saudi AW airbus, PIA B737,Jet AW B737,Nas Air A320, Air Arabia A320 plus more.... Half the pax got off here and an hour later were replaced by more, the flight to Amsterdam departed at 0025L on RW34L about 3/4 full for the flight back to Amsterdam... IFE was unavailable between KWI and DMM and was same as the B777 IFE, a small snack and drinks service then lights out.... about an hour from AMS breakfast was offered a choice of omelette or pancakes.. i chose the omelette which wasnt too appealing tbh..We arrived at AMS on RW18L and after a long taxi was on stand G16 at 0540L...
      There is a decent place here at the end of the G pier at AMS for airside spotting, i went walkabout to try out the other piers and none of the others you could get to the end of, or had no view from the end, once daylight arrived i again breezed through Dutch Immigration and went up to the terrace, light was very poor, stayed an hour and a half before going back airside where i sat in a cafe with a decent ramp view between E & D before heading to stand D6 for my flight back to Glasgow
      D6 is a multi gate area for taking pax to remote stands, boarded the bus out to the aircraft which was to be another first flight in type for me a Fokker 70,PH-KZI on KLM1475 i had chosen seat 16F which is directly beside the starboard (VERY noisy) engine seating was 2-3 aircraft was almost full, maybe 3 empty seats, Taxied at 1205 to RW24 and departed at 1215 climbing to cruise at 30,000ft a snack and drinks service offered, before landing on RW23 at GLA at 1235L
      My shots once edited will appear in the Commercial Aircraft photos forum in time.
      I hope some of you have made it to the end and may find something of use here, any questions please feel free
      Awrabest Scotty
      my shots on My
      my shots on JetPhotos.Net!
      Going QUOing


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