Honeymooning in Oz
February 2008

Dubai Transit #1 | Melbourne | Sydney Part 1 | Sydney Part 2 | Perth | Dubai Transit #2

Melbourne

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The very comfortable Airbus A.340-500 A6-ERC was our home for the next half day plus, its route to Melbourne taking me a little by surprise, a straight line down the Indian Ocean to a point just off the south-west tip of Australia where a left turn took us the three hours or so along the entire length of the country's southern coastline, our first 'landfall' on Australian soil not coming until a point just to the south west of Melbourne itself, a large tropical cyclone sitting over the north-west part of Australia being the reason for such an unusual routing. Twelve hours and fifty three minutes after departing Dubai's runway 12R we touched down on Melbourne's 16 at day-break on the 20th - only my joint fourth longest sector ever, interestingly I had spent that exact time in the air on two previous A.340 trips (on G-VATL and G-VAEL) !.

My luck seemed to change for the better here my earlier selection of a right-hand window seat allowing me substantial logging opportunities on the taxi in, just as the based lo-cost carriers got going for the day. Parked off pier were three Tiger Airways A.320s, machines that were not to be too common sights in the coming weeks, while one of the night-stopping Virgin Blue 737-700s was the special-schemed VBY, which I also wasn't to see again.

After officially entering the country and collecting the hire car - the Hertz rental office had an international arrivals screen in the lounge area which also displayed registrations, so these were scribbled down quickly - we 'sat out' the morning rush hour between us and our first destination along the Great Ocean Road with an hour and a bit touring the airport perimeter and using one or two of the many perimeter viewing spots here. The previously noted international identities meant it wasn't necessary to do the hard work to read off most of those arrivals already on stand, although I did make sure the Phillipines A.330 was indeed my last one. Excitement was high as, having not been down this way before, just about everything domestic was going to be 'new', and we finally left for the drive south having already logged fifteen of the fifty strong Virgin Blue fleet - not a bad start.

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Wed 20/2/08 - YMML/MEL - Melbourne/Tullamarine, VIC

QFA
734 TJX* TJY*
738 VXC* VXJ* VXL* VXO*

VOZ
737 VBC* VBN* VBT* VBU* VBY*
738 VOA* VOB* VOS* VOU* VOX* VUE* VUH* VUI* VUL* VUN*

RXA
SF3 EKD* EKT* KDI* OLM* ZLH* ZLJ

VH-EBB* A.330-201 0522 JetStar Airways
VH-EBI* A.330-202 0898 Qantas
VH-TQF* DHC-8-102 067 Eastern Australia Airlines
VH-VNC* A.320-232 3275 Tiger Airways
VH-VND* A.320-232 3296 Tiger Airways
VH-VNF* A.320-232 3332 Tiger Airways
VH-VQN* A.320-232 2600 JetStar Airways

9M-MRA 777-2H6ER 28408 64 Malaysian Airlines System
9V-SMU 747-412 27068 1000 Singapore Airlines
A6-EMU 777-31H 29064 418 Emirates Airlines
B-2382 A.340-313X 0141 China Eastern Airlines
B-LAC* A.330-343X 0679 Cathay Pacific Airways
F-OHZO* A.330-301 0188 Philippine Airlines
ZK-OJH* A.320-232 2257 Freedom Air International

VH-VHD A.319-115X 1999 Private
VH-EER* Metro II 284 Pel-Air Aviation
VH-EET* Metro III 494 Pel-Air Aviation

VH-CGF Gulfstream IV 1083
VH-XCJ* Citation XLS 560-5673

The next few days were spent beach-side in what was a much more remote part of the country than I expected (although I guess there are a lot of those here !), the only aviation items seen being the odd sight-seer, the 12 Apostles area in particular holding a number of very small fields with helicopter companies providing flights. Then it was into Melbourne for a couple of nights, passing Avalon on the way once again - a very desolate place, it has become a major part of Jetstar's push into this part of the world, with the familiar construction of lo-cost airport facilities taking place. On our drive south we had seen an A.320 at the 'basic' terminal but I didn't want to push my luck with a short detour, but on the way back I thought it would be nice to get the place in my log book, so I did take a closer look - passengers were checking in but there was no flight information anywhere, not even a destination sign behind the check-in desks, so there was no telling how long we would have to hang around. We drove away therefore having seen only the blue 747-300 hulk with a red fin (the old special ?) which is fairly noticable from the motorway, and a newer QANTAS wide-body in one of the partly open maintenance hangars, set in an in-accessible area.

Central Melbourne isn't too well placed to see arrivals or departures from the international airport situated approximately ten miles north, although I did see a few departures off runway 16 whilst here - with two runways here though any hopes of logging a stream of traffic for further SBS/ACARS'ing are always going to be diluted.

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Monday was our departure day for Sydney and after a few mad thoughts a few weeks previous of flying Jetstar (very cheap !) from Avalon, sense returned when I noticed they had an afternoon departure from Tullamarine, on an Airbus A.330-200 no less - the few hours between the all important very early check in (!) and departure was going to be worth the extra air fare anyway. JQ003 was the first leg of a trip to Honolulu so we departed Melbourne as international passengers (?), and so I spent an hour or two airside in the international terminal which conveniently is right at the 'corner' of the main structure looking out into the centre of the field. Mid-day and early afternoon seemed a quiet time here, but I still managed a good number of Jetstar A.320s in particular, and another pair of Tiger Airways A.320s, including the fourth member of the fleet and my last one of the quartet - handy as this was the last I was to see of the carrier, at least in their antipodean form !.

Highlights of the earlier perimeter drive before handing the car back were a pair of RAAF Hawks, and one of the force's C-130s too, presumably connected with the previous day's, apparently warbird-dominated, Point Cook display.

Mon 25/2/08 - YMML/MEL - Melbourne/Tullamarine, VIC

QFA
734 TJG* TJI* TJK* TJM* TJO* TJS* TJZ*
738 VXB* VYA* VYB* VYH* VYK*
763 OGB* OGC OGQ OGV ZXA ZXC
744 OEI
332 EBI

VOZ
737 VBN VBR* VBU VBV*
738 VOA VOL* VOU VOV* VOX VUE VUJ* VUM*

JST
320 VQI* VQL* VQP* VQQ* VQU* VQV* VQZ
332 EBD* EBE*

VH-VNB* A.320-232 2906 Tiger Airways
VH-VNF A.320-232 3332 Tiger Airways
VH-TQE* DHC-8-315 596 Eastern Australia Airlines
VH-TQT* DHC-8-102A 349 Eastern Australia Airlines
VH-KDK* SF.340A 016 Australiawide Airlines

9M-MRA 777-2H6ER 28408 64 Malaysian Airlines System
9V-SMU 747-412 27068 1000 Singapore Airlines
A6-EMW 777-31H 32700 434 Emirates Airlines
B-HLR A.330-343X 0421 Cathay Pacific Airways
HS-TJV* 777-2D7ER 34590 665 Thai Airways International
N196UA 747-422 28715 1120 United Air Lines

C-FHYL* Challenger 604 5506

Dubai Transit #1 | Melbourne | Sydney Part 1 | Sydney Part 2 | Perth | Dubai Transit #2

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