As it got closer it looked a bit like a big Trident, but soon I could see from the wide-spaced main undercarriage and size of the aeroplane that it was a Tupolev TU-154. These used to operate regularly out of Manchester forty years ago when we knew them as 'Balkan Frighteners'. They were operated by Balkan Airlines on inclusive tour flights and as this one, OM-BYO of the Slovakian Government, crossed threshold the distinctive rising and falling whine of its turbojets as the pilot added and reduced power for an accurate touch down, so different to today's almost silent turbofans, took me back more than half a lifetime. Deafening reverse thrust slowed the aeroplane, and relieved of flight loads the wings adopted their distinctive anhedral droop (tips lower than the roots). The lovely whining turbojet sounds as she taxied back past us for the terminals behind the 'follow me' car was so evocative of Ringway as it used to be.
A real blast from the past.... when airliners had character!
(Click on the picture for a larger image)
Tupolev TU 154 OM-BYO about to touch down
Here's a nice video of the aeroplane landing and taxying in, taken from the Manchester Airport Spotting web site. Click on the link below: