Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A blast from the past at Manchester

Yesterday morning I was at the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport walking back from our Nimrod after giving a tour, and heading for the Concorde hangar to start a Concorde Technical Tour when I noticed something unusual on the approach. It was an aeroplane at about a mile final sitting on a plume of dirty exhaust smoke; something that I hadn't seen since perhaps the 1970s.

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:


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