029 – Dubai 2009 – Part 1

One of the sweetest assignments I had while working for Professional Pilot was covering the Dubai Air Show twice, plus Middle East Business Aircraft Association (MEBAA) once. This was back in the day when these shows were held at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and the traffic there included plenty of Russian aircraft, as well as older-generation airliners. Typically, photography at, or even near DXB, is risky business. You run the risk of everything from harassment to arrest, as the police tend to take a dim view of aircraft photography.

But during events like the Dubai Air Show and MEBAA, all bets are off. It’s like “Amnesty Week”! You can photograph to your heart’s content at the airport. In fact, the exhibition ramp is adjacent to the main runway and even closer to the parallel taxiway. The only problem is heat haze, even in November, and even at relatively short telephoto range. But the traffic was magnificent, and the event attracted airplane spotters from around the world.

I photographed so many interesting planes that I will have to share these photos in several parts. So here goes…

Gulf Air operated a small fleet of A320s, most of which are gone now.

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Pakistan International Airlines operated eight Boeing 737-300s on regional and domestic services.

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Silk Way was one of several cargo carriers that flew IL-76s into DXB and also nearby Sharjah.

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EP-MND was originally delivered to French carrier UTA, and remains in service today as Mahan’s only 747.

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Dubai handled a good deal of traffic from Africa, including this Kenya Airways Boeing 767-300.

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Ethiopian Airlines was serving DXB with Boeing 737-800s

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This A300B4 began life as I-BUSD. It was eventually converted to a freighter and spent several years operating for TACA Cargo.

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Kazakhstan-based East Wing served DXB with a total of seven IL-76s.

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Bangladesh Biman operated a total of six A310-300s. At one point, these made up the bulk of the carrier’s long-haul fleet.

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This was one of the first quartet of Boeing 737-800s delivered to then-fledgling FlyDubai. The carrier has grown into a major player within the Middle East, and a major customer for Boeing’s 737MAX airplanes.

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Oman Air flew both 737-700s and -800s into DXB

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Heli-Dubai’s Ecureuil was busy taking photographers up for flights above the airport

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The Embraer 135BJ (Legacy 600) was a fairly popular charter aircraft in the Middle East.

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After seeing a variety of long-range Kuwait Airways planes in North America and Western Europe, it was nice to see this A320 at DXB.

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Maximus Air had its Herc on display at the show for people to walk through

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Afriqiyah Airways flew an irregular schedule into DXB, usually from Tripoli.

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Emirates had a fleet of 10 A340-300s for long-range operations. They have since been withdrawn from service and replaced by more advanced and fuel-efficient long-range equipment.

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Falcon Express Cargo Airlines operated a handful of Beech 1900s to run smaller cargo flights to outlying areas.

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The Dubai Air Wing was based at DXB, and its planes were in evidence during the air show.

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Royal Jet is a charter operator

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Eastern Skyjets was formed as a bizjet operator in 2005, The carrier eventually added four DC-9-30s and a pair of DC-9-50s.

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This is the type of airline I was happy to see at DXB!

More DXB photos to follow.

028 – Zurich – Part 1

Zurich (ZRH) has always been a crossroads between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, not to mention the countries formerly under the Soviet Union. ZRH also has (or at least, had) some excellent photo locations. It has been years since I’ve been there so hopefully things have not changed for the worse.

Perhaps the highlight of the year is the World Economic Forum, which occurs in late January or early February. The event can bring a hundreds of VIPs ranging from Heads of State to infamous arms dealers, in aircraft ranging in size from 747s to PC-12s. You can AWAYS count on some surprises.

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Viva Air was a Spanish charter company which was based in Palma. This is one of its Boeing 737-300s with a temporary registration. It was later registered EC-FHR.

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Management Transport Munich was a German charter company that used a pair of Do-328s.

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Ganalf Air was one of several German airlines that flew the Do328 into ZRH

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Air Alps operated a modest fleet of Do328s on behalf of KLM until 2001

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ContactAir acquired a fleet of Fokker 50s from DLT-Lufthansa Cityline and rebranded itself under the Team Lufthansa banner.

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Deutsche BA had a fleet of Saab 2000s which were regular visitors at ZRH.

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Deutsche BA also used Fokker 100s into Zurich

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Lufthansa Express had a big operation into Zurich, and used mostly 737-200s, including this one with Nordam hushkits.

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Air Canada had daily flights to ZRH from Toronto.

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1997 was the 50th anniversary of Singapore Airlines, so the airline had this 747-400 in special markings. Today, all of Singapore Airlines’ 747s are gone, except for cargo.

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Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, JAT was replaced on some routes by Croatia Airlines.

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For many years, Air Algérie used Boeing 737-200 on its service to ZRH.

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Kenya Airways served Zurich with A310s for many years.

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Nigeria Airways DC-10 was also a regular visitor into ZRH.

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El Al served Zurich with a combination of 737s and 757s, primarily.

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Tristar 500s made up the bulk of Airlanka’s long-haul fleet until they were replaced by long-range Airbusses.

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Here is a special visitor during the World Economic Forum in 1995

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This was the real surprise at the 1995 WEF. As I looked through my binoculars at the plane on final approach, I could not believe what I was looking at!

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More photos to come from ZRH…