Saturday, 2 July 2011

BHX-EDI-BHX Trip report [Part 3]

This is part 3 of the whole trip report, parts 1 and 2 are below in previous posts.

Edinburgh (EDI/EGPH) to Birmingham (BHX/EGBB) 
Flybe Embraer 195 G-FBEM
 So, after a hectic day catching buses and walking miles, we checked in for BE856 back to BHX. The departure lounge in Edinburgh is alright, it's quite spacious, and there are good views of the apron and runway. We all sat down and I drank lots of Iron Brew: there's nothing like the Scottish orange stuff for refreshment! Eventually, we were called to the gate. This meant a walk through the terminal building, parallel to the now (seemingly) disused runway 12/30. There was no aircraft on stand, but we were expecting a Dash 8.

There's a story behind this. When first booked in the previous Autumn, it was scheduled to be an Embraer 195. Only 2 weeks before the trip, I checked the scheduled type and It had changed to a Dash 8! I'd also received an e-mail a few weeks before saying that the departure time for BE856 has been shunted back by 40 minutes. So I was pretty convinced there had been some equipment change due to low passenger numbers or something...
...and then this beauty taxied in!

 Now that's a nice surprise! G-FBEM was due to take us back to BHX, much to me and my mates amazement.

We boarded on time and asked for a look up front, to which the crew agreed! The pilots ran through a few elements of the flight, for example that the lowest take-off thrust setting would be used today and that an Embraer cockpit really isn't that different from a PA28 cockpit. Just before leaving, we spotted on the display a drop-down menu that read: "rudder: fail    elevators: fail    ailerons: fail"... which isn't the best thing to see on cockpit instruments!!! It was obviously meant to say that or this report wouldn't be here now, but interesting nonetheless...

We returned to the cabin and sat in our allocated seats just infront of the engines. This was the only annoying bit: I like a wingview. However, one of the cabin crew asked us to move back to the rear of the cabin for "weight and balance". Would 2 people really make much difference? Anyway, this worked out better for me, and Matt and myself moved back leaving James alone at the front... not that he minded, he had a paper to read! Sat near the back with a great wingview, it was time to head back home.

Despite the low power setting used, the take-off still felt powerful and we seemed to climb relatively fast. Perhaps because the flight was only about a third full, and the majority of passengers were on business so without bags?  That was interesting to note: the load factor was very low. It turns out that BE856 was changed to a Dash 8 a few weeks before, but then on the day, for some reason (aircraft gone tech etc) it was changed back to an E-Jet! The cabin crew were called out on stand by,  I don't know about the Captain and FO. Anyway, it was dusk and the sunset views were brilliant. Because it was so quiet onboard we got up to see James at the front, and then switched sides so we sat on the right hand side for the cruise and descent. This gave views of the sunset, and also of Kenilworth where we live on the approach for 33.
(Sorry about the quality, the window reflections were an issue!)

 We cruised at FL260 (I think) and soon we were being positioned for downwind to BHX's runway 33. By the time we reached Birmingham city's lights it was pitch black and the view above the city was fantastic. We flew downwind, turned base, and then turned to intercept the localizer, at this point the lights of Kenilworth came into view. The glide slope was captured and the gear lowered just before Basall Common, and at 10 past 9 BE856 arrived at BHX (30 minutes early, another reason to suggest it was actually due to be a slower Dash 8).

Before disembarking we asked for another look in the cockpit. The crew agreed again and we went up front while the other passengers disembarked:
 Thank you, crew!

The pilots had another chat with us, but the cabin crew were all too aware that there was a bus full of passengers waiting for us... which James had got on too! Sadly, we had to leave, and we practically ran across the apron on Stand 23 to the waiting bus. What a way to end the day!

Here's the video:

That was my 3rd time on an Embraer 195, 6th flight with Flybe and 38th sector overall. Once again, Flybe were pretty much faultless for a LCC, on time (or early!) with friendly crews. But the real star of the flight was the Brazilian masterpiece that is the Embraer 195. In cruise, it's remarkable how quiet it is in the cabin, and the seats are the comfiest I've ever sat in! The windows on the E-Jets are also bigger than on Airbus and Boeing models, letting in more natural light, this combined with the wide seats and 4 abreast layout make the E-Jets feel spacious and a joy to fly on.

I hope you've enjoyed my 3 part trip report for BHX-EDI-BHX, and I hope to be doing more TR's in the future!

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