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Out of Africa on SQ & 1T plus photos

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  • Out of Africa on SQ & 1T plus photos

    The time finally came for my annual january spotting/leisure vacation, this time fellow photographer Jason Whitebird & myself were off to South Africa, it's without doubt one of the best spotting trips i've ever had, excellent locations, variety of aircraft and airlines, extraordinary scenery, food & activities away from the airport. Hope you enjoy this account of the trip.

    Route-Per-Sin Singapore Airlines
    Date-19 Jan 2007
    Ata-1319 pm
    Flight Number-SQ 224
    Aircraft Type-777-212
    Flight Time-4hr 45min

    checked in online at home for this flight the night before, got the seat i was after and printed my boarding pass, all i had to do was pack and head to the airport, i like to do it all at the last minute, mad you say? i find i forget less doing it at the last minute than a few days before.

    With everything packed my mum arrived and gave me a lift to Perth airport, arrived just after 730am and went straight to the Internet checkin counter to drop my bags, took less than 2mins to get the stamp, bag tags and confirmation for my flight.

    I then proceeded to the departure gate and made my way through customs, no phones are allowed to be used in the customs area, not sure why that is, being a taxpayer i want to use my phone anywhere, especially if it's at an airport! So i cut my phone call short, got into a verbal with the customs guy, got my stamp and went and sat at Gate 4 awaiting my flight.

    boarding call was by row numbers, of course everyone just rushes to join the line regardless! amazing how incapable people become when it comes to boarding an airplane.

    shortly after 915am the doors were closed and we pushed back off gate 4 for our taxi via Sierra for a runway 21 departure, we held short whilst awaiting the arrival of a Qantaslink 717, shortly after 930am we lined up and had clearance for immediate take off. We headed south 3.2DME and made the right turn towards the Indian Ocean, from there it was another right turn which took us along the West Australian coast and eventually onward to Singapore.

    I decided to try the Indian Vegeterian meals on this trip, seen some nice photos of them and i'm happy to say on the Perth sector the meals were fantastic! breakfast and drink service started immediately after the seatbelt sign was turned off.

    Perth airport terminal

    city of Perth from SQ 224

    cabin of 9V-SRK

    the juice of life

    non AVOD equipped 777, watching The Queen.

    Indian vegeterian meal, very nice!

    still hungry? ask for some 2 minute noodles!

    after 4hrs 15min in the air we commenced our descent into Singapore, weather was fairly good condsidering the previous days had produced some lovely flooding in certain areas of the island. We landed smoothley on runway 02C and took the high speed exit and taxied in to gate E3. fantastic flight with excellent service, I'd not flown SIA in 7 years due to a bad flight i had with them, the fares to South Africa are far cheaper than Qantas & SAA so it was a logical choice for me to use them, one i was happy with on this flight.

    met with Andy Hunt and popped out to Changi business park to do some shooting, got some lovely photos which i'll submit during the course of the year, thanks to Andy for taking the time out of his day to shoot a few frames, even if it was mostly 9V-SR triple 7's.

    eventually made way to the Conrad hotel which was me room for the night.

    conrad hotel room.

    view from conrad hotel

    Route-Sin-Jnb Singapore Airlines
    Date-21 Jan 2007
    Flight Number-SQ 478
    Aircraft Type-777-212
    Flight Time-10hr 10min

    Conrad hotel proved to be most unhelpful when i asked for an extension of room hours, the flight from Singapore to Johannesburg has the horror departure time of 0215am, checkout from the hotel is 11am, the math is pretty easy to work out! So i spoke with a team mate from the other site the night before and organised to meet up during the afternoon, another friend from Perth was in town on "extended" vacation!

    Tsensan arrived just after 2pm and we headed over to Suntec city then out to Changi airport, weather was not being helpful today so we drove around to one of the smaller airports for a look, when the weather closes in up that way you're in trouble! We arrived at Changi terminal just after 4pm and i went and handed over my suitcase to checkin, i'd got my boarding pass the day before from the airport when i was waiting for Andy.

    We spotted in T1 observation deck for a short while then decided to call it quits, i headed through immigration and the boys headed back to the city.

    popped in and made myself comfortable at the bar and got talking to a Swiss guy who just arrived from Perth, turns out his mate was living with one of my best mates here in Perth, small world!

    after sipping a few i made my way to the Japanese restaurant and got talking to a girl from Adeliade, she was returning home after studying for 1 year in Indonesia, eventually i made my way to E3 and sat around waiting for what seemed an eternity to board this flight. boarding commenced at 0130am, i decided to wait right til the end so i wouldn't have to wait around in the que, once again aircraft was boarded via row numbers.

    once on board and doors closed we pushed back and taxied out for 02C departure, 0235 we rotated away from Singapore and made a sweeping right turn towards the Indian ocean and Africa, from here on i pretty much laid back and went to sleep, apart from the crying baby it was easy to sleep! i wacked in my F1 ear plugs and passed out for 8hrs of the flight. I awoke somewhere over the Indian ocean and breakfast was being served.

    breakfast on SQ 478

    shortly after 0620am we began our descent in to Johannesburg airport, making a series of right turns before approaching on 03L and landing just before 7am, we taxied back to our hard stand, disembarked and were bussed to the terminal. Immigration was efficient and polite, within 20mins i was out of the terminal and in my hire car heading over to the slide to meet local spotter Rob Boyes.

    me at Rand

    Johannesburg sunset

    Rob Boyes

    later in the day i went and collected Jason who was arriving on SAA from Washington, DC.

    the whole trip wasn't about airplanes, here are a few shots from Pilanesberg game park and the surrounding areas.

    hillbrow, Johannesburg.


    Loxodonta africana

    me at Pilanesberg

    Route-Jnb-Cpt 1Time
    Date-26 Jan 2007
    Flight Number-1T 109
    Aircraft Type-MD82
    Flight Time-1hr 50min

    our time had come to an end in Johannesburg, we dropped off the hire car and headed to the airport for our flights to Cape Town, Jason was taking SAA, I was on 1Time so i could fly the MD80. We headed to the newley furbished domestic terminal and checked in, i had to wait a while as 1Time checkin by flight number and time, SAA check you in regardless of flight and time. I grabbed a bite to eat then headed up and checked in, process took about 5mins due to long lines and people stuffing about with baggage.

    Jason's flight was 1 gate away from mine, we basically went straight past security and went to sit down in the departure hall, flight was a little late leaving due to late arrival from Cape Town, boarding time was pushed back to 1230pm and departure was delayed by 15mins, we still arrived in Cape Town on time. The aircraft was parked on a hardstand and we were bussed out, boarding was via front at rear of the aircraft.

    once onboard and doors closed we pushed back and taxied out to 03L, we were number 2 and had a 3 minute hold, the aircraft accelerated down 03L and we were quickly airborne and on our way to Cape Town. I took the time to catch up on sleep during this flight, food & drink were available to buy but i declined anything.

    1430pm we made our descent into Cape Town,on my side of the plane was a wonderful view of Table Mt and the surrounding areas, we landed on runway 01 and made our way to the remote bay for transport to the terminal, clearing baggage took around 5 minutes and i just had to wait for Jason to arrive and we'd be on our way again.

    table mountain

    me at the V&A waterfront

    Jason at V&A waterfront

    me at Camps Bay

    newlands, south africa v pakistan

    our regular meal

    the apartheid puppet

    Robben Island

    prisoner number 466/64's cell

    Cape Town is a beautiful city, absolutely loved it and can't wait to return!

    Route-Cpt-Sin Singapore Airlines
    Date-31 Jan 2007
    Flight Number-SQ 481
    Aircraft Type-777-212
    Flight Time-11hr 35min

    Jason had left the day before to Johannesburg, i had some free time and decided to take it slow. headed over to the airport just after 10am and returned the car, i'd checked in the day before getting a seat on the right side as i was expecting a departure off runway 01 with table mt on my right, of course the wind changed so that put pay to my hopes. baggaged drop took less than 1 minute and i was off to customs and eventually in the departure hall. lovely and modern, unlike Johannesburg international terminal.

    we were given gate B3 for our departure, our plane was 9V-SVD for this near 12hr flight across the Indian ocean. the waiting area was very crowded due to the late departure of Malaysian to Argentina, once again we boarded via row numbers and we were one of the last to enter the plane. a few nights before Jason & I had dinner at a seafood restaurant, i noticed the cabin crew were from that restaurant, i commented to them at the restaurant on the size of their seafood platter...funnily enough they remembered me!

    shortly after midday we pushed back for the long taxi to runway 01, we lined up immediately and held for around 30 seconds before commencing our take off roll, rotation speed was 285kph and we climbed smoothly away from Cape Town then making a series of left turns to put us along the eastern coast of south africa, we flew directly overhead Durban then made the right turn towards Singapore.

    service commenced shortly after seatbelt signs went off, i started with a tiger and some peanuts, then my special meal arrived. after meal time i went to sleep for 7hrs of the flight and awoke in the middle of the night over the Indian ocean. shortly after 4am we were served breakfast which was another terrible meal. Shortly after 5am we began our descent towards the Singapore airport and runway 02C, just after 530am we'd touched down and taxied to gate F33.

    plane to hotel took no more then 45 minutes! then it was straight back to bed for me until i could bring myself to face the day.

    beer time

    this was the last meal i expected for Indian vegetarian, terrible to be honest!

    inflight snack

    terrible to say the least, decided to skip this breakfast!

    service was great on this flight, the special meals were not so special and that's being very generous!

    Route-Sin-Per Singapore Airlines
    Date-3 Feb 2007
    Ata-1525 pm
    Flight Number-SQ 223
    Aircraft Type-777-212
    Flight Time-4hr 45min

    Time to finally head home, i decided to go for the early morning flight so i wouldn't get stuck waiting around airports & lobbies for hours on end, got up at 6am and made my way to Changi shortly after, hadn't done internet checkin because i totally forgot about it. arrived at terminal 2 to find a healthy line up of passengers, i was served by the same gent who took my bags when i headed to Johannesburg, he remembered me and asked how the trip was, we got talking about the game parks and surfing and he was happy to learn that i enjoyed both when i'm at home in Perth.

    I headed through customs and made my way to F40 which was our gate for this flight down to Perth, i was last person to arrive because i ended up getting side tracked, the boarding line to get on the plane was complete and i walked straight onboard. The doors were shut and we pushed back just after 940am and made our way out for 02C, we were number 4 in line for take off. Our captain was an Australian, he lined us up and just after 950am we were lined up and accelerated down the runway and off back to Perth.

    Soon after the meal service commenced, the only decent Indian meal i had on the entire journey was out of Perth, the rest were terrible and this flight was no exception, i was hoping for partha breabs but only got dry buns! wasn't happy with that.

    the flight was AVOD equipped and i watched one of the James Bond features that they had on this month, there was 6 Bond classics to choose from. We made our way down along the West Australian coast then made land fall just north of Gerladton, from there it was direct to Perth for a runway 03 arrival, the temp was 40C and strong winds from the north east, this made for a bumpy landing but it was executed beautifully by the tech crew.

    I'd not travelled out of Perth international for quite some years, on arrival i was horrified to note that only 4 customs counters were in operation for local passengers with a que in excess of 150 waiting in line for close to 45 minutes, from there it was over to baggage where the hall is so small people were running in to each other everywhere.

    I had wooden items which quarantine needed to check...this line took close on 55 minutes to get through! 5 officers checking and around 80 people needing to be checked, pathetic! from disembarking to leaving the terminal took close to 90 minutes! i didn't make it home til well after 5pm.

    after unpacking it was time to head to the pub with some mates for a few beers and some food, a great way to mark the end of my usual holiday.

    terrible food!

    dinner time at my hotel

    this was a fantastic trip, i need to thank the following people for making it a memorable experience.

    Jason "it's so beautiful" Whitebird

    Andy Hunt


    Rob Boyes

    Fanie Kleynhans
    Last edited by Longreach747; 2007-02-05, 02:01.

    next trips
    USA/DXB August.

  • #2
    Hi Mont and Jason, so glad you enjoyed your trip to SA and the opportunity to meet with you. Can see from the pics that you had fun - Hillbrow included !!!

    Just got back (yesterday, 4th Feb) from a week in Berlin. OK guys, have fun and catch you on the web. PS: SA registration site as follows: