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Riding The Metroliner Into The Aussie Outback

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  • Riding The Metroliner Into The Aussie Outback

    I have been planning a flight on a Metro before they all disappear or are converted to freighters.

    I would have done this flight earlier but fares were a bit high during the times I was thinking about going. Also the start of Qantaslink flights between Adelaide and Port Lincoln and up until then had not flown on a Dash 8 meant the Metro had to be put on hold.

    Went onto the sharp airlines site and had a look around for fares and stumbled across cheap fares on Sunday 14 March, so I thought 'right I will get this flight out of the way'.

    Adelaide 14 March 2010
    Sharp Airlines
    Flight No SH877
    Fairchild Metroliner VH-MYI
    Seat 8C

    Got to the airport about half an hour early and the check in counter was not open yet. Only one other person checked in before me and I couldn't see anyone else behind me, so will be a light load.

    Once open check in was simple and fast. Usual questions about check in luggage etc, since I had none there was nothing to worry about. Said I was only going there and back. Check in agent let the other agent at Port Augusta know.

    However over the next half an hour a few more came and the total on the plane was about eight.


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    Like previous flights with regional airlines a walk onto the tarmac was necessary to board the aircraft. Since the Metroliner does not have a flight attendant the pilots welcomed everyone onboard.

    Since the Metroliner is not big enough to stand up inside, it is necessary to crouch down getting in and out of it, but once seated, the seats are not too bad.

    Safety demo was done over the PA. Once that was out of the way the engines were started. That was when I found out how noisy the Metroliner is.

    The engine sound can be best described as a deep throbbing roar.


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    Once a Qantas 737-838 had taken off it was our turn and as mentioned earlier, what a little buzzbox the Metroliner is.


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    Flight to Port Augusta was uneventful. Not much could be seen as it was cloudy outside until we landed in Port Augusta.

    Since there is no flight attendant there is no food or drink service, but I donít think it is needed on this sort of flight.

    The cloud caused a little bit of turbulence here and there.

    As I have noticed with these sort of aircraft, the landing is usually a bit on the rough side. Again this one was another thumper. However this time the roll out was smooth as the runway appeared to be well maintained.


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    Port Augusta is a typical outback airport in that it sees one or two regional airline flights a day. However Port Augusta is also a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

    The terminal is quite basic, no security screening, a small check in desk in one corner, and old TV in another corner and half a dozen sofas along the walls.

    I was there for only 15 minutes and getting back on the aircraft was simply getting my name ticked off the list and though the gate and back on board for the return flight.

    Only other aircraft seen was a Beech Baron.

    Port Augusta 14 March 2010
    Sharp Airlines
    Flight No SH878
    Fairchild Metroliner VH-MYI
    Seat 9C

    There were even less people on the return flight. This time only four including me.

    Safety demo, startup and take off was uneventful.


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    Again there was a little turbulence due to the cloud.

    After take off we climbed into thick cloud so again not much cold be seen until landing back into Adelaide.


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    Again the approach was reasonably smooth but the landing was another thumper. Followed by the roar of reversible pitch props trying to stop a few tonnes of metal.


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    Returned to the same parking place when we left. Once everyone was off took a quick photo of the cockpit.


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    Again meant a walk through that jail like tunnel and one way gate to get out.

    Again I found dealing with a regional airline easier than the big airlines. Since Sharp donít rely on the booking systems of another airline, they have their little operation that seems to chug along quite ok.

    I had no problems and was a nice afternoon out.

    Now I have flown on all the regional airlines operating out of Adelaide. Regional Express, Alliance, Qantaslink and Sharp.

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