One of the great flights I’ve done was on an assignment filming YES L-1011 Tristar CS-TMX from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (PUJ) back to Lisbon, Portugal (LIS).
The Tristar is a fantastic aircraft. Old, yes it is but she looks oh so good!
I had just spent 7 hours and 14 minutes airborne from LIS to PUJ on the flight over and we were now heading back again. A new crew, but same old me, still going strong. I did get an hour of “rest” on the ramp of PUJ, shooting crew shots of the off going crew and the cover shot for the DVD.
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I met the homeward bound crew and we went on board again to prepare our flight. The return flight was a ferry flight.
We had just flown the first flight of the season to Punta Cana, and we had no returning passengers to bring home.
So, it was only the 4 of us. Captain, First Officer ,Flight Engineer and me of course.
A major CB came in and dropped an intense shower of rain on the airport, but as we taxied for the holding point it had already passed.
Lining up on the wet runway the Captain asked if I wanted a scenic departue. -“Yes, of course” was my immediate reply.
I normally have to do a lot of convincing before I get scenic departures etc, so it was refreshing to have the Captain suggest it. Strapped in my jumpseat we roared down the runway.
FO called out V1 and Rotate and the captain pulled the yoke. We didn’t need much runway, as we had no passengers or their luggage. We could have continued to climb like a rocket up to our cruising altitude, but the captain pulled back on the throttles and levelled off at 1000 feet.
He put us in a smooth right bank out over the beaches. As we passed the shoreline he nicely followed the beach along the island. I had to stand up in the cockpit to see it all.
Thank God we were in a Tristar. The windows in a Tristar are big and allows a good view.
Standing between the Captain and the First Officer I filmed all I could as we flew by some of the most beautiful beaches. I made sure to get good close-ups of our altimeter, showing only 1000 feet and then the beaches flying by our windows. We passed small fishing boats, people swimming, people sunbathing as we cruised along the shoreline.
I can imagine they had a great view from down there too, seeing that huge Tristar passing so low… Must have been some sight!
After a while we decided to cut the scenic tour and start our way home. Captain got clearance to climb and we headed out to sea and started climbing.
With the setting sun in our back it started to get dark pretty soon as we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
It had been a very long day for me and we still had some 7 hours to go before we would reach the shores of Portugal and the approach lights of Lisbon, so I decided to go back in the cabin and get some rest.
It was a very strange feeling walking down the aisle of an emtpy airliner on cruising altitude. Only empty seats all around me, no videoscreens, no one in line for the bathroom.
Just all quiet except for the humming of the engines and dark.
I looked out over the wing and saw the moon reflecting in the water far below us. The red beacon on our belly reflected on the nacelles of our starboard engine.
I picked my seats and layed down. At least I had no problem stretching my legs…[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]