Last week Lachlan Smart was out of the country, but not for a premature departure for his trip, rather he made his way to France to make the most of an opportunity experience ferry flying first hand as he embarks on a trip from Toulouse to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on a bona fide international ferry flight.
Over the course of the trip Lachlan will be joining Mitchell and a team of pilots in the capacity of a cadet, with his aim to attain a better understanding of the international environment, specifically pre-flight routines and customs requirements at various locations as well as time spent learning HF radio communications and differing international communications protocol.
Over the course of his time away, Lachie recorded his experiences though a number of blogs of his trip where possible, so stay tuned as we find out what he got up to over the next few days!
Blog Entry: April 9, 2016 – Toulouse-Barcelona
After missing a few days of blogging, here is the scoop on what’s been happening
But first, note that this blog was written while I was in a transport van to Barcelona.
“But Lachie,” you say, “weren’t you supposed to be taking off to begin the ferry today?” Well here’s the story.
I arrived in Toulouse on a Wednesday evening and found out that our ferry flight had been delayed until the following Wednesday. This had me worried because (as all of you know and have booked tickets for *winky face – get one yourself*) the hanger party is on Saturday the 16th of April (this week) and I should probably be back for that.
However the reason for the delay was that a tool was dropped on the undercarriage door and dented it, so needed to be fixed before we leave, therefore my already tight schedule to fly back to Australia became even more compressed. A bit like being in the metro again (read about that here).
The next day was a bit of a write off spent mostly trying to get attain my security pass into the Blagnac airport (ATR factory) facility. Due to a mix up with some plans I spent a lot of time waiting with a funny little man glaring at me before walking back to my hotel in the absolutely freezing rain. I’m 99% certain that if anyone licked my forehead their tongue would have frozen to it (luckily I was able to beat off the hoards of people trying to lick my forehead).
That night there was a change of plans again, and the departure was moved forward to Saturday morning. Things were looking up! Wait, scrap that 2 hours later the news came in that it’s back at Tuesday. I thought that was beginning to look pretty solid.
My first proper day in Toulouse began with a morning adventure as I wanted to see a bit more of the surrounding area, so I set off on a walk and found an absolutely beautiful little park with a lake and some nice walking trails. It was very cold and windy morning, and once again I was colder than a Zooper Dooper. I really should have brought that scarf.
Next up was a meeting with Garry and the team from PNG Air at ATR to have lunch before heading to the ATR Delivery Centre where we waited for a while and also checked out the assembly line for the ATR’s. We were eagerly awaiting 3pm as a contact in Airbus had organised a special tour of the Airbus A350 Final Assembly Line and Airbus visitor centre. When it finally rolled around we were like kids in a candy store.
Seeing the absolutely massive facilities that these aircraft were made in was phenomenal. It’s logistically a huge operation with parts of the aircraft made all over the world and transported here to Toulouse to be finally put together into a whole wide body aircraft. They are really incredible aircraft and very interesting to see them produced. I think I’ll start saving.
With a number of delays we found ourselves with a little time on our hands, and being only 400km from Barcelona we (Garry, the PNG air team and I) jumped in our van and hit the road. None of us had been there before, and we decided that some good food and a little culture was in order!