Basel - Fokker 70 All the Way
Saturday 16 June - Fokker & go!
Last year, we tried to book a trip with the KLM Fokker 70. However, things did not go as planned and we ended up flying a 737-800 instead.. We got back to the drawing board and booked another city trip with the main goal: flying the Fokker 70, twice!
The destination we chose is Basel. While waiting for our flight to start boarding we hang for a bit in the B-pier at Schiphol. Here we spot a nice variety of short haul planes. Avro RJ85, Fokker 70, Embraer 145, DHC-8, it is all here. We even see how one little Fokker is leaving the fleet today... Then, it is time to take the bus to the stand where a happy little Fokker is waiting for us. She is registered as PH-KZK and she still wears the previous colour scheme. We find our seats and this trip has officially begun!
Our departure runway today is 18L (Polderbaan), so we have to taxi a long way via taxiway Q and Y, the most beautiful taxi route we know. Then, the engines spool up and we thunder down the runway. As a good Fokker behaves, we rocket into the sky, and a right bank follows immediately. We see Amsterdam South just before we break through the clouds.
The flight is quite relaxed but as we break through the clouds again for landing the gusty winds become apperant. The touchdown is quite aggressive, but at least the Fokker is built like a tank. The plane parks and before we disembark we visit the flight deck and meet the crew. Our captain is Mr. Richard Galloway, he tells that he is given the honour to fly the last commercial Fokker 70 flight for KLM next month. This man is a true legend and we could talk for hours, but the ground crew summits us to disembark asap. We leave the airport at the Swiss side and take a look at our watch. Time to find a bus to the city..
The great thing about Basel is that is you can prove that you stay in a hotel in the city, the public transport is free for the duration of your stay. This means we can take any bus or tram we want. Basel has a lot to offer, from a very interesting train station to a wide variety of architecture. The Rine river flows directly through the city with quite a strong current, which is alway impressive to watch.
Sunday 17 June - Bazel, Basel und Bâle
Today we spend to explore the city of Basel. One of the features of Basel is that the city lies at the border of three countries: Switzerland, France and Germany. For example, we landed yesterday at Basel-Mulhouse Airport. The airport lies in France, but it has a Swiss border control as well. When you take the bus from the Swiss part, you drive through a part of Germany to get into the city, which is Switzerland. At one specific point, these borders combine. This tripoint is marked with a stillistic pillar. The city itself is very photogenic due to its large amount of artworks and great variety of architecture. The numerous bridges over the Rhine are always a good example.
Monday 18 june - Fokking Great
Today we fly back to Amsterdam. We take one of the numerous bus lines to the airport, only to discover that two familiar fellow spotters and flight mates are seating just behind us in this bus. What are the odds? We get quite quickly though security and at airside (which is not that big at Basel) we find ourselves a spot with a good view over the ramp where every minute now our majestic Fokker should arrive.
It does not take long before our jet comes into view. The jet, registered PH-KZS, lands gracefully and parks beautifully right before our feet. The gate agent scans our boarding passes and we are the first to board the plane. After a quick visit at the cockpit we learn that the characterisic splitting airbrakes are inoperational, and that this might affect our landing slightly. As an aviation engineering student, I worked with the original manuals of these airbrakes, so I suggested to fix them. All in all, we had a good laugh and we worked our way down the aisle to our seats.
Takeoff was as we are used to with the Fokker: steep and powerful. Before we know it we are at crusing altitude. We look back on a great city trip. Basel is a fun city with lots of secrets to uncover. After the landing at runway 06 (Kaagbaan), we took the time to take some final pictures at the flight deck. We thank the crew for an amazing final Fokker flight and get in the bus. When the bus departs, we drive by our cute little Fokker one last time. She was amazing, and this trip was just Fokking great.