No announcement yet.

Encounters, 8th October

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Encounters, 8th October

    What a day for the weird and the wonderful. Talk abut being in the right places at the right times! A BT-67, PC-9's and a 737 in the wrong place. Unfortunately no photo's but I hope worth relating all the same.

    I had some forms and inevitably money to hand over to the old Institute Against Aviation in Dublin and due to a certain degree of urgency involved I decided to drive up.

    The day got off to a bad start straight away. AA roadwatch on Morning Ireland was the first bad news: "The N7 is closed between Borris in Ossary and Portlaoise, all traffic diverted to Durrow". Durrow?? With images of chaos and long tailbacks I decided on a different route, from home to Kinnity, Mountmellick, Portarlington and back onto the M7 at Monasterevin. A little bit longer but it kept me away from a Durrow and Abbeyleix with twice the usual traffic.

    The first strange sight in the sky occured between the vilages of Kinnity, Co Offaly and Clonaslee, Co Laois. The distinctive shape of a DC-3 flew across the road about one mile ahead of me at no more than 300 feet. This was no ordinary DC-3, it was the Basler BT-67 upgrade with turbine powerplants and a slightly lengthened fuselage. I had heard that there was one stabled in Galway for a short time while it carried out a geological survey of the midlands. Having flown into Galway twice myself in the last week and missed it on both occasions, I was delighted to see this modernised piece of WWII technology, even from a distance and silhouetted by the sun. Vindication for choosing the route less travelled I thought to myself, as I watched it disappear over the Slieve Blooms. There was more to come.

    Approaching the town of Mountmellick, my eyes were again attracted by the sudden appearance of an object in the sky. Wait, not just one this time, there were two. A pair of PC-9's in loose formation shot across the sky at about 800 feet. Even to the uniformed eye, the grey colour-scheme would identify these machines as distinctly military and as I watched them fly into the distance, parrllex error induced the formation to seemingly tighten and my thoughts were drawn to a sense of pride in "our lads" and how a pair of fighter jets flying over the countryside in the same fashion would provide reassurance to those below and a detterrant to those outside looking in. Whoever "they" may be. I should travel this route more often was my thought as they disappeared into the distance.

    Onward to Portarlignton and a sign-post moved to point in the wrong direction by some bored school kid and a resultant state of minor confusion that led me to stop the car at farm gate to take stock of where I was. What's that sound? I look up and there it is again! I have for the second time in one day and a good fifteen miles down the road, crossed paths with the Dakota on steroids! This time, flying right beside me and in perfect sight looking absolutely pristine, in overall white with a blue cheat line, the deep throaty growl of the Wasp radials replaced by the high pitched whine of twin PT-6's. It's amazing to think that as we enter into the latter days of the year 2008, that this aircraft, over 70 years on since the first of it's breed took to the skies, is still out there earning it's keep.

    Realising that I am in fact on the right road and facing in the right direction, I continue on my journey and reach Dublin in good enough time to complete my business at Aviation House before lunch time. With time to kill and not needing to be anywhere in a hurry I decide that as I'm parked just off Gardiner Street and already having my aviation appetite whetted, a quick trip out the airport wouldn't be too much effort. Park beside the runway, watch a few comings and goings, throw a critical eye on some of the landings etc etc! Nothing unusual to report and I'm back on the M50 before the traffic starts to build again.I pass through the road upgrade works heading onward to the Red Cow roundabout to get back on the M7. This barrier free tolling is a great idea. Not once did the traffic grind to a halt, a first for me on the M50 during daylight hours.

    Having seen what I thought was my fill of planes for the day, imagine my surprise as I neared my exit at the Red Cow to see a Boeing 737 on approach at the wrong end of the M50! A civilian passenger 737, Transavia I think, on approach to Baldonnel! This warrants further investigation. As I'm going down the N7 anyway, another little de-tour wont hurt my already flexible timetable. Turn off at City West and back over the fly-over and head back towards Dublin for the Baldonnel exit. It's been a while since I was on these roads and things have changed. There she is, sitting on the ramp, yes I was right a 737, a 700 series I think and most definitely Transavia, the T on the tail an instant giveaway. As I drive around the perimeter and past the main square, the activity level and the catering van for the aircraft are a dead give away that someone is going somewhere and they are going to be hungry!

    Instead of doubling back, I decided to continue around the perimeter to Newcastle and back on the homeward track. As I approach the N7 again my eyes are drawn to something else, the send-off for whoever is getting on that plane. This time a five ship PC-9 formation performing a break with a Red Arrows style recovery to land, one after the other. An impressive sight and flawlessly executed. All the while a menacing looking EC-135 hovers at low level at the boundary fence, it's dark green colour scheme almost appearing black in the late afternoon light. Have I just witnessed the birth of the new generation of Silver Swallows? This time with an extra ship? On this evidence, the Pilatus are certainly no "grey geese".

    So folks, I hope you forgive the ramblings of this individual and my not so little description of my day yesterday. It is certainly the most unusual day of neck straining sky watching that I have had in a long time, but there is one last snippet to round it off.

    I've told you about the weird and the wonderful but what about the wacky? On the M7 at Portlaoise as I cast a glance over towards the Rock of Dunamase, some mad man underneath a parachute with a fan strapped to his back gently crosses the skies over the Heath(think Curragh light). Only today I thought to myself, only today!
    Last edited by Jetjock; 9 October 2008, 16:56.

  • #2
    Think of it as payback for all the euros siphoned off you by the dead hand of the IAA


    • #3
      So what was the story with the 737 then? Anyone know?
      If you have to do it, you always have to do it right. Either it makes a difference, or it’s good practice so that when it does make a difference, it gets done right.



      • #4
        The 737 on Thursday was for the Chad mission and the plane on Friday was the first of the Kosovo lads coming home


        • #5
          Hi Jetjock,
          A very well written article ...thats for sharing your 'adventure' with us!
          IRISH AIR CORPS - Serving the Nation.


          • #6
            what a day! great story