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iwebber

The A340

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The A340

I'd been flying the Flight1 ATR (in FSX:SE) and the Majestic Q400 (in P3Dv4) around the Greek Islands, the Azores and finally the Canary Islands, and I was looking forward to flying something a bit meatier.

I'm usually a tubeliner sort of guy and planned these turboprop flights when there was a sale on at Majestic and I'd just ported the ATR over to FSX. I'd thoroughly enjoyed myself but wanted to go back to long haul. I had been to all the Canary Islands and I was doing a sector to Casablanca GMMN, it was to be my gateway to long haul.

So, I was parked up at Gran Canaria Airport loading people and fuel when I saw a Volga-Dnepr An124 and I thought to myself, 4 engines, that's what I need...

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That's me in the background, that little green smudge.

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As we pushed back and taxied out I started thinking about what and where I could go next.

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Climbing out over the Canary Islands and making our way to Africa proper I started to have a think.

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As we pass Fuerteventura and Lanzarote I get a dim recollection that Etihad operate to GMMN, they might do something interesting. Indeed, a quick search reveals they fly an A340-600 from GMMN to OMAA. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I have the Wilco A346 and I've not flown it much, mainly because it's clumsy, at best, but as a reintroduction to tubeliners I thought it might work very nicely.

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Descending into Casablanca I have a moment of clarity, Etihad ditched their A346's near the end of 2017, that wasn't going to work, however it did spawn a little investigation of who *does* still operate the A346.

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Sat on the ground, unloading my virtual passengers and vacillating between feeling relieved that my little puddle jumper flights were over and I can now get on with some proper air transportation and a slightly morose thought that I might actually miss throwing these capable little aircraft around these beautiful islands.

At this point QW released their 787 and, as I was in Morroco and Royal Air Maroc operated the 788 I figured, when in Rome...

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So I became RAM 218 to Washington Dulles. Here we are sitting at the gate loading up the pax and getting ourselves ready.

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Now pushing back and making our way out to the departure runway.

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Shortly after take off...

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Looking out of my window at the city of Casablanca as we climb out...

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... and head out to sea.

Not an awful lot happened for a few hours, the sun shone, the clouds gently floated past and the sea twinkled. I did have a chance to look up who still operates the A346 though, it's a short list. Virgin, Lufthansa, Qatar, Mahan Air, South African Airways and Iberia appear to be the only remaining scheduled operators, there's a few charter/adhoc company's that seem to have a few as well. I couldn't find a repaint of the Mahan Air so the plan is to try and stitch together a bunch of real life A346 flights from that little list...
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We hit the east coast of the US and we joined this BA jumbo on it's way to IAD.

The approach was uneventful...
That's a lie, I had a CTD, no error message, no event log, nothing at all, one second I was looking out the window marvelling at how good P3Dv4 looked, the next I was looking at the desktop...

No idea what it was, rumours were the 787 was a likely culprit but I had no evidence of this, it could have been the FB KIAD as it loaded, again, possible but I had nothing to go on. I reloaded and rebuilt the aircraft as best I could and shot the approach.

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Nice passenger view in the later stages.

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Settled on final approach.

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Taxiing in in the fading light... hang on, who's that parked up there? Etihad send a 787 to KIAD? Hmmmmmm, interesting....

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Parked up and unloading as the sun sets.

So, Etihad 130, KIAD to OMAA, a seriously long way, not the longest but long...
We had potentially dodgy RR engines on this one so I planned the flght limited to 140 mins ETOPS

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Still not an issue though...

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Loading up at about 9:30pm, getting ready for the long night (and day) ahead.

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Taxiing out it all seems quite quiet, it is pushing 10pm so I'm not surprised.

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Donkey! It's looking a bit busier than I thought, I'll need to employ a cheeky intersection take off...

I've run out of shots now, a whole thread about the A340 without a single photo of an A340 in it, I'll try and do better next time... (spoiler alert, I won't)

Hope you enjoyed,
Ian

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Fly Malta operates Airbus A340s, they lease them to larger airlines as standby aircraft fairly regularly when the airline's own stuff goes unserviceable, or to cover busy periods. Thomas Cook Airlines for example, used Hi Fly's A330s and A340s fairly often over the recent Summer to add capacity.

Here's an interesting fun fact about the Hi Fly A340 which Thomas Cook have used: If you take a look on Google for a picture of Hi Fly's A340s, you'll see they are painted in a really cool-looking black livery. It looks great, however that black livery causes an operational problem, one that might surprise you, but it is one of the reasons why you don't often see airliners in black liveries...

When that black-coloured A340 taxies onto Stand at Manchester in the evening (typically Stand 32), the Safedock system which guides it onto the stand has to be able to 'see' the aeroplane in order for its system to detect where the aeroplane is so it can update the Safedock's display with distance to go and left/right steering cues to assist the pilots in taxying it. But the black livery on that A340 prevents the Safedock system from 'seeing' the aeroplane and so it freaks out and just ends up displaying 'STOP'. So, it has to be marshaled onto the stand the old fashioned way, by someone doing it with marshaling wands. 🤣

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The French Airline JOON also operates A340-300. They belong to AIR FRANCE and offer a really great service. An attractive flight they do is LFPG to TNCM. They fly the route twice a week. This is also a very nice route for us simmers.

Chris

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