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The A340 Last Part - A Virgin South African

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Following on from my previous post (here) and after my Canadian aside (here), I'm about to operate a Virgin A340-600 to JFK. The 340 did the last New York of the day and during winter meant it was entirely in the dark.

Virgin had 12 A340-600s (along with 7 300s), with the problems with the Dreamliner RR engines, they've been given a new lease of life and are still plying the routes. All the 300s are gone and only 5 600s are still being used.

Parked up at T3 with the tower in the background

Shortly after take off, turning right to 220 degrees, climbing 6000ft

A clear evening

An American triple coming the other way

Lots more dark nothingness, then onto final approach

Pax view

A rare cockpit shot

Taxiing in

Parked at the gate with the JFK tower in the background.

At this point I went on another of my asides and went for a helicopter ride round Manhattan (here).

The last A340-600 operator I wanted to fly was South African Airways (SAA). They've had an interesting history operating all 3 ttpes of 340 (200, 300 and 600). They still have 7 300s and 9 600s in use. They tend to use their long haul fleet pretty interchangeably but the JFK to Jo'burg route has been an A340-600 route for a long time.

SAA204 leaves JFK at 11:15 and arrives in FAOR at 8:05am the nest morning.

Both Virgin and SAA are Star Alliance and they share a terminal at JFK, here we are parked (ahem) on a very similar stand to our earlier flight.

Taxiing out to 13R

Passenger view just after take off

Routing takes us out to sea fairly quickly, here's the last land we'll see until Africa.

A TUI 787 full of bucket and spaders going home, probably from the Caribbean

An Avianca 787 from South America on it's way to Europe as the sun sets

Lots more dark nothingness, passing over the Cape Verde islands was merely a few pin pricks of light in the ocean. Our routing had us glancing off the west coast of Africa before heading out over the sea again before flying over the coast in Namibia, meeting some locals on the way...

Now in the Jo'burg area at this early(ish) time of the morning a lot of the Europe flights are arriving, here's Lufty in one of their shiney new modern 747-8s

And here, for contrast, is Air Zimbabwe in a 767-200

On approach to 3R at OR Tambo.

Taxiing in to the gate with a selection of company and international traffic parked up.

Those BA liveried 737-800s parked up aren't an FSX AI anomoly, they're operated by Comair (not the US one, that was set up some 30 years later) which operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee, hence the livery. Their low cost arm is Kulula (the lime green 737) while the orange 737 (parked a few down) is Mango, a low cost subsidiary of South African Airways. It's colourful down here...

With 228 A340s still flying (117 A340-200/300s and 111 A340-500/600s) there's not that many left and the number are only going in one direction. I haven't flown every one, indeed only 4 of the 11 600 operators and a handful of 300s. Since I started these posts Qatar has retired them all.

So there we go, that's it, no more A340's, however, my last flight for SAA made me look a bit harder at the airline. It has quite an interesting past, they operated some interesting aircraft and flew to some exotic places in their day. Like much of Africa, they're struggling with corruption and inefficiency to such an extent that they may not be around in 10 years time. I may try and base more of my sim flying around their operation throughout the years...



Edited by iwebber
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Nice story and commentary!

I recall many years ago, I used to travel in Lufthansa's A340-600 via Frankfurt...such a long plane! They would often bus us to the plane (rather than using a jetway), and while climbing up the stairs, I would get a chance to take a good look at the "A340-600" (or sometimes "A340-500") engraving on the nearby fuselage...

I believe, but not sure, those (LH) planes have been now replaced by 747-8, at least, for my part of the travel...

And, I always liked the SAA color....hope the airline survives through the difficulties you've cited here...

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Great narration and pics to go with it. Btw, if there is one thing I like better in XP compared to P3D (I have both), it's the planes, when parked at night at the gates. In P3D they are mostly very dark, almost black, even when the airport surroundings are lighted. In XP11 this looks better. I can see the same in the first ones of your nice screenies

Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwinds

My specs: Intel Core i7-4790 @ 3.6 Ghz, NVidia GeForce GTX970, 32GB RAM, screen resolution: 2560x1080

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These are from FSXSE but you’re right, the lighting in XP is, in general, much better.

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