View Full Version : Anyone flown Hemus Air?

11th Aug 2004, 21:36
Going to be flying with them next week on a domestic Bulgarian route.

Anyone been with them? Be interested to know about the whole experience - service, grub, planes, etc (in no particular order!)


Boss Raptor
11th Aug 2004, 22:18
Will probably be a BAe 146-200 - no problems - safety audit no probs :)

12th Aug 2004, 10:31
Haven't flown them but their aircraft look in good nick (if a little smoky)


15th Aug 2004, 14:02
With the demise of the old Balkan Airlines flag carrier they became the largest airline in Bulgaria. Fleet mainly of Tupolevs, they expanded recently by taking some 146s.

They manage a number of other fleets as well. The Balkan Holidays aircraft you see in the UK and across Europe are operated by them, as are Albanian Airlines, which gave them their introduction into 146 operations.

Like most Eastern European operators you will probably find the flight crew are ex-Air Force jocks.

19th Aug 2004, 10:58
Cheers for the replies all.

Well, it was a Tupolev TU-134A, and it was fun! Wasn't exactly the most modern aircraft I've been on ("for oxygen please ask stewardess"), but it was certainly a worthy experience. Very smooth, not as loud as I expected, and a great landing from the crew.

Must confess though to being a little edgy, because it was getting on a bit. Make-shift paint scheme, awful food, smell of damp throughout the cabin, arm rest held on by chewing gum (seriously!), seat backs 'reclining' forwards, but a great experience none-the-less. I'm guessing it was probably built in the 60s - glad the Russians know how to use rivets!

Only problem now is getting back - travel options are either limited or very slow over here, and I'm on a waiting list for a flight back. Seeing as there's only one a day to Sofia, I reckon I'm pretty knackered!

20th Aug 2004, 09:15
In order to give a balanced view, I must say how good my flight back to Sofia was this morning.

Hemus put a BAE 146 on the flight, which meant more seats, which meant me getting back here.

Great flight, very comfortable aircraft, excellent service in-flight - very impressed. Dunno if I fancy a trip on a Yak 40 though!

Pax Vobiscum
21st Aug 2004, 21:23
Thanks Pax-man, you've awoken happy (?) memories of travel in the late, unlamented USSR around 20 years ago. The Tu-134 was considered a bit long in the tooth even then (although the Tu-134A is a 70s aircraft - see here (http://www.aeronautics.ru/archive/vvs/tu134-01.htm) - anorak mode off!). Most Il-62 and Tu-154 were then in a state similar to the one you describe - tie your own seat belt was a favourite pastime and to 'return your seat back to the upright position' a bit of a lottery ...

Like you, I experienced very smooth landings - I think this is helped by the undercarriage, which on all these aircraft is designed to cope with rough landing strips, being widely set and retracting into nacelles in the wings rather than into the body. (That's definitely enough anoraky stuff - ed.)

22nd Aug 2004, 16:48

All the Hemus Tu134As date from the mid-1970s. They are ex-Balkan and CSA mainstream aircraft that doubtless operated into Heathrow in their youth. The "portable" supplementary oxygen (if depressurisation occurs FA comes round with O2 handhelds while the crew presumably have to go into a steep dive - quite how FA makes it up the aisle from the front at this time is not explained !) was a thing from an earlier era - did I once hear that the Caravelle had the same ?

I've often wondered if the 134 is not in fact a bit of a handful to land. Certainly of the airframes that have been lost over the years there are an unduly high proportion where it seems to have got away from the crew in final approach. I've only ridden in one once (a Pulkovo one, nicely maintained interior) and that was put down as a real greaser too though. A derivative of the 134 was the standard Soviet Air Force bomber crew trainer, and so for many high time old Eastern bloc pilots they have known the aircraft for many years.

I suppose there aren't too many 134 skippers on PPRuNe ! There's a recently published whole book on them which you can get in an anorak's shop.

22nd Aug 2004, 17:37
The oxygen sounds as if it came from the same clever mind as the 154's escape slides. I wonder who thought it was a good idea to lock them away in the galley and not put them on the doors..........

Airways Ed
31st Aug 2004, 01:29

Correct about the Caravelle. Only the United airplanes had a drop out oxygen system to meet FAA standard.

If depressurization problem, pull air brakes and descend at 11-12000fpm. No worries!