View Full Version : Best flight - Worst flight

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Oct 2014, 08:03
Best - SAS from Bergen to Oslo some years ago. Smooth night flight over moonlit mountains, clouds, fjords and glittering lights. Impeccable flight, terminals, loading, cabin service and refreshments. A clear still night, after a fabulous day-trip to Bergen by train through snow and mountains, and very pleasant time wandering around the delightful town sipping hot apple juice and eating delicious marinated pickled herrings.

Worst - many years before. Airwork Hermes trooping flight to Nairobi. Cramped, uncomfortable, shaky, turbulent, smelly, noisy, sweaty, low and just long, long, long. Dreary stops at Malta, El Adem, Khartoum and Entebbe. In-flights confined to tired old boxed refreshments issued on the ground, or cold and greasy offerings in the terminal. Not a good introduction to flying but at least we eventually got there in one piece.

24th Oct 2014, 08:24
Well personally, despite the endurance test your flight on the Hermes obviously was, I wish I'd been around to fly on the pistonliners "back in the day," but I wasn't (born late 1950s). Though I have read that the Hermes was apparently definitely not one of the best of those aircraft.

Best flight: Super DC-3 in 2008 from Cochabamba to Uyuni and back, both in Bolivia. Click on this link for shot of the aircraft, then search my photostream using "Uyuni:" https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/12519735563/in/photolist-k5jVcH-k5mQCE-9xS9FQ-9xPcZM-9xSaMU-k5mPU5-9xSb3o-k5jpUr-9ymGht-9zW34k-9xPbQp-9xS8MQ-9xPbtc-ddCsWW-9xSaqw-9y9fdU-9xS9j5-k5xuKH-dWzqVX-k5A4ks-k5yc3V-k5xtnx-k5xw94-9xSbEb-9xPcWc-kb7zhb-jovHbN-kkTSQo-kkTNtY-knsABP-knsDeT-k5mJd5-knrVUa-dWzrAK-9xPdgK-aaW7jY-9xPdqD-knubkQ Wonderful aircraft and incredible scenery.

Worst flight: how about last Saturday, 18th October, from Manchester to London: fifteen minute wait for ATC clearance at the gate in M/C; 25 minutes in the stack at Heathrow; ten minutes waiting for a gate at LHR. Total time, gate to gate, one and a half hours! I think the Vanguards used to do it in about forty minutes back in the 1960s-tho of course airspace was much less crowded in those-halcyon-days.

I've deliberately not named the airline concerned in my "Worst flight," as all the circumstances that gave rise to it were clearly beyond their control.

24th Oct 2014, 10:11
Mr OS,

Is the multi-leg journey that you describe, to be considered 'a flight'?

If so, I'll trump your UK to Nairobi in a civy Hermes, with Marham to Karachi, and return in a Hastings. 3 days in the air, each way, with night stops at El Adem and Khormakser and refueling stops at Luqa and Khartoum.

Now waiting for somebody that experienced a Valletta ride to the Far east!

The worst civilian trip as a fare paying pax, Air Zimbabwe, Johannesburg to Vic Falls in a rather antique B-707. Everything rattled, or was shabby and worn.

The best, for inter-continental, Business Class on Varig, Johannesburg - Rio - Los Angele's. Miami - Rio - Johannesburg and Johannesburg - Rio - Miami. The best service ever, gorgeous wines :ok: That was why they went bust :sad:

The best cattle class, when I paid :sad:, Air Austral, Johannesburg - Gillot, Reunion. My 1st trip with them in 1992. Since then they have deteriorated to just another airline, but in the early days they really did try. The change of name of the airport to Rolland Garros shouldn't have affected things.

After all, he did far more for aviation than O R Tambo ever did.:=

joy ride
24th Oct 2014, 10:15
Best flight: Flying a Tiger Moth
Equal best flight: every time I went in a BOAC Super VC 10 (about 10 times)

Worst flight: every time I went in a Lockheed Electra Flame-thrower (about 10 times)

24th Oct 2014, 10:22
Best : In the cockpit of a Lufthansa 747 from Santiago de Chile to Buenos Aires on a crystal clear day with every detail of the cordillera seeming almost within touching distance. The flight seemed to take about 15 minutes!

Worst : probably a flight on the old CSA from Prague to Poprad Tatry on an old Russian twin prop banger which was filthy dirty and falling to pieces, vibrated worse than a Vanguard, broken seat belts, not that they'd have been any help anyway, and the pine forests seemed to be brushing the wingtips. The only time I've been scared on a commercial flight, to the extent that I disembarked at the intermediate stop, Bratislava, and took a train to Poprad.

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Oct 2014, 10:56
Strangely enough later I was to become a Handley Page apprentice until their demise and, amongst many other things, worked on RAF Hastings main spar renovations. Hastings wings were very similar to the Hermes, and I well remember the sad state of corrosion and stress cracking on those spars, and the smelly bird remains we had to scrape out of crevices and air-intakes. Later, in the Customs at LHR I remember an occasional DC3 (was it South West Airlines?) and other rare types - the Curtiss Commander, Carvair, and Bregeut Deux Ponts come to mind, together with some very odd Russian types. I would have liked to have flown in a DC3 but an arranged flight at Coventry had to be called off for technical reasons and another planned flight, on Concorde, had to be abandoned due to domestic constraints. I went on Concorde many times (on the ground and on behalf of Her Majesty) and my dream was to fly out to New York on it and return on the old QE2 but it never happened. I shall enjoy looking at the Bolivian stuff. Many thanks.
PS: Another strange old thing - the one and only Fairey Rotodyne was parked in a corner at White Waltham for a long time quite close to the main railway line, but I never got up close to it.

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Oct 2014, 11:07
Any one of those Hermes flight legs would have qualified as awful. But on the positive side I remember the great pleasure later of a 747 Alitalia upgrade to first-class Bangkok to Sydney. Oh, yes, indeed!

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Oct 2014, 11:20
Never flew in a Vanguard but knew it had a bad reputation for vibration. As a Handley Page apprentice I remember we were shown round BEA engineering at Heathrow and being mighty impressed by the Vanguard and its size, spaciousness and big windows. Then they took us down Weybridge to see the VC10 being made - I well remember the huge piles of silver swarf from the computer-controlled milling machines carving out the fuselage panels. It was state-of-the-art stuff in the early 60s.

24th Oct 2014, 13:14
Best- early crisp moring with my dad in California, flew in a 177 to Mojave and kicked the always interesting tires on the ramp, grabbed the $100 burger and return.

Worst- hot summer day agian over southern California- put in the rear jump seat of a friends Bonanza to help with CoG. Teeth rattling turbulance over the mountains, up and down 100's of feet without warning.

24th Oct 2014, 14:28
How about a 10 minute flight in Concorde from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
It was obviously light and only had staff on board so the captain treated us to the most spectacular take off.

24th Oct 2014, 14:39
The worst would have been an 'Indonesian airline' 747-200, Jakarta to Sydney.
Even the cabin crew were rattled. I wanted kiss the ground after the eventual (VERY firm) landing.

The best, ah yes, a Tiger Moth one beautiful morning!
Every Viscount flight (ca. '59 - '61).
I also liked the Diesel-9.

BTW, joy ride, what was the problem with the Electra flights? I never got to fly on one.

p.s. Herc flights were generally a PITA even though I knew our safe arrival was guaranteed.

24th Oct 2014, 14:51
Worst pax Lyneham to Akrotiri C130. Yes I know pretty tame by some accounts but it was sh1t. Worst at pointy end Moscow to LHR. Long story but the ground heating unit had run out of fuel in the middle of the night. The aircraft had frozen up when my ground crew arrived. We took off on 3 and one at idle. Closed one down after take off and another one idled back in the cruise. Landed on three. There were also all sorts of bits which I never understood not working. The Flt Eng should have had a commendation but then questions would have been asked :eek: They couldn't move it from LHR for three days.

Best: all EK 1st class flights and any bush flying here :ok:

Akrotiri bad boy
24th Oct 2014, 15:33
Worst first, then I can finish on a high note.

XL B767 Grenada - LGW A flying public convenience/creche

I have joint contenders for best:
Shackleton on a gin clear winter's morning over Caithness, heading out to the Faroes gap. I was enjoying a cuppa in the nose turret as we formated with a Loganair BN2, All this plus the smell of warm pies being wafted forward on the fuel rich breeze in the cabin.
DH Devon running the low level route southwards from Lossiemouth to Turnhouse. Each twist and turn created more carnage in the cabin with ashtrays gravitating and sweetie wrappers floating it gave me an indication of what the previous passenger had been up to. I was a rigger, he was the AOC:eek:

24th Oct 2014, 15:49
Worst: BOAC VC-10 KLAX to Sydney ... full to the brim with Aussie families going home. Screaming kids, etc. We stopped every few hours. By the time we reached Sydney, I wasn't sure what day it was. It had seemed as though the sun kept going up and down.

Best: Hard to choose between many good flights. Maybe the best was when TWA was disorganized at Paris and upgraded me to 1st class. PAR - JFK. Transatlantic first class was very impressive for a person used to being in steerage.

joy ride
24th Oct 2014, 17:29
Stanwell: there were several things I hated about Electras:

Myself and 2 years older brother flew unaccompanied regularly London and Washington DC and/or New York, from when I was 8 - 12, so my feelings and memories may not be completely reliable!

1) We flew in Electras between Dulles and NY any time when there was no direct flight, so going from a Super VC 10, 707 or DC8 into an Electra was a huge disappointment, as well as a longer and more scary journey. Once we got stranded at NY for 24 hours, heading to Washington for HOLIDAY! Some cock-up with the Elektra shuttle flight and we were sat on a round seat in the brand new TWA Terminal and left without food or drinks for 24 hours. When the Elektra finally did arrive there were still delays, then a really bumpy flight.

2) Landing at National Airport, Washington (we were usually right at the back) was very unnerving because it really felt we were going into the Potomac river, the big airports we were more used to had long enough runways!

3) No films, drinks or food, apart from one sweet for take off.

4) Always seemed to be bad, turbulent weather. I regularly got coated in my brother's digesti, er, well it was nasty!

1) to 4) could be forgiven but...

5) When those 4 flame throwers, sorry, "turbo-prop engines" started up, huge jets of flame spewed out over the top rear surfaces of each wing, and sometimes recurred during flight. There were special metal flame-guard sheets at the rear of each engine (clearly a different colour and alloy), but even at 8 I knew what the wings contained!

I don't know much about them, perhaps they were good reliable planes, I don't know, but to fly in they were truly terrifying to me and my brother. After a VC10 they looked and felt dirty, primitive and thrown together. Just my impression!

24th Oct 2014, 20:02
After they fixed the vibration problem, the Electra wings no longer fell off. DC <-> New York isn't very far, so the flights were probably at lower altitudes and thus bumpy.

KDCA (Washington National) is certainly a very busy airport. Most of the time they only use the 6870-ft "long" runway and do 40+ operations per hour for many hours per day. It has been very many decades (1940s) since a plane went in the drink and that was due to a collision.

joy ride
24th Oct 2014, 20:16
Exactly, seacue, my impression of the Elektras themselves quite likely WAS skewed by my flight experiences, but those engine flames blasting over the wings just looked so wrong!

Halcyon Days
24th Oct 2014, 21:58
Seacue-Are we not forgetting the Air Florida crash ??

24th Oct 2014, 22:06
Joy Ride.

Are you sure they were Electras with flames over the wings? I think you might be thinking about Big piston engined aircraft. DC-6, Constellation or similar.

The L188 Electra had exhausts that ended at the trailing edge of the wing and in my 2700 hours on them as Flight Engineer I don't recall any reports of flames from the exhaust.

24th Oct 2014, 22:42
I posted an answer, which seems to have been eaten. I try to forget Air Florida ... but they certainly crashed on take-off from KDCA - too much snow.

24th Oct 2014, 22:42
Yes, we are forgetting the Air Florida crash - thanks (but no thanks).

I remember Air Florida from a charter from the Bahamas to Florida. Their plane had fewer seats than expected so some people had to wait for alternate transportation. Air Florida is gone and I did my best to forget them.

The Washington Metro was probably relieved that the Air Florida crash took up all the front pages -- since the Metro had its first serious accident that day. There was a lot of heavy wet snow.

joy ride
25th Oct 2014, 07:29
Dixi, yup pretty sure they were Elektras, certainly not radial engines, and by that age I was a seasoned traveller and pretty good on aircraft recognition! An American pilot friend, hearing my memories of flames once said something like "yup, those early Allisons did that sometimes", perhaps they only did it was I was on board!

Constellations were still a regular sight in those days, always fancied a flight in one but never got it!

25th Oct 2014, 08:27
I flew on a KLM Electra, from Milan-Linate to Schiphol in June 1968 at age 10. Everything seemed just fine to me. And I'm very glad now that I had that flight, as I don't think that many people in Europe outside of Holland can put the type in their log book now, as KLM were the sole European operator of the Electra.

25th Oct 2014, 08:28
First Best flight 1955 taken up for a birthday treat by an ex RAF pilot in an Auster from Squires gate.. things seemed really slow.. and very noisy .

Best Fight ever for me Concorde Champagne flight out of Manchester over the North sea turn left to the north turn left over the Faroe islands then another left turn and straight back down over Scotland to Manchester this was another birthday treat, from my darling leg-iron..!

many flights in between very mundane and boring many of them.

But the stand out from the rest was my first solo flight in a Helicopter, I have been smiling ever since.. :)

Peter R-B

25th Oct 2014, 09:10

one sweet for take off.Reminded me of one I'd forgotten about. Mid 70's.

Leeds/Bradford to Brussels, but with a change at Schiphol of both a/c and airlines, for what was maybe my shortest commercial flight. It was some obscure Dutch or Belgian airline with a piston engined a/c and the trolly dolly came round with a basket of boiled sweets. :ok:


Milan-Linate to Schiphol in June 1968Getting airborne on any flight out of Linate was always a relief. It was the most disorganised airport that I ever used. Unfortunately for work reasons, at one time I was a regular customer there. :ugh:

25th Oct 2014, 12:16
Joy Ride.

Maybe the problems had been fixed by the 1990s when I was on them.

Thanks for the memory anyway.

25th Oct 2014, 12:53
Any of the many flights I took to Nigeria could be described as the worst...

26th Oct 2014, 08:10
Best flight: Concorde, JFK to LHR, going for the record fastest crossing (according to the Captain!)
Worst flight: B727 on one of those Arabian airlines from Rome to Damascus. Boarded by the integral rear stairs to be greeted by the hostess who had holes in her stockings, the carpet was sticky like a low life bar that had had too much beer spilled on it, the food was terrible and the flight was late!

26th Oct 2014, 08:38
One of the best flights was Aleppo - Damascus 1st class on a Syrian Arab B727 back in 2006. Nice wide seats (70's style) Full breakfast service all for 12.

One of the worst was with Indian Airlines on a Caravelle between BOM & DEL during the 70's. No overhead lockers just netting. Needless to say hand luggage just fell out during turbulence.

Heathrow Harry
26th Oct 2014, 09:10
Best flight - 3 years ago LHR-HK- Auckland Businesses Class with ANZ - just wonderful

Worst flight - Aeroflot Krasnodar Moscow mid 90's battered Tu-154, world famous Aeroflot service, 1 sandwich on the trolley (which no one was brave enough to eat), no drinks whatsoever, main passenger door emitting a loud whistling noise all the way, not all the seat belts present........

Worst on ground experience - trapped at the old airport terminal (= hut) at Unjung Pandang in the mid-80's, flights delayed, packed , small child (not mine) with a wind up Santa Claus toy that hopped across the floor playing "Jingle Bells" - ... for hours.. I confessed to shooting the Arch Duke Ferdinand at Sarajevo after 3 hours

26th Oct 2014, 12:37
Joint worst, Akrotiri to Brize in a full Belfast and internal Air Ind*a flights.

Best in June 1977 home from Jeddah in one of the last BA VC10 flights, a chilled lager breakfast after 4 months alcohol free and a night in the terminal during ramadam.
Last year I was upgraded to first on a BA flight back from Tel Aviv, it was disappointing and I am glad that I hadn't paid for it.

26th Oct 2014, 17:06
Virgin America unveils SIX-HOUR video of worst flight imaginable on board 'Blah Airlines' | Daily Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2796927/virgin-america-unveils-six-hour-video-worst-flight-imaginable-including-awful-passengers-cabin-crew.html)

What a waste of time.

26th Oct 2014, 20:37
Until recently BEST was on a certain BAC/Aerospatiale Type 102, LHR-JFK BA001.....but last month flew on a Kenmore Air Turbo Otter out of Lake Union, Seattle on a crystal clear evening with the background of Mt Rainiers majestic snowy peak and the Puget Sound archipelago....now that really is flying

WORST? Garuda 737 somewhere over Java on a dark stormy night back in the early 90's where I really thought I might make page 5 of the Daily Telegraph "sole Briton confirmed aboard crashed airliner". No doubt chaps up front thought it was just another night in the office.

27th Oct 2014, 00:48
Best: Punta Arenas to Santiago on a LAN 320, seat 1L in 2008. Late afternoon and a spectacular sunset view over the Cordillera and Torres del Paine.

Worst. Iquitos - Tabatinga - Manaus on a Cruzeiro do Sul YS-11 in the mid seventies. I was fairly accustomed to frights at the time, with many hours in the back of Twotters, Cessnas and helicopters during the oil exploration years in the Peruvian Amazon, but this one was out of the ordinary. The flight operated MAO-TBT-IQT-TBT-MAO and, since at the time neither IQT nor TBT had runway lighting, aircraft had to be on the ground by sundown unless it was approaching Manaus. Massive fronts moving down the Amazon are not infrequent. Our company were the airline's agents and provided ground services. This time the flight was late because it had caught a front between Tabatinga and Iquitos, and we took off from Iquitos knowing that we'd probably have to spend the night in Tabatinga or Leticia. And of course we caught it just before arrival in TBT. Everything went black outside although with much flashing of lightning and the aircraft was thrown about quite violently. Hand baggage on overhead shelves (no lockers) tossed about, aluminium air conditioning vents fell off and there was a fair amount of screaming. After fifteen minutes of this we came through and landed at Tabatinga just minutes before the front engulfed the airport like a moving waterfall; everyone was drenched running the 100m from the aircraft to the terminal. The terminal was still under construction and consisted of a large open shed with a high roof so it afforded next to no protection.

After a night drying our sodden clothes in the hotels we were dispersed to, the still damp passengers assembled at sparrow-fart the next morning and we took off for Manaus, encountering the same front en route. Once again, overhead shelves tossing their contents about violently, aircon vents falling, same screaming, another fifteen minutes of "is this the way it ends". But we arrived and I went back to Iquitos the same way, lovely clear weather and views over the jungle.

27th Oct 2014, 01:34
Best: 1 hr 15 min in the back seat of a Hawk out of RAF Valley, operating in close formation with 2 other Hawks flown by student pilots.

Worst: Pranging my own newly purchased single seat aircraft by flaring it before touchdown when it was supposed to be 'flown on'.

27th Oct 2014, 05:59
My best flight ever started when I pulled the cable release knob in a Kirby Cadet for my first circuit at Booker in 1948. Oh the joy of not having to just stick to the straight line of a high hop and to be able make my own decisions about height and position just from what I could see.

The worst one was in a Shackleton in February 1953 when we went out to locate the ocean weather stations that had been driven off station in the Atlantic by the storms that caused the East Coast floods around the North Sea. Ground speeds on any heading in the north-west quadrant were down in double digits.

Nobody could get out of their seats on that flight due to the turbulence, but the weather station crews had had it worse.

Allan Lupton
27th Oct 2014, 09:08
Best has to be my first, in 1946, which was returning from the Isle of Man to Speke in a DH Rapide, having gone there in the ferry from Fleetwood in rough weather.

Worst was probably in the 1980s in a MAS F27 which was just out of Kuala Lumpur when the cabin temperature rose alarmingly and reaching for the punkah louvre, I found it too hot to touch. Captain Speaking announced there was trouble with one a/c system and he would have to shut down the engine and return. That he did, but it was his high-rate turn into the dead engine that frightened me most and made that the worst flight.

Or perhaps it was the Royal Air Nepal flight from Kathmandu to Delhi where we had a fellow-passenger dressed in battle fatigues who had regaled the departure lounge with a tirade about his beliefs and how he had studied war, etc. etc. to the point that he was so obviously the hijacker that the rest of us were reluctant to board. When we did we made sure we sat where we could keep an eye on him and on arrival at Delhi made sure we were through immigration before he was.
Since it turned out that he wasn't the hijacker I suppose the flight wasn't too bad really.

27th Oct 2014, 11:17
Best flight - 800ft winch launch into a thermal, then wave to 25000ft (over Kinloss) on a lovely summer's day :)
Worst flight - releasing in front of a stonking wave bar near Rippon (Yorkshire) misjudged the windspeed & immediately fell back into the cloud & then the rotor. Got below cloudbase to see the tug landing at Dishforth while I went into a field 5+ miles away in the depths of winter :{

Victor 102
16th Nov 2014, 20:25
Best flight 1947/48 Iwas thirteen year old Air Cadet at annual camp I was told too go & get a parachute as Iwould be flying in about twenty minutes in Avro Lincoln F-Freddy. Absolute heaven ,marched out too the A/C lugging this parachute all webbing straps that I could not stop tripping over F-Freddy
was sitting there with four great Merlins ticking over banged on the door it was opened by a RAF sergeant who told me in no uncertain terms to Push Off only thing left to do was back too the Parachute Store turned a corner bumped into a great big Flight Sergeant covered in WW2 medal ribbons he asked what was the matter & I bleated out my sad story no problem he had found a body to take his place in a Lincoln that would flying all around Scotland for about 3 hrs a few minutes later I was installed in the Mid-Upper Turret of A-Able off we went Binbrook up to Scapa Flow then stooge about over England & Scotland - Binbrook. Flight Time about 4hrs what we were supposed to be doing I never found out the crew were playing cards & eating sandwiches, so Iwas one happy boy!

17th Nov 2014, 02:20
The AF problem was not "too much snow". The P2/T2 sensor iced up so the Engine Pressure Ratio was completely false and thus their prime thrust indication during takeoff was not correct (and actually insufficient).

Barksdale Boy
17th Nov 2014, 03:27
Worst: any Vulcan trip on which an alternator failure after take off necessitated endless circuits to burn off fuel.

Best: a trip in an A-4 out of Ohakea in 1973. We flew the RNZAF Gold low-level route over the South Island culminating in an attack on Queenstown via Milford Sound. Finished off with F/O Rod Murdoch's aeros sequence over Rotorua. Met him ( now an NZ Airways captain) in Hong Kong a couple of years ago for a few drinks and reminiscences.

Espada III
19th Nov 2014, 18:00
Can't think of a really bad flight, but my best flight was two years ago from MAN to LHR on a BA A319. Only passenger on the plane, so we took off from halfway down the runway, and launched after what felt like a couple of seconds of acceleration. First class service for the 35 minutes flying time and got to spend mucho time in cockpit before and after.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
20th Nov 2014, 08:55
Best was jump seat in BA Concorde G-BOAD, Manchester to Paris (via Biscay for mach2 at 60,000'), in there, headset on, from pre-start checks in Manchester to shut down in Paris. Absolutely amazing! And what a view!

Or was it when I met the BBMF threesome in the Manchester LLR while flying the Chippy and got a lovely barrel roll from the Spit?

Worst was probably Ryanair Dublin to Manchester, only travelling with them because my booked Aer Lingus flight went tech.

21st Nov 2014, 18:50
Best - a Belfast from Lyneham to Belize, via Keflavik, Gander and Nassau - LHS, RHS, Nav Seat, WOP Seat, Bench seat, ramp seat then sleeping in the folds of a landy roof when I couldn't stay awake any longer.

Worst - Scheduled UA flight La Guardia - O'Hare - MSP about 30 yrs ago. Equipment change from a DC10 (I think) to an MD11 at the gate, seating was a free-for-all, eventually got airborne and the Cpt announced,"We have not yet determined our specific route or final destination at this time, but we will proceed towards Chicago until we hear differently."

Cue a major riot by half of the pax who were skiers and at least 6' 6" with onward reservations to Aspen or somewhere. Talk of assisting the decision making process which might well get you in serious trouble these days.

Eventually - All ended happily :ok:

22nd Nov 2014, 01:00
Best - for job-satisfaction, the extraction of a large number of troops in marginal weather conditions, from un-friendly territory, would be difficult to better. For the simple thrill of it - first-solo x-country in a Chippy.

Worst - possibly a night low-level trip from West Freugh to Jurby in the back of a Bo-105 of the Dutch Army. In a thunderstorm.

John Hill
22nd Nov 2014, 07:48
Worst, PIA (Prayers in the Air), waited all day in Karachi for the fog to clear at Pershawa. Passengers finally herded on board and off we went, to land at Islamabad!

Someone offered to arrange a 'fast taxi' but I chose to hire a car and driver for what was technically not part of the flight but certainly the worst part of the journey and that includes the next day leg to Kabul on a C206.

Best flight, any of the many that have landed at NZCH or NZAA.

22nd Nov 2014, 10:19
Best flight was first solo

Worst was the last one, miss the view.


22nd Nov 2014, 14:24
Worst Flight: As an apprentice at DH (before I became a stressman and knew better!) we used to go to the Flight Test Hanger to cadge a test flight ride - Comet 4's then. Funny, but this day nobody else hanging around wanted to go on this particular one. Turns out it was stall tests to see which wing stalled first. If we stalled once, we stalled 20 times (well it felt like 20, twas a long time ago). Don't think my eardrums were ever the same after that!
Best Flight: Same place, similar aircraft but a proving flight. Flew to France, to Scotland and via Ireland on the way back, all without stopping. A smooth flight on a clear day, you could see for miles. Bracks, the Chief Engineer, always looked after apprentices and there was an full food hamper on board.

Allan Lupton
23rd Nov 2014, 08:34
Ah, de Havilland in the 1950s, Mick!
I seem to remember word had got about that the stall tests were to be avoided - but they still used apprentoid mass as it could move itself for different CG positions, unlike the lead blocks (but the lead wasn't airsick).

I'm told by ex-Vickers folk that Vanguard power-on/power off stall tests were the worst flights in the industry.

(DHApprentice 1956-61)

23rd Nov 2014, 10:03
Best has to be my first powered solo - Tiger Moth T8191, 3 October 1963.

Worst is Ryanair, STN-PIK, June 1996. 100% fit on boarding, had asthma by the time we landed and had my ATPL medically suspended for 5 months as a result until I could pass a Class 1 again at LGW.

23rd Nov 2014, 10:47
DC3, Nutts Corner to Renfrew. Priviliged to sit in the right hand seat aged 8 1/2 yrs old. Captain was a family chum.


23rd Nov 2014, 12:38
My most frightening one was in a DH84 Dragon (aged 7 - my first flight).
Takeoff was from the Blackheath airstrip in the Blue Mountains and a few moments later we were over the escarpment looking down at the gorge a couple of thousand feet below.
I was not used to that kind of thing!

The most exhilarating, was not long after my first launch from Bald Hill at Stanwell Park (700ft AMSL) under my hang-glider when I realised I was indeed getting the lift the place is now famous for.

p.s. That may have something to do with my moniker.

p.p.s. I should add that I've had a few frights and exhilarations since then but it's the early memories that stick.

Mr Oleo Strut
19th Jul 2015, 11:21
Stansted to Guernsey in a Shorts 360, tossed about like a leaf in a storm with a landing like a bag of bricks. Great tribute to a tough little aircraft, but a nightmare for our nerves.
Air Canada to Vancouver. Three seats each after two fillet steaks, red wine and apple crumble to follow. A calm flight, good sleep, good music, spotless toilets and spectacular views of the Rockies later, followed by rapid transit through the airport. All very pleasant!

20th Jul 2015, 09:55
Passing IFR check ride.
Flying up the Potomac, landing DCA (ILS 3, circle 33) in a 172 @ 300 hours TT.
Flying Air-Air combat in T34s. Skywarriors based out of Charlie Brown Field near Atlanta.

3.5 hour flight solid IMC, no autopilot + slightly ill
X-Cty from Des Mones, Iowa to San Antonio Tx = boring terrain and boring co-pilot. Had to turn off the headset volume - I don't think he knew I did that, just kept on droning on and on like the engine.
Flying IFR approaches with the wind 40kts at 3000 ft. That was a dive and drive localizer!

Basicaly: It's better to be on the ground and wish you were up there, than to be up there wishing you were on the ground.

20th Jul 2015, 20:27
Worst was probably SAY (Salisbury as was now HRE) to JNB in October-ish 1970 in an Air Rhodesia Viscount. That wasn't the problem. The problem was the CB storm and us at 16,000 ... to observe it from the inside.

Many best ...
My first ever, LHR~JNB Via FCO + NBO in Dec '65 on VC-10 will never be forgotten and being 'driven' by my nephew in a J41 operating within South Africa on a scheduked service. He was First Office then and I was in the jump seat. Felt deeply proud.

But, like it is for others:

8th August 2003 LHR~NYC on BA0001 ... I was broke and could NOT afford the flight but could not afford to miss the chance. So it all went on the credit card but I got one of the SST out/Sub rtn flights.

It was worth it.

21st Jul 2015, 00:32
Best - cadet camp at Chivenor 1957 first flight ever, and in a Chippy. Yeh!! Mind you a 10 to Muhurraq in '65 was pretty good as well. Mind you it was a troop ship so the jockey just stuck the nose up and she wented. Did she ever.

Not sure whether worst - Boom of a Bubbly Singers, Cocos Islands, Port Hedland, Alice Springs - Laverton Melbourne. Saw a lot of Australia at low altitude. It just kept going and going and going and going.

air pig
21st Jul 2015, 20:21
Best flight, difficult, maybe a Chippie early in the evening at first ATC annual camp as a cadet at the now named Campletown airport known to generations as RAF Macrahannish, or in the back of the mighty Chinnok.

Concorde takes a lot of beating see the world from FL 500 and the earth's curvature but maybe one of the best was in a Lear 35 heading out of Liverpool, with an American captain who said to me 'you like flying ***' Yes I do ****. We taxied out to the end of the runway at the Hale end of the runway and sat, he ran the engines up until the aircraft shook dropped the brakes and down the runway we hurtled. wheels off and retracted at 20' kept her low until we were over the river and climbed like a homesick angel. just at 9000 went into a spiral climb whilst awaiting clearance from MCR. Landing back at our home airfield dropped like a Stuka on speed flared it onto a nose off high alpha landing and put the nose-wheel down at the end of the runway and taxied in.

Worst, none really, only one near troublesome was on a Comet 4c of Dan Air which blew and engine over Northern France on the way home from Italy and we landed at Gatwick walk over to the next Comet go on and flew to Manchester.

Mr Oleo Strut
24th Jul 2015, 11:54
I went on many a VC10 and Concorde on the tarmac but never managed to squeeze a flight on either, unfortunately. I often sat in my car behind both on take-off just for the noise and re-heat from the latter. Remarkable. I always thought that the VC10 had an air of superiority, serenity and spaciousness about it, and the SST was in a class of her own - a super Comet 4, jet bomber surrogate, stuff of dreams. Modern stuff is very fine, but I find are all very similar and lack individuality personality.

25th Jul 2015, 14:28
Best was first flight in a Mustang A68-144 at RAAF Base Schofields near Sydney. I was 21 at the time. Only had 218 hours in my log book having only flown Tiger Moths and Wirraways. Amazing acceleration on take off and very noisy but once settled into climb in training area and trying some aeros, I just wanted to stay up there all day.

Undercarriage wouldn't extend for landing, so pulled Pilots Notes Mustang from my flying suit pocket and read the instructions on what to do. That worked OK and happy ending except for holding off too high and did a very firm three-pointer.

Worst trip for frights was flying a 737 Taipei to Guam at night with typhoon forecast in the North Pacific to be close on our track 500 miles out from Taipei. In thick cloud we kept close watch eye on our radar expecting to see first of storms surrounding the eye 180 miles ahead. Lots of tiny echoes on the radar which I wrongly diagnosed was radar reflecting off large waves. The air was suspiciously calm when it should have been bumpy. Without any warning from the radar we ran smack into violent turbulence and lightning. Double checked the radar and realised it had failed. We didn't know exactly when it had packed up. We were now flying blind. Turned 90 degrees away from planned path of typhoon but still got beaten up in cloud. Use lightning flashes to pick our way between build ups. Eventually saw moonlight between clouds and set course for Guam again. Very glad that the 737 was a strong aircraft

After seat belts switched off, one of the young Pacific islander air hostesses appeared at cockpit door and asked if could we do it all again for the rest of the flight as she loved the turbulence because she didn't have to serve dinner to the passengers.. :eek: When ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise, came to mind...

Regulation 6
25th Jul 2015, 17:46
Worst flight was back in the '70s - a DC-10 into Lisbon at night. I remember the F/O was flying it. He must have been quite new because he made a god-awful approach and landing. Circling round on to 03 the bloody fool cut the corner thinking he was being slick, and lost sight of the field. During the final descent into what was a black hole, even I remember the Captain calling "you're getting bloody low!!" Thankfully, the runway eventually turned up and that lovely machine was unceremoniously thrown at it. I remember the looks from the dead-heading crew as they disembarked. They said it all.

The F/O wanted to quit but, over a few beers a bit later, was persuaded not to by the wonderfully understanding Captain - Charlie Gwyther, whose predictions about the F/O's future turned out to be quite true.

I was that F/O, and I still shudder when I think about that arrival - by far the worst I ever flew.

The best? Every other flight I made in a DC-10 over 12 years. As a Captain, it was the worlds best machine for commuting between one eating and drinking house and another - ably assisted by a committee!


25th Jul 2015, 20:21
Best- first solo off aerotow. 2000 ft above the west country with an ear to ear grin.

Worst. Internal flight from Warsaw to Gdansk in some Antonov rust bucket. At relatively low level as one door wouldn't shut. On arrival skidded off a snowy runway and ended in a drainage ditch. Long walk to the terminal followed by a lot of vodka and apple juice.

Neil Amrose
28th Jul 2015, 18:02
Best : returning home after a 3 month leave relief in Sierra Leone.1978.
Hitched a ride on a KLM DC-8 FNA AMS.Very friendly crew who were on
the last leg of a long South American trip and all had had a good time....
Meal up front rest of time on jump seat.Still got the Deft houses giveaways.

Worst.Abandoned take off LHR 1969 Pan Am 747.One engine blew prior to
rotate.9 hour delay.Arrived JFK 2200 their time.Still it was freebie !

29th Jul 2015, 20:29
Plenty of good flights:-

First solo (in a Chippy)
First commercial flight in command (TP)
First commercial flight in command (jet) (and all, well most, subsequent flights)
Pax on Concorde G-BOAD BAH-LHR.
Pax on many VC10 flights (BOAC, EAA, Ghana, Air Malawi)

The most memorably unpleasant series of flights were all on the same route and occurred before I became a professional pilot. My job at that time took me frequently to Africa and Nigeria in particular where I would spend up to two weeks before I could escape to relative civilisation in NBO. My schedule was arranged in such a way that I was able depart LOS for NBO on a Friday afternoon on the east-about PanAm round-the-world service (PA001?). The route always seemed to pass close to some of the most enormous Central African CBs, complete with thunderstorms and associated turbulence. The cabin crew would have us lower the blinds but not before we had seen the rather frightening amount of flex on the 707's wings. A few drinks and gritted teeth saw us through the worst of it to a pleasant weekend in Nairobi.

Mr Oleo Strut
29th Jul 2015, 21:04
A packed Virgin 747-400 LAX to LHR corker some years ago in severe weather. She was late in and we sat there watching disembarkation. Many of the pax looked white and shaken and some had to be helped off. When we loaded further delay due to door locking problem. Captain and crew were great but warned it was going to be a rough ride back. We soon found out what it was like to be inside an electrical storm at night and what the word turbulence meant. Pax were crying. No hot food served, only drink. Everything shaking and rattling, little white bags everywhere, but we got through and there was very loud applause all round when we touched down. A great credit to plane and crew, all real aviation professionals.

Contrast - a magic carpet ride in a Thai Airbus A340 last year from BKK to LHR. Hardly a tremor on the whole flight and two seats all to myself. The stuff of dreams.