Spotting at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Norway, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 06-09-2014

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Comfort Hotel Runway
This is a guest report from Mark Williams, who recently stayed at one of Norway’s best spotting hotels…I have recently returned from a one night stay at the Comfort Hotel RunWay at Oslo Airport.

The hotel is nicely situated next to the perimeter fence overlooking Runway 01L/19R. To get there from the airport you have a couple of options – the more expensive dedicated S44 hotel shuttle bus at 70NOK or the cheaper normal service bus 855 which involves a short 2 minute walk from the stop to the hotel.

I had emailed the hotel beforehand requesting a high floor room overlooking the airport and they replied very promptly saying a suitable room had been allocated. True to their word, they had reserved me such a room and with the minimal of fuss from an efficient front desk I was ready to spot. The fourth floor room (which is the top floor) contained a number of suitable rooms – 4015, 4017, 4019, 4021, 4023 and 4025 all being noted as among those suitable for our needs.

Runway 01L/19R is right in front of you and everything can be easily read off with binoculars. The hotel grounds actually end at the perimeter fence. There is an issue with trees in these grounds, and this will be to a greater or lesser extent from each individual room. However, there should be sufficient gaps from all to ensure nothing on this runway would be missed. Views over to the terminal are again affected by the trees, although the gaps will allow at least some sections of the piers to be seen. Where they are, reading the registrations off was no problem.

Oslo Spotting Hotel

Cargo was parked opposite the hotel, and being tail-on could not be read off. Runway 01L/19R seemed to handle the majority of the domestic or short regional traffic, and while this is probably favoured at first, the repeats start after about 5 or 6 hours After about 24 hours, little lands that hasn’t already been seen. However, much of the long haul traffic seemed to depart (not land) from this runway – including Norwegian B787s, Thai B777s and a SAS A330. While this can’t of course be guaranteed (the Qatar B787 for instance went off Runway 01R on one day and 01L on the other), from your perch at the Comfort Hotel RunWay most of the wide-body movements were read off.

The other runway (01R/19L) is just out of range for reading with binoculars (particularly of course as it is through glass and at an angle). However, seeing everything land on Runway 01R was no problem, so identification with SBS would ensure nothing is missed. They landed on 01R/01L during my entire stay – I imagine trees would mean if they were landing on 19L it wouldn’t have been so easy to even see them, so runway use could affect your logging considerably.

One thing I must mention. While the rooms are more than adequate, they only have a long thin window, which is set quite low. Not only does this mean the room is quite dark, but at 6ft, I had to bend down to actually see out (if you are 5ft it would be about perfect). However, if you settle down for a long spotting session, you will no doubt be seated, and I could see out of the window from a chair.

The room was priced at 849NOK (roughly £84 / $135) which included a half-decent breakfast – not bad for this location. There is a restaurant and a small snack area, and although there are other hotels nearby and a large conference centre, there appeared to be no other local places to get provisions.

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Apart from the excellent view of the near runway that the hotel affords, it is also well placed to reach the SAS museum, which contains a small spotter’s terrace that is permanently open.

The museum itself is only open on Tuesday and Sunday. It is around a 15 minute walk away. Head out of the hotel and turn right on Hans Gaarders Veg. Keep heading along this road (running virtually parallel with the perimeter fence) and you will come to the museum and the raised spotting terrace. A quick look at Google Maps will show the way.

The terrace is a wooden structure, accessed via a few stairs, and gives a good panoramic view of the airport. The parked West Air ATPs (out of sight from the hotel) are right in front of you, and I could also read off the inhabitants of the cargo area (as well as a couple of biz jets in the GA area). The view of runway 01L/19R is restricted to about half the runway at one end but is very close with an excellent view of traffic departing off 01L. I imagine the views of traffic landing on 19R would be equally as impressive.
When I was departing I met an extremely helpful lady from NSSF – The Norwegian Plane Spotter Association who kindly gave me a copy of their viewing guide and offered advice as to the best spots. Check them out and show your support – they clearly do some good work to ensure that such facilities exist for us all. It appears that the majority of spotting locations for Runway 01R/19L require a car. All the long-haul traffic landed on this runway during my stay (but, as previously mentioned, the majority departed off the near 01L/19R runway). Most of the international traffic from Europe (if not all) seemed to land on 01R/19L and much went out that way too, so, for a registration reader, expect to miss some frames. While my success rate out in the open air and side on from the viewing terrace of departing traffic from 01R improved, it is still quite a long way away so success is by no means guaranteed. However, if the weather is good (there is no shelter here), this would be an extremely nice place to spend a few hours and is highly recommended.

Movements wise, Oslo was actually busier than I had expected. Norwegian and SAS dominate as you would expect with their B737s, although there was a healthy number of Wideroe Dash 8s in action. Three different Norwegian Dreamliners were seen in the 24 hours, plus a daily Thai B777, Qatar B787, a SAS A330, Primera B737 and Novair A321. Cargo offered a UPS B767, Jet Time B737 and Air Contractors ATR42.

Overall, an extremely enjoyable 24 hours in Oslo which, like the hotel and spotting terrace, comes highly recommended.

You can book a room at the Comfort Hotel RunWay Oslo here: http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-gardermoen-norway-NO113

 

 

5 new cockpit videos from Justplanes

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Ethiopia, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Norway, Spotting Equipment Reviews, Spotting Videos, Switzerland, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 05-01-2014

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Justplanes really are the best in the business when it comes to cockpit recordings, with such a wide ranging back catalogue.

JustPlanes thiopian 787

I thought I’d bring you details of a few recent additions to their collection which have caught my attention.

1. Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Join the world’s most advanced airliner on flights from Addis Ababa to destinations across Africa, Asia and Europe. 8 flights included.

2. Norwegian Boeing 787-800
Fly Norwegian’s 737s on routes across Scandinavia and mainland Europe, including a flight to the most Northerly airport in the world!

3. Air Canada Boeing 767-300
Fly long haul and short haul in Air Canada’s 767s, including a trip to Hawaii, and the famous landing at St. Maarten as seen from the cockpit!

Just Planes SWISS

4. Air France Boeing 777-200ER
Follow the pilots of this state-of-the-art aircraft in a flight from Paris to New York JFK. It covers everything from the moment they arrive at the airport, including planning and pre-flight, to the charts, cockpit instruments, approach, landing and all the outside cockpit views.

5. Swiss Airbus A340-300
Like the Air France 777 example above, this one follows the pilots through every aspect of their flight both on the ground and in the air, as they take an A340 from Zurich to San Francisco. Fascinating documentary and cockpit views.

 

Norwegian orders Boeing 787-9s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Norway, Western Europe | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Norwegian Air takeoffNowegian, one of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner operators, has ordered two of the larger 787-9 variants.

The aircraft will be leased from MG Aviation, and arrive in 2016.

“In order to run a competitive long-haul operation, we are dependent on brand new cost-efficient aircraft. I´m very satisfied to have secured our first two 787-9 Dreamliners. This is a fantastic airplane with high passenger comfort, long range and low fuel burn,” said Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos.

Norwegian set to enter Spanish domestic market

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Norway, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 12-09-2013

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Norwegian 737-800Norwegian has applied to serve a number of domestic routes in Spain as it continues to grow its network and hubs in the country.

The routes initially applied for include Madrid to Tenerife South and Barcelona to Tenerife South.

Flights will be operated by Boeing 737-800 aircraft, commencing on 1 January 2014.

Norwegian to set up US base

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, Norway, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 15-07-2013

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Norwegian Air takeoffNorwegian’s chief executive, Bjørn Kjos, has announced that the airline will set up a base in the United States towards the end of 2013.

Like their recently opened bases at Alicante and London Gatwick, the base will become a hub for Norwegian flights and staff. It will become operational following the delivery of the airline’s third Boeing 787 in October.

The location of the base is likely to be Miami or New York. It replaces any previous plans to open a base in Asia.

Norwegian takes delivery of first 787

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, Norway, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 28-06-2013

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Norwegian Air takeoff Boeing 787s are coming thick and fast. Today, Norwegian took delivery of its first example, EI-LNA.

This aircraft  is actually leased from ILFC, so it is simultaneously the first Boeing 787 to be delivered to that company.

Norwegian Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Kjos said, “Today marks a major milestone in Norwegian’s history. It’s with great pleasure we eventually take delivery of our first 787 Dreamliner. Both our many customers and we at Norwegian have been looking forward to this for several months. I’m convinced that our customers will love flying this brand new aircraft with its many customer friendly features. Our goal is to operate the most environmentally friendly and cost efficient fleet, something to which the Dreamliner will significantly contribute.”

Norwegian currently has eight 787s on order through lease agreements and direct deliveries. The carrier will use the 787s to service its new long-haul routes from Oslo and Stockholm to New York and Bangkok. In November, the airline also will operate the 787 to Fort Lauderdale from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

See the 787 routes Norwegian will fly on our 787 Routes page.

SAS buys A350s and more A330s

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 25-06-2013

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A350-900 SAS (c) AirbusSAS Scandinavian Airlines has placed an order for Airbus A350XWB and A330 aircraft.

The order comprises eight A350-900s, and four A330-300s.

Currently, SAS operates a fleet of 19 A320 Family aircraft, four A330s and seven A340s. The new wide-body aircraft will fit seamlessly into the airline’s fleet and deliver operational efficiencies and cost savings due to the commonality across the fleet, a feature unique to Airbus.

Qatar Airways 787s coming to Scandinavia

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Denmark, Middle East, Norway, Qatar, Spotting News, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 13-06-2013

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Qatar 787Qatar Airways has announced that it will introduce its Boeing 787s on services from Doha to Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm Arlanda.

The flights commence on 1st August to Stockholm, and 1st September to both Copenhagen and Oslo.

Flights will operate daily.

Keep an eye on our 787 Routes Page for destinations you can see the Dreamliner.

Norwegian to operate 787 flights in Europe

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, France, Norway, Spain, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 06-06-2013

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Norwegian Dreamliner 2 photo_Atle StraumeNorwegian plans to use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on routes to European destinations from both its Oslo and London Gatwick bases.

Routes from Oslo include Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, and Nice. Various destinations from Gatwick will also be used.

787 Dreamliner summer schedule: 
Oslo – Malaga – Oslo: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
Oslo – Alicante – Oslo: Monday and Friday
Oslo – Barcelona – Oslo: Monday and Friday
Oslo – London – Oslo: Thursday and Sunday
Oslo – Nice – Oslo: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday

These flights will aid in crew familiarisation training ahead of the type beginning long-haul flying for Norwegian (see 787 Routes Page for more info)

SAS to retire last MD-82 in October

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Denmark, Norway, Spotting News, Sweden, Western Europe | Posted on 06-06-2013

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SAS MD82SAS Scandinavian Airlines has announced that it will retire its last McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft in October.

It will reduce its remaining fleet of nine aircraft between now and 26 October, when the final flight will take place between Stockholm Arlanda and Copenhagen Kastrup.

Prior to this final flight, a special tour of the three Scandinavian capitals will depart from Copenhagen, and include flying over the Arctic Circle in Norway and a fly by of Bodø Airport. A farewell ceremony will also be held at Copenhagen.