We’re having a break in Tweed Heads to visit family and are staying in a house not far from Coolangatta / Gold Coast Airport (YBCG). Sitting on the balcony with a beer, I can watch the commercial jets heading out (mostly Virgin Blue and JetStar), the occasional corporate jet, helicopters and a few lighties. There’s a couple of flight schools at this airport so there are a few lighties doing circuits in the gaps around the jets. This house would be perfect if it were only a little higher up the hill behind us, then I could see the tarmac as well.
As usual, we flew Virgin Blue out of Melbourne. We could fly JetStar but we’re not too impressed with them and only use them when there’s no alternative. While waiting for our flight at a cafe in Melbourne airport, we got our first “in the flesh” look at QANTAS’ new A380. It’s not yet in commercial service but is flying around Australia doing familiarisation and shake down flights. Damn that thing is huge – at first glance it was just another aircraft until you realise it’s got two levels of windows and/or it goes past another aircraft. They parked over on the freight ramp with a terminal building between us. We could only see the tails of the other aircraft there (including a B747) but the whole upper deck of the A380 could be seen. Amazing.
As we taxied out to the runway we passed one of Virgin Blue’s new Embraer E-jets. At first glance they look like a 737 until you get a better look at it. When seen against a 737, it looks like someone’s shrunk it down. I’d love to see one next to the A380.
After holding short for a Tiger Airways A321 to land we moved out onto the runway and sat there for ages. I have no idea why we waited so long on the runway but finally the engines were powered up and away we went. Otherwise, the flight was uneventful – some light chop in the early cruise and some sharp jolts as we descended into cloud on approach. Coolangatta terminal is undergoing some massive rebuilding so getting in involved long detours, queuing when the path narrowed and filing through a single door into a complete disaster inside – I imagine it’ll be great when it’s all finished, but for now it’s a place to avoid. Not looking forward to flying out on Monday, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, for now it’s time to relax, unwind and watch the aircraft while drinking some beers on the balcony.