Tour Report: Iranian Skies & Cities II – “Flying the Classics”

Iranian Skies & Cities II: Flying the Classics

(Traveled on November 15, 2016 – November 17, 2016)

The second Iran tour I organized together with Yukihiro was split into three thematic parts – Exploring Iranian History, Flying the Classics, and Kish Airshow 2016. The second part of the report takes a look at the main part of the tour – “Flying the Classics” in which we had a chance to fly on a variety of classic aircraft types including the Boeing 727 and 747-300.

Table of Contents

Day 4: November 15, 2016 (Tuesday)

A Bumpy Start

Having had a long previous day, we decided to sleep in, and head straight to the airport (with a quick stop at Azadi Square on the way) to catch our Iran Aseman flight to Mashad.

The plan was to fly to Mashad on a Iran Aseman 727 and return back to Tehran after a 2 hours and 20 minutes long layover.

When we arrived at the airport we found out that we were in a bit of a trouble. Our original time of arrival in Mashad was 2:40PM. Based on the monitor, our flight was delayed and would depart at 2:30PM.

Turning into an emergency mode, no matter how much we calculated, we always got a time of arrival in Mashad after the closure of check-in for our flight back.

As such, we headed into the Mahan Air operations office to see what we could do. It took a bit of negotiations, but in the end, they agreed to call the Mashad office and issue our boarding passes remotely.

Mahan Air Office

Problem solving in the Mahan Air office.
Passports

Passports ready to be faxed over to Mashad.

On the bright side, it was confirmed the Mahan flight would be operated by a 747-300, and after solving the check-in problem, we confirmed that in the Aseman office that our Aseman flight was indeed operated by a 727.

Fleet Watch

The screen in Mahan’s operations office indeed showed our flight “1034” as operated by EP-MND, the 747-300.

At least no equipment change on the two most important types of the tour!

EP602: Tehran to Mashad with Iran Aseman Airlines

As the new time of departure was approaching, we headed through security.

2:30PM, but no boarding… 2:40PM, but no boarding… We started counting down how much more delay we could afford before missing the flight.

The original agreement was that we would pick up our boarding passes in the Mahan Air office in Mashad. The time to do that, however, was running out. As such, I found the Mahan gate agent and asked him if he could get in touch with his colleagues in Mashad.

Once again, after a bit of convincing, he managed to arrange for the Mahan Air staff in Mashad to wait for us in the arrivals area with our boarding passes. At this point, all we could do was hope and pray.

Just as the Mahan Air staff agreed to help us out, the boarding started.

FIDS

Departure delayed to 14:30, but no boarding even at 14:25.
Boarding

Boarding.

We were put into a bus, and soon we got to EP-ASB – one of the three Iran Aseman 727s.

Boeing 727

The flight was operated by EP-ASB.
Boeing 727

Getting onboard my fifth 727 flight.

Boarding was completed at 3:02PM, and at 3:10PM – 1 hour and 50 minutes before the scheduled departure of our Mahan Air flight – we started taxiing.

After a very bumpy take off run, we got into the skies at 3:21PM, and less than ten minutes later, the seatbelt signs were switched off.

With the crew released from their seats, the meal service was done.

Surprisingly, I knew two of the three cabin crew members – one from the February tour, and one from our A340 flight the day before. As such, the rest of the flight was spent chatting with them and taking photos.

Meal

Simple, yet sufficient meal.
Mt. Damavand

Flying by Mt. Damavand.
Crew

Mr. Ballar who I flew with on the first tour as well.
Cabin

The cabins of Aseman 727s are very well maintained.
Crew

Photo with the crew that was also on our flight from Shiraz the day before.

The seatbelt signs were switched back on after 40 minutes of cruise, and we landed at Mashad airport at 4:27PM. We reached our gate six minutes later, at 4:33PM – 27 minutes before the scheduled departure time of our next flight.

Emergency Equipment

Emergency equipment location plate.
Boeing 727

Getting off the 727 during sunset.
Mahan Air 747

A view of the Mahan Air 747-300 that took us back to Tehran during deboarding of Iran Aseman 727. Was this really in 2016?!

W51034: Mashad to Tehran with Mahan Air

After quickly disembarking, we got out into the arrivals zone, and we could not believe our eyes. There was one of the Mahan Air staff waiting for us with our boarding passes – we couldn’t thank him enough!

Following him, we ran through the terminal, proceeded through the security, and headed to the departure gate – gate 13.

We made it!

We handed our boarding passes to the gate agent, and walked down the jetway on the 747-300!

More about the great flight we had onboard the last classic 747 in passenger service will be posted in a separate report.

Quick Transfer

Briskly following the Mahan Air staff at Mashad airport.
Mahan Air Boeing 747-300

The 747-300 that brought us back to Tehran from Mashad.

Dinner with Iran Air 747 Crew

Once we were back from Mashad, we had another aviation-themed event scheduled. We headed straight to downtown Tehran to Orkideh kebab restaurant where we had a dinner with some of the Iran Air 747 crew.

Dinner with Iran Air Crew

The “Iranian Skies & Cities II” group together with a number of Iran Air crew members.

Day 5: November 16, 2016 (Wednesday)

Revisiting Tabiat Bridge and Flying the Pouya An-74

On the fifth day of the tour, we split into two groups. Part of the group was doing a roundtrip flight on Pouya Air’s Antonov An-74 to Kalaleh while the rest of us spent the first part of the day in Tehran.

Pouya Air Antonov An-74

The Pouya Air An-74 at Kalaleh airport. (Photo by Lutz S.)
Pouya Air Antonov An-74

The almost-windowless cabin of the An-74. (Photo by Lutz S.)

Since some of the participants that joined the tour after the Exploring Iranian History part had never been to Tabiat Bridge before, we decided to spend the morning there.

Taleghani Park

Taleghani Park.
Tabiat Bridge

View of Northern Tehran and Modares Highway from Tabiat Bridge.

After that, on our way to pick the Pouya Air part of the group, we stopped by the Iran Air headquarters where an A300 tail is preserved. While taking pictures there, we ended up striking a conversation with one of Iran Air employees that later even brought us tea. You gotta love Iranian hospitality!

Tea

The kind Iran Air staff that brought us tea.
Iran Air A300 Tail

The tail of an Iran Air A300 (EP-IBR) displayed in front of the airline’s headquarters.

W51037: Tehran to Mashad with Mahan Air

Once the group reunited, we headed to a coffee shop for some time before returning back to the airport to catch our flight on Mahan Air’s A300 – another type for the log. The destination was, once again, Mashad.

This time, we were flying economy.

The full flight will be covered later in a separate post.

Upon our arrival in Mashad, we headed straight to our hotel for the night – Sinoor Grand Hotel. As part of the group would be splitting from us in the morning, after check-in, we bid the people ending the tour here a farewell, and called it a night.

Mahan Air A300

Onboard Mahan Air A300, bound for Mashad.
Hotel Grand Sinoor

Last full group photo of the tour, at Sinoor Grand Hotel.

Day 6: November 17, 2016 (Thursday)

Visiting Imam Reza Shrine

After a fairly short night, and a quick breakfast in the hotel, we headed to Imam Reza holy shrine around 7AM. We spent a little over an hour there before heading back to the hotel to pick up the rest of the group and heading to the airport to catch our 11:45AM flight back to Tehran.

Imam Reza Holy Shrine

Imam Reza holy shrine.
Imam Reza Holy Shrine

The “early birds” at Imam Reza holy shrine.

IR465: Mashad to Tehran with Iran Air

While the flight was originally scheduled to be operated by a classic A300B2, unfortunately, the type got changed to a Fokker 100.

The flight, operated by EP-IDG, was pushed back at 11:55AM – ten minutes after its scheduled departure time, and ten minutes later, we were in the air. Another hour and twenty minutes later, we landed in Tehran.

Similar to the Mahan 747-300 and A300 flights, this flight will be covered later in a separate report as well.

Iran Air Fokker 100

Boarding the last flight of the “Flying the Classics” part of the tour.
Iran Air Fokker 100

Approach into Mehrabad airport offers superb views of the metropolis.

With the second Mashad to Tehran flight over, the Flying the Classics part of the tour was over as well.

Some participants headed home or continued their journey on their own.

The rest of us still had the Kish Airshow part of the tour ahead of us.


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