04/11/2013

A Swiss aircraft makes two U-turns in one day.

Twice yesterday one particular Avro RJ-100 of Swiss had to turn around to come back to Geneva 30 minutes after taking off.


The aircraft, with registration HB-IXO, initially arrived in Geneva at 9h15 am yesterday, 10 April, having come from London City airport. It stayed quite a time in Geneva before taking off for Prague at 3h40 pm. However, around Zurich after 30 minutes flying time it had to turn around and return to Geneva, landing here at 4h42 pm.

After three and a half hours, during which time I suppose that it was checked, it took off to go back to London City airport. Unfortunately, whatever incident there had been earlier in the day was apparently repeated: after 30 minutes flying it turned around and came back to Geneva.

I guess that this time the repair staff took a greater interest in it, maybe working overnight. Anyway, it took off today for London City airport at just after 1pm and appears to have got there safely.

The AVRO RJ100 is an aircraft particularly suited to operations on short runways, which is why Swiss choose it to go to London City airport, where the runway is about 1300 metres. However, although Swiss is listed as having 20 of these four-engine aircraft, they do not appear to have a spare one in Geneva, which is perhaps why they had to try to do the late London City flight with an aircraft that had already had a problem.

This particular aircraft, built in 1996, originally belonged to Crossair, now merged with Swiss. In the future it is foreseen that these RJ100 aircraft will be replaced by Bombardier CS100. The manufacturer particularly cites this aircraft as suitable for short runways and steep approaches, saying

Bombardier released the following reduced performance specifications, regarding operations from urban airports with short runways and steep approaches, like London City Airport.

As well as being much newer and slightly large, these Bombardier aircraft should be more economical and quiet than the RJ100, which is always good news.

An interesting curiosity is that at 4am this morning a different RJ100 of Swiss made a virtual flight of 37 minutes, using a callsign LX1234. These virtual flights cause the transponder to give off messages exactly as if there was a real flight, even convincing both the ARAGH software detection and that of the professional site of flightradar24 that the flight really took place. However, a check of the ARAG microphones in Vernier, Meyrin and Versoix show no noise whatsoever.

I wonder how many virtual passengers took that virtual flight!

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