Lajes Flashback

    Located on the Northern Atlantic Ocean, 2 hours flying time away from Lisbon, Lajes is on a strategic location between Europe and North America. It is home to the Portuguese Air Base nº4, and there’s a United States Air Force detachment established long time ago. It also has, on the opposite side of the Air Base, a civilian terminal that handles commercial flights. Working for the Air Force has an Air Traffic Controller and also at ARO, I lived on Terceira Island from 2005 till 2008, and I’ve witnessed a variety of movements that no other Portuguese Air Base can match. Bear in mind that I there will be a lot of good stuff missing on the photos bellow, so here’s a selection of some highlights that I got photos of.

    The Air Force squadron based there has, as main mission, to perform Search and Rescue. During my stay, the old Puma helicopters were replaced by the brand new EH-101 Merlin
19603  EH-101 Portuguese Air Force

Various aircrafts from the US Air Force, Navy, Army passed by either as a refuelling stop or a destination.
01-0193  C-17A  United States Air Force

86-0030  KC-10A  United States Air Force

89-0283  MC-130H  United States Air Force

160048  DC-9 32CF  United States Navy

163805  EA-6B  United States Navy

164996  C-130T  United States Navy

165833  B737-7AFC  United States Navy

N1  Gulfstream IV  FAA

   Air Forces from other countries also were frequent visitores. By far one of the most exotic was an "Aussie" B707 on his way to US.

7T-VPS  Gulfstream IV  Algeria Government
 Arriving on a delivery flight to IAF:
875  F-16 Sufa  Israel Air Force

ZD953  L1011 KC1  Royal Air Force

ZH107  E-3D Sentry  Royal Air Force

   The presence of the US Air Force at Lajes meant that civilian planes were used to carry cargo and passengers on behalf of the Air Force. A weekly B747 flight was a common sight, even though for a short period a DC-10F was used from Gemini Air Cargo, World Airways and Arrow Air.

N453PA  B747-46NF  Polar Air Cargo

N490EV  B747-230F  Evergreen International

N506MC  B747-2D3B  Atlas Air

2 regular weekend cargo flights:
N721CX  DC-8 72CF  Air Transport International

???  L-100 30 Lynden Air Cargo

???  An124  Volga-Dnepr Airlines

An highlight for any spotter, the one and only...
UR-82060  An225  Antonov Design Bureu

Some regular Portuguese registered airlines:

   TAP operates a daily flight to Lisbon, but during summer this can raise to 3. 
CS-TEI  A310-304  TAP
 Sata Air Açores was one of the last world operators of the British built ATP
CS-TFJ  BAe ATP  Sata Air Açores

SATA operated twice a week the A310. It was very rare to see an A320 operating the flight to Lisbon. During Summer flight were operated to North America destinations.
CS-TKN  A310-304  Sata International

3 movements from airliners performing fuel stops while crossing the Atlantic

OK-WAA  A310-304  CSA

SP-FVR  B757-23A  Fischer Air Polska

HB-IAX  Falcon 2000

With the exception of the North Americans, the following were emergency landings at Lajes:

EI-DMJ  B767-306/ER  NEOS

G-BYAW  B757-204  Thomsonfly

G-OOBM  B767-324/ER  First Choice Airways

G-SJMC  B767-31K  My Travel Airways

G-VIIR  B777-236/ER  British Airways

G-VWKD  A340-642  Virgin Atlantic

N769NA  B767-304/ER  North American

N769NA  B767-304/ER  North American

N19117  B757-224  Continental

Even tough I've started doing spotting in Porto, it was in Lajes that I grew in terms of digital photography. I've learned with great people as Lino Borges, João Toste, Leandro Rocha, Paulo Santos and so on. For them and to all I work with during those 3 years, a big thank you :)

Rui Miguel


Lisbon Airport (LPPT/LIS) 11/10/2013

   Last friday I finally got the chance to get a photo of Bluebird B737, while operating a flight for TNT.

TF-BBH  B737-4Y0(SF)  Bluebird Cargo

Not an highlight, but I can't remember the last time I've seen an Aigle Azur A321 operating the Orly flight:
F-HBAF  A321-211  Aigle Azur
Have a good week!


Lisbon Airport (LPPT/LIS) 06/10/2013

   I still like to think that I’m “old school” in terms of planespotting, and one of those characteristics that I still have, is to go to the airport without knowing if there’s anything out of the ordinary schedule to arrive. I feel there’s so much more excitement on that, rather then going to see 1 or 2 planes and leave. Last Sunday was one of those days where I was rewarded for my patience. Standing next to the motorway that passes south of Lisbon airport I was shocked to see an Air France B777 on final approach to land runway 03 (most probably a medical emergency). Not only I got a new registration but also a “boring” side on photo with early morning light. Here are a few photos from that morning:

EC-LQL  A320-232 Vueling

HB-JZV  A319-111  easyJet Swiss

 Surprise!! By far one of my highlights for Lisbon this year.
F-GZNJ  B777-328/ER  Air France

PH-HZN  B737-8K2  Transavia

Norwegian arriving from Copenhagen. Apart from Norwegian, TAP and easyJet also fly on this route.
LN-NGG  B737-8JP  Norwegian

CS-TOC  A340-312  TAP

   I'm pretty sure I'll be remembering this day for many years to come and will keep enjoying the little surprises that airports can offer to spotters like this Air France B777.