Trip with 4AviatIOn
May 2018 : together with 14 other enthusiasts we visited a wonderful Japan. My first trip ever towards this beautiful and friendly country.
Thursday 3th of May 2018 : In the early hours I departed from Belgium towards Schiphol to meet with the first group of travelers. Departure from Schiphol towards London-Heathrow.
Flight number : BA423 with departure hour 07:45.
It was foreseen to meet a second group later that day when arriving at Tokyo-Haneda. The flight towards London-Heathrow was a very short flight with a beautiful view above London City during our approach. So far so good. After a smooth security check at Heathrow we noticed our bird at the tarmac, a triple 7. But, British airways technicians crowed around an open engine which was definitely not a good sign. And indeed, after a while the message was given that we had a delay of at least 3 hours which was needed to prepare another triple 7. Not a great start of our trip and resulting in re-booking our connection flight from Tokyo-Haneda towards Hiroshima. After a 4 hour delay and little information from British Airways we took off with another triple 7 towards Japan. Luckily our guide Jurgen was able to organize a re-booking (also many thanks towards JAL for re-booking this flight) concerning our connection flight towards Hiroshima. Because of this delay we would miss some nice arrivals at MCAS Iwakuni later that day.
Our flight number this time was BA71 with normal departure hour 11:40.(flight delayed with 4 hours!)
After a long flight we arrived at Tokyo-Haneda Airport. And immediately when you enter Japan you have the feeling that you arrive in another world or let's say another society. In Japan they create jobs for people which you couldn't imagine. A small example, at the airport waiting for our luggage, workers are walking around with a sign mentioning to check if you take the correct luggage from the conveyor. Also the discipline and kindness is immediately visual and typical for Japan if you ask me. In the meantime our second group took already the domestic flight towards Hiroshima and waited for our arrival. We departed from Tokyo in the early afternoon with a magnificent view above Mont Fuji and after a bumpy flight/landing we arrived at Hiroshima Airport. Here we joined our 5 colleagues which completed our group of 14 people. (spotters from the Netherlands / Belgium / United States / France and Malta). One person from Belgium joined us a few days later in Tokyo..
Original flight number was JA257 with departure hour 09:45 local time.
We arrived with 3 cars at MCAS Iwakuni around 17.30 to watch the last arrivals, two US NAVY SH-60R SEAHAWKS. Most of the local spotters where leaving short after our arrival. A day later at the Iwakuni Friendship Day I spoke with an A-10C pilot based in South-Korea and he told me they arrived at 16:00. Pity that we missed them. Because of the previous delay we definitely missed some nice arrivals. But after a good sleep it was quickly forgotten when we visited MCAS Iwakuni for the Iwakuni Friendship day.
Further we visited during this trip : Huyakuri Air Base/Ibaraki Airport (2 days), NAF Atsugi & Iruma Air Base (1 day), Komatsu Airfield (1 day), Gifu Airbase & Nagoya/Komaki Airfield (1 day). You will find more reports on my website for each visit.
During our trip we visited also the impressive Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (and museum) where the first atomic bomb was dropped during WWII. This dramatic event took please 6th of August 1945 killing as many as 140,000 people! Hiroshima was the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was planned and designed by the Japanese Architect Kenzo Tange and dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima and all direct and indirect victims. A moment of silence and a lot of respect for the victims was the least we can do during our visit.
Hiroshima will keep a special place in my heart and mind.....
At the end of the trip it was also clear that we had a friendly and marvelous group making this trip unforgettable.
I want to thank 4Aviation and especially Jurgen for his knowledge, good communication and kindness during this trip.
I am sure I will visit Japan again in the near future.....
Enjoy my pictures!