Gatwick - Guernsey - Dinard - Guernsey - Gatwick

Profile picture for user Mark L

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 4,209

My family decided that this year they were going to go to Brittany, and this involved a lovely 6 hour ferry journey and countless hours of driving in our family minibus. After refusing to accompany my family on this holiday I was forced/bribed/maimed into coming, but I stipulated one condition: That I could fly. After going through all the various ways of getting to Brittany; Ryanair to Dinard or Brest, or BA to Nantes, I found another, slightly more interesting way to get there. Aurigny run a service to Dinard from Guernsey and Jersey, and link these flights in with their flights from Stansted, Manchester and Gatwick. Therefore it was possible for me to fly from Gatwick to Guernsey, and then connect onto the flight to Dinard. I checked the prices, and was able to get a return flight for £125, no more expensive than Ryanair would hace cost me to fly direct from Stansted on those days, so I booked these flights. On Saturday the 7th of August I got the first train, at 5AM to Gatwick, and checked in with an hour to go. I walked through the increasingly rancid South Terminal, all the way down to the furthest gate, where I boarded G-BXTN, an ATR 72, ex British Airways, in a nice livery: You board the ATR through the front stairs, and I had chosen the seat right at the back with this in mind. The seats wer very comfortable blue leather ones as you would expect on BA, and soon we were being tugged backwards to the holding point, as our stand was right next to the runway. The ATR was very dissimilar to the many Dash 8s I have been on before, and seemed to behave in much the same way. We took off after about a 15 minute wait, and flew out towards Southampton, then down towards Guernsey. The cabin crew were of an average standard, and gave everyone a free drink and a cereal bar, nothing more substantial was needed for such a short flight really. We were soon descending into Guernsey, and made an approach onto Runway 09. We taxiied past a Chanex Fokker 27, and a Eurowings ATR72 on a charter flight, and parked up in front of the new Terminal. Here there is a short walk into the new terminal. The terminal was opened a couple of months ago, and has a very light airy feel to it. Airside is rather small, and landside there is a row of check in desks on one side of a staircase, and all the arrival facilites on the other side of the staircase. On the first floor there is a cafe, and a large expanse of seating that looks out over the airport. Unfortunatley no-one seemed to have cleaned the terminal windows since the building had opened! After I arrived I checked in again at the Aurigny desk, where I was not askde any security questions nor was my passport checked! A boarding card was assigned to me simply with a sequence number on it, and no passenger name, I could have been anybody getting on that flight! I went airside 30 minutes before the flight that was delayed by 15 minutes due to a technical problem with the aircraft. A few Trislanders and other light aircraft were flying that day, and also a VLM Fokker 50 came in on a charter from Antwerp and then to Cork (Or Vice versa I can't remember). Soon we were called to the gate, there were 5 of us on the plane, and we were walked outside, where we were told the plane had not been cleaned, and so we needed to wait outside, luckily the weather was very nice. We then walked up to our plane, a Britten Norman 2A Mark 3 "Trislander" G-RLON: We were all lined up in a row, and then allocated our seats based on our size. I got a seat on the right hand side, about half way down next to the number 3 engine prop. The doors were closed and our pilot welcomed us on board "Welcome aboard, flying time today of about 30 minutes, safety card is in the seat pocket in front of you, please make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and enjoy the flight" After that there were 3 successive flicks of switches and the engines roared into life. No more than 30 seconds after getting on the plane, and we were already moving off our parking spot! The most interesting thing about the Trislander is that there is no partition between the cockpit and the passenger cabin. Everyone in the back has a view out the front, and can scrutinise the pilot to make sure he is doing it right! We turned round 180 degrees and proceeded down a rather steep taxiway, before climbing back up it again, we entered the runway and the throttles were pushed right forward, and we roared forwards, the engines making an immense noise! After about 15 seconds we were up in the air, and soon we were turning over St Peter Port, the islands capital. The flaps were retracted and we were soon at our cruising altitude of 4000ft. Soon we were passing abeam Jersey, and in no time at all we could see runway 17 at Dinard. We descended and joined right base, and made a short approach onto the runway, turning off at the 1st exit. We taxiied to the ramp are and disembarked, and walked through into the terminal building. Dinard is a very small airport with just a few flights a day, but has a large engineering facility on the far side of the airfield. I had a 2 hour wait for my bus into St Malo, and so went up onto the roof of the airport where there is a nice restaurant that you can look out over the airfield and towards the engineering base. There on that day were a number on ATRs and Fokkers, including a Lufthansa Regional ATR 72, presumably a repainted EUrowings aircraft, and F-GLIS a Air France Fokker 70, of Air Littorals. Also over in a far corner was an Armee de l'air Transall. Soon the Ryanair 737-800 arrived which was packed full of holiday makers, and it was time for me to make my way to the bus. On the holiday itself it rained every day, and I managed to get a visit to Quimper airport, which was completely empty when we got there :rolleyes: On our last day we went to a beach near Lorient, and unbeknown to us there was a Navy Air base just bhind the beach. All day we were trated to Breguet Atlantics like this one flying over us in the circuit: On Friday the 20th August I retuned to Dinard airport for my flights home. Over in maintenace was an Irish Citation, and another C160 Transall, alongside some more ATRs, an ERJ, and a Twin Otter. Whilst I was there another Transall overflew the airfield and then landed, and taxiied right in front of me, but I was unable to tie up the serial on the side of the plane with any French registration when I got back home. Check in didn't open until an hour before the flight, but after checking in and watching a few more movements upstairs I went through security and entered the small departures area. Sadly the Trislander was G-RLON again, and soon all 6 of us, including a couple who had been on my flight last time, went out and boarded the plane. I ended up in the exact same seat as last time, and somehow the time between getting on the plane and moving off seemed even less than it had in Guernsey! We entered the runway, and backtracked part the way down, but turned around before the end. Before we were lined up straight on the runway, take fof power had been applied, and we were nearly airborne by the time we had straightened out! We were soon approaching Guernsey and made a left hadn base turn for runway 27. When established on a short final the PAPIs never changed off of 4 whites which was a bit disconerting, but we ended up in roughly the right place with a lot of room to spare, and taxiied back to our parking position. Fomr here we were disembarked and bussed to the terminal, where I checked in for the flight back to Gatwick. Soon we were boarding G-BWDA, an ex Gill Airways ATR72: The interior was some fairly ancient cloth seats which were not as comfortable as the ex BA ones. As soon as we had boarded we were informed of a 30 minut slot delay, and watched with frustration as the FlyBe 146 departing for Gatwick at supposedly the same time as us left 30 minutes before we did. The cabin crew were not very professional on this flight, they sat on the back steps and had a long natter about things they would doubtfully be discussing in front of their grandmother, let alone the first 5 rows of the plane. They clearly thought they could not be heard as one of them asked the man sitting next to me if what he was using was a phone, to which he replied "No its an organiser". When she got back to her colleague she said "He said its an organiser but I'm sure its a phone too. You Lie, you Lie" to which the man sitting next to me did not act very kindly too, but thankfully didn't say anything. Soon we were off and this time we were served a drink and a cracker, and made our approach onto 26L at Gatwick in no time at all. The approach itself was fine, but the landing not so good. We bounced hard the first time, and when we were coming down the 2nd time the plane had drifted, meaning a sharp tread on the rudder pedal was in order, shaking the plane violently to the right. After vacating the flight attendent said "On behalf of Captain Kangaroo I would like to welcome you to Gatwick Airport" :p Soon we were back on stand, and disembarking, and another long walk through the South Terminal ensued. Aurigny was overall very good, the delays i experienced were negligable, and the I am sure every airline has a flight attendant like the one I had on the way back. The Trislander flight was without a doubt the most enjoyable flight I had ever had, being able to see out the front window as a passenger was very interesting indeed, and I hope to repeat the performace again soon, although hopefully not back to Dinard!!
Original post

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 841

Very intresting reading, thanks. Flying on the Trislander sounds like a great experience.

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 3,539

Great report Mark, very interesting indeed. Have always wanted to fly on the Trislander. When I very first wanted to be an airline pilot my dream was to fly the Trislander....but I think the pay is very poor. Maybe a near-retirement job :p
Profile picture for user LBARULES

Member for

16 years 5 months

Posts: 9,401

Ace Report :)
Profile picture for user T5

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 6,503

Great report! Nice price on the flights, too. :)

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 313

Great report! I stayed very near to Dinard airport in May this year on an exchange (I had a great time!) and I saw a few trislanders and FR 738's! I want to go on a trislander sometime, they sound great! Unfortunalty I went over from Portsmouth on the M/V Val De Loire and M/V Bertagne with Brittanny Ferries and not ny air.