Getting back to the hotel after the An-26 flight we weren’t looking forward to the long drive back to Bogota in the morning. Well why not fly, as it’s only 50 odd minutes?
We’d inquired about tickets at the LAN desk in the terminal, but they quoted us fares of around $400 which seemed far too expensive.
When we got back to the hotel I fired up the iPad and found that we could get a flight for less than a quarter of that price, so three of us, yes the usual suspects, decided that flying a LAN Dash 8 would be a better way to ride back.
Tickets purchased and confirmations received, we skipped the dinner that was laid on at the hotel for more adventurous fare down the road at one of the BBQ meat restaurants. After eating what seemed like several herds of different types of animal it was time to sleep.
Next morning we walked the mile to the airport and checked in for our flight; again superb views all the way.
As we were back in Bogota early for our afternoon flight to Medellin, and the rest of the group was hours behind in the bus, more plans had to be hatched.
We’d spied the SATENA Dornier 328s and decided to look into flying one of these in a few days’ time on the designated sight-seeing day. Unfortunately the day we wanted to fly was the only day that the Do328s do not serve any routes! The poor girl at the SATENA desk didn’t really know what to make of our request.
Ok, how about a Jetstream 41? Easyfly have a ton of services from Bogota utilising these aircraft, so we went and hassled a couple of lasses at that desk, and eventually secured a return flight to El Alcaraván Airport.
The rest of the morning we made ourselves inconspicuous in one of the fast food restaurants that had an elevated apron view and shot some of the airport movements. Later, when we caught up with the rest of the group, we were told that a few of them had already been busted for taking photos though the glass. It pays to be discrete and away from the crowd!
Our group was split into two flights to get to Medellin. The first were on a COPA Boeing 737 and I was on the second which was a LAN 737.
Well that was our day, as we retired to our hotel, which was very close to the airport.
The morning of the airshow was a little chaotic as no one seemed to know how our tickets to enter would get to us. We got on one of the courtesy buses and alighted to find we couldn’t enter at that particular gate.
A ten-minute walk and we were at a side entrance with lots of others in a large queue.
After 20 minutes we were ushered to the front, much to the indignation of everyone else and let inside.
100 yards down the road was a line of tents and here I was given my media pass. Only three of us had arranged this, so the rest of the group had to fill out lengthy forms.
We were finally in, and a 20-minute walk later we were at the airshow site proper. Basically part of the apron and gates had been set aside for the airshow static from the normal busy airport.
After a walk around it soon become obvious that many photos were difficult due to the number of people and the lack of barriers. After a while we settled down at the front of the crowd to observe the many airline flights still coming and going.
There were people everywhere, so when the flying was taking place, I decided on another walk around the static and the many stands. Photography proved a little easier as many people had rushed to the barriers when the flying started, as expected.
After the show ended we took another walk around before heading outside.
It was rumoured that a C-117 was still present in the cargo area, so the intrepid three decided to track this machine down. If there’s a propliner in the mix, we’ll be there!
It was a fair walk and when we finally reached the cargo area, we were foiled by a security gate and fence that never used to be there.
We attempted to walk in but were quickly stopped by security, who appeared it seemed out of nowhere. Never mind, as I’d already spotted an alternative possibility
There was a road that wound its way up a hill to houses and seemed to overlook the cargo apron. We walked the road, passed a couple of police on motorcycles who paid no attention to us, so we continued.
We ended up just shy of a decent view, but a broken fence next to a house that led to some scrub-land looked like a possibility.
We started to walk this way but someone from the house came out, and we suspected the worst news. He explained that we could come back tomorrow, pay a small fee, and watch the airshow from this vantage point. I quickly sized up the situation and told him it sounded good, but asked if we could have a look and see what the view was like.
Bingo, we were in! We had an unobstructed view of the C-117, plus the bonus of a Tampa Cargo Boeing 767F and an old Learjet 24 in the most glorious light, as the sun went down.
We later learned that the following day the police were letting no one up that road as it was airshow day proper, being Saturday, so we got lucky, yet again!