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October 3, 2014

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Part 2 Day 4-5

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Part 2

Day 4 IL-18 Samjiyon to Pyongyang and An-148 joy flight

We spent the morning walking in town seeing various DPRK style poster and visiting the nearby Kim Il Sung statue.

Our accommodation at Samjiyong, Beegabong Hotel

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Main street of Samjiyon, could be mistaken as part of Europe.

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A visit to Kim Il Sung’s statue at Samjiyon.

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At airport terminal to fly back to Pyongyang onboard IL-18. The person runs the fastest get the best seat, it was a hilarious (almost ridiculous) sprint to the IL-18 with phone and lens flying out of their bags. See video of this crazy sprint on boarding.

Flying Air Koryo’s oldest and latest aircraft IL-18 and An-148

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The arrival and departure screen shows a Air Koryo flight to and from Inchon (South Korea). The reason was to bring North Korean athletes to Asian Games in South Korea.

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After lunch, it is time to the next joy flight on the latest in Air Koryo fleet, An-148.

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An unidentified airfield near Pyongyang (presumably military)

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The An-148 has some great cabin design such as the semi-circle round door of the toilet. It is a high wing aircraft so every seat after the engine offers great views. It is pretty quiet in-flight. Unfortunately we did not visit the cockpit due to the aircraft needed to turn around quickly for its next flight. Please see the sight and sound on the video

Flying Air Koryo’s oldest and latest aircraft IL-18 and An-148

Day 5 Flying An-24 and Tu-134 to Sondok

The twin-prop Antonov An-24 is the oldest machine to be included in the tour. The An-24B, P-537 (c/n 67302408), delivered from the factory in Kiev in 1966 is usually the frame used for domestic flight. It is obvious from the unglamorous but comfortable and solid ride why this is such a successful machine, with over 600 of the 1,367 built still flying.

The group split into half, the first half took the Tu-134 and second half took An-24 to meet up in Sondok (Hamhung, second largest city in DPRK)

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We have lunch in Hamhung city and then we swap aircraft to fly back to Pyongyang. Pretty cool idea to fly in for a banquet and out within 1.5 hours!

At the other end of the performance spectrum is the Russian rocket, the Tupolev Tu-134B. Both were delivered in 1984.

The narrow cabin, large round portholes, open hat-rack, and seats in pairs are signatures of the Cold War-style interior of the Tu-134. So is the whine of the two rear-mounted Soloviev D-30 engines – identical to the powerplants on the Ilyushin IL-62M – especially when they wind up to a screech and the rocket sprints down the runway and leaps into the sky. The landing gear, visible from the cabin, snaps up fighter-jock style as the machine rolls into a right turn at the start of the 102 mile journey from Hamhung, North Korea’s second biggest city, on the edge of the Sea of Japan (known locally as the East Sea).

In flight a visit to the rear toilet is essential for a view through the famous skylight window, a portion of the rear stabiliser and stinger antenna visible. The other toilet compartment is stripped of plumbing and is used to store the two giant red engine covers.

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Ramp at Pyongyang Sunan Airport.

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New terminal is being constructed and will be ready by end of the year. The new terminal was built on the same site where the old one was demolished.

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In the afternoon, we went sightseeing of Pyongyang include Juche Tower, metro ride and city walk.

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Video of Day 5:

Flying Air Koryo An-24 and Tu-134-B3 to and from Sondok

To be continued…

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Day 1

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Day 2-3

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Day 4-5

North Korea Aviation Tour 2014 Day 6-7

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