Azerbaijan Boeing 727 in Geneva in 2014

In 2014, Azerbaidjan airlines anounced an oddly unique route. Starting from july, they would begin flying directly from Baku to Geneva… on an all-business configured Boeing 727 operated by Silkway Airlines!

I immediately considered flying it, but the price was just not for me at the time. The next best thing was to go see it at the airport! Although the premium traffic between the two cities has been growing steadily in the past years, I had a feeling that this route wouldn’t last very long.

Shinier than ever

I made my way to Geneva on sunday 13th to see the second ever rotation. In my mind, this would be the only time I would see it. It would also be the first time i’d see a 727 in the air, believe it or not.

That day, runway in use was 23, and by the time I reached the spot in front of taxiway Bravo, the little hill was already filled with fellow plane lovers.

Fomer Darwin airilines, then Etihad regional for a few years, Adria for 85 days and now these are gone

This was the time I was trying to experiment with making the most out of any kind of lighting conditions. One of the things I do is close down the aperture and try to make slight pannings.

Shortly before noon, the mighty silhouette appeared on the ILS, with a very slight smoke trail. Nothing like the first generation of engines though. That along with the sweet screamy noise probably wouldn’t fly too well with western nimbys.

4K-8888 about to touch down at Geneva RWY 23

The light wasn’t in our favor very much… it was about noon. But even still, what a sight, and what a sound! That golden livery was impressive. It was strange to see such an old aircraft looking almost new.

A mysterious takeoff

About two hours later, after catching some more traffic, the old Boeing could be heard far back at the terminal. Engines have gone such a long way, that sound can be instantly recognized.

After it taxied past right in front of us on Alpha to line up on RWY 23, I looked at my camera. It was in Manual – great, all blurry pictures… At least I could make up for it during takeoff.

What came next was very strange!

About 500 m into the takeoff roll, as it was right in front of us speeding down the runway, the aircraft began to rotate. This was obviously too soon, and a mumble from people around wondering what was going on.

The pilots continued in that nose up attitude for the remainder of the roll and eventually rotated about a kilometre further. There’s a video of the takeoff here if you’re interested.

Any idea what caused this takeoff?

Til next time!

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