If you are looking for a unique dining experience along with delicious food, airports and commercial flights probably aren’t at the top of the list, but the DC-6 Diner could be an exception to that rule. Opened in early 2011, the DC-6 Diner is located inside a 1950s DC-6 aircraft that was featured in James Bond’s Casino Royale and then transformed into a 40-seater restaurant at the Coventry Airport:
Naturally a unique venue requires equally unique menu names with the grilled menu options being named after various aircraft (e.g. the Spitfire hanger steak, Dam Buster 16oz T bone steak, Concorde 8oz aged fillet steak etc.) while American burgers are named after American celebrities (e.g. the “Monroe some like it hot” chargrilled burger with chill; “Straight shootin’ John Wayne” chargrilled burger with tomato, red onion, lettuce and pickle; the “James Dean Rebel Without a Cause” butterfly chicken with tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise etc.). There is also a “little aviators” or kids menu and a takeout menu.
It should also be mentioned that during the daytime, the DC-6 Diner’s website says it’s the perfect place for lunch, private business meetings, corporate hospitality or a simply tea and coffee while during the evening, the place becomes a more “intimate” restaurant.
Otherwise and the unique venue aside, what’s going to matter the most is whether or not the food and/or the service flies high or crash lands for you with John Lanchester, a Guardian restaurant critic, completely trashing the restaurant in an October 2011 review while most of the reviewers on TripAdvisor have rated the place as either “very good” or “excellent” albeit there are a number of not so good reviews as well (because everyone is a restaurant critic these days…).
With that in mind, we would like to ask any of our readers: Have you ever stopped at the DC-6 Diner at the Coventry Airport for some food or drink? If so, tell us what you thought of the food and the service in the comments section.
VFR approach into Cannes
When you fly the VFR approach, you fly right over the centre of the town, over a beautiful medieval walled village and then turn south and fly down to the actual runway with a view of the sea ahead. It’s utterly beautiful.
The VFR approach to Amsterdam is insane. There’s a short-ish GA runway and you approach from the East at low altitude and only turn finals when you are over the midpoint of the runway. But the truly beautiful approach is the ILS for the GA runway that takes your right over the centre of the city. In good weather, the view over the canals is beautiful.
Perhaps not as glamorous as Cannes or Amsterdam but my memories of flying into Belfast City at night are very strong. I popped through a cloud layer at about 4,000 feet and the city was lit clearly below me and, after a long flight, it felt very welcoming. I had to go to Belfast to get my Visa for my CPL training so it was a quick overnighter and a great example of how flexible you can be if you have an instrument rating and a well-equipped plane like the Cirrus at your disposal.
So, what are you favourite approaches? Comments below please. Also take a minute to vote at PrivateFly.com on the shortlist we chose.
Good news for UK pilots who thought flying was really expensive: Its actually cheaper to park your aircraft at a UK airport than to park your car at one! Specifically and according to a survey by the The Independent that was also picked up by the Daily Mail, its cheaper to leave your six-seater light aircraft on the tarmac for 24-hours rather than your car in a short-stay car park with the widest disparity being found at Liverpool John Lennon Airport where a 24-hour short-stay for a vehicle costs £39.99 but parking your aircraft will cost you just £10.72.
The most expensive airport for parking was Heathrow Terminal 5 which has a 24-hour rate of £51.80 – more than the cost of an off-peak flight to Aberdeen. Of course, Heathrow along with Gatwick and Stansted do not routinely handle light aircraft.
Manchester, the biggest regional airport in the UK, will charge £35 for 24 hours in the short-stay car park but if you want to park your six-seater Piper PA-46 there, it will only cost you £21 because such an aircraft weighs just under two tonnes. However, Emirates, which flies a "superjumbo" A380 between Manchester and Dubai, pays nothing for parking because the first four hours are free and they only keep the aircraft on the ground for 105 minutes. Likewise, some airports like Birmingham will also charge motorists just for dropping off passengers but if you are an aircraft owner, you can get up to two hours of free parking.
Meanwhile and up in Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow will charge you £23.50 and £21.00 respectively to park your car but it will only cost £11.90 and £11.52 to park a two-tonne plane (However, Glasgow will double parking fees for aircraft owners who are not regular users of the airport).
In other words and the next time you fly (whether its commercial or your own private aircraft), take public transportation to the airport (and quit complaining about how expensive the UK makes it for private pilots to fly!)
Until recently, if you flew a private aircraft into Amsterdam Schiphol the only FBO there was KLM Jet Centre. They weren’t particularly cheap and compared with their snappy sister FBO in Rotterdam, it all seemed a bit too laid back and unwelcoming.
Now, Aviapartner has opened a new FBO at Schiphol and you have a choice. The prices doesn’t seem to be much different. They charge about 400 euros for a Cirrus SR22, including airport fees but they can cope with aircraft up to an A380, so perhaps a Cirrus suffers from being on the first rung of a very tall ladder.
The place seems less like a scaled-down passenger terminal and more like a VIP lounge, which gives a more luxurious experience, I think, especially for passengers. I hope to visit in person later this year and then I can give a more complete report.
The contact details are:
Aviapartner Executive Operations
Thermiekstraat 16, 1117 BC Schiphol, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0) 20 2066780
Fax: +31 (0) 20 2066790
My friend Nick flew with me and our wives to Rotterdam a week ago. We went to The Hague for lunch and a quick visit to the delightful Mauritshuis Musuem. It’s such a lovely museum: full of treasures, including Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, but small enough so that it doesn’t give you culture indigestion. This was my first passenger flight with the new R9 avionics and you can see me checking the manual on a few things on the long autopilot flight over the North Sea. Nick made this video with his very shiny new HD170 helmet camera.