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Where? Dhaka, Bangladesh
When? 12/2013

Bangladesh is neither a common tourist destination, nor is it likely the first country that would make it on top of the list of "popular planespotting destinations". Nevertheless the trip to Dhaka was most interesting, making for some long-lasting impressions from a diversified country!

1BD 2013 F 7BGI 9638 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 F 7BGI 9638 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 F 7BGI 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 F 7BGI 2 Zeitler 2 100 67 85

Organizing the trip was complex, and expectations were accordingly high as somehow in the end all these efforts should turn into some nice shots. It finally turned out not to be that difficult, however there were some new challenges day after day, and without the help of the local spotting community a lot of chances and opportunites for some great photos would have remained locked up.

1BD 2013 Kabo 0036 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Kabo 0036 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Jet Airways 0032 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Kabo 0053 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Maledivian 0381 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Mihin Lanka 9687 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 PIA 0181 Zeitler 100 67 85

Talking about the local spotters: yes, there are some - nicely organized, and their number is growing. Just look at all the nice shots from Dhaka on airliners or jetphotos. And yes, they do get bored by the regular airline traffic that repeats day after day after day at 'their' airport. And being honest, I got the same feeling after spending some days there. Hence, I was also hoping for delayed international flights, that usually only move at Dhaka during the night hours but can be seen in daylight under these circumstances, or for the cargo flights from different airlines that land several times a week.

1BD 2013 B748F 1281 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 B748F 1281 Zeitler 100 67 85
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BD 2013 B748F 1290 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 British Airways Cargo 0132 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 British Airways Cargo 1084 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 British Airways Cargo 1100 Zeitler 100 67 85

A big change and challenge every day was of course the DC-10. My trip was around the time of the final operations of Biman's (or "Biman Bangladesh Airlines" if calling it correctly) DC-10 operations. Though some military versions of this classic Douglas "threeholer" are still flying around the world, Biman's example was the last one in civil service. And the remaining days could merely be counted on two hands at that point of time.

1BD 2013 DC 10 9721 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 DC 10 9721 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 DC 10 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 DC 10 9714 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 DC 10 9866 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZBD 2013 DC 10 0063 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Biman 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 Biman 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Biman 9733 Zeitler 100 67 85

Thus there was a daily hunt for "SC-ACR" and expectations for some nice landing shots were high when it was not seen on the gate or the maintenance hangar. Things were easier of course if it was parked on the terminal, as a departure during the day was nearly a safe bet in this case.

1BD 2013 Old Colour 1258 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Old Colour 1258 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 New Colour 0139 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 New Colour 1570 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Old Colour 0683 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Old Colour 1724 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 B777 9751 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 B777 9751 Zeitler 100 67 85
2BD 2013 B777 1238 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B737 1312 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B737 9674 Zeitler 100 67 85

Apart from the whole fleet of "Biman Bangladesh" of course seeing all the aircraft of Bangladesh's other carriers did make for a lot of change. No matter if it was for "Regent Airways", "United Airways" or "NovoAir", if the are doing a domestic or international flight, every once in a while their aircraft fly to Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. And as such types as the McDonnell Douglas MD-83/87 family or Airbus A310 can already be considered a rarity on the flightplans of European airport, their sight and their sound was more than welcome.

1BD 2013 ATR 72 9431 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 ATR 72 9431 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 ATR 72 9599 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 ATR 72 0620 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 ATR 72 9426 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Dash 8 0075 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Dash 8 9900 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 A310 9613 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 A310 9613 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 MD80 1433 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD MD80 1887 Zeitler 100 67 85
 Civil 1888 Zeitler 700 470 90
 Civil 1888 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B737 9952 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Dash 8 1301 Zeitler 100 67 85
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BD 2013 Dash 8 9719 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 Novoair 9892 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Novoair 9892 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Novoair 0636 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Novoair 1762 Zeitler 100 67 85

Of course other airlines showing up with types that are usually not on the list in the Western hemisphere were really cool to see: Drukair A319, Mihin Lanka A321, Maldivian A320 or a nice selection of Pakistan International Airlines – PIA aircraft - and of course "Kabo Airlines" Boeing B747 Jumbo Jet, that surprised me with a charter flight after being stored at Dhaka for weeks… Though usually not that much interested in civil aircraft, shooting the "Kabo" at Dhaka must have been my lucky shot during that trip! On the other hand Jet Airways or several Chinese airlines arrived so often that I actually got really bored by them...

1BD 2013 Druk Air 9397 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Druk Air 9397 Zeitler 100 67 85
2BD 2013 Air India 0005 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 A330 9948 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B777 1247 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 China Eastern 0198 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 China Eastern 9725 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 Kuwait Airways 0701 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Kuwait Airways 0701 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Air Arabia 1197 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Jordan Aviation 0126 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Kuwait Airways 0067 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Kuwait Airways 97681 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Qatar 9559 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B747 0633 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 B747 0633 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B777 1509 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B777 9734 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 B777 9793 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Emirates 9908 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Fly Dubai 9572 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 Hongkong Airlines Cargo 0121 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Hongkong Airlines Cargo 0121 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 A332F 0884 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Hongkong Airlines Cargo 1058 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 Lufthansa Cargo 0734 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Lufthansa Cargo 0734 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Cathay Pacific Cargo 0166 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 China Cargo 1653 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 China Southern Cargo 1395 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Qatar Cargo 9962 Zeitler 100 67 85

But if you are a regular follower of my site, I am pretty sure you know that I was also interested in the fighter jets operating from the military side of Dhaka airport.

The airbases is home of two Squadrons flying single- and twin seat versions of the Chengdu F-7BG (5th Squadron "Supersonics Defenders") and the 35th Squadron (ThunderCat) operating the upgraded F-7BGI version. Both version are easys to differ at a glance, as the original F-7s were delivered in a bue camouflage, and the upgraded versions are painted in a grey scheme. Apart from these Chinese MiG-21 variants there is still the 8th Squadron - Vigilance Valour Victory, operating the MiG-29 and MiG-29UB.

1BD 2013 721 9910 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 721 9910 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 716 9818 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 720 9441 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 721 9633 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 721 9633 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 722 0072 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 722 9699 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 702 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 702 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 701 9705 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 702 0123 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 702 9625 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 702 9680 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 703 9926 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 942 9886 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 942 9886 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 934 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 936 9806 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 938 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 942 0032 Zeitler 100 67 85
0BD 2013 944 9907 Zeitler 700 470 90
0BD 2013 944 9907 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 947 9835 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 944 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 947 9849 Zeitler 100 67 85

Unfortunately the MiG-29 Fulcrums did not move at all during my stay, and I thus had to settle for photographing the F-7. But seeing those rare birds in the air was not bad either! All this was loosend up once in a while by a Bangladeshi C-130 Hercules or an Antonov An-32 in nice green camouflage.

BD 2013 2640 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 1537 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 1537 9950 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 1537 9963 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 2640 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
1BD 2013 1701 9777 Zeitler 700 470 90
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BD 2013 1701 0099 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 1702 9578 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 1702 9593 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Air Force 0815 Zeitler 700 470 90
BD 2013 Air Force 0815 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Air Force 1667 Zeitler 100 67 85

Of course a trip to Bangladesh would not have been complete without having a look at the buzzing and dynamic capital Dhaka, counting approximately 15 million people! Due to the forthcoming elections, the political situation was not the best around that time with general strikes being the order of the day and protest and demonstrations to be highly likely anytime anywhere. The visit was thus somehow restricted and limited to only some attractions, but even only those hours were astounding and eye-opening, perplexing and fascinating. Those impressions of one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world were really impossible to catch, but I am tempted to say that Dhaka is an explorer's and photographer's paradise!

1BD 2013 Reise 0576 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Reise 0576 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1BD 2013 Reise 02671 Zeitler 700 470 90
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BD 2013 Reise 0456 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0461 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0471 Zeitler 100 67 85
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1BD 2013 Reise 03201 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Reise 03201 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0309 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0318 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0328 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0341 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0388 Zeitler 2 100 67 85
1BD 2013 Reise 0381 Zeitler 700 470 90
1BD 2013 Reise 0381 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0232 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 02461 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0312 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0386 Zeitler 100 67 85
BD 2013 Reise 0415 Zeitler 100 67 85

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