How Has Seattle Changed?

I have taken a lot of photos of Seattle since we moved here.  The city has a lot of development which shows itself clearly in both the downtown area and the South Lake Union area.  The downtown core is not massively different but the spread out from the center is noticeable, as is the change in stadiums.  My first visit to Seattle was in 1992.  Things were very different then.  I recently took a look at some photos I scanned from that trip including a view from the top of the Space Needle.  I also have some shots from the mid 2000s in the mix.

The following shots are combinations of shots from 92 and current shots along with some taken from one of our trips here in around 2005 when I had a work visit that we extended to include some time in the city.  The city already had some big towers in 92 but there has been a lot of development since then.  South Lake Union is a different story.  During my first visit, there was not a lot going on in the area.  Now things are heavily in the area with Amazon having led the investment but the Gates Foundation also having a big site.  Things have really changed a lot!

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My First A350-1000 – Thanks Qatar

The A350-1000 has started to be delivered in some numbers.  However, none of the operators that I get to see regularly has any in their fleet at this point.  Some of the early deliveries went to Qatar Airways and they have been flying them to Dallas.  Since I had a free weekend in the area on a work trip, I decided to catch my first examples.

Things conspired a little against me, though.  On the Saturday, the weather that had just passed through had left some northerly winds which meant the approaches were coming from the south which is not so handy for getting shots.  I did find a location but it wasn’t a great spot.  Heat haze was still a bit of a problem and the angles were rather limited.

On the Sunday, normal service was resumed with a southerly flow.  However, just before the A350 showed up, they decided to do a sweep of the runway.  They moved arrivals to the inside runway which meant it the Qatar jet was a bit far away compared to everything that had been arriving on the outer runway a short while before.  Still, I got the shots.  It also taxied out just before the sun went down.  However, they crossed to the other side for departure so not much of a shot opportunity.

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Not Sure This Bunker Would Have Survived

Perched above the beach at Lepe in Hampshire, overlooking the Solent, is an old bunker.  It is surrounded by fencing and there is signage about the purpose of the bunker.  You can see the hatch to access the bunker as well as some of the vents for the space below.  I’m not sure what the bunker was designed to survive.  It is close to a huge oil refinery and close to the headquarters of the Royal Navy.  In a shooting war, there would have been some large detonations nearby.  I doubt it would have provided sufficient protection to its occupants.

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Boeing’s T-38 Finally Comes Out in the Sun

I have struggled to get shots of the Boeing chase aircraft in decent light.  Whether it is the T-33s or the T-38s, my encounters have generally been on overcast days.  Finally my luck changed and one of the T-38s came in to Paine Field for a couple of approaches on a sunny day.  It was the middle of the day so the light angles weren’t great but it was certainly a step up.  A couple of passes and then they headed to Boeing Field.

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London from the Air

Digging back in to the archives today.  Back in about 2005, I was heading back to the UK for work.  Our flight arrived in to Heathrow early in the morning and the approach route took us across the center of the city.  I was sitting on the right side of the aircraft so was able to get some good shots of the city.  My favorite shot was as we turned over the top of Waterloo and looking down at the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

I also got some good views from other areas.  A nice view across the city which shows just how close everything is within the cities of London and Westminster.  We also came south of Kensington which gave a good view of the museum complex and Hyde Park – an area where I lived for three years as a student.  The next shot is of Kew Gardens.  The glass house and the pagoda are both visible.  These have been sitting in the archive for a long time but finally make their way to the blog.

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Stored 777Xs (777-9)

Boeing has many internal issues with its planes currently but, when it comes to the 777X program, GE is the one that is causing the problems.  The lack of engines for the test program means the jets are on the ground.  Meanwhile, the production line continues to turn out the airframes at the rate original scheduled.  Consequently, there are stored jets around Paine Field.  The first two jets were turned out in house colors and have appeared on the blog.  Meanwhile, a couple of white jets have appeared and they are stored on the flight line.

The latest two jets I have seen are not even painted.  They are in the protective film the airframe is built in which looks a bit like primer.  Stored on the airfield, they will get engines at some point and then go to the paint shop.  In the interim, they have ballast attached to the engine mounts.  The first time I saw one, I thought it was another KC-46 being stored until the fin caught my eye and I realized it was a 777X.

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Heavy Lifter

In a visit we made to Seattle in the mid 2000s, we took a boat tour around Elliott Bay.  One of the more impressive ships in the harbor was one that is designed to lift heavy loads and carry them long distances.  It will sink to allow the load to be floated on to the hull and then it will lift back up and leave the load on the deck.  You can see the markings for sinking the hull on the superstructure.

The most impressive view of the ship was from the front as we passed ahead of it.  The beam was something special to see.  It had a very muscular look to it.  These are the sort of ships that have been used to moved smaller ships when they have suffered damage.  The Royal Navy had a destroyer that hit a reef in the South Pacific once that was moved this way.  Quite an impressive capability.

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Northrop Grumman Firebird

Northrop Grumman brought the Firebird to Fairford for RIAT.  RIAT is a big public show but it has developed a significant trade element to it and Firebird was clearly aimed at that audience.  It is a Scaled Composites design (with Northrop Grumman having bought Scaled a while back) and, while it has a cockpit, apparently it has the option to be flown unmanned.  I don’t know whether this is well tested or not.  Nor do I know the state of production examples.  I believe the one at RIAT was the prototype.

It was parked in the static park for a portion of the time I was there.  I did see it getting towed across to the north side at one point, presumably so it could be parked in a hangar rather than left out.  Supposedly, there is a US Government order for some of these and I imagine they will be fitted with some interesting systems.  Whether I shall ever see one is a different story.

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Mt Rainier Just Before Sunrise

I was heading east for a work trip that needed an early start.  We got airborne from SeaTac before the sun came up and turned to the east after departure.  We were heading towards what I thought should be Mt Rainier.  However, I couldn’t see the mountain.  I could see a cloud that was above the majority of the cloud bank which I assumed was the mountain but I couldn’t be sure.

As we came around the south side I was able to see that the cloud was indeed once that was forming over the windward side of Mt Rainier.  The east side of the mountain was uncovered and, even though the sun had not yet come up, the early light was enough to give a view of the mountain.  I was using the M6 which is not so great in low light but, even so, I was able to get some shots of the mountain as the plane headed on its way.

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Dreams Take Flight

Boeing has marked up a 787-9 is a special color scheme to reflect their internal charity organization.  It is a jet that was supposed to go to Hainan Airlines but the financial issues with the airline means that they have not taken delivery of a number of jets.  This is not a paint scheme but is a giant vinyl wrap.  It looks very impressive.  The jet has been used for flyovers at events Boeing has sponsored and it is also going to Dubai for the air show (which will be in the past by the time this post goes live).

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