Category Archives: aircraft

Sheriff’s Retired Military Trainer

What I thought was a JetRanger came in to BFI one evening.  The color scheme looked a little odd and the markings had a bit of a military feel about it.  Once I got home, I looked up the registration to see who the operator was.  It turns out it was a JetRanger – sort of.  It was actually a retired TH-67 Creek which King County Sheriff’s department had bought.  They obviously haven’t repainted it.  I wonder whether they will.

Sun Country Pumpkin Scheme

Sun Country changed their livery design a while back going with an orange based scheme known as the pumpkin livery.  I hadn’t shot one before – I’ve got their older colors and also the Transavia hybrid on leased jets – but it was due in shortly before the National A330 I had gone out for so I was happy to get the bonus.  It’s a garish livery, for sure, but it makes a change from the steady stream of stuff we see normally.

Finally WH003 Thanks to Nancy

Of the four 777X test aircraft, one had eluded me.  I had shot the third jet on the ground but never in motion.  Supposedly it is the performance test aircraft so the suggestion was that it was being preserved until a lot of configuration work had been done to make sure the engines were in peak shape prior to measuring fuel consumption. Recently I heard that it had been making a bunch of flights.  The good news was that these flights – lots of straight line flying out over the Pacific – were quite long and they usually landed in the early evening.  A trip after work was on the cards.

The problem with this timing is that is clashes with dinner.  Fortunately, I have a wife that is tolerant of my interest (although I think it would be wrong to say she understands my obsession!).  Nancy was willing to delay dinner until it came back (and I could then get home).  With test flying, there are no guarantees about timing so I would watch the jet head back up the coast only to turn around and go for another run south.

Fortunately, it finally turned back towards Seattle and it was pretty certain it was coming back.  The benefit of this waiting is that the light is getting better and better.  The downside of shooting the 777X is the size means the long lens is too much for the touchdown area.  The wide lens doesn’t do well for the rest of the approach though.  Two cameras was the answer.  I thought I had one set up right but it turns out I had messed up something with the result that the shots were rather overexposed.  Fortunately, RAW came to the rescue and I was able to get the shots back to what I wanted.  Now I have them all in flight.

Falcon 20 and It’s Younger Sibling

Just before 777X WH003 returned to Boeing Field, I got a nice bonus.  Royal Air Freight has a small fleet of Falcon 20s that it uses for moving freight around the country and one was coming in to collect and maybe drop of some material.  I do like the Falcon 20.  It is definitely an older looking design at this point but it still looks pretty good.  Shortly before it lined up on approach, a Falcon 7X taxied for departure from the north end of the runway and right by me.

It then sat at the hold point while the Falcon 20 made its approach.  Having one of the newer Dassault jets sitting and waiting while one of the older Dassault creations flew in was a nice symmetry.  Once the 20 had vacated the runway, the 7X made its departure.  I assume it was going a long way since, despite using the full length, it took a while to get airborne.  The 20 taxied to the ramp opposite me where they proceeded to load it up.

Lineage Catches Us Out

My encounters with Lineages have been few and far between.  From memory, one at McCarran is the only one that I immediately can recall.  There may have been another but it would have been parked somewhere probably.  Seeing one taxi out at Boeing Field was, therefore, a pleasant surprise.  Since it would only be taking off past me, it wasn’t going to be a great shot but still better than nothing.  Then they thwarted me.  Instead of crossing over to taxi to the full length, they took the intersection departure.  7,500’ is obviously plenty but still very annoying.

A National Airlines A330 Comes to Town

Seeing that a National A330 was coming in to SeaTac one evening, I figured I couldn’t pass it up.  Sure, they don’t come here often but they are also one of the few airlines that has a relatively interesting livery.  Plus, it would be later in the day when light should be good so why not go?  With SeaTac you always wonder whether the heavies will come in on the outer or inner runway.  Fortunately, there was a lot of other arriving traffic at that time so it was a good bet they would come on the inner runway.  A heavy can disrupt the flow of the lighter wake turbulence category jets.

That proved to be the case.  They came to the inner so I was positioned well for the arrival.  However, the weather wasn’t playing ball.  A bunch of clouds were building off in the distance and they drifted across the sun shortly before arrival.  Rainier was already obscured by cloud/haze but losing the sun was annoying.  Fortunately, the silvery scheme allows a bit more tolerance of less than ideal light.

Sheriff Huey Encounters

My day off work to go plane hunting continued to provide interesting things for me.  I had noticed a UH-1 Huey on FlightRadar24 while looking for something else.  It was off to the east and had been circling various locations.  I assumed it was a firefighting mission and thought no more about it.  Actually it was the King County Sheriff’s airframe and, while I was at Boeing Field, it made an approach and landed at Modern Aviation’s ramp.  It was a bit distant but I got some shots of it and thought no more.

A while later, I was at Renton awaiting the arrival of the A-26 when I heard the distinctive sound of the Huey again.  This time it was close over the top of me and just to the sunny side so rather backlit.  I figured I would shoot it again anyway at which point it commenced a tight descending turn to land on the field.  It came right around me so I got shots all the way – particularly as it got to the right side for the light.  To be honest, it was a little close to me for a good angle but this day was throwing me tons of opportunities and I was not going to complain.

Caribbean Airlines – Didn’t Know You Existed!

Being close to the 737 production line means you see all sorts of airline markings on jets.  That includes seeing an airline you didn’t know anything about.  Caribbean Airlines had an upcoming delivery of a 737 Max 8 and it was out on test the day I took off.  Not the most dramatic livery but still not too bad.  The predecessors, Air Jamaica and BWIA were more colorful, though.  It taxied passed me as it headed out so I got shots of it taking off.  Later in the day it returned just as I was thinking it would be time to head home.  It arrived and then I left.  Quite a good end to the day.

Cessna 182 on Floats

This 182 showed up at Boeing Field during my day off.  I was a bit far away from it but wasn’t going to pass up the chance to shoot something new and floats make a Cessna a bit more interesting than it might otherwise be.  It didn’t hurt that a Q400 from SEA was climbing out in the background and showed up in a few of the frames.

Norwegian P-8 On The Line

I saw an article in Flight about the first P-8 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force having rolled out at Renton.  It showed an airframe with a large saint emblem on the fin.  I figured this would be worth a look when I could next get to Renton.  My day off to chase planes provided that opportunity.  Sure enough, there on the flight line was the new P-8.  It was sitting next to an RAF P-8 – their eighth example.  The RAF jet flew that day but I imagine it won’t be too long before the Norwegian example follows it in to the air so I shall have to keep an eye out for that.