Category Archives: civil

Spirit of St Louis Replica

Arlington is the current home of a replica of the Ryan Monoplane flown by Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic.  This is a detailed replica built over many years by a guy called Mike Norman.  It has flown a few times and they are increasing the hours on the airframe prior to taking it further afield.  I hadn’t seen it before but my friend, Bob, advised that it was due to fly on a recent Sunday morning.  The weather was looking nice if a little warm (heat haze) so I made the trip up to Arlington early on the Sunday.

They taxied out a little later than planned but not by much and certainly not when you are working with an experimental airframe.  They took off to the north and flew a couple of circuits.  We were a bit distant from it but not too bad.  I figured I would head to the approach end for the next circuit.  I got there just as they were on short final so too late to get a shot but I figured I would get the next one when they climbed out again.  However, the next approach turned out to be for the cross runway.  They flew close by while downwind but I was on the wrong side for the light when they were on final.

On the next climb out they left the circuit to fly up towards Bellingham.  This left a problem.  By the time that they were due back, the light would almost definitely be tail on down the runway.  I discussed with Bob the options and we decided to go to the south of the runway and hope they came that way.  As it was, they arrived back at exactly the time the light was aligned with the runway so the worst of options.  However, we were not far from the threshold and had a mountain backdrop on final approach so not too bad.  It is a lovely looking replica.  I hope to see it fly again, maybe in nice evening light.  I suspect it is easier to fly when the air is a bit less bumpy!

A Better Go at a Prime Air 737

In this recent post, I showed a shot of an Amazon Prime Air 737.  With a bit more notice and better timing from an availability point of view, I saw that another jet was coming in to Paine Field from Anchorage.  It was being delivered from the conversion line in China and would have the finishing touches taken care of by ATS at Everett.  I was there and set up in plenty of time – except… I had one camera ready to go but the other one had been previously used for some video at home and was on manual focus.  I was shooting with the 500mm initially and all was well.  As the jet got closer, I switched to the 100-400 and everything was wrong.  Nothing would focus.  It seemed like forever but I must have realized fast and flicked the focus switch because I was able to shoot it as it came level with me and crossed the threshold.  What an amateur mistake.  Fortunately, I got away with it!

Ryanair Subsidiary Buzz

Ryanair has a subsidiary based in Poland that it has been rebranded as Buzz.  I must admit I knew nothing about this until, on my way back home from a meeting south of Seattle, I stopped off at Renton to see what was on the flight line.  A Ryanair jet was parked up and next to it was a Buzz jet.  It still had some taped markings on it but it was basically finished in Buzz colors and registered in Poland.  Obviously it won’t be going to them for a little while longer but, once the grounding is lifted, it should be heading to Eastern Europe.

Piper Aztec on Floats

Tucked inside the fence at Renton was something I don’t think I have seen before.  It was a Piper Aztec on amphibious floats.  No reason why an Aztec wouldn’t be on floats but it isn’t something I have seen before.  I would certainly like to see it on the water at some point.  Sadly, because it was tight to the fence, my best option was to use the phone to get the shot!

Philippines Airlines Spot the Difference

Someone recently was after a picture of a Philippines Airlines Boeing 747.  When I looked up my shots of this airline, I came across a picture of one of their A340s landing at SFO.  It had an anniversary marking on the fuselage.  Just below it in the catalog was a 777-300ER which also had the same marking and was also landing at SFO.  The similarity of the aircraft in these shots amused me so here they both are in case something like this is of interest to you too.

Hawaii Helos

Anyone that has vacationed in the Hawaiian Islands knows that there are loads of helicopters around.  The sightseeing flight operations are extensive and there are a variety of types that are used.  The Astar was a big feature of these flights but the EC130 was developed to provide something best suited to these flights and it is now very widespread.  There are other types in use too.  I used a Robinson R44 for one of my flights for example.

There are the occasional MD500s around too which is what you expect to see if you ever watched the original Magnum PI TV series.  The helicopter area at Lihue was a busy place to be with a steady stream of operators moving from the different pads.  I wasn’t on vacation to spend time watching helicopters but of course I managed to slip a little time in with them!

Air France A380

The Air France A380s have gone away.  Their retirement had already been identified prior to the COVID-19 outbreak but it accelerated their departure.  I had shot them on a few occasions with SFO and LAX being regular destinations.  Since I won’t be seeing them again, here is a farewell tribute to the Air France A380.  Hope one or two of the airframes find a second life.

Amazon Prime 737

The Amazon Prime fleet of 767s has grown to be pretty huge.  Initially, I was excited to see one out and about but now they are like Southwest 737s!  However, the new addition to the fleet is the 737-800.  A bunch of them have been showing up and, prior to delivery to Sun Country that will be operating them, they have been coming through Everett, presumably for some final work at ATS.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to get up there to see them.

I did get one of them head past the house, though.  It was departing for Minneapolis and its routing took it close to us.  Not as close as I would have liked but enough for a heavy crop with a long lens.  Not ideal conditions for sure.  In the same way the 767s are now ubiquitous, these will no doubt be before to long.  However, this was my first encounter.  Maybe next time I will be a bit closer – even if it does mean moving away from my driveway!

Evening Cessnas on Floats

Another jump back to just before things got locked down and a visit to Log Boom Park in Kenmore.  I was hoping for either some interesting wildlife or some Kenmore Air activities.  The only floatplanes I ended up with were a couple of Cessnas.  However, the light was nice and the evening was calm so this actually proved to be a good alternative.  They may not be as neat as a de Havilland Canada beast but they are still fun to shoot.

FedEx and Mt Rainier

No great story with this one.  I was at SeaTac for a different arrival on the outer runway.  A FedEx MD-11F was making an approach to the inner runway while I was waiting.  It provides a good alignment with Mt Rainier in the background so I figured it was a shot worth taking and I was pleased with how it turned out.  Given how little I have photographed recently, a shot like this from before everything got locked down suddenly seemed like something to share!