I have plenty of photos of Gulfstreams and a few photos of FAA jets – mainly flight checking Learjet 60s. However, the FAA Gulfstreams have not been something I have seen a lot of. I did have a nice chance to shoot one at Washington National many years ago, though. I did see the jets on the ramp at the south end of the field occasionally but I think this was the only time I got one airborne. It was shot from Gravelly Point so I was nice and close to it as it was on final approach. That is a great place to shoot from (or just hang out and watch the planes) and I will have to get back there at some point.
My trawl of the archives is also including airlines that have disappeared. Today’s subject is Midwest Airlines. They operated out of Milwaukee which was not far from me when I lived in Chicago but was not a place I frequented much. The only time I think I shot there was during an open day at the ANG tanker unit based there. I did get some Midwest movements that day. I actually saw more of their jets and Washington National as it happens. It wasn’t an airline I have many shots of in total but here is a selection of what I did get before they disappeared.
This 737 was sitting on the ramp at Boeing Field, apparently getting ready to move. It showed up online as a variety of possible owners including Aramco. However, I thought I knew who it really belonged to and it did indeed turn out to be used by the Federal Government. I think it is part of the US Marshal service and I suspect it is being used to transport individuals that are not popular with law enforcement to a new location. I don’t know whether that is internal transport or deportation but I suspect I don’t want to be on one of those flights. They certainly don’t divert any funding to painting the jets!
The 747 was still the mainstay of many long haul operations when I started shooting digital and SFO was a place that was served by a bunch of airlines using the type. I used to go to SFO quite a bit when I lived in Chicago because work brought me to the Bay Area frequently. That meant I got some opportunities to shoot the movements there. Of course, in due course we moved to the Bay Area so I got more chances but, by then, the 747s were swiftly disappearing and the 777 was becoming dominant.
While at Boeing Field, you get a steady stream of traffic for SeaTac overhead. With Delta’s substantial presence at Seattle, the right time of day can mean a few widebodies. The A330 is a big part of their operations and we currently get the old and the new with the -300s and the -900 neos. The conditions looked pretty clear above me but there must have been a lot of moisture around because the jets seemed to be pulling a bit of vapor with them and going in and out of clouds that they seemed to hard to see without them there.
I was at BFI one day looking to get some other interesting visitors and I had got what I came for. I was just contemplating whether to go home or do something else before returning when I saw something on the approach at the other end of the field. It looked big, smoky and a prop so I thought I should wait a little longer. A look through the long lens told me it was a C-130! It was a Linden Air Cargo airframe, sadly unpainted in their colors which are very nice. I was most glad that I hadn’t been in a hurry to get on my way!
Another airline retiring another type. This used to be an occasional topic on the blog but the massive reductions in airline service means I could probably almost pick one a day. In this case it is American Airlines and the Boeing 767. The 757s have also been grounded but they are not definitely retired yet so we’ll wait for a while. Of course, by the time this post hits the page, that might have changed!
The 767-200 fleet went away a while back but I am going to include them here. The 767-300s have been around until now. I didn’t travel in them very much but have made the occasional trip. I think I took one from Chicago to Manchester in the UK and definitely had a ride from SFO to JFK once. There have probably been other times that I don’t now recall. It has been quite a while since I was a regular with American.
All that aside, the fleet is now done. Some may find a second life – possibly as freighters – but probably the majority will end up being parted out. We might suddenly find 767 parts are not as in need as they were until recently but there is still a sizable fleet of freighters and there are still in production so maybe there is some value.
I posted here about KLM retiring their 747s early as a result of the COVID-19 related pummeling that the airlines have taken. It wasn’t long before another airline made the same announcement – this time it was Qantas. Qantas has operated the 747s since the beginning and it is quite a shame to see that they are no more. Here are some of my Qantas 747s from over the years. I should note that there is a rumor that they may not be gone for good and could return. That would be great but I suspect it will not be the case given that they didn’t have long left anyway and things are going to be rough for a while for the airlines in all probability.
I posted some shots of the jets at Haneda reversing thrust and throwing up a lot of spray in the process as a result of the rain that day. Stills can be good for showing off spray but the motion of the spray in the reverser flows is more apparent in video. Consequently, I shot a bunch of video that day. Only recently have I caught up with my video editing backlog courtesy of the ample time I have at home as a result of not being able to go out anywhere. Here is a sample of the airliner movements from that day.
When putting together some images for a group online that I am involved with, a dug out a couple of shots of jets departing O’Hare I shot years back. When coming off 22L, some of the jets make an early turn to the south and you can get a view of them that is either quite level with the wing line or slightly above. When shooting them, they are climbing so it is obvious what you were shooting. However, as I looked at these shots, it occurred to me that they looked a lot like an air to air position except the angles were wrong because of the climb. Since I had shot quite tightly, re-cropping the shot required some Photoshop work.
Taking the image out of Lightroom and in to Photoshop, I selected the crop tool and rotated the image to be the sort of angle that an air to air shot might be. Doing this crops off the nose and tail of the jet. However, one feature of the crop tool in Photoshop is that, if you then drag the edges of the tool back out, you can expand the canvas size. You now have the whole plane in shot but have added some white space in each corner where no image previously existed.
It is a simple task to then use Content Aware Fill to add sky back in to these areas. The result is a shot that looks almost as if you had been flying in formation at altitude. Would you have spotted it? Having done it with an A320, I then had a go with a 757. The light angle makes it look a bit like we are flying along towards a setting sun. I was rather pleased with the trick.