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.
I heard a rumor about a Gulfstream test jet being at Boeing Field. With a Saturday morning free, I decided to head over and investigate. One of the things I had seen suggested it might be the G700. Since that had only recently had its first flight, I was surprised it would be operating out of the west coast rather than Georgia so I decided to try and see it. Of course, it wasn’t the G700. Instead it was a G600 test airframe. Since I had not seen a G600, I was still pleased to catch it. The weather was crummy and it was due to go back to Savannah so I was wondering what sort of shots I would get.
Like any test jet, it didn’t depart when scheduled. It was an hour later than planned when it rolled to the runway and then hung around at the hold point for ages. Then it turned and taxied down towards the end where I was. I couldn’t see it departing in the opposite direction because SeaTac was still flowing to the south and wasn’t showing any sign of changing. It came down past me to the end of the runway and then turned around and taxied back the way it had come. After all of this it departed into the overcast.
Given that I was expected a departure from the far end and a swift climb into the gloom, I hadn’t expected to get many shots I was pleased with. Therefore, this sojourn down to my end and back provided plenty of chances to get a bunch of shots so this turned out to be a lot luckier than expected. I am also a sucker for a jet in primer so thrown in a few instrumented panels for test purposes and I am a happy camper!
When I heard an Avanti had showed up at RIAT while I wasn’t there, I was a touch annoyed. I am such a fan of the type that I thought missing it would be very frustrating. Fortunately, it was still at Fairford at the end of the show so the departure day was going to be the time for me to get a shot. It took off in plenty of time before I had to go so I was treated to the sight and sounds that accompany a pair of pusher props.
The SJ30 is a jet that always has an “almost” feel about it. It has gone through a number of owners and the development has resulted in certification but very little production. There just aren’t many of them around. One of the more recent versions came to Everett. It arrived one weekend early in the day and before I was there. I didn’t get to see it fly but it was parked up in a convenient spot to get a photo. The stalky undercarriage is a distinctive feature of the jet. I wonder whether the current owners of the design will finally make it into a successful project?
There were lots of things I was hoping to see at RIAT but I did get a few that were very pleasant surprises. Various air forces had business jets showing up and departing throughout the show as dignitaries (or urgent spares) needed to be moved. The Swiss brought in several jets while I was there but one of them looked a little different. My first encounter with a PC-24. To say I was surprised and pleased would be to understate my response!
Falcon 20s are not that unusual but, if one is coming close to home on a Saturday afternoon when I don’t have anything else planned, why not? This one was coming in to Paine Field and the sun was out and it would be approaching from the north (hopefully) in the afternoon. Good combination. I popped up the road to see. It did indeed show up on schedule. This was just as well. A short while after landing, clouds rolled in and the wind picked up resulting in them changing runways! This jet belongs to Alliance Air Charter and appears to be configured as a freighter. I wonder if it is an old FedEx jet?
I am just going to throw in a gratuitous shot of a business jet today. This Hawker was on approach one sunny day at Paine Field. It wasn’t rare or special in anyway (unless you count the scimitar tips to the winglets) so might not have got a post of its own but I just like this family of jets so here it is!
Corporate jets are rarely painted in interesting schemes so, when they are, you notice them. This one showed at at Boeing Field with a puma on the tail. A bit of research when back home suggests it is a project between Jay Z and the sport gear manufacturer Puma. I think it is to help out athletes that are sponsored by them. The registration is apparently a reference to Jay Z himself. I have no idea who was on it on this occasion. Maybe Sean was onboard?
This HondaJet was on an FBO ramp at Paine Field. I have seen one close up at Oshkosh and a few at a distance while flying but this was the closest I had got to one in the wild. It is certainly a curious looking jet. The engine mounts are the focus of a lot of attention but I am also a little put off by the front fuselage shaping around the cockpit windows. Having only one product doesn’t seem like a sustainable approach but maybe Honda has ideas for more to come. If they do, we shall see if they continue with this design philosophy or go in a different direction.
I was a touch disappointed that a Global 7500 demonstrator from Bombardier landed at Boeing Field about 15 minutes before I got there. I had not seen one previously and I missed it arriving. It was parked up across the field although the heat haze was not making for much of a shot. The following morning they filed a flight plan for departure at a time which meant I could get there before having to go to work so I headed across. In common with these things, they weren’t exactly prompt. However, they still taxied and got airborne in plenty of time for me. The morning light limits your shooting locations so I was further down field than ideal and the jet was quite high but I have still finally got one. They will be loads of them before too long but, for now, I am pleased to have this one.