Of the new generation of Gulfstream jets, the G500 was the first to test and the first to service. It might have taken a long time to get certificated but it is now in service. Even so, I haven’t seen too many of them yet. However, I managed to get two on one day. One of them was an approach to Boeing Field and what appeared to be a Gulfstream owned airframe was also parked on Modern Aviation’s ramp.
I think they are a pretty good looking airframe and have addressed some of my misgivings about the older generation Gulfstreams. Now there are going to be a bunch of variants with the G500, G600, G700 and G800. There is also going to be a G400 but I don’t yet know whether that is the same airframe design base or something different. Probably similar though. Can’t see much future for the G650 with all of these, though.
Sexy Sue, the Douglas A-26 Invader, had returned to Renton one evening and I had gone around to the ramp side of the field to see her taxi in. While I was watching the crew shut her down, a few arrivals were coming in over my shoulder. One of them was a Cirrus Vision. The lighting was behind it but I was still getting a shot. Being so close to it on approach was an interesting angle.
Even better, the aircraft was heading my way after landing. It taxied down to where the Invader was still parked, wiggled around it in the space available and then continued on around the corner and off to its parking spot. It is a small jet so can taxi around much like any piston light aircraft but it seems funny to see a jet in such a confined spot. I do think the Vision is a cool looking plane, even if it is a bit like a tadpole!
A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest. I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer. I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green. The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun. Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in. When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post. Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.
One of the rarer small turboprops is the Mitsubishi MU-2. It is a high performance aircraft that developed a bit of a reputation for crashing. What really was the issue was that it was an higher performance plane than many pilots were used to and, once a specific training program was implemented, it was back in the same level of safety as other turboprops. My late friend, Mike, took part in a round the world trip in an MU-2 which he blogged about and is well worth searching out.
While the MU-2 is a bit of a rarity, for some reason, two of them were up our way recently at the same time. I don’t know whether this was a coincidence or not. One was operating out of Paine Field and the other was at Boeing Field. The weather wasn’t great but it was an MU-2 so, early Sunday morning, I headed down to watch it come in. We had an Air Canada Max arrive shortly beforehand to allow me to check on my exposures in the conditions and then the MU-2 showed up. A quick few shots and then back in the car and head home.
Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again. After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset. The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached. The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap. About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out. Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.
It couldn’t last, though. The clouds took over again and then things got worse. The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north. I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone. Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated. At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.
I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well. At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light. Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too. The light was even worse but it was still worth a go. Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.
Bombardier’s Global 6000 has been a very successful jet for them. With the arrival of the Global 7500 at the top of their line, the next question was what to do with the 5000 and 6000. They got an upgrade put together which has moved them up a little. Some aero tweaks, an interior upgrade and the new Rolls Royce Pearl engines resulted in the new models. Visually, I wouldn’t know how to tell the old from the new but at least flight tracking information lets you know which is which.
My first encounter with one was at Boeing Field. A Spanish registered 6500 was parked over at Modern and it departed while I was there. Since it is a large jet, it has to cross over to our side of the runway to taxi for departure. The food news was that it went full length rather than departing from the intersection. This provided a good opportunity to shoot it close up. Then it headed off. Despite the range, I think it was only going to Arizona so it wasn’t taxing the capabilities of the jet.
It wasn’t long before I got a second 6500. Again, Boeing Field was the venue but, this time, it was arriving rather than departing so I was able to get it in the air. The conditions weren’t quite as nice as for the first encounter but it was still fine. I like the original Global Express, liked it when it became the Global 6000 and I still like it now. It might have been around in these various forms for a while but it is still an elegant looking jet. Where is my checkbook…
I posted about a trip to Paine Field one evening to photograph an Avanti which was unsuccessful because the plane diverted back to Sacramento. A little while later, I got a notification that it was due in again. The arrival time was about 6:40. With sunset just after 7 at that time, it had the potential to be very nice. Of course, any delay could make it a bust. I figured it was worth a shot and Nancy was fine with waiting from me to get back before having dinner!
The evening light was looking really good. I practiced panning with some of the local traffic while watching for the progress of the Avanti. It was on its way but arrival time was slipping a little. It should still be okay. Meanwhile, I noticed the progress of the shadows of some of the trees where I was as they crept closer to the runway. It was going to be tight. We would make sunset without a problem and there was no low cloud to cause concern but it was a risk that the tree shadows would be on the plane.
Nothing I could do about any of this and, with the plane still airborne as it was due to pass me (assuming that they didn’t land near the threshold), the chances are things would be okay. I kept my eyes peeled for the sight of the Avanti lining up on approach. Eventually it came in to view and zipped down the glide slope. By now the light was low and the shadows were creeping on to the runway but it made the silver of the airframe positively glow. I clicked away as it came by and then I was done. Back home for dinner!
Bombardier recently completed their 100th Global 7500. It is an impressive machine with excellent capabilities. If I was minded to buy a bizjet, it would definitely be the one I got but I just don’t feel like it at the moment. I haven’t seen too many of them yet so catching one is a nice surprise. This one was departing Seattle. I’m not sure how far it was going but, given that it is registered in France, I assume they were actually making good use of its range unlike so many of the owners of such jets. It seemed to have a nice fade in the paint scheme too. Maybe I will put something like that on mine when I get it.
Vintage business jets are a nice thing to come across and, while the modern generation of Gulfstreams are a common sight around the US, the G-III is now something of a rare beast. Seeing one at Boeing Field parked on the Modern ramp was a nice surprise so I was just hoping for it to depart while I was there. Fortunately, I was in luck. It eventually powered up and taxied for departure. The hush kits on the old Spey engines are a bit of a giveaway but they aren’t that effective. The noise on takeoff was definitely a sign of something from a previous generation.
A Falcon 20 making an arrival on a Saturday morning when the sun is out is not something to be missed if possible. We were heading out that day but I just had time to make the run over to BFI to get the Kalitta Charter Falcon 20 as it arrived. The timing could hardly have been worse with the sun directly down the runway so right on the nose. (I suppose it could have been right on the tail if the winds were the other way around so maybe not the worst situation possible.) I was able to get a couple of previous arrivals to make sure I had a good angle since I rarely shoot from that location. Then it was get the Falcon and back in the car to do what we had planned for the day. Not a bad result.