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!
When a new Star Wars movie is released, it seems to be the thing to arrange a tie in with an airline and have them paint jets in special Star Wars themed liveries. ANA was a part of this and I have shot a variety of their special paint scheme jets which you can see here and here. For the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker, United got in on the game and painted a 737 in a black livery with special marking including one side with a blue lightsaber and one with a red. I had not seen the jet before. It has been to SeaTac a few times but never when I could get there (or when it was daylight). Finally it showed up one evening when the weather was great so nice light. Only one side to see of course but here it is!
Haneda is a busy hub for Japan Air Lines (JAL). While you visit, there will be a steady stream of JAL 737s coming and going so, another one arriving is no cause for interest. However, I realized that this particular jet did not actually say Japan Air Lines on the fuselage. Instead, it was marked Japan Transoceanic Air. I had never heard of this airline before. A little research shows that it is part owned by JAL – hence the use of the common livery – but there are other shareholders. Occasionally they will lend aircraft to JAL but they do operate to Haneda so I don’t know whether this was a JAL flight or one of their own. A new airline for me, though.
American Airlines has painted a number of its jets in liveries of the airlines that went into it over the years. It happens that, as I write this on a plane, I just saw an A320 in American West colors as we taxied out. They painted up three 737s in special schemes and I had a poor record of seeing them. Two of these, the TWA scheme and the Reno Air scheme, both showed up at DFW while I was there waiting for a flight home. The TWA scheme landed just after I got there so I saw it while riding the inter-terminal shuttle. I then had it taxi out past me a little while later. Sadly it took off from the other side of the field. The Reno jet followed later and it did take off from our side so I felt like I had finally checked out something that had evaded me for too long.
Until recently I had never heard of Miami Air International. Then I photographed this rather unpleasant yellow 737-800 that landed at Boeing Field. Only FlightAware (and a squint at the text on the fuselage) let me know who operated the jet. The Scimitar winglets hint at the previous owner since they clearly didn’t get repainted! A couple of days after this, another of their jets went off a runway in Florida and ended up in a river. Now I know who they are!
I had a long layover at Salt Lake City when connecting on a Delta flight. The sun was out and the mountains in the background were covered in snow so it made for a rather pretty backdrop for the airport operations. It was a bit Delta-centric given that they hub at the airport and we were in one of their terminals but it did make for some nice light and scenery for aviation shots.
I was walking along the trail that goes through the park next to the airport at Renton taking a look at the stored jets. There is a bridge across the river that is used by Boeing to move jets from the production areas to the flightline and, as I got close to the bridge, I could see the tractor hooking up to a China Southern 737-800 that had yet to be painted. They looked like they might bring it across the bridge. I figured I might linger and see what was up.
Sure enough, they started to pull the jet out and towards the bridge. I stayed out of the way but the wings of a 737 hang over the trail when they are moving it. This was not a problem so they were happy for me to stand there as the jet was moved out. I figured a little iPhone video was in order.
They pulled the jet onto a taxiway and left it there so I figured it might be heading out on a test flight. With the light now slightly to the other side, I chose to go back to the car and move to the overlook on the west side of the field. The jet was starting up but they clearly had a few things to run through so I had time.
They taxied to the south threshold which initially disappointed me. The wind had flight operations in the other direction which would have meant a takeoff towards us and into the light. Going the other way meant they would be airborne a long way away and heading over the lake. What I hadn’t figured on was, just like at Everett, they would do a run with an abort first prior to flying. They carried this out and were then at the north end of the field.
A turnaround at the far end of the field and they were soon lined up. A floatplane was flying about in the background as they got ready to take off. Then it was power on and rolling. There was a lot of crap in the foreground and this was a bit of an obstruction at the point of rotation but I was able to get some good shots as they got airborne and climbed out past us. The green primer/protective film was glinting in the sun. The flight will have ended at Boeing Field where I hope everything was trouble free.
I nearly missed this one. A JAL 737 was taxiing in at Haneda and the guy next to me seemed very interested in it. He was shooting it when it was still a long way off and I didn’t know why. As it got closer, I could see two Japanese flags flying from the cockpit windows. I figured it must be something so grabbed a few shots. As soon as it was gone, he packed up and left. Talking to someone the following day, he told me that JAL currently has the royal transportation contract and that includes some flights on the narrow body fleet. I guess someone royal was on this flight.
When American introduced their new colors, there was uproar. The criticism was plentiful. I seemed to be in a very small group of people that actually quite liked the look that they had gone for. Having been a regular customer over a number of years, I had grown tired of what I thought was a dated look. Over time I think people have calmed down about the change and now I don’t hear too much mention of it.
As more of the fleet gets repainted, I now notice more when I see a jet still in the old scheme (except MD-80s which obviously are not going to be repainted given their imminent demise). I have come across a few of the 737-800 jets recently in the metal finish. Here are some of them before they finally disappear for good.