I was out one evening awaiting the arrival of something that currently escapes my memory. In the meantime, I was in position to get the arrival of a few widebodies. Since SeaTac tends to put the widebodies on the inner runway, they are the ones you can get from this park location while almost everything else (plus the occasional wide body!) goes to the outer runway behind you and through the trees.
On this evening, we had four widebodies come in. Condor brought their regular 767 flight. This were joined by an Air China Cargo Boeing 747-400F, a FedEx 777F and last but by no means least, a British Airways 747-400. The evening light was very favorable and this location is both easily accessible and pretty good for this approach.
Red Flag is a time for lots of military aircraft to do their thing. However, it isn’t only the military that show up. Transporting everything that is required to support lots of deploying jets might be done by military transports but it is not unusual for civilian organizations to get some work. Whether it was Red Flag support or something else, we got to see a couple of 747-400 freighters while we were there. Both of them came from the same company, Kalitta.
One of the jets was fully painted up and showed up on the approach one day. It flew a straight in approach and landed to either deposit or pick up some bulky items. The second jet was a bit different. First, it was in plane white with just some Kalitta markings. More importantly, it arrived during a Red a Flag mission. It ended up holding overhead for a long time while the launch was underway. Finally they brought them down for an approach. However, it wasn’t clear which way they would come. Nellis has a habit of bringing jets in from different ends almost at whim.
At first it looked like they would land on the 21s. Then they looked like they would go to the other end. We jumped in the car and headed that way. Just as we were getting close, the jet turned away and headed east. We did a quick about turn and followed suit. We hadn’t gone too far when they reversed course. Where they deliberately toying with us? Another quick reversal and we were getting close but now they were turning on to final. Time ran out and we pulled in to a parking lot by a tire dealership just as it came in to view. We had to work for that one.