When you live in the Bay Area, all of the flights to interesting overseas destinations go from SFO. However, there is a lot of demand for these flights and SFO is not the most convenient airport for everyone. Oakland has flights from London and Oslo. The other airport that is fighting for business is San Jose. They have recently added flight by Lufthansa and British Airways. This was enough to drag me down there to see what is moving.
San Jose is not a bad airport to shoot at. There are a few locations which give you good options for getting shots of the jets either arriving or departing. On the day I went, Lufthansa were using their A340 in Star Alliance colors. I have to admit I was a touch disappointed because I wanted a Lufthansa jet in house colors. However, there will be another time. I got there later in the day so didn’t see it arrive. However, I was there for departure.
After it had gone, I headed down to the arrival end. There was going to be a fair bit of time before the BA jet arrived so I would see what showed up. That will probably be another post. Eventually, the BA jet showed up on approach. It came down from the coast side so I could see it from a long way out. It turned on approach and then I got. A bunch of shots of it as it came down the approach. The 787-9 is a better proportioned jet than the 787-8. I think both jets are bigger than they appear. Having not tried either out yet, I don’t know what they are like to fly in. However, the BA colors look nice on it. I got the shot I was after and then headed off. At some point, I shall go for the departure shot too. I should do that before the light gets too low!
It may be that the A340 is in its twilight years but it is still a type that is in operation with a number of airlines. Having watched a few different types disappear from service recently, I am paying more attention to those planes that might not be around for too much longer. I figure the A340 is one of those types. SFO gets a number of them on a normal day from a variety of operators. Virgin Atlantic brings in an A340-600 most days. Meanwhile, the original version shows up with a couple of airlines. Swiss and SAS bring in the A340-300 as part of their services. Philippine Airlines has been known to bring them in too but they are currently using 777-300ERs on this route and the 340s are elsewhere.
I made the effort to get the visitors both arriving and departing. Arrival shots are not great at this time of year as the heat haze starts to become a problem. However, you can still get something reasonable if you get a little lucky. You can go further out on the approach to minimize haze but you lose the context a little.
Moving around to the departure end of the 28s means you can get the planes as they come over your head when taking off. Sadly, all of them went from 28L rather than 28R which means they are slightly backlit when they come by. However, this doesn’t hurt things too much. The shots of them retreating into the distance were not possible on this day though due to the cloud rolling in off the hills which they disappeared into pretty quickly. I guess they will be around for a little longer but it won’t be too long before the A340 is consigned to secondary operators and lower utilization.
The attendance of the Russian contingent at Farnborough in 1992 was pretty impressive but they weren’t the only game in town. There were plenty of other aircraft on display. The Rafale prototype was there to follow up from the demonstrator a few years before. The first A340 was also part of the flying display.
Plenty of smaller types were on show including the Optica and the Pillan. Harriers and Hawks flew and the Gripen development program was represented by one of their jets. The Tucano for the RAF was taking part and the US military had a Black Hawk in the static display. Quite a variety of stuff to enjoy and interesting to see what is still in production today and what has disappeared from service.