I shot this Singapore A350 landing at Haneda in January of 2020. When I was reviewing the shots, I saw something odd on the roof. At first I thought it was markings for rescue areas but it really didn’t look that good. I am wondering whether the original paint job was pretty shoddy and the paint is peeling off. It doesn’t look good to me.
Japan Air Lines has been taking delivery of a bunch of Airbus A350s recently. I was interested to see them at Haneda where they seem to be based as opposed to Narita. Interestingly, for a plane with substantial range, they are being used from a lot of short sectors at the moment. On the station platforms, they had some posters about a special A350 that was celebrating the 20th anniversary of a Japanese boyband, Arashi.
Fortunately, this jet was being used on internal flights and it was due back in to Haneda when I was there. With the crummy weather, the JAL terminal roof top viewing deck was fine for photos in the afternoon since, with no sun, there was no backlighting. The A350 came in to view and stopped in a cloud of spray from reverse thrust and then taxied back and parked right under me. Plenty of opportunities to get some shots of it.
Lufthansa A350s are something I seem to struggle to get a good look at. They operate to a number of places where I have been but I either time it wrong or they are on the opposite runway from me so a distant shot is all that results. The closest I have got to them is at Haneda. There an example landed and taxied in to the terminal across from me. The light was at the right angle but the excessive heat meant that haze was a problem and I wasn’t going to get a good shot. It is the closest I have managed so far but I shall continue to wait for the opportunity to get something better. The fleet will grow and the route structure will expand so the time will come at some point.
I was looking to get some midsummer shooting in at Vancouver. The day was a lovely one but the evening promised so overcast rolling in and that proved to be the case. However, I thought I would give things a go. The lack of the strong evening light was disappointing but it did actually make for some softer lighting conditions and things weren’t all bad. The evening culminated (at least for me) with three quick arrivals. An Edelweiss A340-300, a BA A380 and a China Airlines A350-900. I quite liked the conditions as they provided something slightly different. Clouds shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent from an evening out shooting.
Cathay Pacific started direct flights to Seattle from Hong Kong. They are using an A350 for the flight. Unfortunately, it is scheduled to arrive around 9pm and then depart later the same evening. That means, for most of the year, it won’t show up in daylight. However, this time of year the sun sets pretty late. It means there is an opportunity to get it arriving. Forget departure though. The only problem is getting a reasonable arrival time, i.e. not a long journey time and having little in the way of cloud when it shows up. At least we are talking about summer.
I made one trip out to get it. Sadly, it was a little later than indicated and the sun was not gone but below a cloud bank when it came in to view. I did get some shots but the flat light did not do the livery much service. However, with the evenings getting longer and the weather getting better. A new opportunity showed itself. The evening light on the jet as it was on short final made me glad to have made the trek down
Delta has replaced the 767 on the Narita run with the A350. It arrives in to SeaTac in the morning and SeaTac early arrivals from the south do not provide good opportunities for photography. I had an idea for a possible place to try so headed out on a sunny Sunday (very cold) morning. It turned out my chosen spot was a non-starter so now I was looking for an alternative and rapidly. I ended up a little further away than was ideal and with a slightly obscured view. The cold played to my advantage though. Heat haze is probably usually a big problem at this spot but, on this occasion, I could get away with it.
While obscured, I had some views of the approach path and also close to the touchdown zone. Only the heavy jets land on the inner runway so I didn’t have much chance to practice what would happen. Only one heavy came in beforehand – a Korean Air 777 – and this showed me I need to change my plan a little. Then I just had to hope things would work out for the A350. It wasn’t great but it worked out okay and I was pleased to come away with some shots.
During the summer season, Asiana was flying their new A350s in to SeaTac. I did get some more distant shots but nothing of significance. With the introduction of the winter schedule, they changed to a lower capacity type. However, while I was at SFO, I was able to shoot one of the A350s as they continue to run there in the off season. The light was quite nice as it came in so I was pleased to get a shot. They will soon be pretty common but, for now, it was a nice catch.
My afternoon of shooting at SFO with Hayman was a lot of fun. However, we were a little thwarted by the weather at times. Banks of clouds would roll in from the hills beyond the airport at odd times. Sometimes, there would just be a thin layer of cloud that was over the water but it would, of course, be just behind the flightpath of the jets. The sun might be on them but, with the cloud behind, a white airliner can be a lot less interesting to shoot.
Shooting at SFO is often about waiting for the international traffic. Endless Untied jets is not really that special but the widebodies from overseas are the ones you want. Of course, the weather can choose exactly those times to bring in more cloud. If the sun disappears for a moment, you can bet it will be when the Cathay A350 shows up or something similar. You just have to work with what you get and keep looking through the viewfinder for that brief instant when the plane pops into the sun through a small gap in the clouds.
When I first saw images of the A350, I did not think much of its looks. The nose profile seemed odd and I was disappointed. However, something about it has got to me. I have been seeing a lot more of them in service recently and something about the jet in person is appealing. It doesn’t hurt that a few of the airlines I have seen have interesting liveries.
Narita seems to be a popular destination for the type and I got to see examples from Delta, Thai and Vietnam Airlines while I was there. Deliveries have really ramped up now so it will not be long before I am seeing them regularly. Asiana has been using it to SeaTac for a while and China Airlines is bringing them in to Vancouver. Good that I like them since I will be seeing a lot more of them. Now I need to fly in one to see what it is like as a passenger.
While at Haneda, I saw a Vietnam Airbus A350 on approach. I think their livery is a great change from the bland look of most airlines. Unfortunately, it was a long way off so not something I could get a good shot of. When I was waiting to head home at Narita, the Vietnam A350parked at the gate right in front of me. Hurrah? Nope. It was a Skyteam special so was a rather less interesting silver scheme. Still better than average but disappointing compared to what it could have been.