The huge reduction in air travel – particularly long haul – has resulted in airlines taking a hatchet to their fleets. Lufthansa has been no exception with many jets parked permanently and others in long term storage with a significant question mark hanging over them. The A340-600 fleet is one such fleet. However, while a few of the A340-300s have been put out to grass, a good chunk of the fleet is still in use.
The 300 Series is an underrated airliner. The 600 has longer range and higher payload but it is optimized for the longer range missions and is too much for shorter flights. The 300 is a more versatile type as long as you are not pushing the bounds of payload/range. Consequently, it has hung around a lot longer than might have been expected. With reduced load factors, it is continuing to show its value despite it having been seen as on the way out for many years now.
Lufthansa has started using them on the Seattle run. They are coming in three days a week. The jet arrives around noon and two of the trips are Wednesday and Friday so work means they are hard to get. Sunday is the other day so I decided to give it a go. However, when I got up, flights were on a northerly flow which means no good locations to shoot from and a high and tail on light set up. Not ideal. However, by mid-morning, despite the forecast northerly winds, they had switched to a southerly flow. That meant a water tower shooting location was on the cards so off I went.
I got to the water tower in plenty of time only to notice a lack of arriving jets. Sure enough, they had switched back to a northerly flow. I now had to try and find a new location to shoot from and quickly. I had an idea for somewhere I hadn’t used before so decided to give it a go. I had time to try out on a preceding arrival and my post on that Asiana jet is here. Since things seemed to work okay, I stayed were I was and waited for the jet to arrive. Lufthansa had painted a bunch of their jets in Star Alliance colors but they are now reverting to the mainline livery and happily, that is what I was expecting. No idea how long they shall be around but I shall try again while they are coming here because they will be gone before too long I imagine.
I made a quick trip to SeaTac one Sunday for another visitor that I was keen to catch and that will have its own post. I ended up shooting from a sub-optimal location and one that I had never used before. I didn’t know exactly what I could expect. Fortunately, prior to the arrival, an Asiana A350 was due in. It was about 30 minutes ahead of the one I was after so, if things didn’t work out, I had time to try moving to somewhere else.
Fortunately, while heat haze was going to be a problem and the light angle wasn’t great, neither of these were things I could do anything about and the location did provide a reasonable angle on the jet. There were some lamp poles which I noted to be ready for next time and the jet went behind the trees as it crossed the threshold but it did seem like a usable location for the intended target to come.
Someone recently was after a picture of a Philippines Airlines Boeing 747. When I looked up my shots of this airline, I came across a picture of one of their A340s landing at SFO. It had an anniversary marking on the fuselage. Just below it in the catalog was a 777-300ER which also had the same marking and was also landing at SFO. The similarity of the aircraft in these shots amused me so here they both are in case something like this is of interest to you too.
The Air France A380s have gone away. Their retirement had already been identified prior to the COVID-19 outbreak but it accelerated their departure. I had shot them on a few occasions with SFO and LAX being regular destinations. Since I won’t be seeing them again, here is a farewell tribute to the Air France A380. Hope one or two of the airframes find a second life.
The Airbus A220 is now getting more widely established in service. Indeed, the slightly smaller and highly efficient nature of the jet means that it is likely to be pretty popular as service gets reestablished for a lot of airlines. Sadly, I haven’t seen any other than those with Delta. I have seen a decent number of those, though. As a continuation of my lockdown trawl of the archives, here is a variety of shots of Delta’s A220 flight. If you prefer to call this a C Series from its Bombardier days, feel free but that ship has sailed!
I did a little positioning to try and get a shot from directly under an airliner as it was making its approach to SeaTac. I was out near Boeing Field so they were still reasonably high. I managed to get myself right in alignment with the jet which, in this case, was an Alaska Airliners A320. When I first saw the shot, I have to admit I thought it was an Embraer E175 but then I read the lettering under the nose and realized it was bigger than I thought. I like the idea of a very different view of a familiar subject.
While at Boeing Field, you get a steady stream of traffic for SeaTac overhead. With Delta’s substantial presence at Seattle, the right time of day can mean a few widebodies. The A330 is a big part of their operations and we currently get the old and the new with the -300s and the -900 neos. The conditions looked pretty clear above me but there must have been a lot of moisture around because the jets seemed to be pulling a bit of vapor with them and going in and out of clouds that they seemed to hard to see without them there.
I played around with the processing a bit to see what I could do to show up the moisture more effectively. It gets a little more interest out of a shot that would otherwise not be worthy of any note.
When putting together some images for a group online that I am involved with, a dug out a couple of shots of jets departing O’Hare I shot years back. When coming off 22L, some of the jets make an early turn to the south and you can get a view of them that is either quite level with the wing line or slightly above. When shooting them, they are climbing so it is obvious what you were shooting. However, as I looked at these shots, it occurred to me that they looked a lot like an air to air position except the angles were wrong because of the climb. Since I had shot quite tightly, re-cropping the shot required some Photoshop work.
Taking the image out of Lightroom and in to Photoshop, I selected the crop tool and rotated the image to be the sort of angle that an air to air shot might be. Doing this crops off the nose and tail of the jet. However, one feature of the crop tool in Photoshop is that, if you then drag the edges of the tool back out, you can expand the canvas size. You now have the whole plane in shot but have added some white space in each corner where no image previously existed.
It is a simple task to then use Content Aware Fill to add sky back in to these areas. The result is a shot that looks almost as if you had been flying in formation at altitude. Would you have spotted it? Having done it with an A320, I then had a go with a 757. The light angle makes it look a bit like we are flying along towards a setting sun. I was rather pleased with the trick.
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.
As I was skipping through some images, I saw a few extra shots of the A400M at RIAT. I figured that I hadn’t seen many examples of the transport in service – just the test aircraft performing in displays. However, I have seen both Luftwaffe and Armee de l’Air planes at times so thought I would share a few shots of them plus some test planes for good measure.
A Luftwaffe Airbus A400M Atlas climbs out of RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom.