The only 777s coming out of Everett at the moment are freighters. This can mean unusual airlines but not usually and I don’t head up there terribly often at the moment. However, one of the jets on test recently was destined for DHL’s operations in Singapore. Consequently, it is a hybrid of the DHL and Singapore markings. It seemed worth a look and it helped that they had taken off mid afternoon and were due back after work.
A few photographers had showed up for this arrival as was expected. At this time of year, even early evening is not the best of the light, but it was pretty good. They could be seen out as they set up for approach with Mount Rainier in the background. They touched down with the sound of the RAT buzzing in the background. I was ready to go and headed for the car, but I heard a shout from Royal and Nick that it was coming back. Sure enough, they had taxied back to do one further acceleration and abort on the runway, so we got a second chance at some shots.
I was scanning through some photos from my travels to Oregon with Mark and came across some photos of a United Airlines 737-700 landing at PDX. It was braking and had the reversers deployed. Looking at the shots, there is a dark burn mark on the engine nacelle that is split either side of the join in the reverser. It looks like something has been cooked a little. Anyone with experience that can suggest what has been going on with this engine?
Erickson currently flies a bunch of MD-87s are firefighting jets. However, these are a relatively recent addition to the service and they have replaced Douglas DC-7s. The DC-7s were still in service when I first made a visit to Madras in 2015 but they have now been retired. However, three of the airframes are stored on the ramp at Madras and we took a look around to see how they were fairing.
They looked in great condition. The dry atmosphere at Madras is good for storing aircraft. Some engines have been removed but the three jets are in the most recent paint finish and parked in a line. They make for an interesting subject. I have no idea how far from airworthy they are should anyone want to get any of them flying again (aside from the engines that have been removed) but they look like they have been taken care of. I would have loved to have seen one airborne but sadly, that time has passed.
When Boeing launched the 737NG family, the original models were very similar in size to the previous generation of 737s. However, there was pressure for more capacity so they added a new model to the family with the 737-900. A few were sold but it was not a capable enough aircraft and hardly anyone bought any. Instead, Boeing had to redesign the aircraft with some more capacity after redesigning the rear bulkhead and some more range resulting in the 737-900ER. This has sold considerably better. There are still a few -900s around though and Alaska has a few. They are very early jets and they are not worth the investment for adding winglets so they are some of the few NG generation jets to still have wings with the original wingtips. Here is one of them arriving at Paine Field.
G-Force One is a cool 727 that is operated providing zero g experience to people who are willing to pay. It shows up at Seattle periodically, presumably because one of the tech companies is giving rides to some employees (but maybe it is just a rich person chartering it themselves). Zero G is the company although the plane is operated on their behalf by Kalitta Charters. I have had mixed luck shooting this plane but I did okay on this visit. I got it arriving and heading out on a flight. I missed the return and was actually driving along I-5 south alongside Boeing Field as it departed back to Long Beach. Not the perfect combination but at least I got a few good shots of it this time.
Alaska Airlines likes to advertise that it is “Proudly All Boeing”. It isn’t of course. The Q400s and E175s are definitely not Boeing jets. When they bought Virgin America, they acquired a large fleet of Airbus jets too. These are not going to be part of the fleet for long, though. Alaska has made it clear that they are going away. The A319s are apparently too small so are the first in line for replacement. Go to Paine Field and you will come across a bunch of Alaska painted A319s bagged up and awaiting their future. A319s are generally smaller than airlines want these days – it is not that long ago that the A319 was more popular than the A320 but that is no longer the case. I wonder where these will go next.
Canada has had a surge in low cost airlines. One of them is Flair. They too delivery of a few new jets but I never happened to be around when any of them was on test so, I never got a shot of their pretty bright colors. Another delivery was due recently and I happened to be at BFI when the jet was being ferried in from another location – presumably where it had been painted. Not the greatest light I’m afraid but still enough to be worthwhile and the colors are a bit more interesting that the usual. I’ve no idea how their operations are going but, with so many new players in the market, they will have their work cut out for them.
A SAAB 2000 in passenger configuration was transiting through Seattle. It was registered to PenAir in Alaska and had apparently been repainted since it was now showing up in the colors of Aleutian Airways. I had not heard of Aleutian Airways but it isn’t hard to work out where it serves. The plane arrived with a PenAir registration still showing but it looked like it was applied temporarily so, presumably, it is going to have a new registration before too long.
They didn’t spend too long on the ground before departing for Alaska. They were heavy for the longer flight but still off the ground quite quickly compared to the full length of BFI’s runway. Then they looped off around the south end of the area before climbing overhead and en route to their next stop. The livery is a bit retro but I did like the look of it.
My buddy, Mark, sent me a message about a plane that he had spotted coming inbound from the Pacific which he had hoped would stop in Vancouver. It was a Royal Thai Air Force Airbus A340-500. Instead it was coming further south but it was still at cruising altitude so there was no way it was coming my way either. However, it did end up flying directly overhead, albeit at 34,000’. It was a lovely clear day and the four contrails from the jet showed up nicely as they ran back and then rolled up together. I grabbed the camera from the trunk and got a few shots as it passed overhead. It was heading for DC so we didn’t have a chance that day or for the return journey.
The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia and Belarus have meant that any jets that were destined for them can no longer be delivered. Consequently, Boeing has been looking to find new homes for them with other airlines. After the downturn in the industry that resulted from the pandemic, there has been a surge in short haul traffic which means that narrow body jets are in demand. Boeing apparently hasn’t had a problem placing the jets since there are airlines that are desperate for new aircraft.
Turkish Airlines is taking some jets that were destined for S7. They are currently still painted in the lime green colors of S7 but the name of the airline and the logo on the fin (excluding the rudder which is harder to paint given the need to balance it) have been painted over and the new registration is applied for testing. I don’t know whether a full repaint will happen before delivery or if the airline will take care of that. I also don’t know about the interior.
Belavia was also due to take a jet and, while there is nothing apparent on the outside to say where it is going, the tracking websites are already showing it as heading to Correndon. Same story in that I don’t know what it will look like when it is handed over but they should be in service soon.