Tag Archives: airliner

When Will We See You Again?

With long haul travel having almost vanished (other than a lot of use of passenger jets for freight movements), some of the regular visitors to Seattle and now a distant memory.  Virgin Atlantic was a regular visitor and they had migrated from other types to the 787-9 recently.  Here was one heading to SeaTac while I was at Boeing Field.  With the reduced size of the airline post COVID (and assuming it survives), will they be coming to Seattle again any time soon?  I hope so.

Turkish Delivery (You Didn’t Think I Would Say Delight Did You?)

Boeing was ready to deliver a 787 to Turkish Airlines.  Normally these take place from the Delivery Center which is a nice building justifying the large wedge of cash that has just been handed over.  Boeing crews usually taxi out from the ramp but customer flights seem to get towed to the ramp entrance.  Maybe they don’t trust the customer pilots in amongst all of their expensive jets.

The departure was to the north so they taxied to the south end of the field before lining up for departure.  A flight to Istanbul is a decent length but, without any payload, it still doesn’t take long for them to get airborne.  Judging by the distance to go boards, they were off in about 4,000’.  Consequently, they had reached a decent height by the time they came by my location.  They headed off to the north to start the long trip home.

The Significance Wasn’t Known at the Time

These shots aren’t particularly nice but, at the time I took them, I didn’t realize that they would be a bit more significant for a friend of mine.  He was a skipper for Virgin Atlantic and making his first run to Seattle.  I went out to get his arrival despite it being a bit gloomy.  We met up afterwards for a beer and some food.  He flew back the following day.

Since that time, the airline business (along with many businesses) has taken a bad turn and Virgin Atlantic has been getting rid of staff.  My friend was eligible for retirement and decided to take it.  Consequently, this flight turned out to be the last landing he made in his commercial flying career.  The return leg landing was made by another member of his crew.  It would have been nice if the conditions were better but I am glad I was there to see it.  Happy retirement Chris and see you soon I hope!

JetSuite X

I have been noticeably unsuccessful when shooting JetSuite X aircraft.  When we lived in the Bay Area, they were running flights out of Concord.  I did see some aircraft on the ramp but they were not convenient to shoot and I never saw them move.  I have seen them a few times at Boeing Field but the conditions have always been less them impressive.  Finally, I got to see one landing on a nice day!

Their schedules are easy to track so I knew it was going to be coming in.  It wasn’t why I was there but you will take any opportunity!  The white with red stripe livery is a slightly odd one but, on a sunny day, it looks pretty nice.  I have often pondered what they are re like to use but have not found out to date.  I don’t know whether they will survive the current crisis so maybe the opportunity is gone?

Dreamlifter Reflections

The idea for this was spotted by my friend, Paul, during a visit of his but we missed it at the time.  It was early in the morning and the water was calm as a millpond.  However, the jet was beyond the water before he spotted it.  I have missed the chance since or there was not water.  However, while the conditions weren’t ideal, when I saw the Dreamlifter taxiing back to the ramp, I realized the opportunity was going to be there this time.

The water wasn’t quite still and I had the long lens on the camera but a phone is a good second best these days.  The jet taxied in with Mt Rainier in the background before reaching the north end of the field and crossing over.  Then it was time to be ready.  The phone has the added advantage of being able to shoot through the fence with no interference.

Heathrow From a While Back

When we first lived in Chicago, I was working for a UK based company.  I used to make regular trips to London to check in with the mother ship.  For the return journey, I would usually take the morning flight back to O’Hare from Heathrow.  In those days, BA operated from Terminal 4 and there was a Hilton hotel attached to the terminal.  This made the whole process very easy.  Get up, walk across the bridge to the terminal and check in.  It also meant I could get the occasional shots of operations.

There was a fire escape on the side of the hotel that provided a view to the east and to a bit of the airfield itself.  It was a bit restricted as views go but it was not bad.  I could get some shots of the operations if the direction of the flow was right.  I would also get up early sometimes to see the arrivals coming in as the sun was coming up.  Here are some of the shots I got from there.

American West

In the saga of mergers that have characterized the US airline industry over the decades, plenty of airlines have disappeared – subsumed into a larger merger partner.  One such airline is American West.  I was looking for some old shots for another project and came across a bunch of shots of this airline.  It merged with USAir and then ultimately into American Airlines.  It had a more interesting color scheme than is usually the case these days so I figured I would pop a few shots of their jets into a post.

I believe one of these jets is a retro scheme as part of the American Airlines retro jet program.  The rest, though, are from the days when the airline was an active competitor.  A search on the registrations of some of these jets would have, until recently shown them as still active in the American Airlines fleet.  Now, with most of the fleets on the ground and given the age of some of these jets, I suspect a lot of them won’t be making it back in to service.

Dreamlifter Before Sunset

This is my first shoot of a moving plane that wasn’t taken from my yard since the virus shelter at home started.  With a slight relaxation of the state rules, I saw that a Dreamlifter was due in to Paine Field from Charleston.  It was due to arrive some time after 8pm.  With the sundown not long before 9 and the weather looking lovely (unlike the forecast for the rest of the week), it seemed like the light would be very good.  I have got a lot of Dreamlifter shots at this point so, if it had been anything other than shortly before sunset, I wouldn’t have thought of going.  With this light, though, why not.

I was tracking it on two services and they showed rather different arrival times.  I got there with some margin just in case but, even so, the jet was already getting ready to turn downwind when I pulled up.  The arrival procedure takes a while so it wasn’t a rush, but I should probably have added a little time.  The sky was so clear you could see the jet flying the approach from miles out.  As it turned to final, the low light angle even picked out the texture on the side of the jet!  The air was still so you could hear it from a long way out too.  After all that, it was suddenly so close and touched down just a little away from my spot.  Time to pack up and head home.

Stored 737s

After two month of shelter at home, I did finally venture out in the car to see something other than the house or my bike routes.  I swung by Paine Field to see some of the stored Southwest 737s that are there.  Planes seem to have been arriving and then heading out again so I don’t know what the overall plan is.  They also seem to have moved from where they were when they first came in.  I got to see a few of them scattered around near FHCAM.

These jets look like they are in place for a while.  The nacelle inlet which is normally unpainted metal is currently covered in some black coating which runs on to the inlet blanking.  The exhaust ducts are similarly blocked up.  The jets are arrayed around the ramp and, while behind the fencing, the use of a monopod with a ball head and the remote shooting app from Canon allowed me to see what the shots looked like and to take the pictures.  I went with a few panos since things are rather close to the fence in some places.

I hope these jets are back up and working before too long.

Omni 767s

Omni provides a lot of charter work in the Seattle area, presumably military work for JBLM.  The planes usually operate from SeaTac but then will reposition to Boeing Field.  There is often an Omni 767 parked up at the south end of the field but I have not ever seemed to have been there when they are moving.  More recently, I happened across one coming in to land after a short trip from SeaTac (I could probably have driven it faster given the routing that they had to take).  It was nice to see one up and about so it prompted this post with a few Omni 767s.