UW had some success with their football program this year which meant a few charter flights took place. Some of the charters that they arranged were with New Pacific Airlines. This is a relatively new airline that originally was going to be Northern Pacific until BNSF Railway, which owns that name, objected to their using it. Their plan has been to operate transpacific flights via Anchorage in a similar model to that of Icelandair. Things have got off to a slow start. They are doing some domestic US flying but those routes have been erratic too. The fleet is a pair (I think) of Boeing 757-200s so hardly cutting edge. I think they might not last long.
Consequently, when their jet showed up at BFI, I figured I should definitely get photos since I might not get the chance again. Winter conditions are not going to be the greatest, but I was able to get a few that I was pretty happy with. I don’t wish the airline any harm at all, but they don’t seem to be giving off the vibe of a great success story. Let’s hope the charters can fill in until they get something more solid going.
The time that the NASA DC-8 spent up in the Pacific Northwest was a ton of fun for the aviation enthusiasts. Since I did get to shoot the jet a few times, I got some closer shots of the airframe to show the various sensors that cover the jet and are used for the sampling work that has been its specialization. There are plenty of them on the top, sides and bottom of the airframe. Here are some shots. I wonder what will replace the jet and whether it will have a similar array of probes?
The A340 is a plane that keeps on going despite repeated claims it was done. The 300 series jet is actually not as inefficient as it is popular to suggest (the 600 series is far less competitive) and it is still working for a few airlines including Lufthansa. This winter the jet is back on the run to Seattle which has pleased me. Most of the jets have been repainted in the new livery which is not that thrilling. There are also Star Alliance liveried jets but there are one or two of them still in the older Lufthansa colors. This is a better look from my point of view.
I did have one of them come in one weekend when the light was good and the wind was favorable for the shots I was after. The landing shots were more of a struggle because the plane landed at noon and the lighting angles were not helpful. Departure was mid afternoon and so this was slightly better. They have been back occasionally since but not on days with a) good weather and b) me being available to be there. I hope I get more chances before they finally head to the desert.
Having been operating 747 freighters, Silk Way West, an Azerbaijani cargo airline that is upgrading its fleet with 777Fs. They took delivery of their first one a while back and there was no time when I could be anywhere close while the jet was on test or being delivered. I was a bit annoyed to miss it, but these things are part of the process. When a second jet came off the line, I was similarly unable to get anywhere near it while it was on test. However, the delivery flight did coincide with some free time I had.
I headed to Everett with the hope of catching it leaving. Delivery flights are not always reliable. The timing of getting airborne can move and sometimes odd things happen and they don’t go at all. This is not the norm, though, so I was hoping it would all work out and I was lucky. The flight was direct to their home base so, while the jet had no cargo in the hold, it was going to be heavily fueled up so I was hopefully of a reasonably long takeoff run. It rotated in a good spot for getting some shots but was still quite well off the ground when it came by me. Still, not a bad location for some shots. I wonder if/when I shall next see this jet!
The departure of the Q400s from Horizon’s fleet means that they are now fully equipped with Embraer E175-E1s. I know some people didn’t like the Q400 but I actually found it to be perfectly fine when I flew in them. Not a ton of space but not the longest flights. Certainly nothing as long as I have done in the Embraers! However, before the Q400s, there were other aircraft in their fleet. I was scanning through some shots for some other reason and came across shots of Dash 8-100s and CRJs. I figured I would remind people of some of the older times that Horizon operated when I was shooting stuff. Of course, there are far older types that they would have had but they are before my time.
As some previous posts may have indicated, I have not had the best of luck with Ameristar DC-9s in the past. They never seem to move when I am around. I heard that some were coming in to Paine Field and, again, I wasn’t going to be around when they got there. However, I was up there a little while afterwards and, after getting the shots I came for, the evening light was looking nice so I figured I would head around to see if there was a good shot of them on the ramp.
When I got there, I was disappointed to see some vehicles parked up inside the fence and in the way of any shots of the jets. Rather than give up, I headed in to the FBO to see if they would let us outside and they were very helpful. Turns out one of their team is a keen photographer himself and he was happy to escort us out. The two DC-9s were sitting on the ramp in lovely light. What more could you ask for? There was a medical helicopter crew getting ready to depart and we had to stay well out of their way but this did not impact what we were after. A great opportunity to get the jets in nice conditions.
A few days later, one of the jets was heading out. It was a northerly flow and, given the ability of the original short body DC-9s to get out of shorter fields, it was going to be pretty high when it came by me. That wasn’t going to stop me getting a shot, though. Got to make the most of it when the opportunity presents itself. When DC-9s were everywhere with operators like Northwest, it was easy to ignore them. Now they have rarity value, it is a different story!
With some nice autumnal light and a northerly flow at SEA, I was going to stay around to see what jets were heading out as the light was starting to be at its best just before it disappeared completely. At that time of year, there would be a number of widebodies heading out to Europe and the Middle East that would be close to sunset. In the weeks afterwards, they would all be after sunset! I decided to see what I could catch.
The light got better and better, so it was pretty straightforward to catch some really nice images of the big jets (and some smaller ones) as they climbed out of SEA on their way back to home base. Just looking through the viewfinder, I knew that I was going to be very happy with the results. Then, the sun set, and the light changed dramatically. However, some of the shots I got after this time will justify their own post.
Titan Airways provides jets for some high end tourist programs. I have shot their older A321s before, but they recently took on an A321neo that had previously been used as a transport for the UK government. On a flight, it had issues with windows that were not sealed, and the plane was not pressurizing properly with a load of noise. When they investigated further, it turned out it had been used for filing work and the high intensity lights had damaged the window seals.
With the windows repaired and a test flight undertaken, it was back in service and its next trip was to Seattle. I caught it landing at Boeing Field. It arrived at the worst time of day for lighting but, with something unusual like this, I decided to make the best of it. It turned out okay and I was quite pleased with the results, as was one of the pilots!
There was an evening when the weather was awful and the NASA DC-8 was out on a mission. The forecast suggested things might get a bit clearer late in the afternoon and so, while the light was awful, I thought I might take a chance and head to Paine Field after work. The sky was dark and ominous but I was there so I might as well wait. As the Max 10 was first on approach, it was the one I would try out first. There was a hint of the sun starting to punch through the cloud and it did look okay.
Then, when the DC-8 showed up, the clouds parted. The backdrop was still and evil looking sky but the sun was on the plane as it came down the approach. I had thought of shooting video but, when I saw the light, I couldn’t resist shooting stills. The joy of modern cameras is the ability to switch rapidly from one to the other. I got video down the initial approach and then stills as it was close in. Then back to video once it was by me. This actually didn’t make for a bad video edit.
A moment with light like this is very rare and you have to be excited when it all works out.
We saw a variety of planes in Kenya and Tanzania. This one I didn’t get too close to but I was really happy to have caught either way. Dash 7s are pretty few and far between these days. There are some up in Canada that I would love to get up to see but the last ones I saw were in Toronto and looked stored. This one flew overhead and I grabbed a few quick shots. Oh to have seen it touching down on one of the rough strips.