I had not heard of Blue Air prior to seeing this Max on test. It is a nice thing about living near Boeing’s production facilities that you see jets that will be heading somewhere you don’t go. In this case, I read not long afterwards that this jet was the first delivery of a Max to Blue Air and that they are a low cost carrier in Belarus. I guess I now know about another airline that I previously was unaware of. Looked quite nice in these colors (when you consider how bland airline colors can be there days).
I have posted a fair few things from an evening spent at Paine Field after work. Ironically, the reason for actually being there is the last topic to get a post from that visit. Boeing continues to build 777s ahead of the introduction to service (eventually) of the 777X. Almost all deliveries are of the 777-300ER. Its sister ship was the 777-200LR, a lower capacity plane with longer range to meet the need of extreme range operations.
None of these have been built for a while but one more was on order. (The 777F is a variant of the 200LR and it continues to sell well.). This final 200LR was order by Turkmenistan. Getting the last of the type was of some interest but an aircraft from Turkmenistan was more unusual so I wanted to see it. Turned out it was on a test flight in the afternoon when the weather was nice and it was due back at the end of the day.
I thought it was going to mess with me. When it showed up approaching the field, instead of lining up on approach, it flew across the approach path to the west. However, this was just a feint and it then came back and flew an approach. Not the most exciting of colors for an aircraft but the last of the line and an unusual country made it worth going – besides, it was a lovely evening so being out was worth it anyway!
Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise. However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual. I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit. Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country. The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east. Was it a delivery? Who knows?
I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field. While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test. With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure. It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.
Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure. One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot. The departure itself was a lot better. By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome. As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away. Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.
In the run up to Christmas, I got to photograph the Asia Pacific Airlines Boeing 757 freighter while it was being used to supplement capacity for UPS. Prior to that, I had noticed it was operating a circular route from Seattle to LAX to Honolulu and back to Seattle. This seems to have started again. With a nice forecast for a Saturday morning and it due in early in the morning, I figured I would head out and get some shots in the nice morning light.
The jet was projected to be in to SeaTac at around 7:25 so I left a little before 7 to try and be there. The forecasts on the sites are often a bit optimistic but I still took my breakfast with me rather than risk missing out. I got to my intended location just coming up on 7:25 and, as I pulled in to the lot, I saw a Korean Air Cargo 747-8F on final approach to the inner runway. I grabbed the camera and, while it would be backlit, figured I would get a bonus. I took the shots and then looked on the iPad to see where my jet was.
An ad ran on the app for about 30 seconds which was annoying but I finally managed to search on the jet. Apparently, it was right there. It was almost directly behind me. I had intended to walk up the hill to get past the tree line. Instead, I just turned and shot as it passed through the one gap in the trees I had. Crap! If I hadn’t looked at the 747, I would have been fine. I went all that way and only got a side on shot. The light was really nice too! What a dope. Maybe there will be another opportunity – we shall see.
A nice bonus during my evening photographing at Paine Field was the visit of a 777X test airframe from Boeing Field. They often file to go to Paine for a low approach and maybe some pattern work before returning to Boeing Field but don’t always follow through – sometimes just heading back to BFI. This time, they did show up. A nice evening with smooth conditions and they flew down the approach before powering up and going around as they cross the airfield boundary. A few shots in nice light are always welcome.
I put together a post about some interesting jet traffic at Anchorage from a visit I made long ago. While jet freighters are a big deal at Anchorage, the area is also known for its more unusual prop traffic. Some of these are vintage and others are types that have fallen out of favor elsewhere but continue to have a use in Alaska. Here are some shots of the various props I got to see while on that trip in the mid-2000s.
I’ve posted shots of Omni’s 767s on the ground and on the approach at Boeing Field as well as showing up at Paine Field. This is a variation on a theme I guess since this one was arriving at Boeing Field after a short flight from SeaTac. This time I was up on the hill so was able to see it touch down from an elevated position. It’s nice to get wide body activity when up on the hill since you are a bit far away and a bigger jet is a clearer subject to photograph.
The USAF operates a small fleet of Boeing 757s for VIP transport. These C-32s are often thought of for their role transporting the Vice President when they adopt the call sign of Air Force Two. However, they transport a lot more people than just the Veep with other cabinet officials using them as well as senior Air Force staff.
One of them was at Paine Field for a while. I had heard that it had flown in but had assumed it had gone again. When I went up one evening after work (when the light was looking great and another jet I was interested in was due back), the people there told me it was still around. I figured it would be there for a lot longer and paid no further attention until someone noticed that it had moved out of its parking area on to a taxiway.
As with all of these things, nothing happened fast. Since the light was just getting better and better, I didn’t mind too much. Eventually a bunch of the passengers showed up – that will warrant its own post – and then they started up and taxied. They had to hold for a short while near the threshold so there was lots of time to get some shots. Then they were off. I figured, being a 757, they would be airborne quickly. They must have been heavy, though, since they ran a long way down the field before rotating.
The day was fast running out and I was thinking about heading for home but one of the two 777X test aircraft out showed signs of heading home to BFI so I figured I would wait around for it. It looked like it would get back before the end of the light with a bit of margin so I decided it was good to wait. I have not shot a 777 landing from this location so wanted to get the shot.
However, while the time was looking good compared to sunset, it was not looking so good when thinking of the weather. There were some dark and stormy clouds off to the southwest and they seemed to be getting closer. As the 777X got to the city, I figured a coat was in order since it looked like the rain might arrive first.
Indeed it did and this brought the light levels way down. As it came down the approach, it was shrouded in rain and made for a less than distinct shape to shoot. Certainly not what I had been hoping for. However, why wait all that time and not take the shots. It touched down in the heavy rain but at least the reduced distance meant things weren’t as obscured. It rolled out and turned off the runway but I decided I was already done and headed to the car and dry warmth.