I spent a little time at Haneda on a recent trip to Tokyo. It was not an ideal day for photography but it had its possibilities. One thing that really surprised me was that I seemed to see a bunch of planes with special paint schemes. I don’t know whether Japanese airlines just have a lot of specials or whether Haneda is the place that they all come but I saw a lot. One of them was from China too. Here are some shots of the specials from that day excluding one that will have its own post.
The A400M Atlas is now in service with a number of air forces. My encounters with them, though, have only involved the development airframes displayed by Airbus. That changed in Sacramento when The Patrouille de France arrived as part of their North American tour. They brought an A400M as he support plane. I was rather disappointed that it arrived late in the evening, after I had gone home and disappeared early the following morning to recover some delayed jets.
It was back for the day of the display though. It started up at a remote location but then proceeded to give a short flying display. It then taxied back to the crowd line where it shut down and was opened up for visitors. The people were lined up to get inside it for ages. The plane still looked pretty clean so I guess it had not been in service too long. I was glad to get a close up look around the outside as well as to see the crowds inside and the flying display itself. Not a dramatic performance like the test crews have put on but still good to see.
Previously I may have mentioned my recent efforts to go through images I took a long time ago. The evening show at Chino had a number of performers and one of them was the Canadian Hornet demo. When I go through my images, part of my process is to render all of them at 100% and then view the full size image on one screen and the zoomed in version on the other. This allows me to see whether the shot is sharp and also whether there is anything glaringly wrong with it like bits cut off or someone’s head in the way.
I was going through the shots of the Hornet which flew after the sun had gone below the horizon, I noticed that, as it flew over the top of a loop, I had a view into the cockpit. Normally, this would be dark as the brightness of the day overpowered the shade of the cockpit. However, since it was pretty dark, the glow of the multifunction displays on the panel is clearly visible. We aren’t going to be able to see the details of the displays themselves but they are very conspicuous which is not the norm.
More on the looking out of the window of airliners theme today. This time the subject is other airliners. If you don’t stare out of the window much, you might not be aware just how much other traffic is out there. Actually, there is quite a lot. At various times you might see other jets passing in the opposite direction, pacing you at a distance and crossing your path. Sometimes they seem very close. With some of the apps that are available now, if you have wifi on-board, you can even be prepared for some of them showing up.
Here I shall highlight a quality warning. The attached shots are not great. They illustrate a point but nothing more. There have been quite a few occasions when we passed very close to another aircraft. However, those were not times I had a camera handy. even if I had, the chances of getting a good shot are not great. Even when you are close, you are really not that close. It just seems a lot closer than normal – which it is. However, you are still well separated. Therefore, to get a shot, you need a medium length lens at least.
Sadly, aircraft windows are not designed for optical perfection. Moreover, since they are pressurized and scratches are a source of fatigue which you certainly do not want, the manufacturers put a nice perspex sheet between you and the window. They certainly are not optically perfect. Now you are shooting with quite a long lens through two layers of less than perfect material. This is not a good recipe for quality shots. There we go. I have made plenty of excuses.
You are now going to get a small aircraft if you are lucky and a small blur if you are not. If it is pulling a contrail, you might do better since they can make some nice shapes. However, chances are you won’t get much at all.
A bit more time stuck indoors than I would ideally have liked had meant that I was beginning to climb the walls a bit. Some good weather had been about but I had been unable to get outside to enjoy it. However, I did get a Sunday when I was able to get out and the weather showed signs of clearing up. (It had been pretty murky early in the day but the forecast said it would get better and it wasn’t wrong!)
I decided to head to O’Hare to watch some European arrivals. A strong westerly wind meant the arrival direction would be reliable as far as sun angle was concerned and the low temperatures should hopefully avoid too much heat distortion. Apart from that, an afternoon out shooting the arrivals is better than plenty of other options even if it isn’t something new and unique.
As it was, there were a fair few interesting aircraft coming in along with the regular O’Hare types of traffic. I was able to keep close to the car which meant I could hop back out of the chilly wind between interesting targets and listen out on LiveATC’s app on my phone to know when something was coming my way. Flightaware also allows a bit of planning ahead.
It was a fun afternoon and some good results showed up. Some new bits to add to the catalog along with some of the familiar stuff and some that will soon no longer be familiar and need to be remembered before they are gone. Here is a small selection of the day.