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.
An unusual operator is a good reason for a trip out. I had seen some 757 flights in and out of Seattle that seemed to be running a circular route including LA and Hawaii. The airline was called Asia Pacific Airlines and was flying 757s. However, I didn’t have the opportunity to get to see them while these flights were underway. Jump forward to Christmas Eve and I had a day off and they were coming in to Boeing Field. This seemed like it was worth a trip.
They appeared to be providing additional capacity for UPS which was dealing with the big rush in the last days before Christmas. Although the jet was due in a bit later than ideal, I was definitely hanging around to see it. I had got everything done for Christmas so I wasn’t under pressure. The green and white scheme is an interesting change from the usual UPS colors. It landed and taxied to the UPS ramp where the ground crew went to work unloading and reloading it. I didn’t wait for departure, though. Christmas was coming!
Looking for something unusual keeps things interesting when you have been shooting the same stuff for a while while not able to go anywhere. I had seen a couple of movements in recent months of Asia Pacific Airlines and their Boeing 757s. However, I had never been in a position to catch one. Christmas Eve I was off work and one was due in to Boeing Field. It was on their own flight number but I had a suspicion that they were supporting UPS.
Sure enough, when the jet landed, it taxied up to a spot on the UPS ramp and started unloading. UPS had been running a large amount of movements through Seattle that day and the preceding days so I guess the Christmas rush meant it was necessary to charter in additional capacity to deal with the demand. An interesting looking plane and nice to see something different for a change.