A sunny Sunday morning trip out for a bizjet got a bonus. I was a touch late for the arrival unfortunately but this G650ER had come in from Manila on its was to Teterboro. It would have been nice to catch it landing but, after it cleared customs, they taxied out for departure to the east coast. I’m sure it was nice to stretch the legs after a trans-Pacific trip although I doubt a G650 is that uncomfortable!
Tag Archives: Boeing Field
What Is Experimental About This?
Dassault is developing their business jet line. The 5X was stillborn as a result of engine supply issues but it led to the 6X which I got to see last year when it came through Boeing Field on tour. The next jet is the 10X. This is going to be a large cabin and long range jet to play with the Global 8000 and G800. However, it hasn’t flown yet. When I saw this jet at Boeing Field, I wondered what the story was. The large graphic on the side must either relate to something else or is delusion of grandeur on the part of the owner.
EcoDemonstrator In Good Light Finally Arrives
Boeing has been running a program for the last 10 years called the EcoDemonstrator program. They have used a variety of aircraft over this time – often ones that were bailed back from operators or that had not yet been delivered. The most recent aircraft to participate was an older 777-200ER. I am not sure why this jet was picked but I do wonder whether they pick up aircraft that don’t have a lot of hours left before a major inspection so they are more affordable.
This one has been flying around for quite a while but I have never seen it moving. Then, not so long ago, I finally got to shoot it but it was a miserable day with low cloud and awful light. I felt like I was destined to never get a shot of it in nice conditions. Things changed when I went to Georgetown to see the Steam Plant. I was in the plant having a look around shortly after arriving when something large took off overhead. I pulled out my phone to see what it was a saw that the demonstrator was powered up on the Boeing ramp and scheduled for a flight.
This was a lucky break – not just that it was flying but that I happened to look at my phone to see it. I went back to the car to change lenses when I saw it had started to move. I was tricked a little, though. They moved it to the exit of the Boeing ramp and then it stayed there for ages. However, eventually it did taxi down the field and take off. It was quite high as it came by me but I was able to get some shots of it and the underside had some graphics about being powered by sustainable aviation fuel so that was something I hadn’t seen before.
I then finished my visit to the steam plant. The demonstrator was down off the Oregon coast flying various profiles on their test card. When Boeing Jets fly down there you are left guessing as to when they might return. They will be flying towards you and then reverse course to do more test points. There were some interesting departures from SEA early in the afternoon so I was hoping to shoot them and then return to Boeing Field for the demonstrator. I saw it head towards me but figured it would reverse course any time.
I was wrong. It was coming back and soon. This was not in the plan. The departures from SEA would have been good but this plane is unique so it was getting priority. I headed back to Boeing Field where I was not alone. Plenty of people had come out for it. A sunny Saturday was clearly good news for the local photographers. I then watched the planes come out of SEA that I had wanted to shoot but that would have to be accepted. Not long before the 777 showed up out in front of Mt Rainier and then it was on approach. I was happy with my results. Chatting with some of the locals, they said it was not long before it heads to storage in the desert. I know it flew a few times after this but maybe this was my last chance. Thank goodness the conditions were good and that I even realized!
A Pair of Max Delivery Flights
At the rate Boeing is building 737s at the moment (the actual rate rather than the one that they would like to be building at) means a delivery on any giving day is a possibility. I happened to be there when two deliveries went out in close succession. The nice thing about deliveries is that the planes are usually a lot heavier as they are fueled for a longer flight. When they are departing to the south, that means that they will rotate a lot further along the runway so will be easier to photograph.
Two airlines were taking delivery on this day. One was Lion Air for its Batik Air subsidiary. The other was COPA. The light wasn’t great for either of them but sometimes the dark skies make for a more interesting background provided the light on the aircraft is not terrible. I did okay on this occasion. I have been making better use of the processing capabilities of Lightroom since they introduced the more advanced masking functions so that certainly helps.
Motorcade Comes In The Back Gate
I was at Boeing Field awaiting the departure of the Vice President and was wondering when the motorcade would appear. I had assumed it would drive down the road alongside the airport and in through the FBO’s entrance. As I looked to the north, I could see that there was not traffic on I-5 southbound so I knew they weren’t far away. The helicopter hovering above also suggested things were close.
Then I saw a bunch of flashing blue lights coming across the bridge near Ruby Chow Park. I was a little confused by this but a short while later, I saw a string of vehicles with lights flashing coming along the taxiway alongside the main runway. I assume that the Secret Service had elected to enter via one of the crash gates at the north end of the field.
The variety of vehicles was quite fascinating. There were the heavily armored SUVs that the Veep was in. These were followed by other SUVs, minivans and ambulances. I guess the motorcade is equipped to cover any eventuality. They crossed the runway and headed for the waiting C-32. Not everyone was going on the C-32 though. Various people would be on the C-40 that was also waiting while others would be picked up later or travel via different methods. Watching the whole cavalcade arrive was quite a sight.
F-35A Departure And Arrival
Over the course of the Seafair weekend, I got to see the demo F-35A arrive and depart a few times. The demo pilot would get airborne and keep the jet on the deck in full burner building up a decent amount of speed. Then, she would pull to a steep climb just as she got to the perimeter of the field. This looked pretty impressive from the side but it was even more impressive from head on.
The return to land after the display was a lot more sedate. It was a pretty standard pattern and approach but there were plenty of people at the south end to enjoy the last moments of the flight. I headed down there a couple of times. You could easily do both departure and approach since you had the whole time that the display was underway to re-position. I did all go to Ruby Chow Park from one departure and shot video rather than stills. Seeing the F-35 come right at us and then pull hard was impressive. The noise was intense and the wake threw dust and debris into the air around us. It made an impression!
Veep Comes To Town
The Vice President made a visit to Seattle a while back. Much of the discussion was about how the traffic downtown could be disrupted but the first thought that I had was that there would be jets visiting. I was unable to see anything of the visit of Air Force One and the Marine Corps support when the president came to town but I was able to catch the Veep’s jet. For this visit, Air Force Two was provided by a USAF C-32. It arrived while I was elsewhere but I was able to catch it depart.
It was parked over near Modern Aviation and, when the motorcade arrived and delivered everybody, they were swiftly on their way. The taxi route came out towards me and then direct on to the runway to backtrack. Since a TFR was in effect, no one else was flying so no need to use the taxiway. Just straight back down the runway, do a 180 and power away. I think the 757 is a good looking jet and the C-32 certainly looks great. They were off the ground swiftly and climbing away.
The C-12 Huron is the military version of the King Air. While it has been successful as a transport, it has also been the basis for a ton of derivatives. I am not an expert on this type and all of its subtypes so, when I see one, I can’t say for sure what it is. The most recent versions have been the MC-12W but I am not sure that they all look alike. When I saw this plane taxiing out at Boeing Field, I wondered if it was an MC-12W and asked a couple of friends that know more than me. They weren’t sure either. It might be or it could be something else. Whatever it is, it was an unusual visitor.
Sentimental Journey Comes To Town Part 1
There are a few operators of large warbirds that take their planes on tours around the country providing people with an opportunity to check out the planes or, if they are willing to splash some cash, take a flight in them. Sentimental Journey is a B-17 that undertakes such flights and it came to the Pacific Northwest during the summer. I was at Boeing Field for a week before moving on to Arlington (of which more another time).
Because it does much of its business at the weekends, it is relatively easy to find time to come and see it fly. It did also do some flying later in the day so I was able to see it a few times. It certainly helped that the weather was really nice. I got some shots of it as it came to Boeing Field and then made some trips around the Puget Sound area. Here are some of the shots from that time. I did spend a little more time trying out shots from different places and those will get another post soon.
National Geographic/Icelandair 757
One weekend, I saw an early arrival of an Icelandair 757 was scheduled for Boeing Field. The weather was not looking great but it was an unusual arrival and I didn’t have any competing things top do so I went across. Icelandair has some charter aircraft and this one turned out to be one of those. I have shot the Abercrombie and Kent jet before. This is a high end tourist operation that takes people from exotic location to exotic location. On this occasion, it was something similar. This time the operation was National Geographic. When I saw the plane, I was quite surprised but not so much that I could grab a few shots!