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.
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 air show at Abbotsford has the conspicuous backdrop of Mt Baker. For the evening show, the light was really nice on the mountain and I think I have already posted about that. Some of the display aircraft would make turns in front of the mountain. Most are too small to be obvious in a shot but something the size of a C-17 Globemaster is going to show up. The USAF Moose was one of the display and here it is as it reverses course back towards the airfield.
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.
The NASA DC-8 was up in the Pacific Northwest for the trials sampling the air when burning sustainable aviation fuel. The aircraft that was actually burning the fuel that they were sniffing was a 737-10. This Max 10 is ultimately destined for United Airlines. Since the Max 10 is not certificated yet, I guess the jet was free for Boeing to use. It had a special livery for the trials program. Not sure whether this will be kept for service or not. However, when I was shooting the DC-8, I usually got to shoot the Max as well. It didn’t always get the best light, but I still got a few good shots of it.
It seems for each generation of airliner, the smallest one from the previous generation is the one that doesn’t do so well. The 737-500 sold reasonably well but the -600 was the unloved on of the NG range. The -700 sold well but the Max 7 is not really attracting any love (except from Southwest). The A320 family has the same thing. Apparently, the small one just doesn’t age well. The 737-600 did not end up with many airlines so I have few shots of them. Aside from the Janets, these are the only operators I have seen.
Drake recently announced he was stepping back from touring, but this comes after he has been on quite a touring schedule. Seattle was one stop he made. He has his own 767-200 that is operated by Cargojet for him. It is painted in a distinctive sky-blue livery. It came into Boeing Field for the duration of his stay in the city. Sadly, his schedule means he finishes a show and jumps on the plane to fly to the next location overnight. That meant it arrive some time after midnight and departed at an inconvenient time too. I only got it while parked and the light was not great either. Still…
One of the reasons we get a stream of unusual freighters into Paine Field is the delivery of sections of fuselage for the production lines. This can include front fuselage sections, center wing boxes and empennage elements. One afternoon an Antonov showed up to deliver some of these parts. While getting the plane arriving was why I was there, it was interesting to see these chunks of future planes (I believe these were for the 767/KC-46 line) being offloaded and driven off to be used.
As mentioned in other posts, I have been playing around with lower shutter speeds when photographing planes at Boeing Field. Getting a blurry background to emphasize the speed of the plane is the goal and it also removes some of the annoying distractions that a cluttered airfield can provide. I use filters to reduce the light in order to get the shutter speed down without having ridiculous apertures. Naturally, I end up with a bunch of blurred photos which get deleted but the selection process for the keepers is what this post is about.
I have some photography friends that don’t like the effect that the differential speeds of the parts of the airframe have on sharpness. A sharp nose might mean a pretty blurry tail since the relative motions as I pan are different. When I am filtering through the shots, I often “focus” on how the nose looks since it is like having the sharp eyes on a wildlife shot. I care less about the tail unless it looks terrible. However, getting the middle of the airframe sharp might result in a sharper overall shot even if the nose is a little blurry.
These are the things I was thinking about with these shots of a 777X landing at Boeing Field. The reason for the post is to see what matters to other people. These shots are a mix of which part of the airframe is sharp and which bits are more blurred. I may spend a fair bit of time deciding on which is best, but I wonder whether anyone looking at them is going to like the same things as me or will even care about it. Maybe the composition of the image is all that they care about, and the pixel peeping is irrelevant. I would really appreciate feedback if you have an opinion.
While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.