When I find out that a HondaJet is in the area, I do try to get a shot of it. It is such an unusual design, I am hoping to get a good shot of one. Sadly, two things seem to be conspiring against me. First, they all seem to have a variation on the same paint scheme. No doubt you can paint it how you like but they almost all seem to look similar. The second thing is that I always seem to get them in cloudy conditions. This doesn’t stop me trying though. I have even got one in a better livery but not with good light. However, these are the recent examples I have seen. Maybe I will get a shot of one that I am happy with at some point.
They may not count as rare yet, but Falcon 50s are far from common at this point. They have been long out of production and the owners have progressively traded up to something newer. Consequently, when one shows up, it is a nice thing to try and catch and, if it shows up at a good time, on a reasonable day and with a non-US registration, that is even better. This example has an Isle of Man registration. The Isle of Man is part of the UK but is a tax haven and decided to set up its own aircraft registration system. I guess it has been quite popular. This jet came in to Boeing Field following is transatlantic crossing. I don’t know where it headed next.
While I am happy to shoot a Phenom 100 if it happens to be passing, I am not usually going to go out of my way for one. However, if I have a cloudy Sunday afternoon with nothing much going on and one is coming to Boeing Field with Millennium Falcon paint on it, why not? This jet was making a tour around the west and was coming to BFI from Bellingham. I got it arriving and the side I shot had the Falcon painted on it. Apparently the other side has an X-Wing. The underside looked like it might be interesting and I did get a departure shot but it wasn’t as special as I had hoped.
If I see a GIV these days, it barely gets any attention from me. Sure, I’ll take a shot, but I am not getting excited. Go back a generation, though, to the G-III and suddenly I am definitely paying attention. One came to BFI recently and, while I was at the wrong end for an arrival airborne shot, I did see in the distance on final (no heat haze thankfully) and then as it rolled out and headed to the ramp at Modern. It was also in a nice dark paint job and it looked pretty cool.
It didn’t hang around too long. I watched it taxi across the field and up to the departure end. Then it was time for the long lens. The old Spey engines don’t have as much grunt as the later Tays so I anticipated a longer takeoff run and was not disappointed. I then watched it climb out with the Speys belching smoke. The engines are hushkitted but are still noisy beasts. As it climbed away, I got a clear view through the hush kits including the lobes of the exhaust diffusers. What a fun thing to see.
Korean Air’s fleet of bizjets come through Seattle quite frequently. Their BBJs are not uncommon. They use the airfield as the departure point for the trans-Pacific route to Korea. Unfortunately, they often arrive in the middle of the night and head straight back out again. I timed it well when they were making a daytime stop. I got the arrival and the departure this time.
Conditions were not great but, last time I shot one of their BBJs, the high sun made the livery glare a bit. Flat lighting avoided that this time. The departure was a good one for me. The route across the Pacific is a long one so the plane was pretty heavy. This meant it rotated a long way down the runway and closer to me and was still only just climbing when it was level with me. I went with a long lens which meant things got large quickly. It did give me some shots I was pretty happy with, though.
Boeing developed the BBJ in partnership with GE if memory serves and I think they took the earliest examples to be built. A modified 737 airframe, the BBJ is a big jet for a bizjet – unless you are seriously wealthy and have a converted widebody. Their house colors are actually quite nice and, since Boeing Field is a big base for them, seeing their jet in is not a surprise. It does look good, though.
Of the new generation of Gulfstream jets, the G500 was the first to test and the first to service. It might have taken a long time to get certificated but it is now in service. Even so, I haven’t seen too many of them yet. However, I managed to get two on one day. One of them was an approach to Boeing Field and what appeared to be a Gulfstream owned airframe was also parked on Modern Aviation’s ramp.
I think they are a pretty good looking airframe and have addressed some of my misgivings about the older generation Gulfstreams. Now there are going to be a bunch of variants with the G500, G600, G700 and G800. There is also going to be a G400 but I don’t yet know whether that is the same airframe design base or something different. Probably similar though. Can’t see much future for the G650 with all of these, though.
Military movements don’t usually show up on things like FlightAware but they can make an appearance on FlightRadar24 or ADSB Exchange. I hadn’t been checking either of them as I was getting ready to leave when one of the other people nearby let me know a C-20 was inbound. It turned out to be a C-20G from the US Marine Corps. I’m usually happy to shoot a Gulfstream but one in military markings is a bit more unusual and the Marine Corps even more so. Glad to have had the tip not to go too soon.
Sexy Sue, the Douglas A-26 Invader, had returned to Renton one evening and I had gone around to the ramp side of the field to see her taxi in. While I was watching the crew shut her down, a few arrivals were coming in over my shoulder. One of them was a Cirrus Vision. The lighting was behind it but I was still getting a shot. Being so close to it on approach was an interesting angle.
Even better, the aircraft was heading my way after landing. It taxied down to where the Invader was still parked, wiggled around it in the space available and then continued on around the corner and off to its parking spot. It is a small jet so can taxi around much like any piston light aircraft but it seems funny to see a jet in such a confined spot. I do think the Vision is a cool looking plane, even if it is a bit like a tadpole!
A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest. I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer. I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green. The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun. Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in. When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post. Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.