The creation of the airline alliances has allowed airlines to serve a wider range of routes than they could sustain themselves. Part of their obligation as a member of the alliance is to have some of their aircraft painted in alliance colors. Sadly, these liveries are not that exciting but I suppose it is some variety. I was quite surprised to get an Air France 777-300ER in SkyTeam colors vacating the runway at the same time a United 777-200ER in Star Alliance colors was taxiing the opposite direction. I felt like the scene for a stand off but no such thing occurred.
When I was last at LAX, there was plenty of construction underway in the middle of the field. The Bradley International Terminal was being expanded to accommodate the growth that had taken place. This was all pre-pandemic of course. On this visit, it looked like everything was complete. The new midfield terminal area was looking finished and there were aircraft on the gates including a China Southern A380. With that fleet due for retirement, that might be my last chance to see one. Not sure whether I will get to use the terminal or not but it looked good.
I got another new freighter while at LAX although not a great shot of it. Cargologic has a pair of 747-400Fs in service. The threshold for the south runways is a long way east of Imperial Hill so it is easy for freighters to stop and turn off before they get past all of he buildings that are in the way. Consequently, I didn’t get a clear shot of this jet. At the time I took this, a bunch of restrictions had been imposed on Russian operators as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. Cargologic is a British registered airline so was not restricted. Its ownership traces back to Volga Dnepr which is restricted. Not sure the distinction is a real one but, at the time, it was enough to allow them to keep operating. I suspect the UK government is not going to look too hard.
Imperial Hill gets loads of visitors and plenty of them eat lunch while up there. Consequently, the sparrows are keen on the place too and they get pretty confident with the people around. While I was up there, I figured I should try and get a few sparrow shots as well as other flying things. If I wanted to focus on them, they are so close and fearless that it should be easy to do.
The light was getting low in the sky and I was needing to drop my rental car back at the lot to get my flight home but a Finnair A350 was on approach. I could see it was coming in to the south complex so the Proud Bird parking lot would be the spot for me. The nice evening light was going to work out well. I had shot a Finnair A350 once before when one came to SFO but this would be only my second encounter. No point in missing it. The sky was warming up nicely so it was hard to miss getting the shot.
The launch of the 737 Max was heavily influenced by American Airlines agreeing to buy a bunch of A320neo family jets from Airbus. American had inherited a bunch of Airbus aircraft from the combination with USAirways but buying the neos really caused Boeing to take note. The order also included a bunch of the ceo versions of the jets and I have seen loads of them over the years. However, for some reason, I had never shot an American neo until I got to LAX.
Los Angeles seems to be a popular destination for American’s neo fleet. While I was there, I saw a load of them arriving and departing. The larger engines are quite conspicuous on the neo although the A321neo seems better proportioned for that size of engine so they are less obvious than the smaller jets. I think they do occasionally make it to Seattle but whether I shall catch one up here, I don’t know.
When I last went to LA, the racetrack in Inglewood had been flattened and construction was underway on the new football stadium. Since then it was completed and opened as SoFi stadium. I was keen to see it in person having seen it on TV a lot. I made sure to be sitting on the left of the plane thinking I could get some shots of it from the air. Having previously photographed the racetrack, I mistakenly thought it would be further south and had a longer lens on the camera. The stadium is closer to the approach path so I had way too much lens and only got shots of parts of it.
However, after my meetings wrapped up, as I headed back to the airport, I did drive by the stadium. There were tours available but I didn’t have too much time so instead parked up and walked around a bit of the outside. I mainly used my phone to take some shots – good for shooting through fences – and also stitched together some shots to make some panos.
The stadium is really impressive to see in person. There is plenty of development going on in the area around it and I imagine it is going to quite transform Inglewood over time. Whether that is for the better or not, we shall see. The landscaping certainly adds to the impressiveness and the overall structure is far larger than just the football stadium which seem to sit inside it and feel rather dwarfed. If you get a chance to go by, I would certainly recommend it. Spending billions on sports stadiums is a controversial topic but this one has certainly got something special about it which is what you would hope for when it cost as much as it did!
The approach to Los Angeles International from the north brings you in from the coast heading east almost directly over downtown before turning south and then west to make the approach to the north complex. This approach gives you a very good view of Dodger Stadium. I had the camera to hand as we came in so grabbed a few quick shots of the park. With the MLB dispute now solved, there should be crowds showing up here before too long (if they haven’t already depending on when I post this).
Coming across a new airline for the first time is still a buzz for me. With so many airlines around the world and most of them never showing up at an airport convenient for me, there is always a good chance of something new when I visit somewhere I haven’t been for a while. LAX is a popular freight destination so getting new freighters there is a good chance. I was actually at SoFi stadium having a look around when a 747-400F made the approach just south of me.
I had the camera with me at that time so was able to turn around and get some shots. With the aircraft being south of me, it was a bit backlit but I bumped the exposure compensation up a bit to get good shadow detail so I could play with it in post. Later in the day, I was at Imperial Hill waiting for my flight home when it departed. Getting two cracks at a new airline was a pretty good deal. More importantly, the airline actually has a livery that is of interest – not a white jet with a few markings. I count this as a result!
I was flicking through some old shots that weren’t well keyworded and was surprised to find some shots from a San Diego visit which included some warships. I had some shots of an aircraft carrier including a few for a panorama that I had never compiled. Why not correct that? Here it is, the USS Ronal Reagan.