I have taken a lot of photos of Seattle since we moved here. The city has a lot of development which shows itself clearly in both the downtown area and the South Lake Union area. The downtown core is not massively different but the spread out from the center is noticeable, as is the change in stadiums. My first visit to Seattle was in 1992. Things were very different then. I recently took a look at some photos I scanned from that trip including a view from the top of the Space Needle. I also have some shots from the mid 2000s in the mix.
The following shots are combinations of shots from 92 and current shots along with some taken from one of our trips here in around 2005 when I had a work visit that we extended to include some time in the city. The city already had some big towers in 92 but there has been a lot of development since then. South Lake Union is a different story. During my first visit, there was not a lot going on in the area. Now things are heavily in the area with Amazon having led the investment but the Gates Foundation also having a big site. Things have really changed a lot!
Changing the colors of an airline is usually something that happens infrequently. It always gets a lot of comment when it happens but brand continuity is often a big deal. This is where Spirit is different. They flew for a long time in their gray scheme that had a digital block pattern going on. They changed to have something that was far brighter with a white fuselage and a blue fin with some color accents. When I saw a yellow jet at Oakland, I thought it must be some special livery. It turns out that it wasn’t and that this was their new “new” scheme. I’m not sure what the problem was with the previous one but obviously it didn’t last. I wonder whether they even had time to repaint the fleet?
The Boeing 747-8 has not been a terribly successful program. Boeing decided to update the 747 family with new engines and revisions to the wing along with a stretch to the fuselage. The resulting jet was delayed by its own and other program issues and it came around at a time when there were few passenger airlines interested and the freighter market was taking a kicking. The result has been anemic sales and a production rate that has steadily reduced as a result of the low demand. However, from a technical point of view, it is a nice upgrade.
The wing came in for a lot of attention and was significantly redesigned. The most conspicuous change is the introduction of the swept tips common to many Boeing designs these days. Less obvious is that the flap system was completely redesigned. The original 747 flaps, carried through on the 747-400 are very complex. Sections are triple slotted. The Boeing aerodynamicists came up with a single slot design to replace this which apparently has good performance but I imagine is a lot simpler to make and maintain. Only from the rear on approach can you see the difference. These shots compare a 747-400 from Air New Zealand with a Korean Air 747-8 and you can see for yourself how much simpler the new design is.
SFO controllers are known to make some late runway changes for the arriving aircraft. The two runways are very close together to the sidestep maneuver required is not too drastic but it is still not necessarily something the crews want to deal with. A Southwest 737 was on approach and passing near us on the shore when it apparently got the change instructions. We got a sudden topside view as it turned towards us followed by a reversal of bank as it straightened up on the new runway. Compared to the average arrival, this was quite a bit of excitement! Also, if you look closely, you can see another Southwest jet in the background that had just departed.