I have plenty of photos of Gulfstreams and a few photos of FAA jets – mainly flight checking Learjet 60s. However, the FAA Gulfstreams have not been something I have seen a lot of. I did have a nice chance to shoot one at Washington National many years ago, though. I did see the jets on the ramp at the south end of the field occasionally but I think this was the only time I got one airborne. It was shot from Gravelly Point so I was nice and close to it as it was on final approach. That is a great place to shoot from (or just hang out and watch the planes) and I will have to get back there at some point.
I was driving over to Seattle a while back and, as I crossed the I-90 floating bridge, I saw a Learjet maneuvering at low level around the hill ahead of me. I decided to see what was going on since I suspected this might be an FAA jet flying a variety of approaches. Sure enough, it was one of their Lear 60s. I have seen them on a number of occasions before at different airports. Tracking them on something like FlightRadar24, it is easy to work out what they are since they fly a tone of patterns around an airport normally dealing with simple arrivals and departures.
Boeing Field is not such an airport as it has a lot of training activity but the Lear is a bit faster than the average piston single. I didn’t know how long it had been there so it could have gone before I arrived but they still had a few circuits to do before they were finished. These involved a different sequence of approaches from offset positions from which they could take their measurements and then break off to do it again. It is interesting to see a business jet being thrown around like this in a way that would not keep the average customer happy!
I heard a rumor about a Gulfstream test jet being at Boeing Field. With a Saturday morning free, I decided to head over and investigate. One of the things I had seen suggested it might be the G700. Since that had only recently had its first flight, I was surprised it would be operating out of the west coast rather than Georgia so I decided to try and see it. Of course, it wasn’t the G700. Instead it was a G600 test airframe. Since I had not seen a G600, I was still pleased to catch it. The weather was crummy and it was due to go back to Savannah so I was wondering what sort of shots I would get.
Like any test jet, it didn’t depart when scheduled. It was an hour later than planned when it rolled to the runway and then hung around at the hold point for ages. Then it turned and taxied down towards the end where I was. I couldn’t see it departing in the opposite direction because SeaTac was still flowing to the south and wasn’t showing any sign of changing. It came down past me to the end of the runway and then turned around and taxied back the way it had come. After all of this it departed into the overcast.
Given that I was expected a departure from the far end and a swift climb into the gloom, I hadn’t expected to get many shots I was pleased with. Therefore, this sojourn down to my end and back provided plenty of chances to get a bunch of shots so this turned out to be a lot luckier than expected. I am also a sucker for a jet in primer so thrown in a few instrumented panels for test purposes and I am a happy camper!
The Hansajet was an odd airframe and one of those examples of manufacturers trying innovative things out that didn’t really go anywhere. It had a slightly forward swept wing to improve efficiency but forward swept wings have largely failed to gain any traction. It was operated by the Luftwaffe and this example was an attendee at an Air Fete at Mildenhall, I am going to say in 1991 but that may be wrong. I saw it on approach and then again in the static display. Quite a neat looking jet I think. Anyone know if any still fly?
The SJ30 is a jet that always has an “almost” feel about it. It has gone through a number of owners and the development has resulted in certification but very little production. There just aren’t many of them around. One of the more recent versions came to Everett. It arrived one weekend early in the day and before I was there. I didn’t get to see it fly but it was parked up in a convenient spot to get a photo. The stalky undercarriage is a distinctive feature of the jet. I wonder whether the current owners of the design will finally make it into a successful project?
There were lots of things I was hoping to see at RIAT but I did get a few that were very pleasant surprises. Various air forces had business jets showing up and departing throughout the show as dignitaries (or urgent spares) needed to be moved. The Swiss brought in several jets while I was there but one of them looked a little different. My first encounter with a PC-24. To say I was surprised and pleased would be to understate my response!
Falcon 20s are not that unusual but, if one is coming close to home on a Saturday afternoon when I don’t have anything else planned, why not? This one was coming in to Paine Field and the sun was out and it would be approaching from the north (hopefully) in the afternoon. Good combination. I popped up the road to see. It did indeed show up on schedule. This was just as well. A short while after landing, clouds rolled in and the wind picked up resulting in them changing runways! This jet belongs to Alliance Air Charter and appears to be configured as a freighter. I wonder if it is an old FedEx jet?
I am just going to throw in a gratuitous shot of a business jet today. This Hawker was on approach one sunny day at Paine Field. It wasn’t rare or special in anyway (unless you count the scimitar tips to the winglets) so might not have got a post of its own but I just like this family of jets so here it is!
A morning at Haneda provided a few planes to shoot but the temperature was really oppressive so I didn’t hang around too long. A Gulfstream turned on to the runway for departure and I almost didn’t bother going in to the sun to shoot it. However, habit got the better of me and I was glad I did. It wasn’t a normal Gulfstream but one from the Japanese Coast Guard. It included a large radome under the front fuselage. I hadn’t seen one like this before.
Corporate jets are rarely painted in interesting schemes so, when they are, you notice them. This one showed at at Boeing Field with a puma on the tail. A bit of research when back home suggests it is a project between Jay Z and the sport gear manufacturer Puma. I think it is to help out athletes that are sponsored by them. The registration is apparently a reference to Jay Z himself. I have no idea who was on it on this occasion. Maybe Sean was onboard?