Tag Archives: freighter

Primer 747-8F Almost Makes a First Flight

I love jets that aren’t painted.  I know Boeing uses a film to protect the bare metal and it isn’t primer but it certainly looks like it.  A 747-8F was scheduled for a first flight at Paine Field prior to heading to Portland for painting.  It taxied out and lined up.  I thought I was going to get a first flight for this jet.  It did a high speed taxi run and aborted takeoff as is the norm but something wasn’t right.  They taxied back to the ramp and shut down.  They weren’t flying on this day.  I was a bit annoyed!

UPS Evening Arrivals

Founders’ Plaza sits at the northwest corner of DFW.  It is just north of the UPS ramp.  As the light was getting good just prior to disappearing in the evening, UPS had scheduled a couple of arrivals.  The first of the two was a 747-8F.  It landed on our side of the field and then taxied back towards us crossing the field at the north end.  It then headed to the part of the ramp that lies east-west so was parked tail on to us.

A little time after it arrived, an MD-11 was due in.  The later arrival meant the light was getting even better and the white fuselage was turning a nice shade of orange as the sun started to set.  It taxied back up on our side of the airfield so was more head on as it came back.  This made for a contrasty shot with the warm light on one side and deep shade on the other.  They were a good way to round off a nice afternoon of shooting.

What to Do With A Big Tow Bar

One of the regular Volga-Dnepr AN124 flights to Everett was departing.  The jet was towed out of the Boeing ramp and on to the taxiway for start up and departure.  The Antonov is a big jet and its four wheel nose gear needs a special tow bar.  When you are one of the largest freighters in the world, why not just take it with you.  Once he plane was in place, the crew rolled the tow bar around to the rear cargo ramp.  There, they hooked it to two lifting hoists and the tow bard was hoisted into the aircraft and the rear doors closed.

If someone knows whether they leave it on the hoists in flight or whether it is stowed and secured in some other location when inside, please let me know in the comments.  I do like the self sufficiency of the whole approach.  Given how often they come to Everett, having a tow bar on site would seem plausible but I guess they will need it at any of their other, less frequented, stops so they have to carry it all of the time.  You never know where you are going next.

Never Heard of 21Air Before

One Saturday morning, I was scanning what was moving around the Seattle area and saw a Boeing 767-200 coming to SeaTac, operated by 21Air.  I had never heard of this operator before and the picture online made the jet look like it was painted more interestingly than the average freighter.  I figured I would pop down to get some shots, even though the conditions were not great.  The light actually perked up a bit when the jet arrived so the results were better than I hoped.  I asked a buddy about the operator and he, having never seen them before, was actually looking at two of their jets in LA.  I wonder why they are suddenly on the west coast.

Dreamlifter in the Early Mist

My buddy Paul was visiting so we had a day out looking for some interesting shot opportunities.  We started off the day at Paine Field before the sun was really up.  A Dreamlifter was due in and we figured we would give it a try.  However, as we drove towards Everett, the fog was pretty thick.  The field is on the top of the hill so we thought it might be clear, but things did not look promising as we got closer.  The low cloud was also blocking off the sun that was just above the horizon which, given that it would have been backlighting the jet, might have been a bonus.

The Dreamlifter came out of the cloud very late on the approach and I was able to grab a few shots of it as it emerged.  It was a rather ethereal look as it came into view.  The dampness of the air meant that the plane was pulling vortices as it floated across the threshold and in to the touchdown zone.  Conditions might not have been the sort of thing that sounded good, but the result was a really cool shot opportunity.  As the plane taxied in to park, we got more shots of it although there was one that would have been fantastic, but Paul only spotted it when it was too late and I didn’t see it at all.  I won’t say what it was but maybe there will be another chance in which case you will see it here!

SeaTac Widebody Evening Arrivals

I was out one evening awaiting the arrival of something that currently escapes my memory.  In the meantime, I was in position to get the arrival of a few widebodies.  Since SeaTac tends to put the widebodies on the inner runway, they are the ones you can get from this park location while almost everything else (plus the occasional wide body!) goes to the outer runway behind you and through the trees.

On this evening, we had four widebodies come in.  Condor brought their regular 767 flight.  This were joined by an Air China Cargo Boeing 747-400F, a FedEx 777F and last but by no means least, a British Airways 747-400.  The evening light was very favorable and this location is both easily accessible and pretty good for this approach.

Ferries and Freighters from Above

Our aerial adventure with Kenmore Air included a lot of time over the waters of Puget Sound.  Very little time was spent over land.  The waters were not very busy but there was enough boat traffic to see as we soared overhead.  We weren’t always close, though, so sometimes things were watched from a distance.  We did have a pretty close pass on a freighter though.  It was making good speed heading into the sound.

Ferry traffic is a regular thing to see with the Washington State Ferries heading to and fro across the waters.  As we were closing in on Friday Harbor, we saw one ferry.  It was a smaller one that was running between the islands and it was a bit hard to get a good view of.  The ferries between Edmonds and Kingston are a lot more heavily used and so are a lot bigger.  They were passing each other mid crossing as we ran south so I managed to get a few shots of them from above as we headed overhead.

Dreamlifter Video

Here is a bit of video I shot of a Dreamlifter heading out of Paine Field.  I was there with a visitor who wanted to see the large beast and, rather than shoot more stills, I figured I would go with just video.  If I had planned for it, things would have been a little better but hopefully it shares a little of the experience.

Falcon Freighter

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?

FedEx Testing and Delivery

Summer evenings can be a good time to visit Paine Field as flying seems to be busy and the light is often quite nice.  On two separate visits, I saw this FedEx 777F flying.  The first time it was on some acceptance flights and it flew an approach followed by a low go around.  The gear doors had been blown down prior to this approach and the RAT was deployed.  It then flew a pattern and landed.

Next time I saw it, it was heading off to Memphis on its delivery flight.  They seemed to have a few issues with the transponder prior to departure which was fine for me as it delayed them until the light was a bit nicer.  Not sure I would be so happy to take my new plane with a snag though!  Memphis when empty is a piece of cake for a 777F so it made it off the ground pretty speedily.