Every once in a while, I am looking for something in the catalog of images and it takes me on a journey to look through some other images. That can result in a blog post that doesn’t have a story. This is one of those posts. I have a bunch of shots from Narita while waiting for my flights home and that includes a bunch of freighters. I like freighters since they are often operators that you don’t normally see and they break up the flow of the familiar airlines. Here are some of those from my visits.
Continuing my interest in Amazon Prime Air 737s, the one I saw arrive from the conversion line in China was ready for delivery to Sun Country – the airline that will be operating it for Amazon. It was a pretty sunny day when it went out so heat haze was a bit of a problem. The jet was towed out from the ATS facility. Once it was just short of the taxiway, they unhooked the jet and started it up. Plenty of heat haze looking across the airfield I’m afraid.
It taxied to the north end of the field and then took off towards me. It was obviously not heavy for its flight to Minneapolis and it was off the ground pretty rapidly. This made for more of a belly shot than would have been ideal but it still looked okay and actually gave me a better look at the color scheme than I had expected. It is quite a paint job that they have.
In this recent post, I showed a shot of an Amazon Prime Air 737. With a bit more notice and better timing from an availability point of view, I saw that another jet was coming in to Paine Field from Anchorage. It was being delivered from the conversion line in China and would have the finishing touches taken care of by ATS at Everett. I was there and set up in plenty of time – except… I had one camera ready to go but the other one had been previously used for some video at home and was on manual focus. I was shooting with the 500mm initially and all was well. As the jet got closer, I switched to the 100-400 and everything was wrong. Nothing would focus. It seemed like forever but I must have realized fast and flicked the focus switch because I was able to shoot it as it came level with me and crossed the threshold. What an amateur mistake. Fortunately, I got away with it!
The Amazon Prime fleet of 767s has grown to be pretty huge. Initially, I was excited to see one out and about but now they are like Southwest 737s! However, the new addition to the fleet is the 737-800. A bunch of them have been showing up and, prior to delivery to Sun Country that will be operating them, they have been coming through Everett, presumably for some final work at ATS. Sadly, I haven’t been able to get up there to see them.
I did get one of them head past the house, though. It was departing for Minneapolis and its routing took it close to us. Not as close as I would have liked but enough for a heavy crop with a long lens. Not ideal conditions for sure. In the same way the 767s are now ubiquitous, these will no doubt be before to long. However, this was my first encounter. Maybe next time I will be a bit closer – even if it does mean moving away from my driveway!
No great story with this one. I was at SeaTac for a different arrival on the outer runway. A FedEx MD-11F was making an approach to the inner runway while I was waiting. It provides a good alignment with Mt Rainier in the background so I figured it was a shot worth taking and I was pleased with how it turned out. Given how little I have photographed recently, a shot like this from before everything got locked down suddenly seemed like something to share!
The FedEx freighter fleet is extensive and includes a variety of jets. However, the feed of packages to those big jets is partly the role of a bunch of less glamorous types, a significant one of which is the Cessna Caravan. These planes shuttle cargo from out stations to the larger airports and then distribute packages back out to those same stations. It’s not the most exciting flying in the world but it is a valuable job. Here are a few Caravans from FedEx’s fleet that I have seen (relatively) recently. The Cessna Skycourier made its first flight recently and it is intended to replace these guys in the coming years.
The idea for this was spotted by my friend, Paul, during a visit of his but we missed it at the time. It was early in the morning and the water was calm as a millpond. However, the jet was beyond the water before he spotted it. I have missed the chance since or there was not water. However, while the conditions weren’t ideal, when I saw the Dreamlifter taxiing back to the ramp, I realized the opportunity was going to be there this time.
The water wasn’t quite still and I had the long lens on the camera but a phone is a good second best these days. The jet taxied in with Mt Rainier in the background before reaching the north end of the field and crossing over. Then it was time to be ready. The phone has the added advantage of being able to shoot through the fence with no interference.
This is my first shoot of a moving plane that wasn’t taken from my yard since the virus shelter at home started. With a slight relaxation of the state rules, I saw that a Dreamlifter was due in to Paine Field from Charleston. It was due to arrive some time after 8pm. With the sundown not long before 9 and the weather looking lovely (unlike the forecast for the rest of the week), it seemed like the light would be very good. I have got a lot of Dreamlifter shots at this point so, if it had been anything other than shortly before sunset, I wouldn’t have thought of going. With this light, though, why not.
I was tracking it on two services and they showed rather different arrival times. I got there with some margin just in case but, even so, the jet was already getting ready to turn downwind when I pulled up. The arrival procedure takes a while so it wasn’t a rush, but I should probably have added a little time. The sky was so clear you could see the jet flying the approach from miles out. As it turned to final, the low light angle even picked out the texture on the side of the jet! The air was still so you could hear it from a long way out too. After all that, it was suddenly so close and touched down just a little away from my spot. Time to pack up and head home.
I was at BFI one day looking to get some other interesting visitors and I had got what I came for. I was just contemplating whether to go home or do something else before returning when I saw something on the approach at the other end of the field. It looked big, smoky and a prop so I thought I should wait a little longer. A look through the long lens told me it was a C-130! It was a Linden Air Cargo airframe, sadly unpainted in their colors which are very nice. I was most glad that I hadn’t been in a hurry to get on my way!
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!