Another stint in the lots by Boeing Field to deal with some phone calls prior to heading back out of Seattle after some meetings and some more interesting movements. A G650 landed while I was there. I was on a call so I didn’t have an opportunity to get a shot of it as it landed and rolled out which was a shame. It parked up across from me and an SUV took the occupants away. Then it was pushed into a hangar. A quick search on the registration gives a company name and Googling that shows it is associated with Bill Gates. Looks like he has a nice jet although I think he needs a new Global 7500 if he wants to stay on top of things.
The G650 was a plane that got off to a good start. The combination of space and range made it a popular choice amongst those that have $60-70m to drop on a plane. Recently, things have been a bit quieter as the competition has ramped up but the deliveries this year have perked up. This one was departing out of Boeing Field and, as I zoomed in to check the sharpness of the shot, I could see the passenger in the cabin who seemed to be looking back at me. She didn’t have a camera, though, so I am the only one with a shot of the encounter!
When I am shooting at a major airport, I am always pleased to get some corporate jets. A steady stream of airliners – often from the same airline – is okay but variety spices things up and corporate jets can do that. (NetJets and FlexJet do undermine that variety a little but not too much.) On this occasion, I was treated to a selection of Savannah’s finest products. They didn’t arrival in age related order but I will forgive that.
The first to show up was a G650. Top of the line for Gulfstream, this is a cool looking jet. It is a totally clean sheet design for Gulfstream who have tended to tweak previous jets to bring new capabilities. It looks different and has great performance. (It is also spawning a new generation of smaller – relatively – jets that I look forward to seeing.)
Next were some G450s. A previous generation but still a good performer and something that sells well. The fuselage is clearly Gulfstream but the wings and engines and significant steps forward from their predecessors. Not cutting edge but still something the Gulfstream thinks has appeal.
The last was a G-III. This is really going back a bit. Not a G-IISP but not far off. The fuselage is familiar, the wing similar but the engines are the old Speys and they have none too subtle hushkits fitted to them in order to meet current noise regulations. This is certainly a vintage jet by corporate standards and I was pretty pleased to see one still flying. These are often found now lurking at airports with the signs of lack of use clear to see. Shame we didn’t have an original Gulfstream turboprop but they are rare beasts these days.
While I have written about my preference for Bombardier’s Global Express jets, the top of the Gulfstream range has been bolstered by the arrival of the G650 (and more recently the G650ER) and this is a fine looking aircraft. I have had a few encounters with the type recently including one that I saw at Midway. Tracking inbound traffic is fine for airliners but, with so many business jets blocked, often it is a surprise when something shows up. This one was showing up though, so I had time to be ready for it.
From a long way out you could see it since, while it is a business jet, it is really the size of a small airliner. The huge wing is apparent from head on and, as it comes past, the sleekness of the fuselage design is clear compared to the previous generations of Gulfstream. They have also made a far nicer job of the integration of the wing with the fuselage than was the case for the earlier jets.
I was back in Seattle recently and, while the reason for being there took up the majority of my time, I did have a couple of opportunities at the end of the days to pay a visit to Boeing Field. I had been there last year and made the best of the nice light later in the day then. This time, the light looked good but proved to be a bit fickle and the day was not as long given the time of year. However, I did get an interesting selection of aircraft to shoot. Boeing Field is a popular location for business aviation given its close proximity to Seattle city center. There were some very nice large jets visiting. An Airbus ACJ from Germany was parked up the entire time I was there but I never saw it move. However, I did get to see some Globals and Gulfstreams stretch their legs.
The Global Express is a great looking business jet. One arrived shortly after I did and I managed to get it as it came in. I was at a spot I hadn’t tried before. It gives a better angle on the aircraft as they approach and touch down but it does suffer from a more cluttered background which is a shame. The Global looked like it was heading out again as I got ready to leave for the evening so I decided to go to the departure end of the runway and try and get it head on. By now the light was really going but I ramped up the ISO and decided to go for it anyway. Having Mount Rainier in the background certainly doesn’t harm a shot but it was really a bit too dark.
The other nice visitor was a G650. The newest of the big Gulfstreams is a significant improvement from an aesthetic point of view as far as I am concerned. This one had a great paint scheme too so I was very happy to see it. The runway direction was changed just before it left so I got to see it as it was airborne rather than on the takeoff roll which was nice.
Today is another tale of chasing a plane. As with my quest for a JetStar, this is another business jet that I wanted to shoot. Gulfstream’s latest product is the G650. It has not had a trouble free development program but finally has achieved certification and deliveries are starting. Since most jets go to completion centers to be fitted out, actual in service jets are still relatively uncommon. One of them came to Midway recently and I decided to try and get some shots of it.
It was originally due to arrive a little while before sunset. Since it was a cold but clear day, this presented an excellent opportunity to, not only get the shot but, get it in very attractive light. It was is that convinced me to go in the first place. However, I was aware of the chances of arrival slipping and the jet turning up after sunset. I got to Midway in good time and was lucky to be there in time for a nice Global Express arriving. Was this the battle of the big jets? However, the 650 had been delayed leaving and was now scheduled to arrive at sunset. Given that the forecast arrival times is usually a little optimistic, I realized that things weren’t going to work out perfectly.
Sadly, the lovely light disappeared and then the 650 called up on approach. There was still light enough to get some shots but not those that were what I had hoped for. However, in time to come, the 650 will become a lot more common so I guess I will get one in better conditions before too long.