The Japanese (JASDF) were a customer for the tanker version of the Boeing 767 when Boeing was offering it in the early days. Japan and Italy were the only customers that I am aware of for that aircraft. Therefore, it was not a massive surprise that Japan ordered the KC-46 when Boeing developed it for the USAF. The first aircraft is now being completed and has been parked on the ramp up at Everett recently. Here it is undergoing some testing. Hopefully we shall get to see it flying soon.
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.
Here are some old Japanese rail vehicles. These are part of the SCMaglev museum in Nagoya that I visited when I was in Japan last summer. The museum has a great selection of Shinkansen equipment across the generations but it also has a lot of other rail vehicles from long ago. The vehicles clearly look old from the outside but the interiors are really an interesting comparison with what you see these days. The amount of wood in the paneling and the materials of the seating are definitely of their time. I was quite amused by the fans mounted on the ceiling. Obviously pre-air conditioning days with these cars and so a bit of air circulation was all you could hope for. Knowing how incredibly hot it gets in Japan during the summer, they would not have done much for the riders I would have thought. I wonder whether it was as crowded in those days as it is now. If it was even close, that would have been brutal.
I have put some previous posts together of Japanese trains from my travels. This is an update to that (although a very late update given that these were taken nearly a year ago!). I got to see some different trains while I was in Nagoya for the day and then there is the variety of trains that you get around the Tokyo area. There was also a small line that ran through the Kamakura area which we crossed paths with as we were walking to the beach from the giant Buddha statue that I wrote about in this post. A few more photos to amuse those of you that like different trains.
The viewing deck at Haneda is not a place I had gone to photograph wildlife. However, despite the usual concerns about birds and planes not mixing well, there were a lot of small birds that seemed to be hanging out on the roof of the terminal buildings. I imagine the number of visitors to the viewing decks means there will be crumbs of some sort for them to feed on. They were pretty close to the people but just the other side of the fencing. I guess they knew they were safe.
For those that haven’t visited Tokyo before (and maybe for some that have), the image of the city is a dense metropolitan space with high rise buildings and grand structures. There is also a lot of smaller building with offices and housing. However, the city is also pretty industrial. The bay has been a center for commerce for centuries and much heavy industry grew up along the waterfront and has continued to prosper. Haneda Airport is a short ride from Tokyo’s heart and is very convenient. It is also surrounded by industry. When in the terminal and looking across the airfield, you get a clear idea of the amount of industry so close to the city. This isn’t a one off either. Head south out of the city and you lots of similar industrial spaces.
I posted some shots of the jets at Haneda reversing thrust and throwing up a lot of spray in the process as a result of the rain that day. Stills can be good for showing off spray but the motion of the spray in the reverser flows is more apparent in video. Consequently, I shot a bunch of video that day. Only recently have I caught up with my video editing backlog courtesy of the ample time I have at home as a result of not being able to go out anywhere. Here is a sample of the airliner movements from that day.
Japan is one of the places where it is easy to find a Boeing 777-300. The 777-200 sold in good numbers and Boeing stretched the airframe to create the -300. It was not a big seller but was picked up in the Asian market where capacity was important but range was not such a concern. When Boeing launched the 777-300ER, they unlocked the range and payload capabilities that were in demand and it sold very well – usurping the 747 as the long range high capacity jet of choice.
The -300 has been retired from some of its original operators but Japan Air Lines still flies them. They are most easily identified by the original wingtip shape as opposed to the rake tip that the 300ER has. They also have the original engine choices as opposed to the GE-90 only 300ER. I saw some at Haneda and grabbed some shots. With the A350s joint the JAL fleet, I wonder whether the 777-300s will soon be heading to the yard.
Haneda is a busy hub for Japan Air Lines (JAL). While you visit, there will be a steady stream of JAL 737s coming and going so, another one arriving is no cause for interest. However, I realized that this particular jet did not actually say Japan Air Lines on the fuselage. Instead, it was marked Japan Transoceanic Air. I had never heard of this airline before. A little research shows that it is part owned by JAL – hence the use of the common livery – but there are other shareholders. Occasionally they will lend aircraft to JAL but they do operate to Haneda so I don’t know whether this was a JAL flight or one of their own. A new airline for me, though.
Around the world you can find plenty of parked Boeing 787s at the moment. Problems with the Rolls Royce Trent engines for this type mean that airlines have been pulling engines from various airframes in order to keep others flying. ANA uses Rolls engines on their fleet and I saw this aircraft being pulled around a taxiway at Haneda. Both engines were off making it look quite odd. It will certainly be a lot lighter than before but, somehow, I think that isn’t going to make it more efficient!