The Airbus A220 is now getting more widely established in service. Indeed, the slightly smaller and highly efficient nature of the jet means that it is likely to be pretty popular as service gets reestablished for a lot of airlines. Sadly, I haven’t seen any other than those with Delta. I have seen a decent number of those, though. As a continuation of my lockdown trawl of the archives, here is a variety of shots of Delta’s A220 flight. If you prefer to call this a C Series from its Bombardier days, feel free but that ship has sailed!
It’s been a little while since my last trip to Dallas but I did come across some other shots from when I was coming home through DFW. As one of the hubs for American Airlines, the majority of the gates seem to have American jets on them. The variety of types is decreasing with the MD-80s in their last throws while I was there. I like the longer shot you can sometimes get from the connector between the terminals which bunches up the jets. When they are all one type it isn’t so interesting but a collection of different fins is good if you can get it comparing the size of the narrow bodies and the widebodies.
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.
During my weekend in Texas, I headed to Founders’ Plaza to shoot some arrivals. I timed my time there to start around the time when the Qantas A380 was due to arrive. I got there with a few minutes to spare and struggled to find a parking spot. The place was packed. I found a space in the overflow area and got the camera out just in time to get a shot of the arriving jet.
As soon as it landed, everyone started to go. A short while later, there was a backup of traffic as the cars filed out of the parking lot and away. Within ten minutes, it wasn’t deserted but it was significantly quieter. The thing is, shooting in the middle of the day was not great from a light perspective and things got progressively better as the afternoon wore on. However, most people were interested in the A380 and after that they were done.
I had heard about Founder’s Plaza at DFW before but I had never been there. I took a couple of trips there during my free weekend in Texas. It is a nice place to watch the planes and had a steady stream of visitors while I was there. Not only are there seats with sunshades, but there is plenty of grass on which to hang out and kids can run around without parents being too worried. You are close to the approach path for the western runways at DFW and there is a lot of traffic to watch.
You also see the planes taxiing out for departure on this side but the shots of those planes are sketchy as heat haze is a bit tricky for most of the day. It does appear that you are able to walk around towards the centerline of the outer runway but I didn’t try heading over there on this occasion. As the evening light settled in, the conditions got better and better. I imagine it gets a bit repetitive if you are a regular but, as a visitor, it was great to try somewhere new. I did end up with a lot of American Airlines jets, of course.
The A350-1000 has started to be delivered in some numbers. However, none of the operators that I get to see regularly has any in their fleet at this point. Some of the early deliveries went to Qatar Airways and they have been flying them to Dallas. Since I had a free weekend in the area on a work trip, I decided to catch my first examples.
Things conspired a little against me, though. On the Saturday, the weather that had just passed through had left some northerly winds which meant the approaches were coming from the south which is not so handy for getting shots. I did find a location but it wasn’t a great spot. Heat haze was still a bit of a problem and the angles were rather limited.
On the Sunday, normal service was resumed with a southerly flow. However, just before the A350 showed up, they decided to do a sweep of the runway. They moved arrivals to the inside runway which meant it the Qatar jet was a bit far away compared to everything that had been arriving on the outer runway a short while before. Still, I got the shots. It also taxied out just before the sun went down. However, they crossed to the other side for departure so not much of a shot opportunity.
American Airlines has painted a number of its jets in liveries of the airlines that went into it over the years. It happens that, as I write this on a plane, I just saw an A320 in American West colors as we taxied out. They painted up three 737s in special schemes and I had a poor record of seeing them. Two of these, the TWA scheme and the Reno Air scheme, both showed up at DFW while I was there waiting for a flight home. The TWA scheme landed just after I got there so I saw it while riding the inter-terminal shuttle. I then had it taxi out past me a little while later. Sadly it took off from the other side of the field. The Reno jet followed later and it did take off from our side so I felt like I had finally checked out something that had evaded me for too long.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a jet that has had its time and is now rapidly disappearing from the skies of the US. However, they aren’t all gone. American Airlines has been a big user but the arrival of 737s and A319s means they are heading to the desert in large numbers. I had assumed that meant they were a rarity but DFW is clearly still seeing a lot of them. I was taking a shot of any of them that showed up since I might not get many more chances. I have, of course, shot them a lot of the years but this was a nice final encounter. Strange how pleased you are to see something that used to be a bit of a yawn.
The A220 (or C Series CS100 if you are not yet ready to have it labeled as an Airbus) has been in service for a while but, until recently, I hadn’t seen one. Then, while I was on the shuttle between the terminals at DFW, we came around the terminal that Delta uses and I realized that the jet that had just pushed back was an A220.
It was early evening so the light was quite nice. The shape of the jet was quite distinctive. Aside from the cockpit shaping, the wings are quite large (giving it quite decent range capability) and the large fans of the Pratt GTFs are conspicuous. It is not a bad looking jet the Delta colors looked good on it. Sadly it taxied to the other side of the airport so I didn’t see it depart but it was nice to finally see one for real.
Returning from a work trip to Dallas, I was flying out of DFW. I got to the airport in plenty of time so, with a bit of time to kill, I decided to take a ride on the train that runs between the terminals. It makes a loop of the whole airport in both directions. I decided to see what you could see from the train and did a whole loop of the airport.
First, it is not a great photo platform. Aside from shooting through the windows (which were actually not that bad), the stations are not well located for viewing the ramps and, when it has a clearer view, it is moving at speed and is a pretty unsteady base for shooting. There are always reflections too, of course.
DFW is an American hub and that is pretty obvious as you head around the terminals. No shortage of American jets including a few remaining MD-80s and one of the special scheme jets too. The longer view across the gates with the multiple fins was a shot you could get at a number of places. It wasn’t just American though. Obviously other airlines use the airport. It happened that a British Airways 747-400 had pushed as we got there and the train runs around the perimeter of that ramp so we saw it from almost all sides.
If you have a bit of spare time while waiting for a flight at DFW, I would definitely take a ride around the terminals. It is a lot more interesting than sitting waiting at a gate and the food options weren’t great either so take a ride and see what is going on and where people are going to and coming from.