These shots aren’t particularly nice but, at the time I took them, I didn’t realize that they would be a bit more significant for a friend of mine. He was a skipper for Virgin Atlantic and making his first run to Seattle. I went out to get his arrival despite it being a bit gloomy. We met up afterwards for a beer and some food. He flew back the following day.
Since that time, the airline business (along with many businesses) has taken a bad turn and Virgin Atlantic has been getting rid of staff. My friend was eligible for retirement and decided to take it. Consequently, this flight turned out to be the last landing he made in his commercial flying career. The return leg landing was made by another member of his crew. It would have been nice if the conditions were better but I am glad I was there to see it. Happy retirement Chris and see you soon I hope!
When a new Star Wars movie is released, it seems to be the thing to arrange a tie in with an airline and have them paint jets in special Star Wars themed liveries. ANA was a part of this and I have shot a variety of their special paint scheme jets which you can see here and here. For the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker, United got in on the game and painted a 737 in a black livery with special marking including one side with a blue lightsaber and one with a red. I had not seen the jet before. It has been to SeaTac a few times but never when I could get there (or when it was daylight). Finally it showed up one evening when the weather was great so nice light. Only one side to see of course but here it is!
No lengthy story for this. I was waiting at SeaTac for an arrival and got distracted by the jets lining up for departure. It got quite busy at one point with a bunch of jets awaiting their slot. Occasionally the departing jets appeared nicely in the background. Unfortunately, there are some lot poles in the area which are rather distracting.
The collapse of Thomas Cook meant that the German subsidiary, Condor, has gone it alone. The fleet had a tail marking that reflected the parent company but, with their demise, they are now adopting a tail design that is back to their own branding. I saw one of the new tails on this 767 arriving at SeaTac shortly before a BA 777 that I was waiting for because I was picking up the skipper. Below is what it used to look like (albeit in nicer light).
While I had headed to SeaTac to see the 21Air 767 arrive, I hung around for a couple of other arrivals. Delta operates a variety of long haul types into the airport and this includes A330s of the older and newer generations. First to arrive was an A330-300. A little while later, it was followed by an A330-900, the A330neo version. I thought I would try and get identical shots of both jets to see how much the engine and winglet changes showed up when looking at them in flight. Here are shots to compare the two types for you to make your own comparisons. I think the differences are there but they are not drastic.
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.
SeaTac is not the easiest place to get shots of the arrivals in the afternoon if the flow is from the north. The inner runway is okay but the outer is not so easy without bugging the more experienced locals. I was heading to the airport for a meeting but, with easy traffic, I got there a little early and decided to do a quick trip around the airport. I came across a gravel parking area that gives a view of short final. The planes appear quickly and are soon below the sight lines for the runway but there is a window in which you can shoot. On this day the weather was crummy with rain constantly coming down – sometimes very heavily. This was just a recce but I did get an A220 and some other types in the few minutes I was there before heading to my meeting.
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.
Alaska Airlines has a 737 flying in a special scheme as a Salute to Veterans. I have shot that in the past and it appeared on the blog in this post. I wasn’t aware until recently that they had painted a second jet in a similar scheme – this time from their regional fleet. This is an Embraer E175-E1. Here it is departing SeaTac one morning while I was awaiting my flight out.
I was picking up some family members that were coming to stay. I got to the airport a little ahead of their scheduled arrival time and, since it was some time near an airport, I figured a bit of photography wouldn’t go amiss. They were coming in on a Virgin 787-9 so I knew I would shoot that. The heavies come in on the inner runway, but the rest tend to go to the outer. You can still get them, but it isn’t so close. I figured a few shots on a cloudy day was worth time to experiment with exposing high and playing with the shots in post.