We made a trip to West Seattle with our guests while they were here. We were looking at the view of the city and also wondering what wildlife might show itself. I got a benefit in that departures from SeaTac and Boeing Field were coming to the north. I got a couple of nice airliner shots as they climbed out over us. They weren’t the only ones though. A KC-46 launched out of Boeing Field and climbed over us as it went off to its test area. I wasn’t paying attention, but my guests spotted something rocketing up behind it. An F/A-18C Hornet from the Strike Test unit was following it, presumably for some test work. It climbed rapidly but then leveled out, I assume to stay below the departure routes from SeaTac. Not a bad bonus for me while showing the sights to my guests.
Lufthansa changed their livery recently. It was not universally appreciated and I can’t say I disagree. It really is rather dull. I hadn’t even bothered to keep an eye on whether it was on a jet coming to Seattle. Instead, while out in Federal Way, I saw a 747 heading my way so decided to take a couple of shots. Turns out it was the new colors (or lack thereof). Soon it will be a common sight as they repaint the fleet but this was my first encounter.
UPS is buying a bunch of 747 freighters at the moment. I have shot a few of them including examples here and here. The route back to Paine Field takes them across our area when the pattern being flown is a northerly. I grabbed the camera to see this primer example heading over. As the plane flew by, there was a lot more noise than would be normal for a jet on the approach and it had a vibrational element which made me think the RAT might be deployed. Sure enough, when I checked the shots, the RAT could be seen under the wing route. This is a normal flight test requirement so nothing to be concerned about but this was the first time I had heard a jet at speed with the RAT out and I was surprised how loud it was.
Boeing Field is closely aligned with the extended centreline from SeaTac. If you approach SeaTac from the north and sit on the left side of the plane, you can look almost straight down on the field. Similarly, if the departures are heading northerly, it routes nearly over Boeing Field. For most flights, they are already high enough that they are not a good photo target. The heavies provide some interest though.
First, they are bigger so a slightly easier thing to fill the frame with. More importantly, they tend to be a bit more leisurely in their climb rate so are a bit closer in as they pass over. While I won’t bother to shoot the majority of the passing traffic, the heavies will often get my attention – provided nothing else is happening in front of me. Here are some of the recent passers-by.