The 747-400 has been around for so long now and has sold so well that it is by far the dominant version of the jet in service. However, before the late 80s, there were previous versions of the 747. The 100 series through to the 300 series and the SP. The 400 series is the one you see now but, before the 400 took over, the earlier models were the ones that were everywhere. Since I wasn’t taking a lot of photos in those days, I have a lot less photos of the earlier models but I do have some.
Pan Am operated the 100 Series jets and I saw them at Heathrow in the 80s. 200 Series freighters were built in some numbers and many are still around or were until relatively recently. I think the only 300 Series jet I ever photographed was a Saudia example at Heathrow. These shots are some of the ones I have come across in my time. With the 400 Series jets now starting to disappear, it is no surprise that these earlier jets are mainly a thing of the past.
A recent work trip involved some testing of a locomotive. The test track in use is just outside Pueblo Colorado. The testing program involves a ton of different tests, many of which are pretty boring to watch if you are not involved. We did get to do some high speed runs while I was there though. The locomotive is designed for 125mph so it has to be tested to 130mph. We got to blast around the track for a while. Wildlife would scatter as we approached – usually. The loco is a modern design so at this speed, things were really quite uneventful. The ride was smooth. The noise was pretty quiet and would have been better if we didn’t have instrumentation cables out of the windows breaking the normal seal. Soon you will be seeing these locos in service in a number of states across the US.
Another Isle of Wight development is the hovercraft. Much early development of the concept was done on the Island and many were produced in East Cowes. Hovertravel still provide a frequent service between Ryde on the Island and Southsea on the mainland. I got a couple of opportunities to shoot these hovercraft while visiting. On the day Pete and I went flying, we arrived over Ryde just as one of the hovercraft was coming in. Another was parked on the slipway at the time.
When we left the island, I headed up on the upper deck of the ferry to see what was going on and had two over the hovercraft come by in opposite directions. It was rather windy up on deck but I was able to get some usable shots of the two of them individually and as they crossed. Apparently, Hovertravel are in the process of acquiring new craft to replace the current AP1-88s that are in service. Given that they were built in the late 1980s, they have provided good service. It will be interesting to see what replaces them. I wonder whether the new vehicles will arrive before I next get back.