Walking through the streets of Vancouver one weekend, we came up to an intersection. There was a Porsche sitting on a trailer with two people in it. It quickly became apparent that they were doing some filming. The woman was an actor and the man was filming here. There was a vehicle pulling the trailer with some of the production staff sitting on it. Initially I was focused on what they were doing but then I started to look around.
The whole convoy was all related to the filming. There was a motorcycle escort supporting them and other vehicles from the production team. Everything on the street was controlled. You often feel when watching street scenes that they are filming in an open environment but a lot of the time it is totally controlled. Only us and the other pedestrians could be considered random variables in the whole process. The light stayed red for a while with the cameraman trying a variety of positions and then the lights changed and the whole ground headed off to the next block. We went on our way too.
January 2019 brought a milestone for
the USAF. They accepted their first
KC-46 Pegasus. Admittedly they accepted
it with a number of deferred issues that Boeing has been given a few years to
resolve but that are Category 1 deficiencies.
I guess this should mean we will see a lot of deliveries in the coming
weeks and months.
The backlog of jets parked up is
substantial. There are jets parked at
Boeing Field on both the military ramp and the flight test ramp. There are more scattered around the Boeing
ramp at Everett. More of them are in the
conversion area at the south end of Paine Field. More still are parked up across the cross
runway. It’s a lot of jets and, if you
are an accountant, this is a level of Work In Progress that must make you squirm. We should see them start to head on their way
before too long.
The current generation of wide body
jets are being built at rates that would have been hard to imagine a few years
ago. Fourteen jets a month is so much
more than would have been contemplated before.
That is the sort of build rate that the 787 and the A350 are
achieving. The result is a lot of jets
being in service not that long after the fleet first appeared. Boeing recently built the 787th
787. It was a jet for China Southern and
I got a shot of it returning to Everett.
I’m glad it was an Everett jet rather than a Charleston one. I wonder who got to make that decision!
This post is a little bit of an odd one compared to the usual reports of things I have been out and about shooting. I was recently putting together an article for a magazine on the 20th anniversary of the first flight of an airliner. (A quick Google search might tell you which one but if you are interested in the article, click here to see the full digital magazine.)
I knew I had some images of the prototype aircraft when it first flew at Farnborough in 1992. This is pre-digital days of course so it was time to head to my binders of negatives. I will save the discussion of how shooting in the digital era differs from shooting with film for another post. I will also keep my head down for those of you who will wonder why I wasn’t shooting transparencies. We learn as we get older I guess.
What did catch my eye as I foudn the appropriate shots was that I had seen a bunch of different aircraft at that event and I should really get them scanned. It was while I was going through this process (that took far longer than it really should have courtesy of a film scanner that, I suspect, is getting towards the end of its useful life) that I noticed something about the way I look at new aircraft.
I think there is a bit of always wanting something that is different to what you have. When an aircraft first flies, it is obviously the prototype (or prototypes) that fly first. These appear in lots of press release images and they will be the first ones to show up at trade shows. Given the length of development programs, you can get a bit bored with seeing the same aircraft all the time. You long for more of them to be built so you can see the finished product. You also want to know what they will look like in service since prototypes rarely are finished the way the majority of the aircraft will be.
Eventually production gets underway and you see the real deal. This is briefly exciting. New color schemes and users appear and there is something different to learn about. Over time, many more are produced and then they become a bit boring. At this point, the idea of seeing a development aircraft – possibly incorporating modifications for some test program – is incredibly interesting and a nice change from the many “normal airframes around.
Are these the same airframes you originally were bored with? Yep! Am I being contrary? Yep! Such is the way it goes. I will probably find that someone who is near to the airfield where testing is undertaken probably is bored of the same development airframes and longs for some variety. I guess we can’t ever be happy!