The UPS traffic at Boeing Field was busy in the run up to Christmas. As the light was starting to fade and the day end, another UPS jet taxied for departure. It got airborne and headed off to its next destination as the sky in the background had a nice warm look to it.
In the run up to Christmas, online retail had clearly been very busy. UPS runs their Seattle flights to Boeing Field and, while I was there, the traffic levels were well above the norm. I have posted the Asia Pacific 757 freighter in a previous post but UPS’s own fleet were really moving. Arrivals and departures were pretty frequent. As soon as the jets were on the ramp, the team whirled into motion getting the containers off and loading up the outbound loads.
Looking for something unusual keeps things interesting when you have been shooting the same stuff for a while while not able to go anywhere. I had seen a couple of movements in recent months of Asia Pacific Airlines and their Boeing 757s. However, I had never been in a position to catch one. Christmas Eve I was off work and one was due in to Boeing Field. It was on their own flight number but I had a suspicion that they were supporting UPS.
Sure enough, when the jet landed, it taxied up to a spot on the UPS ramp and started unloading. UPS had been running a large amount of movements through Seattle that day and the preceding days so I guess the Christmas rush meant it was necessary to charter in additional capacity to deal with the demand. An interesting looking plane and nice to see something different for a change.
A sunny but cool Sunday afternoon with a bit of spare time on my hands meant I headed over to Kenmore to see whether there was any floatplane activity. The answer was not much. However, I did get something a little larger overhead. Traffic in to Paine Field was running on a northerly flow. A Dreamlifter made an approach and was followed a little later by a 747-8F destined for UPS once test flying is complete. They both turned on to approach overhead the north end of Lake Washington so I got shots of them both.
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.
A sunny and cold winter day provides nice light and an afternoon arrival of a jet at Paine Field from the paint facility in Portland was enough to tempt me out. UPS is the primary recipient of 747-8F jets these days and it was another of their getting close to delivery. It was approaching from the south so I was at the windsock with a few other locals. They flew a touch and go before making a full stop landing so I was able to try two different positions to get the landing. Conditions were really nice for getting a shot of a shiny new plane.
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 breathed a big, if perhaps temporary, sigh of relief when UPS signed up for a bunch of 747-8F freighters. These jets are now starting to come off the line and, before they get allocated to the long runs across the oceans, I figured I would try and catch one at Everett. Conditions were a little gloomier than I had hoped for but the timing was driven by luck, so I had to make do with what I could get. The 747 may be disappearing from operators around the world but the freighters will continue for a long time and the 8F is the better of the most recent versions in my mind. The extended upper deck of the 8I is a little too long for my tastes. UPS colors are not bad either. Hopefully I shall see more of them in service.
Boeing Field is a busy location for UPS. FedEx run their Seattle operations from SeaTac but UPS has made King County their location of choice. You get a busy period in the evening with arrivals and departures in a pretty narrow window. Provided there is evening light, you can get a lot of movements.
I have shot a bunch of their jets over the course of various visits. Usually I get them arriving and departing from the same location. I did get some familiar shots this time but I also decided to head to the other end of the field and shoot the departure head on. They do get airborne pretty quickly and climb quite fast so they rotate a long way off and are well above you by the time they cross the fence. Not ideal but still a bit of variety for me.