Category Archives: civil

Twotter Jump Ship

One of the sky diving airfields in Arizona is at Eloy.  A small field in a very small town, Eloy has a lot of customers for the jump ships and the vertical wind tunnel.  During our trip, I had seen some Skyvans operating as jump ships, and I was quite looking forward to the chance to shoot some Skyvan ops from close range.  When we got to Eloy, it turned out that things were different on the day.  The Skyvans were nowhere to be seen.  Instead, it was Twin Otters providing the lift and, once we were there, only one of them.  However, there were a couple of locations around the field that gave us options to photograph the Twotter with it taking off to the north and recovering in a southerly direction.  There was even one departure when it turned right over us but the reason for that will show up in a future post.

Vistara Flying at Last

With so many stored 787s at Everett in recent years, I have seen a bunch of Vistara jets on the ground.  However, I hadn’t really done very well in catching them moving.  Not very well is generous – I hadn’t got anything worthwhile.  Then I was up at Paine Field earlier in the day for something else and a Vistara jet taxied out for a test flight.  Thankfully it ran reasonably long on its takeoff roll and I was able to get some good shots of it.

A Short Time Between Two Visions

It doesn’t take long for the weather to change in the Pacific Northwest.  One afternoon I got a couple of Cirrus Vision Jets into Boeing Field.  The weather was a bit overcast for one of them and then cleared up nicely by the time the second one showed up.  The result was a far nicer shot for the second jet than for the first.  It is amazing how quickly conditions can change and what a difference it can make to the images.

Finally, the Jetz Black Jet – Just No Sun

Air Canada operates a charter service under the Jetz brand.  While the A320s are not the focus of the mainline fleet, they are part of the Jetz fleet plan.  With a lot of use in sports charters, they do show up at Seattle pretty frequently.  One of the Jetz jets has been painted in a gloss black livery which looks pretty cool.  I really wanted to get some shots of it but they only seemed to be bringing it in late at night and departing in the early hours of the morning.

I wasn’t going to be out that late and photographing a black jet at night was not going to be that worthwhile.  Then I saw one was going to come in on a Sunday morning.  I took a look at the forecast, and it was showing the potential for the sun to be out and I decided to give it a go.  Finding a location on that side of the field for the morning light has got a lot worse since construction has taken away some of the options.  However, there are still some things that can work.  I was hopeful that the sun might be there but, with the jet turning on to approach, there was still some cloud taking away the best of the morning light.  Nevertheless, the jet looked pretty good as it flew by to touchdown.  I wasn’t unhappy with the results.

328Jet Departure Only

A period of some pretty frequent visits to Seattle of 328Jets was nice to have.  Unfortunately, I was unable to be there when one of them was arriving.  Not chance to get the landing configuration but I was there by the time they were heading back out.  I wasn’t sure of how quickly they would be off the ground given that the 328 is able to handle some short fields.  As it turned out, they ran a reasonable distance and I was happy with the results.

Reinforcement Around the Freight Door

While Alaska Air Cargo has been struggling to add its new 737-800BCFs to the fleet, the -7000 freighters have continued to provide service to them.  I have shot these a few different times, but I got some more recent shots of one of the jets at a time when the sun angle was such that the surface of the fuselage was illuminated in such a way to show up the textures of the construction.  The conversion to freighter involves a lot of reinforcement around the aperture for the freight door.  The light really highlighted this reinforcement well.

Son of Ares Catches Me Out (Almost)

I had made a trip early one Sunday to Boeing Field to catch a couple of departures.  One of them had left earlier than expected and was gone when I got there.  While waiting for the next one, I was sitting in the car on a Zoom call with my family.  I was parked somewhere where it was possible to make out through the fence what was the other side, but it had plastic filaments in the fencing which obscured things to some extent.

I was busy chatting away when I saw the shape of something taxiing across the runway from the FBO which looked both unusual and also familiar.  I jumped out of the car, grabbed the camera and climbed the ladder to grab a shot as the Scaled Composites 401 finished crossing the runway and turned away up the taxiway.  I last saw one of these aircraft at their home base of Mojave in California.

While I had missed the crossing shot of the runway, the flow was to the south so I knew the jet would be coming back my way when it took off.  I was bothered that I was far enough down the runway that it could well be quite high by the time it reached me.  It got to the hold point on taxiway bravo and then sat there for ages.  The tension was painful.

Finally, it lined up and started its takeoff run.  Sure enough, it was quickly off the ground, but good news was to follow.  The pilot had decided to keep it nice and low – possibly to give a good view to the people over at the FBO that were watching the departure.  That meant I got a nice landlocked image as it came by before climbing out swiftly.  What a great surprise.

The Holidays Bring Us Some A300s

The freighter fleets of the big operators like FedEx and UPS are gradually being recapitalized.  The older jets are heading to the desert and getting replaced with new airframes.  The A300-600Fs in both fleets are not going away quickly but they won’t be around for a lot longer.  The UPS A300s don’t normally show up in Seattle with 767s and MD-11s being the regulars here.  However, the holiday season results in a big increase in parcel traffic and so extra jets tend to show up.  That meant some A300s at Boeing Field.  Great to have them here and I hope we get another time when they show up reliably.

Steve Ballmer’s G650 I Think

I’ve shot this jet before but, on this occasion, I was really happy with the angles I was able to get on it.  The big bizjets have so many power that, unless they are making really long trips, they are usually off the ground in no time at all.  This time, this G650 ran a bit longer and allowed me to get some pleasing angles on it at rotation.  When I was looking through the images afterwards, I saw the logo on the inside of the winglet.  It looked like that of the LA Clippers.  A quick Google search confirmed that the Clippers are owned by Steve Ballmer and, since he is one of the Microsoft founders, it made sense it would be here in Seattle.  Quite a nice looking jet!

Intelsat’s CRJ Thwarts Me with Weather

Testbed aircraft are the sort of thing I like to see and, when Intelsat brought their CRJ to Seattle, I was hoping to catch it.  Sadly, its arrival and some initial flying were not at good times, so I didn’t get to shoot it.  Then it was due out when I was heading to SEA for a trip of my own.  However, the conditions were awful, and I could barely make it out in the gloom as it got airborne.  Cameras – even with really modern tech – struggle to focus on something that is barely visible in the mist.  I did have one last chance when it was taking off, but I was at the terminal at the time and could barely get some shots of it as it taxied and took off. After that, it left.  I was frustrated throughout its time here.  Will it return?