A few times a year, Boeing Field is treated to the arrival of a Hawker 4000. This was not a successful jet for Hawker and so they are far from common. I have shot them on occasions, and they have probably got blog posts when I did. I saw this one coming in one weekend so headed over to see it. When I looked up the operator, Talon Air, I was interested to see on their website that they have quite the collection of 4000s. I guess owning a bunch of them makes supporting them a little easier. Annoyingly, another one was at BFI while I was there and got towed near me before I realized what it was. It didn’t fly while I was there unfortunately.
The Dornier 328Jet is not a total rarity but it is unusual enough to get attention. Earlier this year, one showed up as coming through BFI. Since I was able to be there, I decided it had to be worth the trip. Sure, it is just another landing shot of a small airliner but I spend too much time thinking back to things I never bothered about at the time that are now gone so I’d rather not add to that list.
Once Russia went to war with Ukraine, the ability of Russian cargo operators to continue their US business went away. Volga Dnepr had been providing a bunch of service for Boeing operations at Everett bringing in outsize airframe parts. With them out of the picture, Boeing had to find an alternative. Antonov Design Bureau designed the AN-124 originally and it has an in house airline, Antonov Airlines. They seem to have picked up a bunch of work that Volga Dnepr previously had. Despite the enthusiasm for various people calling them Russians, they are definitely Ukrainian!
They have been in and out of Paine Field pretty frequently over the last few months. I have got shots of them at different times with the aircraft carrying various messages about cities in Ukraine. Having got shots at different times, I also started shooting some video. Here are some of the shots along with a video of one of the departures.
In February, we headed to the UK for a family wedding that we had really been looking forward to. The overnight flight to Heathrow got us across the Atlantic. When we landed, we headed for Terminal 5 to unload. However, our gate was not yet clear. We had made good time across the water, so we were a little early and the late departures of BA were not designed to accommodate that! Instead, we started doing laps of the concourses while they waited for us to have a gate open. We ended up parking on a taxiway for a while and then doing another half lap. While this was not ideal, I did end up taking a few photos of the BA jets around the airport.
I have posted a few shots of preserved aircraft at Kemble, but Cotswold Airport is the end of the line for a lot of planes in a far less graceful way. It is the base for disassembly of airframes that have reached the end of their operational lives. A jet doesn’t have to be that old to have greater value in its parts than as an operational aircraft. If a major check is coming up and it isn’t worth that much post check, it might be worth it to the owner to have it broken down for spares. As airframes get older, this decision is more obvious.
Kemble is the location where a lot of this happens. From the airfield or from the road that passes by, you can see a line up of aircraft that are unlikely to ever fly again. They will be progressively stripped of their most valuable parts. They may hang around like this for a long time with bits being gradually taken off as they are demanded by other operators. Eventually, there will be little left of value and the scrap metal will become the most valuable thing that they have to offer. Then they will be cut up. It is a safe process for an aviation enthusiast but a normal part of the life cycle of an aircraft. If you are in the area, head by to see what is there.
I was at SEA early one Sunday morning to try and catch a shot of Salmon Thirty Salmon before it was repainted. Northern Air Cargo also departs at a similar time of day as part of its loop between Hawaii, Seattle, Los Angeles and back to Hawaii. I assume one of the regular jets was in maintenance because they had chartered in some capacity from StratAir. I was not familiar with this operator but I was happy to catch a 767 in new colors for me.
Widebody jets coming into SEA are hard to predict. If possible, all arriving traffic is sent to the outer runway to allow departures to proceed from the inner runway with little disruption. However, if there is a lot of arriving traffic, the wake turbulence requirements for spacing behind a heavy jet can slow the arrivals flow. In this case, sending the jets the inner runway is more efficient. You never know what it will be until the plane is lined up on approach and you can see whether it is offset from the normal paths or not.
I wasn’t terribly bothered by this American Airlines 777-200ER when it came in as it is a daily arrival from London, and I have shot it on previous occasions. However, since I was in a location almost on the centerline of its approach, I decided to go for more of a head on shot and then an underside shot. If this was something I hadn’t shot before, I would be aiming to get the side of the plane in shot to show whatever it was but, in this case, no harm in playing around with different angles.
I made a mourning trek to SEA one weekend to catch the Salmon Thirty Salmon jet before it got repainted. I shot a bunch of planes before it departed and one thing of interest after it left and was getting ready to head home. A quick check of what else was due out showed me that the Singapore Airlines A350-900 was due out shortly. It’s a nice-looking jet and the morning light was still good, so I figured there was no harm in waiting a short while longer to catch it.
Regular readers know I am partial to the A350 and some of my earliest shots of the type were operated by Singapore in to SFO when we lived in California. Their livery has a classic style to it in my mind. Besides, the trip to Singapore is a long one making full use of the A350’s range capabilities so it was likely to be heavy and would use a good chunk of the runway so would still be quite low as it passed me by. All good reasons to get the shot.
When Alaska bought Virgin America, they got an order for A321neos as part of the deal. When the merger was completed, Alaska painted some jets in their More To Love scheme to sell everyone on what the bigger airline had to offer. Two of the neos were painted in this livery. I have shot them both. Recently I caught one of them and it seems to have had a need for a replacement radome as the nose doesn’t go with the rest of the paint. Sadly, while there may have been more to love, Alaska doesn’t love these jets and they will be gone in October 2023, ending the use of Airbus jets in their fleet. They will then be “Proudly All Boeing” (and Embraer!).
I posted about the visit of Western Global and their 747-400F a little while back. They did not wait long for their next return and, this time, they went for a rarer type by bringing in the MD-11F. I know FedEx and UPS still have loads of these (although they are starting to retire them) but other operators are thin on the ground. This was worth catching. (I have since heard that Western Global is in liquidity difficulties so who knows if they will still be around soon.)
It arrived at Paine Field when I wasn’t able to be there, but it did depart in the morning when I was able to get to see it. The weather was not ideal, and I would have appreciated a little sun on it but I’ll take it in any conditions given that I don’t know when I might get another opportunity. What a cool looking jet the MD-11 is from the front quarters. When they are gone, we shall have lost something special.