Category Archives: corporate

Woohoo! – Another Hawker 4000

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.

Black Gulfstreams in the Rain

Previous posts have shown that I like a bizjet that isn’t painted like all of the others and being painted black is even better.  It won’t surprise regular readers, therefore, that when I got to see not one but two black Gulfstreams on one afternoon at Boeing Field, I was quite a happy chappy.  The weather was not great, though.  It was raining pretty steadily which doesn’t make for ideal conditions.  However, it isn’t all bad.  Sunny days with black jets can produce some harsh contrast conditions while overcast light is more even and soft so it might not be all bad.

Rain in the shots is still going to be an issue though.  Depending on the shutter speed you choose, you may well end up with the raindrops being visible in the images.  A bit of tweaking of the settings when processing can boost the contrast a little, but those raindrops are not disappearing.  Still, the subject is an interesting one to me and that’s what counts.

Sabreliner Duo Passing Through

The large exercise that was taking place in Alaska attracted a lot of unusual types and I have posted about the Hunters and the Northrop Grumman testbed heading up there already.  They weren’t the only ones, though.  Paine Field had a couple of transients too with a pair of Sabreliner jets heading north.  This vintage bizjet is a pretty agile type and Clay Lacy used to display one on the air show circuit.  These two had an interesting pod mounted under the front fuselage – presumably for some sort of electronic warfare role.  I was able to head up to Paine Field that weekend to get them as they arrived.  I didn’t have the time to get them departing although they weren’t around for long – just getting some fuel and then heading onwards.

They did route back through Paine Field when the exercise was done so I was able to get a second go at shooting them then but the conditions were much as before, so the shots are not too different.  I did take a bit of a chance with my shots by dropping the shutter speed down pretty low to try and get some good motion blur – always a risk when shooting something new!

A Few of the Recent Vision Jets in the Area

The Cirrus SF50 Vision is a strange little jet.  It might be jet powered, but it isn’t a particularly high performer.  Sure, it is quicker than a piston aircraft, but it doesn’t compete with the jets that are a little larger than it and it certainly isn’t huge.  However, it does fill a niche. There have been quite a few of them around her recently and, with its bulbous fuselage, V-tail and dorsal engine, it sure looks different.  It also helps that they often get painted in interesting schemes so I’ll get shots whenever I can.  Here are some I have seen recently.

G700 Test Jet

I posted about the arrival of some Hunters and, in that post, I mentioned that I was there for a Gulfstream test jet.  A couple of years ago, I managed to get some shots of a G600 test jet and I had been hoping to catch a G700 at some point.  When one of the test aircraft filed a flight plan for Boeing Field, I finally had my opportunity.  I was waiting for it when the Hunters showed up.  It wasn’t far behind them that my original target showed itself.

This is the fourth test aircraft.  It is in a nice paint job typical for the average anonymous bizjet but it gives hints to its true purpose by having some of the windows replaced with instrumentation.  I was able to get it as it came in from the south, albeit with the usual cluttered background that Boeing Field has.  Fortunately, they were operating out of the field for a few days and I was able to come back at a later date to catch it on approach from the other end.

Dropping The Shutter Speed For Fun

One weekend, I was at Boeing Field awaiting something interesting.  There was the regular traffic of business jets and, since they were pretty standard fair and the light wasn’t great anyway, I figured I would play with dropping the shutter speed super low.  The R3 is great for this because I can select a frame rate of 30fps if I want.  When shooting with silly shutter speeds, really high frame rates increase the chance that I might get something that isn’t terrible.  Technology overcomes lack of talent!

I was dropping down to 1/50th or 1/60th of a second for some of the arrivals.  I was using a polarizer to take out a load of light to allow such low shutter speeds on a sunny afternoon.  It also didn’t hurt to reduce the glare with the sun so strong.  Most shots were worthless but there were a few that came out okay.  Full size there were more acceptable ones but, since I was experimenting, I focused on the ones that were really sharp.  Such low shutter speeds do result in parallax issues which is not ideal, so I tend to look for the sharpness to be on the front fuselage unless the plane is going well away from me.  There were some 737s on test too, so I played with the same techniques for them as well.  Maybe I shall go even lower at some point.

An EMB-135 Can Look Good

One Saturday afternoon, I was out shooting some planes approaching SEA with my buddy David.  We were thinking of calling it a day but I was curious about an EMB-135 that was due in to Boeing Field.  The weather was looking like it would get worse and these regional jets are hardly exciting.  However, a quick search online showed some older shots of it painted white but a more recent shot of it painted gloss black.  I wondered whether this was still how it looked.  I told David I would give it a go as we parted.

As I waited for the jet to arrive, I really hoped it was painted black.  Waiting a while in gradually degrading weather for a regional jet seemed like it might be a poor use of a Saturday afternoon.  When it came in to view, I was very relieved.  It was, indeed, gloss black with a hint of color on the tail.  The fact that the cloud had come in actually made it easier to get a good exposure on the black finish.  Once I got home, I checked out its ownership a little further and, while it was listed to a company matching the Aero on the fuselage, I think it is used by ConocoPhillips.  Maybe, if you are an oil company, you paint your planes to look like crude oil?

Don’t See A Lot Of Eclipses These Days

Time flies fast and it seems like it wasn’t long ago that Eclipse was talking about building light jets at a rate more like that for a car company.  Their ambition faltered and bankruptcy followed.  A small company was established to support the existing fleet, provide updates and potentially restart production.  I actually visited them north of Chicago which tells me just how long ago that was.  They did build a few new jets but also went bankrupt.  However, the Eclipse fleet lives on.  A lot of jets were built before it all went south.  I don’t know how tough it is to support them these days so I am always pleased to see one out and about.

Bizjets Approaching Mt Rainier(ish)

Sometimes you can get too fixated on image quality and forget the overall image.  I was hanging around at Ruby Chow park one weekend when some jets were approaching Boeing Field.  I got some shots as they came overhead but then switched to getting shots of them as they got close to touchdown.  The view down the runway is looking straight at Mt Rainier.  The jets in front of the mountain look great.  Very quickly, the heat haze can make the clarity not as sharp as I would normally expect of myself but, actually, the shot is fine at full scale.  Just enjoy the image and don’t fret about the details.

In From Manila And On To Teterboro

A sunny Sunday morning trip out for a bizjet got a bonus.  I was a touch late for the arrival unfortunately but this G650ER had come in from Manila on its was to Teterboro.  It would have been nice to catch it landing but, after it cleared customs, they taxied out for departure to the east coast.  I’m sure it was nice to stretch the legs after a trans-Pacific trip although I doubt a G650 is that uncomfortable!