Tag Archives: a350

Air France Tries Everything At SEA

Airlines seem to be consolidating their fleets these days with less and less types showing up.  I am sure that this is true for Air France too but, recent experience at SEA feels like the opposite.  We seem to have been the destination for a lot of the Air France long haul fleet.  We have had 777s coming in here for a while.  I imagine that they will be the ones we won’t see much of again but you should never bet on that.  The 777-300ERs are likely to be around for a while, even if the -200ERs go away.

Then we have had the A330s and the A350s.  I like the look of the A350 so was pleased to see them bringing that on this route.  I had wrongly assumed that, with the A350 being deployed here, that was going to be a regular feature.  Instead, we have now got 787s coming in.  I was north of the airport when I got to shoot a 787-9 lining up for approach.  When I have looked more recently, that is the jet showing on the schedule.  Who knows what we will get next?  I am pretty certain it won’t be the A380!

West Seattle Bonuses

We made a trip to West Seattle with our guests while they were here.  We were looking at the view of the city and also wondering what wildlife might show itself.  I got a benefit in that departures from SeaTac and Boeing Field were coming to the north.  I got a couple of nice airliner shots as they climbed out over us.  They weren’t the only ones though.  A KC-46 launched out of Boeing Field and climbed over us as it went off to its test area.  I wasn’t paying attention, but my guests spotted something rocketing up behind it.  An F/A-18C Hornet from the Strike Test unit was following it, presumably for some test work.  It climbed rapidly but then leveled out, I assume to stay below the departure routes from SeaTac.  Not a bad bonus for me while showing the sights to my guests.

Finnair Visitor to SFO

Getting an unusual visitor to SFO is worth a look.  In June 2017, Finnair are going to be starting regular service to SFO from Helsinki.  Ahead of that, though, there was a tech event taking place in Helsinki that meant a bunch of Silicon Valley types would be heading over.  Finnair ran two charter flights to SFO, one ahead of the event and one after.  More interestingly for me, while the service next year will be operated with an A330, the charter used one of their A350s.  Since they won’t be coming back for the foreseeable future, this was a limited chance to catch them.

I only found out after the first flight so the second was my only chance.  Fortunately, the weather was more cooperative.  It was clear and sunny.  However, the wind was over 20mph steadily and gusting stronger than that a lot of the time which made holding a long lens just a little tricky.  The timing of the arrival was just late enough to make it a reasonable time to get some shots.  Winter in SFO means that morning arrivals don’t have the problems of backlighting in the same way that there is in the summer but early arrivals are still not great.  However, it arrived just late enough to have a chance of some reasonable light.

The conditions were clear and you could see the jet as it came over the top and then as it came onto final near Coyote Point.  Another aircraft was lining up for approach out behind it and showed up clearly as a result of the clear air.  The wind had subsided a little when they made the approach but not much.  Consequently, I was fighting with the sail (as the lens became known that day) to keep a steady panning motion on the jet.  Plenty of light certainly helped by keeping the shutter speed up.

I wanted to get some departure shots.  I waited around when the plane was due to taxi out.  However, I did have an appointment to get to and it was clear that the plane was not going to head out in time.  In the end, I accepted the timing was against me and headed off.  I actually drove by the airport on the way to the city and the taxiing jet came past me as I drove off.  No way that I would ever have been around in time for departure.  Oh well, at least I got it flying when it came in.