Tag Archives: aircraft

IAero’s Old Southwest 737

I diverted my Sunday outing (not far admittedly and I wasn’t under any pressure to be anywhere at a given time) when I saw that an IAero 737 was coming into SEA.  This is a 737-300 which means it isn’t too common anymore.  There was a time when these things were everywhere.  Southwest had tons of them and this example was one of theirs.  The conditions were a bit overcast so not ideal but with the sun angle being on the nose, having some cloud made things a little easier.  They were bouncing around on short final.

Civil Air Patrol Cessna 206

One dull Saturday morning I made a short run to BFI for a bizjet.  Since I got there with a little time to spare, I shot a couple of the other arrivals.  The light aircraft traffic was using the parallel runway to the one my arrival was due on which meant they were flying right over my head.  I had a go at low shutter speed shots to get lots of prop blur since I wasn’t desperate to get keepers.  A Civil Air Patrol Cessna 206 was one of the planes working the pattern so I got a few shots of it.

Not a British Airways Max

As a youth, a British Airways 737 was a regular sight.  The 200 series got a ton of use by BA and, in later years, the 400 series did a lot of work at Gatwick.  The A320 family gradually displaced them all.  However, Comair in South Africa flies in BA colors.  They even had 727s in BA colors in days gone by.  IAG, the parent of BA, signed a letter of intent with Boeing for 200 737 Max aircraft but this has not been turned into a firm order that I know of.  However, Comair did order the Max and one of their aircraft was on test recently.  I am not sure if it is still going to Comair or has been reallocated to another customer but it is still in British Airways markings – for now.

Return of the G600 Testbed (In The Rain)

A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest.  I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer.  I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green.  The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun.  Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in.  When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post.  Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.

One of Two MU-2s

One of the rarer small turboprops is the Mitsubishi MU-2.  It is a high performance aircraft that developed a bit of a reputation for crashing.  What really was the issue was that it was an higher performance plane than many pilots were used to and, once a specific training program was implemented, it was back in the same level of safety as other turboprops.  My late friend, Mike, took part in a round the world trip in an MU-2 which he blogged about and is well worth searching out.

While the MU-2 is a bit of a rarity, for some reason, two of them were up our way recently at the same time.  I don’t know whether this was a coincidence or not.  One was operating out of Paine Field and the other was at Boeing Field.  The weather wasn’t great but it was an MU-2 so, early Sunday morning, I headed down to watch it come in.  We had an Air Canada Max arrive shortly beforehand to allow me to check on my exposures in the conditions and then the MU-2 showed up.  A quick few shots and then back in the car and head home.

Avanti Taunting Me At Sunset

Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again.  After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset.  The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached.  The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap.  About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out.  Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.

It couldn’t last, though.  The clouds took over again and then things got worse.  The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north.  I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone.  Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated.  At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.

I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well.  At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light.  Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too.  The light was even worse but it was still worth a go.  Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.

The Curves Are So Cool

At quiet times, I browse through older shots to see what I have shot in the past that might not have been the most interesting subject of the shoot but was worth another look.  I had been photographing with a bunch of guys at O’Hare a few years back as the evening was drawing in.  We were out at the west side of O’Hare and the evening light was great.  An Embraer E175-E1 took off and turned overhead us.  The low light angles picked up the underside of the aircraft as it turned.  The bottom of a wing has a lot of complex curvatures to it and the low light angle really emphasizes that shape.  This shot really appealed to me for that reason.

FedEx Has A New Base

The end of 787 production at Everett has also meant that Boeing doesn’t have a need for the Dreamlifter operations center that they had built there, next to the Future of Flight visitor location.  I assume the space was leased from the airport but that might not be right.  Whatever the case, a new use has been found for it.  FedEx has set up a small operation there.  SeaTac is their main base in the area and they have a steady stream of wide body freighters heading through there.  Everett is a single 757 each day.  I assume this is the beginning of things and that there will be more to come.  I can’t imagine that they will make that investment for one freighter a day.  We get a bunch of FedEx 767s on test prior to delivery but the 757 is a nice addition.

Norwegian P-8 In The Air

Boeing is churning out P-8s at quite a rate these days.  Most go to the US Navy but a fair few are for export and the most recent export customer to have their jets delivered is Norway.  The Royal Norwegian Air Force has started taking their jets – the first of which I saw on the ramp at Renton.  I did recently catch one coming back from a test flight which was a bit more interesting.  The Saint symbol on the fin seems to be common to the jets I have seen so far.

A First Encounter With Ukraine’s Workhorse

There are some aircraft that have been built and flown in huge numbers which it is almost embarrassing to admit that you have never photographed.  One such aircraft is the Antonov AN-12.  This was a ubiquitous military transport for the eastern bloc and, while it is now a rather aged design, it still has a good role as a civil freighter.  However, I have never seen one in action until recently.

A Ukrainian registered example from CAVOK Airlines was coming in to Seattle.  It was due to arrive at around 1pm which meant the light would be right on the nose.  The worst possible case.  Of course, that was assuming that there would be light.  When it actually arrived, the sun was well obscured by clouds.  Given the dark colors of the plane, maybe that was a good thing.  Two minutes after it had gone, the sun was back out of course.  It was trailing smoke from its old generation engines but it was definitely a highlight of the last few months of movements.