Tag Archives: airliner

Avelo Visits BFI – Can They Last Too?

A while back I posted some shots of New Pacific and commented on whether they would survive.  They are not alone in starting up an airline and operating tenuous routes.  Avelo is another airline that has been created and runs between secondary destinations.  I guess all of these new starts undertake charter work as well to keep utilization up and cash coming in.  Avelo did a run to Boeing Field, and I figured that, unless I get to one of their destinations at any point soon, this might be my only chance to photograph one of their planes.

The arrival was not in the best of light, but conditions weren’t too bad, and I was happy to get some reasonable shots.  When it came to departure, they were due out later in the day and the one thing you know about charter flights is that they won’t go even close to he planned time unless you are running late.  Then they will be off early!  Sure enough, they were dragging it out.  I was wondering whether there would even be any light left when they went but, having spent a bunch of time waiting, I was not giving up.

One of my friends had been waiting too but finally decided enough was enough and headed home.  I was not so sensible and stuck around.  Finally, they closed up the jet and got the engines going.  They taxied across the runway in a location that was quite convenient for me, so I got a bunch of shots.  Then they got to the hold point and waited.  I was thinking that they were toying with me, but it wasn’t too long and then they rolled.  Overall, I was quite happy with the results.  If I don’t end up seeing them again, these will have been worth it.  If they become a major success and are all over the country, this will have seemed a touch futile!!

GlobalX Has Interesting Passengers

GlobalX charter flights are pretty common in our area these days.  The company is expanding aggressively, and any charter work seems to be on the cards.  This one flight was a bit unusual – at least compared to what else I have seen then do.  The buses pulled up with the “passengers”.  However, instead of all walking up the steps, they went one at a time.  A closer look showed that their hands were in front of them – presumably in cuffs.  I’m not sure whether this was a criminal transfer or a deportation flight, but I suspect the latter.  I have seen plenty of DOJ flights into BFI but this was a first for me to see.

At Last, I Get a Shot of Another Icelandair Special

Icelandair painted a couple of its 757s in special liveries a few years ago.  One of them, called Vatnajökull, has never been where I was or, if it was, the conditions were bad, or I couldn’t take any images.  Finally, I saw that it was coming in one weekend and would be departing when there was a northerly flow, and the sun was likely to be out.  I finally had a good chance to get it.  Icelandair is adding plenty of Max 8s to the fleet and they are becoming more common into SEA and they will be getting some A321neos soon so the 757s might not be a reliable visitor here before too long.  Consequently, I was glad to finally get some good shots of this lovely looking jet.

Putting Away the DC-8 Each Night

NASA chose to operate its DC-8 from the ATS facilities at Paine Field while they were deployed there for the trials program with the Max 10.  They would start up from there and then taxi past the fire station for departure.  I was more interested in getting the landing shots so I didn’t wait for their return there but, once the plane was on the ground, I did make a rapid move to get back where they might either be shutting down or would be disembarking.  Quite a few people were onboard for each mission.

Closing everything down took quite a while and, once everyone was off, the steps were removed, and the ground power disconnected.  They then towed the jet in to one of the open-ended structures so that the nose was under cover while the back end of the jet was in the open.  This was the process each time, so I was able to take photos from different angles each time I was there.  I never happened to be there when they reversed the process.  The jet was already out by the time I showed up.

EcoDemonstrator Returns in the Gloom So Video It Is!

Boeing flew the EcoDemonstrator 777 from Paine Field for a while last year.  I managed to be up there for the return late in the day, but the conditions were not that great.  Having shot the plane at other times, I decided that the stills option was probably not the right one to take.  They would not look that interesting.  Instead, I decided to shoot some video of its return.  Since going mirrorless, video shooting is so much easier because I can continue to hold the camera up to my eye as I would if shooting stills.  It makes for a (slightly) more stable platform so a little less camera shake.

Rainy Sunday for the National Queen

Given that National Airlines has a better than average livery, I will always be happy to get a shot of their planes.  The 747s are a favorite given that they are less common post the pandemic.  I was therefore really pleased that one was due into Paine Field one weekend.  Of course, this is the Pacific Northwest and that means no guarantee of good weather.  Sure enough, it was a bit overcast, and the air was damp.  I wasn’t going to get gleaming illumination of the airframe, but I might get some vapor.

Things weren’t that great but there were some vortices streaming from the flaps as they came across the threshold at the north end of the airport.  The grey of the livery was blending a bit with the clouds behind it, but the blues did still have a bit of punch to them.  It could have been better, but it was still something I was pleased to get.

Some of My Rides on Safari

We took three internal flights while we were in Kenya and Tanzania and all three were interesting aircraft.  Better still, they were all different types.  One was a new one for me to fly on, but you might be surprised as to which that was.  Our first trip was on a Let 410.  It took us from the Serengeti to a short strip just short of the border with Kenya.  This wasn’t my first ride in a 410 but it was my first landing.  Previously I jumped out of one as part of a tandem skydive.  This one had far more comfortable seating.

Once we crossed the border, we took another flight into the Maasai Mara.  This was on a type that is ubiquitous in the area – the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.  I have never been on one of these.  They were very densely configured and getting through the cabin to a seat was quite an effort.  I don’t care to think what getting out in a hurry might be like!  We saw so many of these with different operators over the course of our visit.

The last type we flew was a Dash 8 100 Series.  A far larger type than the others, this flies some heavier routes, and these might involve multiple stops along the way picking up and dropping off customers.  Ours picked us up in the Mara and took us direct to Nairobi.  No intermediate stops for us.  It has been a long time since I flew in an early generation Dash 8, and I hadn’t thought of them as doing rough field ops.  However, supporting remote communities is part of their history so of course they are fine on these strips.  Unfortunately, heavy rains at the strip 90 seconds from our camp meant we had to drive for forty minutes to another strip to make this flight.  It was a good trip, though.  This part of the world was great for people like me that like close up encounters with aviation!

They Continue to Fly the Max10 But it Is Going to Be a While

The 737 Max program continues to be a total bear for Boeing.  As I write this, they are just recovering from the Max9 door plug incident.  Prior to that, it was issues with rudder components not rigged properly and then it was rear bulkhead production issues.  All of these follow on from the disaster that was MCAS.  The Max7 and Max10 have both been flying for ages but still haven’t achieved certification.  The Max7 was thought to be close, but it needed an exemption for inlet heating which Boeing had applied for.  In the aftermath of the door plug incident, that exemption application has been withdrawn and now the Max 7 might be a year away from approval.

The Max10 is behind the Max7 so it is possible that it might get approval by 2025 but, at this point, who knows when it will actually be.  Meanwhile, there is still testing underway.  The first Max 10 jet is active at the moment undertaking testing work.  It was due out from Boeing Field on another test heading off to Texas.  I figured it would run a little longer given that it would be heavier so chose my spot for the shots.  However, I did still use a longer lens to get a tighter shot for rotation.  The light came out nicely as they rolled and the rotation was ideal for where I was.  It is going to be a while before I see these in service but at least I get to see them on test periodically.

Is This My Last Kalitta 727?

The 727 is a rarity already and one of the remaining operators, Kalitta, is close to ending their operations too.  I read that they only have two left and that they will both be gone later this year.  Consequently, I was rather pleased when one was due into Seattle.  Unfortunately, it was due to land at about 8pm.  I did think of getting out to try and see what the ambient light would be like but decided against it.  It then got delayed and didn’t arrive until after 10pm.

They filed to head straight back out that evening so I figured I would miss out.  However, something was not right with the jet, and they didn’t leave.  The following day, when I saw that they hadn’t gone, I was able to come by and see if they were still there.  Indeed they were.  It wasn’t long before I heard the sound of an engine running and thought I might be in luck.  Sadly, the open panels were a sign that they were just doing an engine test.  I had to leave shortly afterwards and was wondering whether they would depart while I was absent.

Luck continued to be on my side, and they were still there later in the day.  No flight plan filed, and I was wondering whether they were either not going at all or might wait until after dark.  I was pondering driving around to the other side of the field to see if I could find out anything when my friend messaged me that a flight plan had been filed for a departure shortly.  Now, I never trust the timing of a flight plan for a freighter, but this was still promising.

Needless to say, they did not go promptly.  This was not a bad thing, though.  As I waited, the conditions were steadily improving with some nice light.  At this time of year, though, that light doesn’t last too long, and I was fearing it might disappear before they left.  Fortunately, they finally fired up and taxied past me.  The light was looking great. Now to hope that they didn’t have a long wait for ATC release.

I had wondered whether they would get off the ground fast or not.  The 727 was capable enough in short fields but they don’t leap off the ground.  I chose a location that I thought might be good for rotation shots and I am glad I did.  I had just about the perfect spot.  They rotated in front of me, climbed out in lovely light and disappeared.  I wonder whether this will be my last Kalitta 727 shot or not.

It Might Have Been Green but the Light Was Excellent

An Air Tanzania 737 Max 9 made its initial flight from Renton and was due into Boeing Field at the end of the day.  The timing of its arrival was looking promising.  However, I was dealing with something else, and it was a higher priority.  If that could be completed in time, the Air Tanzania might just work out.  Having shot their 767 freighter, I was hoping that it would already be painted.  That was not to be the case with only the rudder and winglets showing the colors that are to come.

The evening light was developing nicely so the green of the protective covering really looked pretty good.  However, the real benefit was once the plane had passed me.  The sky to the east was developing a really cool purple hue.  The evening light was working wonders with the clouds over there.  Stick a green 737 in front of that and things really did look good.  I hope I get to see it once painted before it heads off to its new home.