While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.
I had been talking with some friends at Boeing Field about the Kalitta 727s that we had seen recently and we got on to the subject of winglets on the 727 and that the jets we had seen didn’t have them. Little would I know that I would address this a short while later. Kalitta Charters II was bringing another 727 in to Paine Field on a weekend evening and it was a different airframe to the ones I had photographed to that point.
It was also fitted with winglets! I am not sure how good the winglet design is on the 727. It looks like a pretty basic design and doesn’t seem to be very well integrated in the way that later winglet designs are. However, it must provide some benefit because they have sold a fair few of them. I clearly made the trip up to Everett to catch its arrival and I wasn’t alone. One more 727 in a time when they are not very abundant and a different configuration to boot.
Since Breeze started service in the US, I have not had much of a chance to see its aircraft. They don’t provide service to our part of the world yet. I have seen some of the Embraer fleet it operates when those jets have come to Boeing Field. This was of interest but slightly disappointing to me since the fleet is going to be made up of A220-300s and the Embraers were an interim fleet. Of course, that might make them the most interesting jets in due course. I did want to see the A220s, though.
I had to make a work trip to Orlando in October. My flight arrived in MCO at midnight and, as we pulled on to the gate, I see a Breeze A220 parked next to us. I got a shot of it with my phone but it was dark and the lighting from the terminal was definitely not good for the colors of the livery. The fact that they used that gate, though, gave me cause for optimism when I was due to return. I got to the airport with plenty of time and my flight was delayed. Consequently, I was able to watch another Breeze A220 as it pulled in from its flight and, then again, when it departed. The phone had to be the option again but I think it worked out okay – at least until I get a chance to get some more shots at some point in the future.
When Horizon was still flying the Q400s, they painted a bunch of them in the colors of Pacific Northwest universities. The Q400s have gone and the Embraer E175-E1s are now the only aircraft flown by Horizon. Thankfully, they have decided to continue the practice. While we were away, I saw that a jet had been painted in Washington State colors with “Go Cougs” written in the fuselage. I was disappointed to have missed its arrival but it wasn’t long before it was scheduled for an evening arrivals in to Paine Field.
It was a Sunday and we had been up in Skagit County and I didn’t know whether our return would be in time (or if I was going to have to suggest a diversion on our way home to Nancy). As it was, we got home in good time and I had a while before I headed back out. With the seasons turning in the direction of autumn, the light is getting nicer and it was ideal conditions when the jet came down the approach. I could have waited for the departure but I had what I wanted and there was still dinner to think about so I headed home again.
The end of production of Boeing 787s at Everett meant that there was no longer a need for the Dreamlifter operations to support Dreamliner production. However, while the Dreamlifter base has closed, there are still some production activities at Everett on the 767/KC-46 line that require large structures to be delivered and the Dreamlifters are used for this sometimes. I understand at least one of them is currently stored, but the others are active.
I only rarely find myself at Everett when the Dreamlifter is there, but it has happened a few times over the last few months. Here are a few of the shots I have got since these things became a little bit rarer up this way.
Getting a British Airways 777-200ER arriving at SEA would not normally be a priority unless the light was great and I was going to get Mt Rainier in the background. If the weather was cloudy and it was arriving from the north, might not seem to be that much of a deal. However, if it is being flown by someone I know, that is a different story. My friend, Paul, was the skipper on this flight and I was meeting him to have some time around Seattle before he headed home the following day.
The clouds were a shame but the light wasn’t totally bad. I figured it would need a bit of work in post to try and make the best of the shots but the lack of heat haze did help a bit. I was able to grab a few shots of the jet as it came down the approach and then as it was over the threshold prior to touchdown. Not the greatest shots Paul will have of him flying but, hopefully there are not too bad.
Photographing airliners can be a little “samey” since there are lots of very similar jets and getting a shot of them from the side looks much like any other shot unless the aircraft is specially painted or the lighting is particularly unusual. Consequently, every once in a while, it is fun to try and shoot from a different angle. The approach to SEA when the planes are on a southerly flow brings them in over a part of Burien where you can get yourself pretty much under the flightpath.
It won’t take too long before you are again getting a sequence of repetitive images, so it isn’t going to be useful for much time, but it is a chance to do something a little different. Head on shots from a distance are possible. Then you can get the shot looking up from the underside. This might be a tight shot of a part of the airframe, or a wide angle shot of the whole thing. An opportunity to do something a little different when you are photographing aircraft that are not ones where you care about missing the shot as you might when something special is coming in.
It’s not unusual to see Canadian A320s in Boeing Field. They provide a lot of sports charters but, until recently, these were usually undertaken by Jetz aircraft. More recently, it seems that they have transitioned to jets in the Air Canada core colors. Since Air Canada has been taking delivery of lots of 737 Max aircraft recently, maybe they are cascading some of the older mainline jets to the charter operations. I don’t really know. I only know I have shot a few of their aircraft at Boeing Field recently.
Earlier in the year, I was down at SEA for a reason that now escapes me. However, I had some time to kill, and the traffic was on a northerly flow which means it is easier to get reasonable afternoon light on the departing jets. Consequently, I hung out for a while to photograph some of the jets heading out. The majority of traffic is going to be the regular Alaska and Delta narrowbody traffic and that gets pretty repetitive. However, mid to late afternoon is when a lot of the departures for Europe and the Middle East take place. This means widebodies. Here are a bunch of shots of departing aircraft as they climb out and head on their way.
My buddy Chris was visiting Seattle but was stuck in the arrivals line at the airport. I was waiting to pick him up but, since it was taking longer than expected, I was checking out some other movements. An Everts MD-83 was scheduled out of Boeing Field. The weather was not great, and I didn’t know when Chris would finally get through immigration, but I figured I would give it a go. Sadly for Chris, the MD-83 got moving faster than him. It was on its way long before he finally got out. I had plenty of time to get back to SEA to pick him up.