The repainting of the Salmon Thirty Salmon jet caught a lot of attention and was the subject of a previous post. The jet was not destined to be in standard Alaska Airliners colors, though. Instead, it went to be painted in a special livery that has a salmon connection. This time it is adopting a native theme to the painting. The name is Xáat Kwáani which means Salmon People. It was unveiled in an event in Anchorage and made a couple of flights within Alaska before coming home to Seattle. It arrived on a Friday evening so plenty of people were out after work to catch it landing. I’m sure I’ll see it again plenty of times but it was nice to get it on a lovely evening.
Tag Archives: airliner
Better Timing With This Ex-LATAM Delta A350
The movement of the ex-LATAM Airbus A350s that Delta has picked up on their way to Singapore via Seattle got me out once before. The jet was arriving after dark but I gave it a go anyway. The next one to make the move from California to Singapore came through at a more convenient time for me being both daylight and also when I wasn’t at work! The weather was not perfect but the sun did pop out which made for some reasonable lighting and it was a chance to catch a jet in LATAM colors which I probably won’t get very often.
Breeze Comes to Town (But Not With the A220 Yet)
Breeze is an airline that was recently formed by the guy that started up JetBlue. It has an initial east coast focus but is supposed to gradually expand west. We do not have scheduled service yet but they seem to also undertake charter operations. When the airline was announced, it was supposed to use Airbus A220s. I guess the pandemic made aircraft availability better and they picked up a bunch of Embraer E190s. The A220s have started to come online but the Embraers are currently the big part of the fleet.
One of them was making a trip to Boeing Field. Not sure why it was coming but I figured this was worth a look. I tracked the jet as it lined up for the approach but I hadn’t heard it call in. At some point, I heard the tower call to ask if they were on frequency and no response. At this point, it was pretty close in. I guess, without a clearance, they decided to go around. They climbed out over the field. A side effect of this was to cause a Delta 737 that was on approach to SEA to have to also go missed as the Embraer was conflicting with its flight path. I suspect they were a touch annoyed.
The Embraer then was vectored around for a second approach. On this one, everything seemed to be a lot more normal. I heard them call up a decent distance out and they were cleared to land which they did without incident. The sky blue livery is quite catching and I would like to see one of the A220s at some point soon. I wonder whether we will get service out here at some point?
The Negus 747-400
We were in the Cotswolds for a wedding earlier this year and the morning of the wedding found my with little to do while everyone was getting ready. I was only 30 minutes or so from the old RAF airfield of Kemble, now Cotswolds Airport. Surely it would be churlish to not take a look since I was killing time? Kemble has quite a lot of interest and will mean there are several posts to come. The first will focus on one of the largest residents.
British Airways painted three of its 747s in retro liveries. The jets had different interior configurations which meant they were used on specific routes. I got to shoot the BOAC jet and the Landor jet when they came to Seattle but I never saw the Negus jet. When BA retired the 747 fleet during the pandemic, the Negus jet apparently made its way to Kemble to become a venue rather than get reduced to parts and scrap metal. However, I didn’t know this.
Consequently, I was rather surprised to find the jet sitting there as I drove up to the airport main buildings. There are other 747s stored on the field at Kemble but this one is very accessible. It was early in the day when I arrived so I could wander around unfettered but there were already crews showing up to bring in fixtures for an event that they were going to be hosting. Renting out a 747 for an event sound like just the sort of thing I would do! I was very pleasantly surprised to see the third of the retro jets and to see it in such good condition. (Sure, they have a few nacelle panels that have been switched around but it still seems in good shape.)
Four Seasons Traveling in Style
A few years ago, I was doing a photo flight over LAX and, on the south side of the airfield at one of the FBOs, a black 757 was parked with marking of the Four Seasons hotel group. This jet was used for some pretty high end tour operations. Not the sort of thing I am likely to be on! The 757 was aging and, in discussion with some friends online, I heard that they had switched to an Airbus A321neo. Lo and behold, a few days later, it came to Seattle.
I wasn’t able to get it arriving (although it came back again another time and I did then) but the departure was on a day that I was free. The jet is in a similar livery to the 757 looking black from a distance. I am not sure whether it is actually black or a deep purple color but, when the sun glints off it, there is a colorful tinge to it. Departures were to the north so it crossed the runway to taxi by me and then turned for the take off roll. They were heading to Hawaii so I imagine the guests were looking forward to some fun in the islands. The aircraft is actually operated by Titan out of the UK. I wonder whether the crews like this gig or whether it is a bit of a drag?
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?
Farewell Salmon Thirty Salmon
At the time of writing, the end is nigh for the second of Alaska Airlines’ Salmon Thirty Salmon paint jobs. These are a result of a sponsorship program with Alaskan fisheries and, from what I have heard, this deal has come to an end and the jet is due for a repaint. I came across the first of the Salmon Thirty Salmon jets many years ago at LAX. The original jet was a 737-400 and I shot it on Sepulveda Boulevard resulting in a shot I was rather surprised and happy with.
The -400s have gone from the Alaska fleet and the livery was added to a 737-800. I have seen it a few times over the years but never in good conditions or too close so, once I heard it was heading for repaint soon, I decided to try and get some parting shots. These shots required a combination of decent conditions, the right time of day, not being at work etc. I was lucky that the jet was departing SEA early one Saturday morning so I would get it with low early sun as it climbed out. That worked out pretty well.
The second shot I wanted was inspired by my original shot. I wanted to get a low shot from underneath. Fortunately, I got an evening when the jet was due in and would be approaching from the north which gave me a good location to get the shot. Mission accomplished so, now when the jet gets painted, I will be fine. If they paint a Max9 in the livery, that would be cool but no sign of that so far.
Penultimate Boeing 747
By the time this post goes live, the last production 747 will have been delivered long ago and will be in service. As the countdown to the last jet was underway, the interest in the remaining jets off the line went up significantly. The penultimate jet to be built was also for Atlas Air and was branded for their contract supporting Kuehne + Nagel. I saw a few shots of it appear online as people got it arriving in some gorgeous lighting. Sadly, I couldn’t be there for that but I did manage to get it arriving from a test flight one afternoon. The light wasn’t fantastic, but it was okay. After this one, there was only one more to go.
Delta/LATAM Comes in After Dark
Delta picked up a few ex-LATAM Airbus A350-900s as part of that airlines restructuring during the downturn in the airline business caused by the pandemic. They went initially in to storage and then have been progressively moved to Singapore for updating to the Delta configuration. Seattle has been the location for them to come through on their way to Asia. I have missed a few but one was due to come through when I could see it. Sadly, it departed a little late from Victorville and was showing due in after dark.
Since it was an unusual movement, I figured it was still worth the effort. I would use the 500mm since it has a wider aperture and test the low light capabilities of the camera to the full. It still meant some very low shutter speeds but I let the tech compensate for my low skill levels. I was pleasantly surprised by how well some of them came out given the lack of light. Since this shoot, I did also reprocess with PureRAW3 and this improved the quality of the shot further.
Shooting at SEA After Sunset
One of the things that photographers that have only used digital cameras can’t appreciate is ability to shoot in low light conditions. When I was shooting film, you were already struggling with image quality with ISO 400 film. Early digital cameras got very noisy as the ISO got ramped up but, these days, the capabilities of shooting in very low light are truly amazing for those of us that are old enough to remember what it was like. ISO1000 black and white film was adventurous!
Now I feel quite comfortable trying all sorts of silly things. I had gone down to SEA one evening to try and get a departure that was possibly going out just before sunset. Sadly, it didn’t play ball and the sun was gone by the time it headed out. However, I was there and the camera can do silly ISO numbers so why not. It still needs to drop the shutter speed down quite low but, with a fast burst rate, the chances of getting a reasonable shot are not bad.
I figured I would play around with shooting departure shots as the last of the light was fading away. It was more about trying something different rather than aiming for the perfect shot. I did have some interesting planes to play with but also plenty of Alaska 737s. The light was pretty dim and ISO51200 is quite something to work with but the image quality is really very impressive considering what conditions you are shooting in.