Tag Archives: airplane

Frontier’s Weaselly Pun

Frontier Airlines names all of its planes and the names reflect the wildlife artwork on the fin.  One of their A321neos was taxiing out at Portland one morning.  It had some sort of weasel-like creature on the fin and the name of the plane was Kari the Fisher.  I certainly get the Star Wars reference but I had to look up Fishers to find out that they are a member of the weasel family.  I had never heard of them before.  Nice to think that my enthusiasm for aviation can be educational in other spheres!

Components for 767 Production

One of the reasons we get a stream of unusual freighters into Paine Field is the delivery of sections of fuselage for the production lines.  This can include front fuselage sections, center wing boxes and empennage elements.  One afternoon an Antonov showed up to deliver some of these parts.  While getting the plane arriving was why I was there, it was interesting to see these chunks of future planes (I believe these were for the 767/KC-46 line) being offloaded and driven off to be used.

Where Have All These Learjet 60s Come From?

A while back, I had a spate of photographing Lear 60s at Boeing Field.  The Lear 60 is not a rare jet but nor is it particularly common so seeing a few in a short space of time, caught my attention back then.  The 60 was Learjet’s effort to stretch as much as they could from what they already had.  They took the existing wing and added a bigger fuselage.  This was possibly the limit of what could be done with that wing.

I think it is a slightly disproportionate looking aircraft.  The fuselage looks a bit chunky, the wing seems small for the fuselage, the undercarriage appears to have been carried over so the wheels look particularly small for the overall size.  It is a bit of an odd one.  Even so, I still like it when they show up. Since they have been out of production for a while, they will start to disappear.  They will be around for a while but will progressively become less common.  I wonder how many times I shall have so many encounters in a short space of time.

Which Do You Prefer and Do You Care?

As mentioned in other posts, I have been playing around with lower shutter speeds when photographing planes at Boeing Field.  Getting a blurry background to emphasize the speed of the plane is the goal and it also removes some of the annoying distractions that a cluttered airfield can provide.  I use filters to reduce the light in order to get the shutter speed down without having ridiculous apertures.  Naturally, I end up with a bunch of blurred photos which get deleted but the selection process for the keepers is what this post is about.

I have some photography friends that don’t like the effect that the differential speeds of the parts of the airframe have on sharpness.  A sharp nose might mean a pretty blurry tail since the relative motions as I pan are different.  When I am filtering through the shots, I often “focus” on how the nose looks since it is like having the sharp eyes on a wildlife shot.  I care less about the tail unless it looks terrible.  However, getting the middle of the airframe sharp might result in a sharper overall shot even if the nose is a little blurry.

These are the things I was thinking about with these shots of a 777X landing at Boeing Field.  The reason for the post is to see what matters to other people.  These shots are a mix of which part of the airframe is sharp and which bits are more blurred.  I may spend a fair bit of time deciding on which is best, but I wonder whether anyone looking at them is going to like the same things as me or will even care about it.  Maybe the composition of the image is all that they care about, and the pixel peeping is irrelevant.  I would really appreciate feedback if you have an opinion.

AeroK – A New One for Me

A while back I got a notification of an A320 departing SEA heading to Korea from an airline called AeroK.  I didn’t have the chance to be there and wrote it off as a missed opportunity.  Then, earlier this year I got a similar notification on a weekend, so I was able to make the trip down to see this depart.  I hadn’t made the connection, but AeroK is Korea in reverse.  It is a low-cost carrier that only recently started operations.  I assume these were delivery flights for their new fleet since they won’t be operating to the US at this stage of their development.  It would be good to see more of the planes at some point.

Helio Courier

There are a few planes that showed up at the Concrete Fly In that I particularly liked and one of those was a Helio Courier.  This is a beast of a plane but one that has some impressive field performance.  The example that showed up was completely unpainted which made it look even better (plus shaved some pounds off to improve that performance even more).  However, I was a little troubled by some of the flying.  The pilot took it up for a flight while we were there, and they climbed up above the field.  From the ground it is always hard to judge accurately what is happening so I will caveat all of this by saying it is how it appeared to me.

I don’t know what the winds were like aloft, but they seemed to be doing some slow flight above the field.  There also seemed to be a bit of wing rocking going on as they maneuvered, and I did wonder just how close to the stall they were flying.  Things might have been perfectly safe, but it did look odd from the ground.  Then there was the landing.  I don’t know whether they intended to land on the grass beside the runway but, as far as I am aware, that is not a designated operating area.  I think it is used for taxiing.  Anyway, they landed off the side of the runway and ran out on this area of grass.  Was that intentional?  Sort of didn’t look like it but I can’t say for certain.  Was it a good idea?  Probably not.

Let’s put all of that aside for now.  The aircraft is a fine machine, it carries a decent payload, it can get in and out of short strips and it is not so common so all of that adds up to a cool aircraft to see up close – thankfully not too close!

Retro Saudia Jet Compared to the Original

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.

Another 727 But This One Has Winglets

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.

Encounter With a Breeze A220

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.

Getting the Cougs Jet in Lovely Light

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.