Tag Archives: airport

Tanker Traffic

A few tankers were flying test missions at Boeing Field last year when I spent a little time down there.  The sun was out but heat haze was not too bad, so it was a good time to shoot.  The dark paint of the KC-46 Pegasus is not ideal for shooting on a bright day (or a dark one for that matter) but you aren’t passing it up.  What was more fun was having them taxi close by and getting a good look at the jets.  They might still have a bunch of issues to resolve but there are now plenty in service, so they aren’t a rarity.  Hopefully they will get the issues fixed soon enough.

JinAir In Primer

The nice thing about having the factory for airliners nearby is seeing aircraft in the colors of an airline that you would not normally see.  It is a little disappointing when they are not actually painted.  I like the primer look (I know the protective film isn’t really primer, but I don’t have a better term for it) but it would have been nicer to have the livery.  Only some marking on the composite parts that are already painted let you know what airline it is destined for.

Boeing’s Own BBJ

Boeing developed the BBJ in partnership with GE if memory serves and I think they took the earliest examples to be built.  A modified 737 airframe, the BBJ is a big jet for a bizjet – unless you are seriously wealthy and have a converted widebody.  Their house colors are actually quite nice and, since Boeing Field is a big base for them, seeing their jet in is not a surprise.  It does look good, though.

Formation Arrivals

Not really a formation I’m afraid.  I was shooting this PC-12 as it came in to BFI in nice light and a light aircraft was on the approach for the parallel runway.  I almost got both of them in frame but not quite.  However, I liked the shot so here it is.

Strolling Down a 10,000’ Runway

King County International Airport held a public event in the guise of a FOD walk.  You could sign up for free for the opportunity to take a stroll along their main 10,000’ runway one Saturday morning.  Since I wasn’t planning on anything else, this seemed like a good chance to be somewhere that I normally wouldn’t get to be.  I showed up just before 8am on the Saturday to see how it was.  Weather was overcast but it was not raining which was a relief.

We had a briefing from the airport team and the fire chief prior to heading out.  They made it clear that they do take care of the runway so we were hopefully not expecting to find much but we would see.  They last did a runway walk ten years ago and that was for staff so this was a new thing to try with anyone from the community taking part.  We could take cameras with us but they limited what we could have.  Also, photographing the Boeing military ramp was not allowed.

They split the group into two with two buses taking us out.  The buses went to opposite thresholds with the intent that we walk to the middle where we would meet up and take some photos.  Fortunately, I was in the bus going to the north end which is the one I wanted.  Driving past the Boeing civil ramp with its 737s, KC-46s and 777Xs was pretty interesting.  They set up the illuminated X at the threshold prior to us starting (which was a relief).  We then spread out across the runway and walked down.  The smaller runway remained in use while we were walking but there had been a bit of a mad dash of planes getting out before we started.

The runway was clean as you’d expect.  For those that were walking along the edge and in to the grass a bit, there was more to find including some quite large items.  I guess the session did have a practical benefit.  We made it to the mid point of the runway where everyone gathered in front of the fire trucks and we had some group photos.  Then it was back on the bus and a close out with some prize drawings.  It’s not often you get to stand in the middle of a runway that serves everything up to wide body jets so I am glad I took the time to go out.  I hope that they do it again.

One Day I’ll Get the NEO in Good Light

Shortly after my A220-300 landed, another Delta jet was due in.  (Actually, quite a few were but they weren’t terribly interesting.). It was an A330-900, the NEO version of the A330.  I have shot a few of them but have really struggled to get them in good conditions or nice lighting.  Since the weather was crummy on this Sunday morning, that luck wasn’t changing.  However, it was there so why not get a few shots.  At some point I will get one in good light.

Dreamliner In the Mist

During the winter, I shot a British Airways 787 as it approached landing at Seattle Tacoma International.  There was some low cloud base and it was just skirting the bottom of the clouds as it passed me by.  It was appearing and disappearing from view within the clouds and, even when clear, was pulling a bit of vapor along with it!  An all-white jet against a cloudy backdrop does not make for a contrasty shot but the elusive nature of the plane with such a background made the shots interesting to process.

Qatar 777-200LR

The gradual relaxation of travel restrictions means that there are more long haul jets showing up in Seattle.  Some are still just taking freight but passenger ops have expanded.  The reduced number of passengers does mean that smaller capacity jets will suffice for some routes.  Qatar has restarted operations to Seattle.  They are using their 777-200LRs for the time being.  I caught one as it was passing overhead on final approach.

P-8 Tries to Trick Me

The afternoon lighting was looking good and, when I saw a P-8 was up, I was tempted to get some shots.  When I saw the Dornier was also coming in, it helped make up my mind.  Even better, it spared me from a fruitless trip.  The P-8 was out of Boeing Field and was scheduled to make approaches at Everett before returning to base.  I would have been tempted to shoot it up there but, with the 328Jet in the mix, I figured Boeing Field was it.

As it turned out, the flight plan for Everett was a distraction.  I watched the jet heading back up from Oregon and it looked like it was coming direct to Boeing Field.  That was indeed the case.  No approach to Everett.  If I had been up there, I would have been pretty annoyed.  As it was, I got the arrival, even if the conditions were nowhere near as nice as they had been when I first headed out.  This one was a US Navy example.

NetJets Gets the Good Conditions

In this previous post, I mentioned the good light I was hoping would be available for a Dornier 328Jet.  While that didn’t work out, I did get a NetJets Latitude arriving at that time.  NetJets colors are certainly not very exciting so they are a bland subject normally (and a Latitude is hardly the most exciting looking bizjet either.  However, with the right lighting, even this can look pretty dramatic!