I have only seen one flying B-29 prior to this year. That is Fifi from the Commemorative Air Force which I got to see in DuPage IL many years back and also saw overflying Oshkosh. A second B-29 was returned to flight about four years ago – Doc. It is based in Wichita KS and has been on a tour which included a visit to the Pacific Northwest. Its previous stop was in Spokane and then it came to Boeing Field for a week.
I saw when it was due in to BFI and got down there in time for the planned arrival from the other side of the state. It was a little later than I expected but that was fine. It was easy to track as it came across the mountains and then across the city and on to the approach for Boeing Field. The light was pretty good on it as it came down final approach although the reflective nature of the polished aluminum fuselage meant it took on a greenish hue as it flew over the grass inside the perimeter fence.
Shortly after arrival, they crewed up to make a press trip. Sadly, I was not part of this but it did give me a chance to get some more shots. The winds meant they were doing a southerly departure and I didn’t anticipate them climbing too fast when babying these old engines. They certainly didn’t climb aggressively! They kept it nice and low while cleaning up the gear and were still very low when they came past me. It was ideal. They then put in a surprisingly aggressive turn downwind where they kept it low enough that they were behind the trees.
I decided to try for something different for the next return. I headed to the end of the runway to try for some shots directly underneath the plane. It is a tricky place to shoot with buildings in the way for a while and more power lines than is ideal. Still, it provides a cool perspective and something a little different. I was very pleased with the success rate of the shots because, while you are shooting at a wide angle, there is a lot of relative motion.
Once on the ground, the plane was going nowhere for a few days until the paid flights started at the end of the week. There would be another encounter. I got to see it one day as it flew over the city but I did make a more deliberate effort to shoot it again. More to come…
Making a cross country flight from Wisconsin to Washington is a long enough trip but it is even longer if you are in something that isn’t too speedy. A DC-3 is not something that is going to cover the ground that fast. It will be a bit quicker if it has been re-engined with a turboprop but, even then, it is going to be a long trip. I think it was the best part of eight hours to make the journey and then overnight at Seattle before continuing on to Alaska the next day.
The arrival of the BT-67 certainly got the attention of a few local photographers. Sadly, things got a bit cloudy just as it arrived so the conditions were not ideal. It was still cool to get a shot, of course. Fortunately, they had parked near the Museum of Flight so I was able to get a few shots of them parked up. The crew were just closing up so the gate to the ramp was open for them and a kind security guard allowed me to shoot past him without having to deal with the fence.
Canada has had a surge in low cost airlines. One of them is Flair. They too delivery of a few new jets but I never happened to be around when any of them was on test so, I never got a shot of their pretty bright colors. Another delivery was due recently and I happened to be at BFI when the jet was being ferried in from another location – presumably where it had been painted. Not the greatest light I’m afraid but still enough to be worthwhile and the colors are a bit more interesting that the usual. I’ve no idea how their operations are going but, with so many new players in the market, they will have their work cut out for them.
Boeing Field has a lot of civilian traffic, but it is also a popular stop off point for military traffic. What I hadn’t anticipated was a McChord C-17 wanting to use it for some pattern work. I was sitting in the car working on a spreadsheet updating my forecasts for a project that we are working on. I guess I had heard something call up but was busy with the work and had not realized what was coming. However, the rumbling of four engines got quite loud and I looked up to see the C-17 on short final.
I did grab a couple of quick shots, but luck was on my side. They wanted to fly a few patterns so I was going to get another go at it. The left-hand patterns meant you could see them heading downwind and turning back on to final. I could get on with my spreadsheet and be ready when they came back again. The light was really nice and they seemed to fly a little higher on the approach than is normal so getting shots was not tricky.
At one point, while flying downwind, I could see another C-17 flying directly across the field. They were actually setting up for an approach to McChord and were not going to come our way but it was cool to see both in shot at once. After they completed their pattern work, they headed back north again so I am not sure what their next plans was but I was pleased to have seen them and had the chance to try and few different shots.
A SAAB 2000 in passenger configuration was transiting through Seattle. It was registered to PenAir in Alaska and had apparently been repainted since it was now showing up in the colors of Aleutian Airways. I had not heard of Aleutian Airways but it isn’t hard to work out where it serves. The plane arrived with a PenAir registration still showing but it looked like it was applied temporarily so, presumably, it is going to have a new registration before too long.
They didn’t spend too long on the ground before departing for Alaska. They were heavy for the longer flight but still off the ground quite quickly compared to the full length of BFI’s runway. Then they looped off around the south end of the area before climbing overhead and en route to their next stop. The livery is a bit retro but I did like the look of it.
The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia and Belarus have meant that any jets that were destined for them can no longer be delivered. Consequently, Boeing has been looking to find new homes for them with other airlines. After the downturn in the industry that resulted from the pandemic, there has been a surge in short haul traffic which means that narrow body jets are in demand. Boeing apparently hasn’t had a problem placing the jets since there are airlines that are desperate for new aircraft.
Turkish Airlines is taking some jets that were destined for S7. They are currently still painted in the lime green colors of S7 but the name of the airline and the logo on the fin (excluding the rudder which is harder to paint given the need to balance it) have been painted over and the new registration is applied for testing. I don’t know whether a full repaint will happen before delivery or if the airline will take care of that. I also don’t know about the interior.
Belavia was also due to take a jet and, while there is nothing apparent on the outside to say where it is going, the tracking websites are already showing it as heading to Correndon. Same story in that I don’t know what it will look like when it is handed over but they should be in service soon.
I got a notification of an Icelandair 757 coming to Boeing Field. It was not one of the regular airline jets but one of their charter fleet. It has winglets but not the scimitars that their mainline jets have. Indeed, it isn’t even painted in their colors. Still, as something unusual and having the time to go to get it, I figured why not? When it came down the approach, I could see that it was carrying some markings. It was labeled Abercrombie & Kent. That is a travel company that focuses on higher end trips. I guess it is being used to provide transportation for some of these premium vacations. I hope it is a bit more interesting on the inside than it is outside!
They may not count as rare yet, but Falcon 50s are far from common at this point. They have been long out of production and the owners have progressively traded up to something newer. Consequently, when one shows up, it is a nice thing to try and catch and, if it shows up at a good time, on a reasonable day and with a non-US registration, that is even better. This example has an Isle of Man registration. The Isle of Man is part of the UK but is a tax haven and decided to set up its own aircraft registration system. I guess it has been quite popular. This jet came in to Boeing Field following is transatlantic crossing. I don’t know where it headed next.
Cessna recently received certification for their new twin turboprop, the Cessna 408 Skycourier. The aircraft can be either a passenger or a freighter configured type with the initial orders being for FedEx to replace their Cessna Caravan fleet. It won’t be too long before there are tons of them around but, right now, FedEx has only just taken delivery of their first. I was driving to Boeing Field to catch another arrival and, as I came down the hill towards the field, I saw an unusual shape fly down the approach. I thought it looked like a Skycourier and it turns out it was.
I was super annoyed that I could have got a shot of it on approach if I had been about two minutes earlier than I was. It had arrived from Alaska and I hoped it was going to continue on but, unfortunately, it was parking for the night. I could just about get a shot of it across the field but the heat haze was not good. I did see that it filed a flight plan for the following morning which, since it was the weekend, meant I could get out to see it.
The following morning was dull and rainy – of course! The departure time had slipped 20 minutes but I wasn’t trusting anything so headed out early. I got to the terminal area and discovered that it had already taxied and was at the hold short. Having missed the taxi shot, I was pretty annoyed but at least I was able to get the departure. It rotated level with me and climbed away heading for Casper as its next stop – presumably with Wichita being the final destination.
The Puppy Spot SAAB 340 is a regular visitor to the Pacific Northwest but I had never shot it. As I was leaving SEA after the arrival facility trial, I saw that the SAAB was due in to Boeing Field in less than half an hour. It is not far between the two places but arrival time was going to put the sun right on the nose. No good options to shoot it – assuming the sun stayed out. I headed for Ruby Chow Park and was there in time to get it arriving. Light wasn’t great but I did finally check it off the list. Not sure what the story with the name is but I think they transport puppies across the country. Must be a lot of cash in the puppy business if air freighting them around the country is cost effective.