Another new airline for me with this post. Belavia is not an airline I am familiar with but I understand that they are from Belarus. One of their Max jets was on test while I was at Boeing Field and it came in late in the day. I was glad to add another unusual carrier to my library of shots. Nothing special about it otherwise but nice to get something new.
Having seen the increasing number of 777s and 787s parked up at Everett (777X won’t be certificated for another year or two and the 787s have stopped delivery since October due to fuselage issues and are only now starting to be accepted again), it reminded me of the number of 787s that were stored in the early days due to the extended test program given how many issues there were with the jet. (Does this all sound rather familiar?)
I didn’t live in the Pacific Northwest in those days but came up to Seattle for an ISAP symposium. The field trip included time with the Heritage Flight Museum n Paine Field. We were checking out the collection and also getting to see a few of the aircraft in action. A few of the attendees had also paid to get flights in the planes as well. We got to hang out on the ramp as well as on the berm which I understand was a popular spot in days gone by but is now out of bounds.
There were plenty of 787s parked around the field in those days. To be honest, I can’t recall whether deliveries were underway and the numbers had thinned a bit but the earliest airframes were the most trouble and they might have been the ones still sitting around awaiting a long list of rectification issues and the potential that the original customer wouldn’t even take them. These are some of the jets that I got shots of that day.
I was actually out looking for a work project which (I promise this is legit) was right next to Boeing Field. While I was waiting for my project – which ended up being scrubbed due to a serviceability issue – a P-8 took off from Boeing Field. I was basically aligned with the end of the runway so I could see it climbing out and it came right over my location. It turned out to be a good thing since I wouldn’t normally get this angle on a shot so I am glad to have something different. This view really emphasizes the different wing planform of the P-8 compared to the base 737. No winglets and the raked tips really changes the appearance of the jet from below.
The Department of Justice has a fleet of planes for doing whatever they need to do with them. I think they move detainees around but presumably their staff also can travel on them for business purposes. Anyway, I might not know what the details are but I do know they are inconspcuous looking planes (unless you count a plane white airframe as looking more out of place than one with some color on it). Two came in to Boeing Field while I was there a while back. One was a 757 and the other was an ATR. I was in place for the 757 as it was on final approach although the sun did annoyingly go behind a cloud as it came by. It did depart alter but I was actually driving when that happened so no shots. The ATR caught me out completely. I had just pulled up after being away for a bit and was still sitting in the car switching the engine off as a white turboprop sailed by. No chance to even get out of the vehicle let alone grab a shot. That was actually the one I would have preferred but it was not to be.
There was an airshow in the Midwest that everyone used to say was a great event. It was held at Janesville and I finally got around to going to it shortly before it ceased to be. I promise it wasn’t my fault that it ended. I was there for the arrivals as well as the show and a pair of Hornets came in from Canada. The nice thing about this arrival was that they seemed to have a little extra fuel. Consequently, there was time for a few approaches and overshoots.
The light was a bit subdued that evening but it still had a slightly warm feel to it. Besides, pick your white balance and you can adjust just how warm things actually looked! I was shooting with the long lens from my location when they arrived so everything was taken at 500mm. Sometimes that was way too much lens for the distance between us but it was just an opportunity for a tight crop – let’s say that was an artistic decision!
The Hornet gear tucks up in a complex way and I got a few shots of them cleaning up as they powered away in to the pattern. A few times they pulled downwind pretty quickly and it felt like you were looking over their shoulder into the cockpit. I can even crop in and see the displays on the panel (later in the day means the ambient light isn’t too much making the cockpit a deep shadow. This was one of the high points of the evening. Shame I never got to see other shows at this venue.
Having shot the 777X test aircraft a bunch of times, I was looking for something a little different. I figured I could head out to the north end of Boeing Field and be under the jet as it was on short final. I shot something similar at LAX a number of years ago and liked the results so decided to have a go. This was not as simple as I had hoped for. First, the plane is out of sight for most of the approach with buildings and power lines in the way.
Second, I didn’t have lots of big jets to pay with. It was my first opportunity so I didn’t have time to get the hang of it. As it was, I didn’t do as good a job as I would have liked. I was shooting with a wide lens and tracking the airframe to fill the frame was trickier than expected. In the early shots, it was too far to one side of the frame and I ended up with the nose closer to the middle than ideal with the result that many shots lack a back end of the airframe. I will try it again with these issues in mind and I shall skip the long lens shots first. Making a quick switch meant I was not as well prepared as I could have been. I did grab a shot through the fence of the jet heading for touchdown with Mt Rainier in the background too.
I had not heard of Blue Air prior to seeing this Max on test. It is a nice thing about living near Boeing’s production facilities that you see jets that will be heading somewhere you don’t go. In this case, I read not long afterwards that this jet was the first delivery of a Max to Blue Air and that they are a low cost carrier in Romania. I guess I now know about another airline that I previously was unaware of. Looked quite nice in these colors (when you consider how bland airline colors can be there days).
I have posted a fair few things from an evening spent at Paine Field after work. Ironically, the reason for actually being there is the last topic to get a post from that visit. Boeing continues to build 777s ahead of the introduction to service (eventually) of the 777X. Almost all deliveries are of the 777-300ER. Its sister ship was the 777-200LR, a lower capacity plane with longer range to meet the need of extreme range operations.
None of these have been built for a while but one more was on order. (The 777F is a variant of the 200LR and it continues to sell well.). This final 200LR was order by Turkmenistan. Getting the last of the type was of some interest but an aircraft from Turkmenistan was more unusual so I wanted to see it. Turned out it was on a test flight in the afternoon when the weather was nice and it was due back at the end of the day.
I thought it was going to mess with me. When it showed up approaching the field, instead of lining up on approach, it flew across the approach path to the west. However, this was just a feint and it then came back and flew an approach. Not the most exciting of colors for an aircraft but the last of the line and an unusual country made it worth going – besides, it was a lovely evening so being out was worth it anyway!
Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise. However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual. I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit. Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country. The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east. Was it a delivery? Who knows?
I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field. While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test. With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure. It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.
Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure. One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot. The departure itself was a lot better. By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome. As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away. Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.