For some reason, I recently came back to an old photo I took of a Delta Connection CRJ900 as it climbed out of O’Hare. It had climbed right by the moon as it was rising in the eastern sky towards the end of the day. I had liked the photo at the time but now I was thinking about how to do a better job of editing it. Now I have been using the masking tools in Lightroom a lot more, I figured I could take different approaches for the jet and the background. The results were a lot better than my original efforts and I quite like how it now looks.
The departure of the Q400s from Horizon’s fleet means that they are now fully equipped with Embraer E175-E1s. I know some people didn’t like the Q400 but I actually found it to be perfectly fine when I flew in them. Not a ton of space but not the longest flights. Certainly nothing as long as I have done in the Embraers! However, before the Q400s, there were other aircraft in their fleet. I was scanning through some shots for some other reason and came across shots of Dash 8-100s and CRJs. I figured I would remind people of some of the older times that Horizon operated when I was shooting stuff. Of course, there are far older types that they would have had but they are before my time.
One Sunday earlier in the year, I was up at Boeing Field for the arrival of an old Gulfstream. That proved to be a successful encounter and has been on this blog already. However, that was not the only bizjet traffic that day. I ended up with a variety of corporate aircraft movements.
There was a Canadian Challenger as well as some NetJets examples. A Falcon 7X was on the move which is a cool looking aircraft. There was also a Falcon 50 parked near the road alongside a Hawker. An Excel came through which isn’t that special but then we got an Eclipse which certainly is. It was a fun time to be out photographing with a lot in a short space of time. Here are some shots of those planes.
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.
This is a continuation of my string of good luck. I was back at Boeing Field awaiting the G700 movements. I had headed down to the south end of the field and was glancing at FlightRadar24 when I saw a CRJ700 on the display making a track that looked like it was coming to BFI. Normally, aircraft like that show up with a call sign/flight number rather than just as a CRJ. For some reason, I thought this might be an unusual CRJ and my mind jumped to the Northrop Grumman testbeds.
I had missed them once at BFI before when one took off while I was over at the museum. Having seen the BAC-111 testbed many years ago, I wanted to catch this one. I decided to try and get to the other end to see what it was just in case. The road along the airfield is not well suited to swift travel but I was patient as I figured there was just enough time. I made it to the other end and grabbed the camera quickly. Barely any time passed and then there it was. It was indeed one of the NG testbeds. Result!
I hung out for a while before deciding to head back to the other end. Nothing interesting was due in so I figured I’d see what was departing. When I got back, I pulled up FR24 just to see what was moving on the field and, lo and behold, the CRJ was up at the hold, ready to go. Rapidly out of the car, grab camera and, just as I am ready, here it comes. This was a continuation of my string of good luck. It’s all going well. Then I see that some Sabreliners are heading north. The streak continues!
The Alaska Airlines fleet is undergoing a transformation. Part of that was the removal of the Q400 from Horizon’s fleet with the Embraers becoming their only platform. Suddenly getting shots of the aircraft seemed a lot more interesting. I did manage to get the retro livery special one more time as it took off one evening. As it headed into the sunset, it seemed far too on the nose for their retirement. A few weeks later, they were gone.
Alaska Air is going through a re-fleeting process in the near future. They are consolidating types in service with some aircraft disappearing. The Airbus fleet is on the way out which is no great surprise to anyone. The Horizon fleet is also getting some changes with a focus on the Embraers and the Q400 turboprops also going away. The Q400s have been ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest for so long that I didn’t always pay them much attention. Now I need to think about them a bit more.
One of the fleet has been painted in a retro paint scheme for Horizon’s days gone by. Despite it being a plane that should appear at Seattle multiple times a day, I had never seen it before. Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see it at Portland when we were down there. Our photo location was directly above the ramp that the Horizon planes were operating from and the south runway, which was their runway of choice, was convenient too so I was able to get a bunch of shots of it in action. How long before this plane and all of its sisters are gone from the area.
This Challenger 604 taxied out at Boeing Field and I was slightly curious because it was in a grey paint job with a US flag on the fin. I didn’t think it was a government owned machine but maybe there was something interesting about it. When I got a good look at it, I could see that the airframe had some modifications. There were ventral fins and a fairing on the underside that looked like it might have been used for mounting something else which was now absent. A check on the registration shows it as registered to Boeing. They had a development program a while back to make a maritime patrol aircraft from the Challenger. Was this airframe part of that program originally? Where is it going now?
Bombardier’s Global 6000 has been a very successful jet for them. With the arrival of the Global 7500 at the top of their line, the next question was what to do with the 5000 and 6000. They got an upgrade put together which has moved them up a little. Some aero tweaks, an interior upgrade and the new Rolls Royce Pearl engines resulted in the new models. Visually, I wouldn’t know how to tell the old from the new but at least flight tracking information lets you know which is which.
My first encounter with one was at Boeing Field. A Spanish registered 6500 was parked over at Modern and it departed while I was there. Since it is a large jet, it has to cross over to our side of the runway to taxi for departure. The food news was that it went full length rather than departing from the intersection. This provided a good opportunity to shoot it close up. Then it headed off. Despite the range, I think it was only going to Arizona so it wasn’t taxing the capabilities of the jet.
It wasn’t long before I got a second 6500. Again, Boeing Field was the venue but, this time, it was arriving rather than departing so I was able to get it in the air. The conditions weren’t quite as nice as for the first encounter but it was still fine. I like the original Global Express, liked it when it became the Global 6000 and I still like it now. It might have been around in these various forms for a while but it is still an elegant looking jet. Where is my checkbook…
Bombardier recently completed their 100th Global 7500. It is an impressive machine with excellent capabilities. If I was minded to buy a bizjet, it would definitely be the one I got but I just don’t feel like it at the moment. I haven’t seen too many of them yet so catching one is a nice surprise. This one was departing Seattle. I’m not sure how far it was going but, given that it is registered in France, I assume they were actually making good use of its range unlike so many of the owners of such jets. It seemed to have a nice fade in the paint scheme too. Maybe I will put something like that on mine when I get it.