While I am happy to shoot a Phenom 100 if it happens to be passing, I am not usually going to go out of my way for one. However, if I have a cloudy Sunday afternoon with nothing much going on and one is coming to Boeing Field with Millennium Falcon paint on it, why not? This jet was making a tour around the west and was coming to BFI from Bellingham. I got it arriving and the side I shot had the Falcon painted on it. Apparently the other side has an X-Wing. The underside looked like it might be interesting and I did get a departure shot but it wasn’t as special as I had hoped.
If I see a GIV these days, it barely gets any attention from me. Sure, I’ll take a shot, but I am not getting excited. Go back a generation, though, to the G-III and suddenly I am definitely paying attention. One came to BFI recently and, while I was at the wrong end for an arrival airborne shot, I did see in the distance on final (no heat haze thankfully) and then as it rolled out and headed to the ramp at Modern. It was also in a nice dark paint job and it looked pretty cool.
It didn’t hang around too long. I watched it taxi across the field and up to the departure end. Then it was time for the long lens. The old Spey engines don’t have as much grunt as the later Tays so I anticipated a longer takeoff run and was not disappointed. I then watched it climb out with the Speys belching smoke. The engines are hushkitted but are still noisy beasts. As it climbed away, I got a clear view through the hush kits including the lobes of the exhaust diffusers. What a fun thing to see.
Korean Air’s fleet of bizjets come through Seattle quite frequently. Their BBJs are not uncommon. They use the airfield as the departure point for the trans-Pacific route to Korea. Unfortunately, they often arrive in the middle of the night and head straight back out again. I timed it well when they were making a daytime stop. I got the arrival and the departure this time.
Conditions were not great but, last time I shot one of their BBJs, the high sun made the livery glare a bit. Flat lighting avoided that this time. The departure was a good one for me. The route across the Pacific is a long one so the plane was pretty heavy. This meant it rotated a long way down the runway and closer to me and was still only just climbing when it was level with me. I went with a long lens which meant things got large quickly. It did give me some shots I was pretty happy with, though.
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.
Of the new generation of Gulfstream jets, the G500 was the first to test and the first to service. It might have taken a long time to get certificated but it is now in service. Even so, I haven’t seen too many of them yet. However, I managed to get two on one day. One of them was an approach to Boeing Field and what appeared to be a Gulfstream owned airframe was also parked on Modern Aviation’s ramp.
I think they are a pretty good looking airframe and have addressed some of my misgivings about the older generation Gulfstreams. Now there are going to be a bunch of variants with the G500, G600, G700 and G800. There is also going to be a G400 but I don’t yet know whether that is the same airframe design base or something different. Probably similar though. Can’t see much future for the G650 with all of these, though.
Military movements don’t usually show up on things like FlightAware but they can make an appearance on FlightRadar24 or ADSB Exchange. I hadn’t been checking either of them as I was getting ready to leave when one of the other people nearby let me know a C-20 was inbound. It turned out to be a C-20G from the US Marine Corps. I’m usually happy to shoot a Gulfstream but one in military markings is a bit more unusual and the Marine Corps even more so. Glad to have had the tip not to go too soon.
Sexy Sue, the Douglas A-26 Invader, had returned to Renton one evening and I had gone around to the ramp side of the field to see her taxi in. While I was watching the crew shut her down, a few arrivals were coming in over my shoulder. One of them was a Cirrus Vision. The lighting was behind it but I was still getting a shot. Being so close to it on approach was an interesting angle.
Even better, the aircraft was heading my way after landing. It taxied down to where the Invader was still parked, wiggled around it in the space available and then continued on around the corner and off to its parking spot. It is a small jet so can taxi around much like any piston light aircraft but it seems funny to see a jet in such a confined spot. I do think the Vision is a cool looking plane, even if it is a bit like a tadpole!
A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest. I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer. I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green. The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun. Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in. When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post. Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.
Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again. After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset. The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached. The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap. About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out. Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.
It couldn’t last, though. The clouds took over again and then things got worse. The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north. I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone. Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated. At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.
I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well. At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light. Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too. The light was even worse but it was still worth a go. Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.
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…