Tag Archives: cargo

A Singaporean DHL 777F

The only 777s coming out of Everett at the moment are freighters.  This can mean unusual airlines but not usually and I don’t head up there terribly often at the moment.  However, one of the jets on test recently was destined for DHL’s operations in Singapore.  Consequently, it is a hybrid of the DHL and Singapore markings.  It seemed worth a look and it helped that they had taken off mid afternoon and were due back after work.

A few photographers had showed up for this arrival as was expected.  At this time of year, even early evening is not the best of the light, but it was pretty good.  They could be seen out as they set up for approach with Mount Rainier in the background.  They touched down with the sound of the RAT buzzing in the background.  I was ready to go and headed for the car, but I heard a shout from Royal and Nick that it was coming back.  Sure enough, they had taxied back to do one further acceleration and abort on the runway, so we got a second chance at some shots.

Is This Airline Really British?

I got another new freighter while at LAX although not a great shot of it.  Cargologic has a pair of 747-400Fs in service.  The threshold for the south runways is a long way east of Imperial Hill so it is easy for freighters to stop and turn off before they get past all of he buildings that are in the way.  Consequently, I didn’t get a clear shot of this jet.  At the time I took this, a bunch of restrictions had been imposed on Russian operators as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.  Cargologic is a British registered airline so was not restricted.  Its ownership traces back to Volga Dnepr which is restricted.  Not sure the distinction is a real one but, at the time, it was enough to allow them to keep operating.  I suspect the UK government is not going to look too hard.

Spot the Shed

Sometimes, when in Nevada for Red Flag, I will head down to McCarran in the morning to shoot some of the airliners prior to heading back to Nellis.  This time, I barely went down that way.  However, I did see a movement that caught my attention.  There is a daily rotation of a Shorts 360 freighter from Phoenix up to Las Vegas.  I haven’t shot a Shed for a while and figured this was worth a look.

There is a viewing area along the south runway at McCarran but it was closed for COVID and hasn’t been reopened yet.  Short staffing means it is low on the airport’s priorities which kind of makes sense.  Consequently, I ended up scoping out a parking lot that would give me an alternative.  It was pretty hot and heat haze is always a concern plus I didn’t know whether to use the long lens or the zoom.  I used a couple of jets coming in before to decide what to do and also stuck the polarizer on to cut the light down to get better shutter speeds for the props.  Then the box on wings came on to the approach and I grabbed some shots.  If you had told me 30 years ago I would make an excursion to photograph a 360, I would have laughed.  Now they are rare enough that is exactly what I do!

SF Airlines 747 Freighter

Coming across a new airline for the first time is still a buzz for me.  With so many airlines around the world and most of them never showing up at an airport convenient for me, there is always a good chance of something new when I visit somewhere I haven’t been for a while.  LAX is a popular freight destination so getting new freighters there is a good chance.  I was actually at SoFi stadium having a look around when a 747-400F made the approach just south of me.

I had the camera with me at that time so was able to turn around and get some shots.  With the aircraft being south of me, it was a bit backlit but I bumped the exposure compensation up a bit to get good shadow detail so I could play with it in post.  Later in the day, I was at Imperial Hill waiting for my flight home when it departed.  Getting two cracks at a new airline was a pretty good deal.  More importantly, the airline actually has a livery that is of interest – not a white jet with a few markings.  I count this as a result!

Everts MD-80 Freighter

Everts has based its operations on older airframes.  They have recently added some MD-80s to their fleet which, I guess, is indicative of the fact that the MD-80 is rapidly disappearing from service.  It is now available for freighter conversion.  I shot one on the ramp at BFI quite a while back in nice light but one was due in to Paine Field just before the end of the day.  There was always the question about whether the light would play ball or not but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance.

FedEx Has A New Base

The end of 787 production at Everett has also meant that Boeing doesn’t have a need for the Dreamlifter operations center that they had built there, next to the Future of Flight visitor location.  I assume the space was leased from the airport but that might not be right.  Whatever the case, a new use has been found for it.  FedEx has set up a small operation there.  SeaTac is their main base in the area and they have a steady stream of wide body freighters heading through there.  Everett is a single 757 each day.  I assume this is the beginning of things and that there will be more to come.  I can’t imagine that they will make that investment for one freighter a day.  We get a bunch of FedEx 767s on test prior to delivery but the 757 is a nice addition.

A First Encounter With Ukraine’s Workhorse

There are some aircraft that have been built and flown in huge numbers which it is almost embarrassing to admit that you have never photographed.  One such aircraft is the Antonov AN-12.  This was a ubiquitous military transport for the eastern bloc and, while it is now a rather aged design, it still has a good role as a civil freighter.  However, I have never seen one in action until recently.

A Ukrainian registered example from CAVOK Airlines was coming in to Seattle.  It was due to arrive at around 1pm which meant the light would be right on the nose.  The worst possible case.  Of course, that was assuming that there would be light.  When it actually arrived, the sun was well obscured by clouds.  Given the dark colors of the plane, maybe that was a good thing.  Two minutes after it had gone, the sun was back out of course.  It was trailing smoke from its old generation engines but it was definitely a highlight of the last few months of movements.

End of Lufthansa’s MD-11F Ops

October brings the end of MD-11 operations for Lufthansa.  When the MD-11 rapidly fell out of favor with the passenger operations, it became a bit of a favorite for freight operations.  New build MD-11Fs were joined by conversions of displaced passenger jets.  Lufthansa had bought some new jets and added more to their fleet.  In recent years, the introduction of Boeing 777Fs had gradually displaced the MD-11s from operations.  Now the last one is being retired.  FedEx is still using a ton of them so no likelihood of the type going away soon.  I only saw them a few times in Lufthansa colors and won’t any more!

Kalitta Charter Falcon 20

A Falcon 20 making an arrival on a Saturday morning when the sun is out is not something to be missed if possible.  We were heading out that day but I just had time to make the run over to BFI to get the Kalitta Charter Falcon 20 as it arrived.  The timing could hardly have been worse with the sun directly down the runway so right on the nose.  (I suppose it could have been right on the tail if the winds were the other way around so maybe not the worst situation possible.) I was able to get a couple of previous arrivals to make sure I had a good angle since I rarely shoot from that location.  Then it was get the Falcon and back in the car to do what we had planned for the day.  Not a bad result.

UPS But Not The Best One

The shot you didn’t get.  How many of those do we have.  It’s easy to get blasé about something and decide not to bother.  Of course, many times, this will be just fine, otherwise we wouldn’t be blasé in the first place.  A couple of UPS jets had arrived.  One was an MD-11 and one was a 767.  A second 767 was on approach and I figured why bother.  As it touched down abreast my location, something looked decidedly odd about the radome.

I talked to Nick, who had been next to me and had photographed it and asked him to take a look at his shots.  Sure enough, the radome was a complete mess.  Presumably a bird strike had smashed it during the flight although whether it was early on or during the approach we couldn’t know.  It was quite the scene of destruction and I didn’t get a photo of it.  99 times out of a 100, it wouldn’t have been anything but this time…  Oh well.