Tag Archives: cargo

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.

Falcon 20 and It’s Younger Sibling

Just before 777X WH003 returned to Boeing Field, I got a nice bonus.  Royal Air Freight has a small fleet of Falcon 20s that it uses for moving freight around the country and one was coming in to collect and maybe drop of some material.  I do like the Falcon 20.  It is definitely an older looking design at this point but it still looks pretty good.  Shortly before it lined up on approach, a Falcon 7X taxied for departure from the north end of the runway and right by me.

It then sat at the hold point while the Falcon 20 made its approach.  Having one of the newer Dassault jets sitting and waiting while one of the older Dassault creations flew in was a nice symmetry.  Once the 20 had vacated the runway, the 7X made its departure.  I assume it was going a long way since, despite using the full length, it took a while to get airborne.  The 20 taxied to the ramp opposite me where they proceeded to load it up.

Kalitta/DHL 767

The Aloha Air Cargo 767 was the reason for me being out early one morning but it wasn’t the only freighter coming in.  (Indeed, this was the case for both of my efforts to get the Aloha jet.). Kalitta were also operating a 767 which is under contract to DHL.  Some of Kalitta’s jets are plain white so you wonder whether a given day will bring something in that has a bit of color to it or not.  On this occasion I was lucky.  It might not be the most dramatic of the DHL schemes but it is better than no color at all!

Aloha Air Cargo 767

A 767 freighter conversion made its way across the country and stopped off at Boeing Field recently.  Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to be able to get there to see it so I figured it was just one of those things I had missed.  However, not long after that, it showed up with a flight plan to SEA.  The flight plan was listed against Northern Air Cargo but the plane is marked for Aloha Air Cargo.  I was taking the day off and it was due in at the beginning of the day so I decided to head down to try and get a shot.

Sadly, the traffic was getting busy at SEA and, with plenty of departures and not too much on arrival, they put it on the outer runway.  It was a bit far out from where I was but I got some shots, although nothing too special.  I then saw it was coming back on the Sunday but this time it was due to land at 5:30.  With sunrise just after 5am, this would produce some good light.  However, I didn’t plan on getting up.

At 4:30 on Sunday morning, I woke up.  I thought this was an opportunity so decided to get up and head out.  At that time of the morning, no risk of traffic problems.  I got down there in good time and, while it was a few minutes early, I was ready for it.  The sun was barely up so the light was really excellent.  Also, with no departures at that time of the morning, they came in on the closer runway so a total win!

Dreamlifter Cheats Me

Dreamlifter operations at Paine Field are heavily curtailed these days.  No more 787s are being built there so no parts deliveries are required.  However, the jet is being used to deliver the occasional 767 cockpit section which means there are still occasions when they show up.  One morning, the light was great, and one was due in.  Moreover, the wind was from the north and the airport was on northerly flow, so it meant getting an approach shot was achievable.  I was ready and waiting.  However, despite the other ops being northerly, the Dreamlifter was sent to the north to make a southerly approach – maybe for the ILS?  I was at the wrong end.  It didn’t even taxi all the way to the end, so I only got it as it turned off a bit north of me.  These chances are not frequent, so I was pretty annoyed!

UPS 747-8F Test Flight

This was a bit of a mistake.  I saw a Boeing 747-8 was due for a flight at Paine Field.  The 747-8I that Lufthansa declined to take delivery of has been active recently and I thought this was it.  Instead, it was a freighter that was due for a short test flight.  Not what I had in mind but still not too bad.  It was another UPS jet.  There are some non-UPS 747s still to be built before the line is closed soon and I will want to see some of those.

It was early in the day so the light was best on the east side.  That limits your options but I got it taxiing down for departure and heading out.  It was a 30 minute flight so I got the return too before heading off.  I wish I hadn’t been so eager to get back because a Janet 737 showed up half an hour after I left!  Oh well.