While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.
I had been talking with some friends at Boeing Field about the Kalitta 727s that we had seen recently and we got on to the subject of winglets on the 727 and that the jets we had seen didn’t have them. Little would I know that I would address this a short while later. Kalitta Charters II was bringing another 727 in to Paine Field on a weekend evening and it was a different airframe to the ones I had photographed to that point.
It was also fitted with winglets! I am not sure how good the winglet design is on the 727. It looks like a pretty basic design and doesn’t seem to be very well integrated in the way that later winglet designs are. However, it must provide some benefit because they have sold a fair few of them. I clearly made the trip up to Everett to catch its arrival and I wasn’t alone. One more 727 in a time when they are not very abundant and a different configuration to boot.
Since Breeze started service in the US, I have not had much of a chance to see its aircraft. They don’t provide service to our part of the world yet. I have seen some of the Embraer fleet it operates when those jets have come to Boeing Field. This was of interest but slightly disappointing to me since the fleet is going to be made up of A220-300s and the Embraers were an interim fleet. Of course, that might make them the most interesting jets in due course. I did want to see the A220s, though.
I had to make a work trip to Orlando in October. My flight arrived in MCO at midnight and, as we pulled on to the gate, I see a Breeze A220 parked next to us. I got a shot of it with my phone but it was dark and the lighting from the terminal was definitely not good for the colors of the livery. The fact that they used that gate, though, gave me cause for optimism when I was due to return. I got to the airport with plenty of time and my flight was delayed. Consequently, I was able to watch another Breeze A220 as it pulled in from its flight and, then again, when it departed. The phone had to be the option again but I think it worked out okay – at least until I get a chance to get some more shots at some point in the future.
When Horizon was still flying the Q400s, they painted a bunch of them in the colors of Pacific Northwest universities. The Q400s have gone and the Embraer E175-E1s are now the only aircraft flown by Horizon. Thankfully, they have decided to continue the practice. While we were away, I saw that a jet had been painted in Washington State colors with “Go Cougs” written in the fuselage. I was disappointed to have missed its arrival but it wasn’t long before it was scheduled for an evening arrivals in to Paine Field.
It was a Sunday and we had been up in Skagit County and I didn’t know whether our return would be in time (or if I was going to have to suggest a diversion on our way home to Nancy). As it was, we got home in good time and I had a while before I headed back out. With the seasons turning in the direction of autumn, the light is getting nicer and it was ideal conditions when the jet came down the approach. I could have waited for the departure but I had what I wanted and there was still dinner to think about so I headed home again.
The Avantis that had been operating at Paine Field have relocated their base to Arlington instead. I think they are getting maintained there and so it is the new base of operations. One of them arrived while I was up that way and it parked up on the main ramp. I wandered out and chatted to the owner as he put the plane away for the evening and then, once he had gone, I continued to get some shots. The airframe is a selection of interesting shapes so I was trying to find good ways to shoot it.
The fuselage shape tapers aggressively, there is the front wing, the main wing and the tailplane and then there are the engines and their props. Lots to try and work with. The engines are interesting in that the exhaust from the PT-6s blows right on to the roots of the props. This heat must be a form of deicing but it also must require something of the blade construction to manage the heat. There is some sign of the particles in the exhaust in the dirt patterns that form across the blade roots.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Avanti is an amazing looking aircraft. The combination of cabin size and performance is unmatched by turboprops (and a lot of jets too). I wish it was more successful. Lots of people focus on its noise but that doesn’t bother me. However, having looked at those props in more detail, I can’t help but wonder how much of that noise is from the exhaust interacting with the blades rather than just the blades themselves.
I have seen the Aero Vodochody designed and Let Kunovice built Aero 45 before at events. However, it was always parked and never in motion. I think it is such a cool looking like aircraft and reminds me of a mini Heinkel HE-111. I really wanted to see it flying and I have had two opportunities this year to do so. First it showed up at Concrete for the fly in. This was great news as I got it landing from close proximity and then again when it took off.
It was not a lot later that the Arlington show was setting up. I wasn’t going to be at the show but I was there the day before for some warbird flying and the Aero 45 was coming in to be on static. (This was a repeat of the first time I saw it in person which was also at Arlington.). Not so close this time but another opportunity to catch it in flight. What a cool looking plane. Glad we have it up here in the PNW.
The end of production of Boeing 787s at Everett meant that there was no longer a need for the Dreamlifter operations to support Dreamliner production. However, while the Dreamlifter base has closed, there are still some production activities at Everett on the 767/KC-46 line that require large structures to be delivered and the Dreamlifters are used for this sometimes. I understand at least one of them is currently stored, but the others are active.
I only rarely find myself at Everett when the Dreamlifter is there, but it has happened a few times over the last few months. Here are a few of the shots I have got since these things became a little bit rarer up this way.
Getting a British Airways 777-200ER arriving at SEA would not normally be a priority unless the light was great and I was going to get Mt Rainier in the background. If the weather was cloudy and it was arriving from the north, might not seem to be that much of a deal. However, if it is being flown by someone I know, that is a different story. My friend, Paul, was the skipper on this flight and I was meeting him to have some time around Seattle before he headed home the following day.
The clouds were a shame but the light wasn’t totally bad. I figured it would need a bit of work in post to try and make the best of the shots but the lack of heat haze did help a bit. I was able to grab a few shots of the jet as it came down the approach and then as it was over the threshold prior to touchdown. Not the greatest shots Paul will have of him flying but, hopefully there are not too bad.
Kenya and Tanzania have many small airstrips scattered around the countryside including in the national parks. These provide quick transfers between locations if you are willing or able to pay and don’t want the long and bumpy road trips. There are a variety of types that are used for these services and I shall show some others in upcoming posts. However, one type does dominate.
The Cessna Grand Caravan is everywhere in the region. It has the right size for many of the trips, it has sufficient capacity for luggage with the baggage pod beneath he fuselage, it is fine with the rough surface strips that are in most places and it is PT-6 powered so very reliable. We saw tons of them during the trip and also got to experience a flight on one. I was surprised to find it was a 1×2 configuration. I had assumed that they were 1×1 but not in this case. It got a lot of us in there but getting in and out was not an easy process. The aisle was minimal!
I have no idea how many Grand Caravans there are in use in rural Africa but I imagine that Cessna has delivered a ton of aircraft from Wichita to the region. I suspect that the best replacement is another Caravan. The Islander might once have been this sort of workhorse but the efficiency and reliability of the Caravan must be what has made it so ubiquitous.
The time between me doing something and its appearance on the blog can vary wildly. Sometimes, I will aim to get something squeezed in here soon after it happens but that is the exception. Usually, I have stuff posted out quite far in advance. As I come up with new topics, they get added to the schedule and, if a topic doesn’t get written about promptly, it can really disappear into the distance. Such is the case with the Concrete fly in of 2023.
There will be several posts that make it on here from that event in the coming weeks. I have started writing them up but some of the specific topics will take a while to appear. However, I shall start things off with a more general post about the fly in. Held at Mears Field in the interestingly names town of Concrete, it is a popular gathering of planes from around the region. There is a single runway running east/west in the valley and the planes park up on either side of it. You are able to walk across the runway at a couple of locations (or further away from them if you want to avoid the air cadets) so just keep you head on a swivel. The wind seems to change midway through the day, so arrivals were from the west in the morning and the east in the afternoon.
We set up at a spot near the threshold on the eastern end of the field and it provides a good location to watch the landings and the takeoff rolls. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that you can walk around, and you find you have stayed in one place for ages getting similar shots. I did try and mix it up from time to time but it was rather sunny and warm and the shade under the wing of a 170 was pretty appealing.
Since I was shooting a lot of light aircraft, I decided to try and make the shots more interesting by keeping the shutter speed low to emphasize speed. The downside the this is that you are very close to the runway so the parallax effect is quite pronounced. You can also just miss a ton of shots but why not have some fun. Few of them are ones you can’t afford to miss. It does mean a sharp nose is probably combined with a blurry fin. This will really annoy some viewers and others will never notice. Since I am shooting for me, I’m the only one that has to care!
More to come of some specific planes and events from the day out with a regular crew of aviation loons.