Having been operating 747 freighters, Silk Way West, an Azerbaijani cargo airline that is upgrading its fleet with 777Fs. They took delivery of their first one a while back and there was no time when I could be anywhere close while the jet was on test or being delivered. I was a bit annoyed to miss it, but these things are part of the process. When a second jet came off the line, I was similarly unable to get anywhere near it while it was on test. However, the delivery flight did coincide with some free time I had.
I headed to Everett with the hope of catching it leaving. Delivery flights are not always reliable. The timing of getting airborne can move and sometimes odd things happen and they don’t go at all. This is not the norm, though, so I was hoping it would all work out and I was lucky. The flight was direct to their home base so, while the jet had no cargo in the hold, it was going to be heavily fueled up so I was hopefully of a reasonably long takeoff run. It rotated in a good spot for getting some shots but was still quite well off the ground when it came by me. Still, not a bad location for some shots. I wonder if/when I shall next see this jet!
Amazon became an investor in Rivian, the electric vehicle manufacturer. Part of this investment resulted in Rivian creating a new delivery vehicle for Amazon that is electric. I first became aware of it when watching a Doug DeMuro video but it wasn’t long before they started showing up around here. We do have Amazon’s headquarters here so it shouldn’t be a surprise. I have seen them on the roads a lot but have not been able to get a shot of one because I was driving. Then one showed up at work, so I took a few pictures from my window before it headed off. It took me back to the unusual FedEx delivery vehicles I saw when we lived in Chicago but, of which, I have seen nothing since.
At the rate Boeing is building 737s at the moment (the actual rate rather than the one that they would like to be building at) means a delivery on any giving day is a possibility. I happened to be there when two deliveries went out in close succession. The nice thing about deliveries is that the planes are usually a lot heavier as they are fueled for a longer flight. When they are departing to the south, that means that they will rotate a lot further along the runway so will be easier to photograph.
Two airlines were taking delivery on this day. One was Lion Air for its Batik Air subsidiary. The other was COPA. The light wasn’t great for either of them but sometimes the dark skies make for a more interesting background provided the light on the aircraft is not terrible. I did okay on this occasion. I have been making better use of the processing capabilities of Lightroom since they introduced the more advanced masking functions so that certainly helps.
Late in 2022, an interesting arrival came to SEA in the form of a Textron Cessna 408 Skycourier. I had seen my first example of this plane at Boeing Field as it transited from Alaska back to Wichita. That had been a crappy weather day and this was no improvement. This was the first example to show up in the region in the colors of FedEx. I am not sure whether it was delivered or just coming for familiarization with the local operations but it was using an Empire call sign and Empire is the local operator of FedEx feeder services.
It was due in later in the day and the weather was already looking bad with low cloud and the possibility of snow. It was also a little behind schedule which didn’t help. The light disappears early in December and it is a lot worse when the weather is bad. I was waiting watching the ISO levels creeping upwards. Meanwhile the cloud was creeping down. A couple of planes came in and then a few jets started making missed approaches including the British Airways Heathrow arrival. I then saw the Skycourier change course. I thought it was heading to the inner runway instead. I made a quick move down the street to that location and checked again and now it had switched back left. I had a frantic return to where I had been and it transpired that they were actually going for the middle runway. I hadn’t even considered that. This meant they were a bit far away but not as bad as it could have been. Light was terrible so ISO was cranked up high. Was it worth it? They will be very common here before too long but that’s not the way my brain works apparently.
Singapore Airlines has been taking delivery of a bunch of 737 Max8 jets. These were bought by the Silk Air subsidiary but, after the order was place, Singapore decided to integrate that subsidiary into the main airline. Plenty of the aircraft had been painted before this decision was made and I guess Boeing’s price to repaint the jets was higher than the other options available so they were delivered in the old colors and then repainted after delivery. However, more recent jets have been painted in Singapore’s colors from new. 737 deliveries usually happen from Boeing Field but, for some reason, this jet was delivered from Paine Field. The sun popped out as it lined up to depart for Hawaii where it would stop en route. Not often you get an airline flight between Paine Field and Hawaii!
Rarity value of Boeing’s production jets is a nice feature of living here. The 787 line is closing at Everett but there are still plenty of jets to be delivered as a result of some production quality issues. An Uzbekistan Dreamliner was built last year and I saw its colorful livery on the flight line a while back. It was finally lined up to depart recently so I decided to watch it go. It had done some test flying in lovely light in the preceding days but I was unable to be there for that.
The conditions weren’t as nice as they had been previously but they were okay and it did mean that the heat haze which is a big deal at this time of year was not such a factor. They were departing to the north so came out of the South Gate of the Boeing ramp and taxied to the south end of the field. A long flight home means plenty of fuel but also no payload so a pretty early rotation. Even so, managed to get some shots of a jet I am unlikely to see again.
Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise. However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual. I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit. Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country. The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east. Was it a delivery? Who knows?
While awaiting the NOAA arrival, I happened to shoot a 737 that was coming directly overhead on its way to SeaTac. I don’t shoot much of these flights but every once in a while, I do like to try and get a symmetrical shot from directly beneath the jet just for the fun of it. As this one came over, I just assumed it was another Alaska 737-900ER since they come in all the time. However, when I looked closely at the shot, I realized it was a United jet and, more importantly, it was actually a Max9. Turns out it was on its delivery flight from Boeing Field so must have only left a few minutes before.
Continuing my interest in Amazon Prime Air 737s, the one I saw arrive from the conversion line in China was ready for delivery to Sun Country – the airline that will be operating it for Amazon. It was a pretty sunny day when it went out so heat haze was a bit of a problem. The jet was towed out from the ATS facility. Once it was just short of the taxiway, they unhooked the jet and started it up. Plenty of heat haze looking across the airfield I’m afraid.
It taxied to the north end of the field and then took off towards me. It was obviously not heavy for its flight to Minneapolis and it was off the ground pretty rapidly. This made for more of a belly shot than would have been ideal but it still looked okay and actually gave me a better look at the color scheme than I had expected. It is quite a paint job that they have.
In this recent post, I showed a shot of an Amazon Prime Air 737. With a bit more notice and better timing from an availability point of view, I saw that another jet was coming in to Paine Field from Anchorage. It was being delivered from the conversion line in China and would have the finishing touches taken care of by ATS at Everett. I was there and set up in plenty of time – except… I had one camera ready to go but the other one had been previously used for some video at home and was on manual focus. I was shooting with the 500mm initially and all was well. As the jet got closer, I switched to the 100-400 and everything was wrong. Nothing would focus. It seemed like forever but I must have realized fast and flicked the focus switch because I was able to shoot it as it came level with me and crossed the threshold. What an amateur mistake. Fortunately, I got away with it!