Tag Archives: g650

Steve Ballmer’s G650 I Think

I’ve shot this jet before but, on this occasion, I was really happy with the angles I was able to get on it.  The big bizjets have so many power that, unless they are making really long trips, they are usually off the ground in no time at all.  This time, this G650 ran a bit longer and allowed me to get some pleasing angles on it at rotation.  When I was looking through the images afterwards, I saw the logo on the inside of the winglet.  It looked like that of the LA Clippers.  A quick Google search confirmed that the Clippers are owned by Steve Ballmer and, since he is one of the Microsoft founders, it made sense it would be here in Seattle.  Quite a nice looking jet!

Shooting at SEA After Sunset

One of the things that photographers that have only used digital cameras can’t appreciate is ability to shoot in low light conditions.  When I was shooting film, you were already struggling with image quality with ISO 400 film.  Early digital cameras got very noisy as the ISO got ramped up but, these days, the capabilities of shooting in very low light are truly amazing for those of us that are old enough to remember what it was like.  ISO1000 black and white film was adventurous!

Now I feel quite comfortable trying all sorts of silly things.  I had gone down to SEA one evening to try and get a departure that was possibly going out just before sunset.  Sadly, it didn’t play ball and the sun was gone by the time it headed out.  However, I was there and the camera can do silly ISO numbers so why not.  It still needs to drop the shutter speed down quite low but, with a fast burst rate, the chances of getting a reasonable shot are not bad.

I figured I would play around with shooting departure shots as the last of the light was fading away.  It was more about trying something different rather than aiming for the perfect shot.  I did have some interesting planes to play with but also plenty of Alaska 737s.  The  light was pretty dim  and ISO51200 is quite something to work with but the image quality is really very impressive considering what conditions you are shooting in.

Dark Gulfstream Day

I do like shooting bizjets and they can provide a bit of variety amongst the regularity of the other aircraft around.  However, there is one thing that can disappoint and that is the unimaginative way in which they are usually painted.  Airlines have adopted the variations on white but the bizjets have been doing this for ages.  Consequently, when one shows up that is not basically white, I am really pleased.

Black painted bizjets look so much more interesting.  The engineer in my finds myself wondering how well they keep cool out in the sun on the ramp but, since I am not the customer, not a problem I need to worry about too much.  Instead, I can just be pleased to shoot a jet that looks a little out of the ordinary.

Under a G650

When photographing bizjets, you can tend to get the same sort of shot all the time so it is nice to get something a little different.  Getting close to the underside of the jet when it is on short final provides a different angle on things and can also bring in some of the scenery around the location.  I did that for a Gulfstream G650 just to play around.

Colorful G650

A big bizjet is an appealing looking thing to shoot but the unfortunate thing is that they are frequently quite blandly painted.  If I owned a $60m jet, I probably wouldn’t want to draw too much attention to myself (other than by owning a $60m jet) so I guess it shouldn’t be such a surprise.  However, when one is painted up in a colorful scheme, it is a nice change from the usual.

This G650ER is one I think I have seen before but it was making a trip from Boeing Field to somewhere, probably well within the range capabilities of the aircraft.  Given how quickly it got off the ground, I imagine it was not heavily loaded.  It taxied up from the south end of the ramp near Modern Aviation and then held for quite a while for arriving traffic and for its airways clearance.  When it got on its way, it rotated abeam me which worked out pretty well.

G650 Heading Out

My first trip to my new spot at Boeing Field, as described in this blog post, resulted in a fair bit of activity.  Not long after I got there, I saw a Gulfstream G650 taxiing from the south end of the ramp towards the departure runway.  This location gave a few spots where the jet was clear of buildings and you could get a shot.  It ended up holding at the threshold for quite a while as other movements came and went.

Once it got clearance, it made a spiritedly takeoff.  Long range bizjets are rarely making use of their full capabilities so, when they are lightly loaded, they are off in quick time.  This was the case for the G650 and I got some shots of it rotating and climbing away.  Not a bad start for this spot.

Bill’s G650

Another stint in the lots by Boeing Field to deal with some phone calls prior to heading back out of Seattle after some meetings and some more interesting movements.  A G650 landed while I was there.  I was on a call so I didn’t have an opportunity to get a shot of it as it landed and rolled out which was a shame.  It parked up across from me and an SUV took the occupants away.  Then it was pushed into a hangar.  A quick search on the registration gives a company name and Googling that shows it is associated with Bill Gates.  Looks like he has a nice jet although I think he needs a new Global 7500 if he wants to stay on top of things.

G650 Passenger Watches Me Watching Them

The G650 was a plane that got off to a good start.  The combination of space and range made it a popular choice amongst those that have $60-70m to drop on a plane.  Recently, things have been a bit quieter as the competition has ramped up but the deliveries this year have perked up.  This one was departing out of Boeing Field and, as I zoomed in to check the sharpness of the shot, I could see the passenger in the cabin who seemed to be looking back at me.  She didn’t have a camera, though, so I am the only one with a shot of the encounter!

Generations of Gulfstreams

AE7I0619.jpgWhen I am shooting at a major airport, I am always pleased to get some corporate jets.  A steady stream of airliners – often from the same airline – is okay but variety spices things up and corporate jets can do that.  (NetJets and FlexJet do undermine that variety a little but not too much.)  On this occasion, I was treated to a selection of Savannah’s finest products.  They didn’t arrival in age related order but I will forgive that.

AE7I1296.jpgThe first to show up was a G650.  Top of the line for Gulfstream, this is a cool looking jet.  It is a totally clean sheet design for Gulfstream who have tended to tweak previous jets to bring new capabilities.  It looks different and has great performance.  (It is also spawning a new generation of smaller – relatively – jets that I look forward to seeing.)

AE7I1031.jpgNext were some G450s.  A previous generation but still a good performer and something that sells well.  The fuselage is clearly Gulfstream but the wings and engines and significant steps forward from their predecessors.  Not cutting edge but still something the Gulfstream thinks has appeal.

AE7I1094.jpgThe last was a G-III.  This is really going back a bit.  Not a G-IISP but not far off.  The fuselage is familiar, the wing similar but the engines are the old Speys and they have none too subtle hushkits fitted to them in order to meet current noise regulations.  This is certainly a vintage jet by corporate standards and I was pretty pleased to see one still flying.  These are often found now lurking at airports with the signs of lack of use clear to see.  Shame we didn’t have an original Gulfstream turboprop but they are rare beasts these days.

Gulfstream G650

C59F4211.jpgWhile I have written about my preference for Bombardier’s Global Express jets, the top of the Gulfstream range has been bolstered by the arrival of the G650 (and more recently the G650ER) and this is a fine looking aircraft. I have had a few encounters with the type recently including one that I saw at Midway. Tracking inbound traffic is fine for airliners but, with so many business jets blocked, often it is a surprise when something shows up. This one was showing up though, so I had time to be ready for it.

C59F4232.jpgFrom a long way out you could see it since, while it is a business jet, it is really the size of a small airliner. The huge wing is apparent from head on and, as it comes past, the sleekness of the fuselage design is clear compared to the previous generations of Gulfstream. They have also made a far nicer job of the integration of the wing with the fuselage than was the case for the earlier jets.

C59F4223.jpgI won’t be buying one any time soon but that doesn’t seem to have worried Gulfstream. Judging by the frequency with which they have been showing up, I imagine the sales team has been busy!