If I see a GIV these days, it barely gets any attention from me. Sure, I’ll take a shot, but I am not getting excited. Go back a generation, though, to the G-III and suddenly I am definitely paying attention. One came to BFI recently and, while I was at the wrong end for an arrival airborne shot, I did see in the distance on final (no heat haze thankfully) and then as it rolled out and headed to the ramp at Modern. It was also in a nice dark paint job and it looked pretty cool.
It didn’t hang around too long. I watched it taxi across the field and up to the departure end. Then it was time for the long lens. The old Spey engines don’t have as much grunt as the later Tays so I anticipated a longer takeoff run and was not disappointed. I then watched it climb out with the Speys belching smoke. The engines are hushkitted but are still noisy beasts. As it climbed away, I got a clear view through the hush kits including the lobes of the exhaust diffusers. What a fun thing to see.
Of the new generation of Gulfstream jets, the G500 was the first to test and the first to service. It might have taken a long time to get certificated but it is now in service. Even so, I haven’t seen too many of them yet. However, I managed to get two on one day. One of them was an approach to Boeing Field and what appeared to be a Gulfstream owned airframe was also parked on Modern Aviation’s ramp.
I think they are a pretty good looking airframe and have addressed some of my misgivings about the older generation Gulfstreams. Now there are going to be a bunch of variants with the G500, G600, G700 and G800. There is also going to be a G400 but I don’t yet know whether that is the same airframe design base or something different. Probably similar though. Can’t see much future for the G650 with all of these, though.
Military movements don’t usually show up on things like FlightAware but they can make an appearance on FlightRadar24 or ADSB Exchange. I hadn’t been checking either of them as I was getting ready to leave when one of the other people nearby let me know a C-20 was inbound. It turned out to be a C-20G from the US Marine Corps. I’m usually happy to shoot a Gulfstream but one in military markings is a bit more unusual and the Marine Corps even more so. Glad to have had the tip not to go too soon.
A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest. I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer. I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green. The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun. Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in. When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post. Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.
Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again. After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset. The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached. The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap. About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out. Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.
It couldn’t last, though. The clouds took over again and then things got worse. The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north. I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone. Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated. At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.
I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well. At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light. Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too. The light was even worse but it was still worth a go. Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.
Vintage business jets are a nice thing to come across and, while the modern generation of Gulfstreams are a common sight around the US, the G-III is now something of a rare beast. Seeing one at Boeing Field parked on the Modern ramp was a nice surprise so I was just hoping for it to depart while I was there. Fortunately, I was in luck. It eventually powered up and taxied for departure. The hush kits on the old Spey engines are a bit of a giveaway but they aren’t that effective. The noise on takeoff was definitely a sign of something from a previous generation.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone always associates the Gulfstream brand with business jets. These days that is all that they make but it started out with a turboprop. The first Gulfstream was a straight winged plane with a low set tailplane and a pair of Rolls Royce Dart turboprops for power. If you look at the airframe, it is not hard to see how it was married to a new wing, power plants and empennage to create the G-II, However, the turboprop is the original. I remember seeing Ford’s aircraft operating from Stansted to their European bases. However, I have rarely shot one of the originals.
I have two that were operating at different locations but, judging by the registrations, they are probably from the same operator. Not much diversity there. I also have shots of an old NASA airframe stored as part of the Pima Air Museum’s collection. Not sure whether it has been reassembled at this point or not but, hopefully, one of the locals there can let me know. This was the beginning of a long line of top of the range bizjets.