Tag Archives: jet

The Hawk 115 and I Are Aging Together

Not a great shot, in this case, but one that means something to me.  When I went to the Abbotsford Air Show, there was a Hawk 115 in the static display.  It was in an interesting color scheme but the lighting was a bit tough and it was surrounded be people.  The reason I liked it was that I was involved in the Hawk 115 program when it was first underway.  I left the company before the first jets were completed so I never actually saw one.  This might actually have been my first encounter with one.  Since they have been in service for nearly 25 years, they are probably nearing the end of their time so I did leave it a little late.  It looks in better shape than me!

Grab It While You Can – Or Will I Be Wrong?

UW had some success with their football program this year which meant a few charter flights took place.  Some of the charters that they arranged were with New Pacific Airlines.  This is a relatively new airline that originally was going to be Northern Pacific until BNSF Railway, which owns that name, objected to their using it.  Their plan has been to operate transpacific flights via Anchorage in a similar model to that of Icelandair.  Things have got off to a slow start.  They are doing some domestic US flying but those routes have been erratic too.  The fleet is a pair (I think) of Boeing 757-200s so hardly cutting edge.  I think they might not last long.

Consequently, when their jet showed up at BFI, I figured I should definitely get photos since I might not get the chance again.  Winter conditions are not going to be the greatest, but I was able to get a few that I was pretty happy with.  I don’t wish the airline any harm at all, but they don’t seem to be giving off the vibe of a great success story.  Let’s hope the charters can fill in until they get something more solid going.

Sampling the Air in Detail

The time that the NASA DC-8 spent up in the Pacific Northwest was a ton of fun for the aviation enthusiasts.  Since I did get to shoot the jet a few times, I got some closer shots of the airframe to show the various sensors that cover the jet and are used for the sampling work that has been its specialization.  There are plenty of them on the top, sides and bottom of the airframe.  Here are some shots.  I wonder what will replace the jet and whether it will have a similar array of probes?

Last Good Paint on a Lufthansa A340

The A340 is a plane that keeps on going despite repeated claims it was done.  The 300 series jet is actually not as inefficient as it is popular to suggest (the 600 series is far less competitive) and it is still working for a few airlines including Lufthansa.  This winter the jet is back on the run to Seattle which has pleased me.  Most of the jets have been repainted in the new livery which is not that thrilling.  There are also Star Alliance liveried jets but there are one or two of them still in the older Lufthansa colors.  This is a better look from my point of view.

I did have one of them come in one weekend when the light was good and the wind was favorable for the shots I was after.  The landing shots were more of a struggle because the plane landed at noon and the lighting angles were not helpful.  Departure was mid afternoon and so this was slightly better.  They have been back occasionally since but not on days with a) good weather and b) me being available to be there.  I hope I get more chances before they finally head to the desert.

JSTARS is Gone

The retirement of some types from service gets a lot of attention from people.  The last Phantoms leaving US service were well covered.  The upcoming end of KC-10 operations is already getting discussed.  However, the removal of the E-8 JSTARS seemed to just happen without much discussion.  I have to admit it caught me off guard.  I didn’t know that they were going away let alone that it had already happened.

With this milestone having slipped past me, I figured I should go back through the catalog and see what times I have shot E-8s.  Not a lot of encounters with Red Flag having been my most productive venues.  They were old jets when they became E-8s and I heard from a friend that one of them had gone through some interesting other configurations before making its way in to the E-8 fleet.  They are consequently old enough to deserve retirement.  It will be a shame not to see them around anymore.

Silk Way West Can’t Avoid Me Forever

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!

The Old Horizon Fleet

The departure of the Q400s from Horizon’s fleet means that they are now fully equipped with Embraer E175-E1s.  I know some people didn’t like the Q400 but I actually found it to be perfectly fine when I flew in them.  Not a ton of space but not the longest flights.  Certainly nothing as long as I have done in the Embraers!  However, before the Q400s, there were other aircraft in their fleet.  I was scanning through some shots for some other reason and came across shots of Dash 8-100s and CRJs.  I figured I would remind people of some of the older times that Horizon operated when I was shooting stuff.  Of course, there are far older types that they would have had but they are before my time.

USAF Moose Low Over Canada

The air show at Abbotsford has the conspicuous backdrop of Mt Baker.  For the evening show, the light was really nice on the mountain and I think I have already posted about that.  Some of the display aircraft would make turns in front of the mountain.  Most are too small to be obvious in a shot but something the size of a C-17 Globemaster is going to show up.  The USAF Moose was one of the display and here it is as it reverses course back towards the airfield.

Great Access for the Ameristar Jets

As some previous posts may have indicated, I have not had the best of luck with Ameristar DC-9s in the past.  They never seem to move when I am around.  I heard that some were coming in to Paine Field and, again, I wasn’t going to be around when they got there.  However, I was up there a little while afterwards and, after getting the shots I came for, the evening light was looking nice so I figured I would head around to see if there was a good shot of them on the ramp.

When I got there, I was disappointed to see some vehicles parked up inside the fence and in the way of any shots of the jets.  Rather than give up, I headed in to the FBO to see if they would let us outside and they were very helpful.  Turns out one of their team is a keen photographer himself and he was happy to escort us out.  The two DC-9s were sitting on the ramp in lovely light.  What more could you ask for?  There was a medical helicopter crew getting ready to depart and we had to stay well out of their way but this did not impact what we were after.  A great opportunity to get the jets in nice conditions.

A few days later, one of the jets was heading out.  It was a northerly flow and, given the ability of the original short body DC-9s to get out of shorter fields, it was going to be pretty high when it came by me.  That wasn’t going to stop me getting a shot, though.  Got to make the most of it when the opportunity presents itself.  When DC-9s were everywhere with operators like Northwest, it was easy to ignore them.  Now they have rarity value, it is a different story!

Shooting Just Before Sunset at SEA

With some nice autumnal light and a northerly flow at SEA, I was going to stay around to see what jets were heading out as the light was starting to be at its best just before it disappeared completely.  At that time of year, there would be a number of widebodies heading out to Europe and the Middle East that would be close to sunset.  In the weeks afterwards, they would all be after sunset!  I decided to see what I could catch.

The light got better and better, so it was pretty straightforward to catch some really nice images of the big jets (and some smaller ones) as they climbed out of SEA on their way back to home base.  Just looking through the viewfinder, I knew that I was going to be very happy with the results.  Then, the sun set, and the light changed dramatically.  However, some of the shots I got after this time will justify their own post.