The Aloha Air Cargo 767 was the reason for me being out early one morning but it wasn’t the only freighter coming in. (Indeed, this was the case for both of my efforts to get the Aloha jet.). Kalitta were also operating a 767 which is under contract to DHL. Some of Kalitta’s jets are plain white so you wonder whether a given day will bring something in that has a bit of color to it or not. On this occasion I was lucky. It might not be the most dramatic of the DHL schemes but it is better than no color at all!
Boeing 727s aren’t a total rarity but they are certainly not common and, when one showed up at Paine Field, it was worthy of a look. Operated by Kalitta Charter, it was making a trip around the west. It arrived at Paine in nice light and a flight plan was filed for a departure shortly afterwards. This turned out to be a bit optimistic but I had plenty to do so I sat nearby awaiting the departure. It ultimately came later in the day so the weather was great.
What wasn’t great was that I missed them calling up on the radio as I was busy with some work. I happened to glance up and see the aircraft rotating in lovely light. I grabbed the camera and tried to get a quick shot but the camera was not happy and I got a second of open shutter. Nothing usable. A quick reset and then I was able to get tail on shots as it climbed away. To say I was annoyed is an understatement. At least I saw it, even if I have no shots to share.
Red Flag is a time for lots of military aircraft to do their thing. However, it isn’t only the military that show up. Transporting everything that is required to support lots of deploying jets might be done by military transports but it is not unusual for civilian organizations to get some work. Whether it was Red Flag support or something else, we got to see a couple of 747-400 freighters while we were there. Both of them came from the same company, Kalitta.
One of the jets was fully painted up and showed up on the approach one day. It flew a straight in approach and landed to either deposit or pick up some bulky items. The second jet was a bit different. First, it was in plane white with just some Kalitta markings. More importantly, it arrived during a Red a Flag mission. It ended up holding overhead for a long time while the launch was underway. Finally they brought them down for an approach. However, it wasn’t clear which way they would come. Nellis has a habit of bringing jets in from different ends almost at whim.
At first it looked like they would land on the 21s. Then they looked like they would go to the other end. We jumped in the car and headed that way. Just as we were getting close, the jet turned away and headed east. We did a quick about turn and followed suit. We hadn’t gone too far when they reversed course. Where they deliberately toying with us? Another quick reversal and we were getting close but now they were turning on to final. Time ran out and we pulled in to a parking lot by a tire dealership just as it came in to view. We had to work for that one.
The 747-400 has been around for so long now and has sold so well that it is by far the dominant version of the jet in service. However, before the late 80s, there were previous versions of the 747. The 100 series through to the 300 series and the SP. The 400 series is the one you see now but, before the 400 took over, the earlier models were the ones that were everywhere. Since I wasn’t taking a lot of photos in those days, I have a lot less photos of the earlier models but I do have some.
Pan Am operated the 100 Series jets and I saw them at Heathrow in the 80s. 200 Series freighters were built in some numbers and many are still around or were until relatively recently. I think the only 300 Series jet I ever photographed was a Saudia example at Heathrow. These shots are some of the ones I have come across in my time. With the 400 Series jets now starting to disappear, it is no surprise that these earlier jets are mainly a thing of the past.