Tag Archives: king

Nextant 400XT

AU0E0067.jpgThe smaller end of the corporate jet market has taken a pounding in recent years. The downturn in the economy hit that part of the market particularly hard. One company that has been doing well, though, is Nextant. Their first product is the rebuilding of the Hawker 400 jet. They re-engine it, upgrade the cockpit and completely rebuild the interior. The result is the 400XT. This example showed up at Boeing Field while I was there. It looked pretty nice in its new paint scheme. I was never terribly bothered by the Hawker 400 (or Beechjet or Mitsubishi jet if you go back a while) and the shape isn’t much changed. However, the paint job on this one made it look better than average. Nextant are now working on a King Air rebuild program.


Test 787s

AU0E6255.jpgThere was a bit of activity at Boeing Field for the fleet of test Dreamliners. Boeing has been in the process of moving the original test airframes around to their final resting places. One of them has been donated to the Museum of Flight so didn’t have to go very far. Others are finding home further afield. Meanwhile, there is still some work for the rest of the test fleet.

AU0E5083.jpgI managed to see them both on the ground and in the air. Obviously the flying shots are the ones I prefer but I will take any I can get. It is strange that, during the test program, the development aircraft are the only ones you see and you want to see more of them in airline colors. Once they get well established, the original test frames suddenly have more interest again.

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My First Poseidon

wpid13534-AU0E9430.jpgThe Boeing P-8 Poseidon is not a new plane. In fact, it first flew in 2009. Why is it, then, that I have never seen one in flight before? I have seen them on the ground at various times. This has included air shows and seeing them on the flightline at Boeing Field. I have come close a number of times there including some of the Indian Navy Ark variants that have been undergoing testing. Despite all of this, I had not seen one fly.

wpid13542-AU0E9528.jpgFortunately, I have finally overcome this shortcoming, if only briefly. I found myself at Boeing Field on a recent trip to Seattle where I was eating my lunch between landing from a flight and heading off to a meeting. A pretty narrow window in which to hope to get anything interesting but, this time, I was lucky. The P-8 taxied out shortly after I got there and lined up. He wasn’t going for a takeoff at first. A surge of power and acceleration down the runway followed by an application of the brakes and the rejected takeoff test was done. This meant a trip back down the taxiway and right past me to get back to the threshold.

wpid13540-AU0E9511.jpgThe second time was supposed to be the full takeoff and the lightly loaded jet was promptly airborne and heading off to carry out its tests. It would be gone for a few hours so I wasn’t going to catch its return but it was great to finally see one moving and flying.

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Museum of Flight

wpid6656-AU0E8587-Edit.jpgThe end of the field trip for the ISAP Symposium was a visit to the Museum of Flight.  Located at Boeing Field, this is a great museum and worth a visit whether you are an aviation nut or not.  It has an impressive collection of aircraft and they are nicely displayed.  Inside are some impressive machines including the always attractive M-12, a variant of the Blackbird family that was intended to launch high speed drones (a program that was not ultimately successful and was cancelled).

wpid6658-AU0E8598.jpgOutside is a further selection of great airframes including a British Airways Concorde, the prototype Boeing 747, a Boeing 727 in American Airlines colors and a NASA Boeing 737 which may (or may not) be a prototype.  There are others too but these stand out.  They also have a Space Shuttle crew trainer which, since it is not an original orbiter, is actually more accessible to the visitors.  It was not a long visit so we had to move pretty quickly to get around but a good time nonetheless.

Under Your Nose at King County

wpid6646-AU0E7408.jpgHayman and I had a few hours to kill after we arrived in Seattle and before we had a ferry to catch (of which more in another post).  We decided to stop off at Beoing Field to have a look around.  We checked out a number of places including the excellent pilot shop they have and ended up near the end of the runway.  I had looked at this location on a previous visit but not shot there.  A 737 was up on a test flight and due in soon so we decided to hang around.

wpid6650-AU0E7437.jpgBefore the 737 appeared, we did have a couple of corporate jets show up.  Identifying them from underneath is a little hard to do, even for those of us with far too familiar a knowledge of this things.  However, I was more interested in getting a slightly different shot from underneath.  With power lines nearby, there was a relatively short period of time in which you could get a clear shot.









The 737 showed up shortly afterwards.  We did get to shoot it as it passed overhead but I did remember to stop shooting at one point and just look.  The view through a wide lens tends to make everything look small.  However, having something the size of a 737 right over your head is very impressive and you need to stop taking pictures and just have a look every once in a while.


wpid6221-AU0E1522.jpgNot a company that I was previously familiar with, Ameriflight seems to have a significant operation at Boeing Field.  I assume they are a feeder to some of the larger parcels businesses that operate out of there bringing in and distributing out the packages to smaller locations that don’t have the need for something the size of a 757.  They operate a mix of turboprop types.

wpid6213-AU0E1421.jpgBeech see to be a popular choice.  They had Beech 99s, King Air 200s and Beech 1900 airliners operating at various points, all seeming to have been converted for cargo business.  In addition, they had some Metroliners – a type that you don’t get to see so often these days.

wpid6216-AU0E1446.jpgFlightware suggested they also had Brasilias but I didn’t get to see one while I was there so whether that is true or one of Flightaware’s not infrequent errors, I don’t know.  Sadly, as color schemes go, they are not terribly distinctive but it was still nice to see a selection of different types in a very short space of time.  I imagine they have a window of deliveries and pick ups so timing was everything.



Biz Jets Too!

wpid6191-AU0E1129.jpgI am always partial to a corporate jet or two.  Since Boeing Field is closer to downtown Seattle, it is a popular base of operations.  There are a couple of FBOs on the field and a few movements took place while I was there.  While the end of the line has come for the Hawker business jet as far as production is concerned, there are a huge number of them in service so seeing them will be common for many years to come.  A nice Canadian example came in while I was there.

wpid6276-AU0E2290.jpgA departing Falcon 2000 was another nice one to see.  Falcons are a very popular line and the 2000 looks okay to me but as it takes off over you, I think you get the best angle on it.  There were a selection of jets departing as well.  Heat haze was a small problem but not terrible and, for web sized images, it doesn’t cause too much trouble.

wpid6198-AU0E1266.jpgA Learjet came in while the sun was out but the sky in the background was a touch more moody.  That certainly made me happy as it makes for a more interesting shot.  It was a brief visit but still resulted in a fair bit of interest so I would happily stop back again.


Freighter Frenzy

wpid6249-AU0E1872.jpgA recent post mentioned an evening at Boeing Field in Seattle. With nice evening light, this is a great place to shoot. Not only is the warm evening light in exactly the right diction, the field is situated at the bottom of a hill that provides a far more interesting backdrop for shots than a clear sky. Also, the variety of traffic is very good. Today, I shall focus on the bigger freighters. The airport is a base for UPS and DHL and also has a variety of other freight traffic.

wpid6232-AU0E1757.jpgWith so many airlines vanishing and the variety of aircraft types diminishing, freighters provide an interesting level of diversity. First they are different operators, even if UPS and FedEx are pretty ubiquitous. Also, they tend to operate older types so aircraft that are in the twilight of their passenger careers may show up more often. This trip was not going to deliver too many exotic types with 757s and 767s still being regulars in passenger service but it won’t be too long before they start to disappear.

wpid6239-AU0E1798.jpgIrrespective, it is nice to see something a little different and to shoot them in nice light and at a nice location is even better.


Not so long ago, this would have been boring

wpid6243-AU0E1830.jpgOne evening after work I had some time to hang out at King County Airport, oath wise known as Boeing Field. In the evening light, this is a nice place to observe aviation. It has quite a variety of activity and, with quite a lot of freight activity focused later in the day, getting there after work can be productive. I shall tell more about the other movements in upcoming posts. Today is focus on one of those things that the passage of time brings. There was a Boeing 737 and I was excited by it. Why? It was a 200 series jet. For many years these were the only type of 737 around and, even when the 300 series came along, they were still very common.

wpid6245-AU0E1841.jpgAs a sign of my age, I remember when the 200 series was called the “classic” compared to the newer 300-500 series jets. Now those are called classic compared to the NG jets. With the 7X, 8X and 9X coming along, will the NG now become classic and the previous two generations will need a different moniker? Anyway, 200s are not terribly common anymore so seeing one getting regular use was a nice change. It has a cargo door in the forward fuselage which, I suspect, it didn’t have earlier in its life. I hope it has a good few years left.


MLK Memorial in DC

The next few posts will all be related.  My nephew, Chris, was staying with us recently and, while he was here, I needed to travel to Washington DC for a meeting.  Since Chris had never seen Washington and my meeting would not take up the whole day, I took him along so he could see a bit more of what the country has to offer a visitor.  It was only one day but Washington is nice and compact when you are looking at some of the more obvious tourist attractions provided you are ready to walk.

It was an early start and a long day out but we covered a lot of things.  Today I shall start with one that was new to me as well.  The Dr Martin Luther King Jr memorial is a relatively new addition to the collection of monuments around the Mall area in Washington.  I had heard about it and was interested to see how it looked.  I was not alone as there were plenty of people walking across to find it.

A number of features were of interest to me.  There is a quote from Dr King on one of the stones which says “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”  I am not familiar with the full quote and its context but the entrance to the memorial is a large rock from which a central section has been extracted.  This section is placed further into the memorial and it is on this section that his likeness is sculpted.  As I saw the relationship between the two parts, I was quite taken with it.

I know the memorial has not be universally well received but I liked this entrance feature combining with the sculpture, the wall of quotations and the general feel down by the tidal basin.  I imagine that it will be a popular place in years to come.  The Vietnam Memorial was controversial when it was created and it is now considered iconic so we shall see how time judges this memorial too.