I was at SEA early one Sunday morning to try and catch a shot of Salmon Thirty Salmon before it was repainted. Northern Air Cargo also departs at a similar time of day as part of its loop between Hawaii, Seattle, Los Angeles and back to Hawaii. I assume one of the regular jets was in maintenance because they had chartered in some capacity from StratAir. I was not familiar with this operator but I was happy to catch a 767 in new colors for me.
Widebody jets coming into SEA are hard to predict. If possible, all arriving traffic is sent to the outer runway to allow departures to proceed from the inner runway with little disruption. However, if there is a lot of arriving traffic, the wake turbulence requirements for spacing behind a heavy jet can slow the arrivals flow. In this case, sending the jets the inner runway is more efficient. You never know what it will be until the plane is lined up on approach and you can see whether it is offset from the normal paths or not.
I wasn’t terribly bothered by this American Airlines 777-200ER when it came in as it is a daily arrival from London, and I have shot it on previous occasions. However, since I was in a location almost on the centerline of its approach, I decided to go for more of a head on shot and then an underside shot. If this was something I hadn’t shot before, I would be aiming to get the side of the plane in shot to show whatever it was but, in this case, no harm in playing around with different angles.
I made a mourning trek to SEA one weekend to catch the Salmon Thirty Salmon jet before it got repainted. I shot a bunch of planes before it departed and one thing of interest after it left and was getting ready to head home. A quick check of what else was due out showed me that the Singapore Airlines A350-900 was due out shortly. It’s a nice-looking jet and the morning light was still good, so I figured there was no harm in waiting a short while longer to catch it.
Regular readers know I am partial to the A350 and some of my earliest shots of the type were operated by Singapore in to SFO when we lived in California. Their livery has a classic style to it in my mind. Besides, the trip to Singapore is a long one making full use of the A350’s range capabilities so it was likely to be heavy and would use a good chunk of the runway so would still be quite low as it passed me by. All good reasons to get the shot.
I was flying home from the Midwest and, as we taxied off the active runway, I could see an Asiana 747-400F taxiing for departure. We crossed the runway before it took off and, since I was on the side of the aircraft facing the runway, I got a good view of the sunlight punching through the clouds off to the west. I got the phone out to get a shot having completely forgotten that the 747 would be on its way any time. As it came into view, I grabbed a couple of phone shots as it passed the sunlight. Phones are still not a true competitor to a decent camera, but they can really produce something useful.
I was waiting for one specific jet at SEA (which has long ago made an appearance on this blog) but, while I was hanging around, I was shooting different angles up the approach. In a few shots I could see a number of aircraft lined up on the approach or turning on to it. I played around with seeing how many I might get in one shot. It needed relatively clear air to get the more distant planes visible. A hazy day would not do the trick.
Singapore Airlines has been flying into SEA for a while. Initially they stopped at Vancouver and then continued to SEA before reversing the journey, but I guess loads were good enough that they changed to a direct flight. It arrives first thing in the morning and then heads out mid morning to go home. I have tried to get shots of it but the combination of weather issues and making it work for a weekend morning when I can plausibly be there has been tricky. One weekend, the weather wasn’t great, but I decided to give it a go.
I was looking to shoot from a location that gives an angle on the touchdown zone which I figured would help overcome the less than ideal weather conditions with more ground in the shot. However, I was disappointed to find that they were bringing the jet in on the outer runway. Consequently, it was a bit more distant than ideal (although the crummy weather meant haze was less of an issue than might otherwise have been the case).
The following week, I had a second go. The weather was slightly better but still not great. I was rather worried that I was going to have a repeat of the previous week. Not great conditions and would it go to the outside. As I watched the track inbound, I could see a bunch of other aircraft vectoring in for their approaches. Busy arrivals can often mean the heavies get sent to the inner runway to avoid wake turbulence requirements causing delays to the narrow bodies. This was the case and I got what I was after. The only issue was that there were quite a few planes taxiing out for departure and obscuring my shot (and throwing out some heat as well). However, I did get a shot so let’s count that as a win.
Who knows how long the A340s will last. I thought I had probably seen the last of them but Lufthansa was kind enough to make them a feature of their winter schedule to Seattle. Of course, not running every day combined with the great winter weather that Seattle is known for meant the chances of getting good shots were limited. Even when the conditions were favorable, they departed in the middle of the day which meant high sun angles and more glare. However, when the conditions were as good as could be expected, I took the chances that were available. Here are some shots from probably the last season.
Delta acquired a bunch of A350s when airlines were disposing of them and they have progressively been heading from storage at Victorville to Singapore for reconfiguration. I have posted about these already with a couple of LATAM jets having come through. The most recent one I saw was actually an ex-TAM aircraft. Again, not the best of conditions for shooting its arrival but it was still fun to see something you would normally never see at SEA. It was a bit damp so there was a little vapor over the wings which was nice. Next time I see it, it will be indistinguishable from the other Delta A350s.
The repainting of the Salmon Thirty Salmon jet caught a lot of attention and was the subject of a previous post. The jet was not destined to be in standard Alaska Airliners colors, though. Instead, it went to be painted in a special livery that has a salmon connection. This time it is adopting a native theme to the painting. The name is Xáat Kwáani which means Salmon People. It was unveiled in an event in Anchorage and made a couple of flights within Alaska before coming home to Seattle. It arrived on a Friday evening so plenty of people were out after work to catch it landing. I’m sure I’ll see it again plenty of times but it was nice to get it on a lovely evening.
The movement of the ex-LATAM Airbus A350s that Delta has picked up on their way to Singapore via Seattle got me out once before. The jet was arriving after dark but I gave it a go anyway. The next one to make the move from California to Singapore came through at a more convenient time for me being both daylight and also when I wasn’t at work! The weather was not perfect but the sun did pop out which made for some reasonable lighting and it was a chance to catch a jet in LATAM colors which I probably won’t get very often.