While the 787-10 was never built at Everett, there have been a few that have come here for completion before delivery to their airlines. One such jet was for Saudia or Saudi Arabians Airlines. It was painted in a scheme that was a close resemblance to their livery from the 80s and 90s. I had thought that it was a retro effort on their part, but I have since heard that this might actually be the livery for the fleet going forwards.
Whether that is the case or not, I did take me back to a shot I got in 1988. I was working for the CAA in the UK on noise measuring duties and got to spend a week inside the fence at Heathrow taking readings of departing aircraft. One of these was a 747-300 of Saudia. I had my camera with me that week and was able to get photos between taking readings. I thought it might be interesting to compare the old Saudia livery with the newer version.
I had been talking with some friends at Boeing Field about the Kalitta 727s that we had seen recently and we got on to the subject of winglets on the 727 and that the jets we had seen didn’t have them. Little would I know that I would address this a short while later. Kalitta Charters II was bringing another 727 in to Paine Field on a weekend evening and it was a different airframe to the ones I had photographed to that point.
It was also fitted with winglets! I am not sure how good the winglet design is on the 727. It looks like a pretty basic design and doesn’t seem to be very well integrated in the way that later winglet designs are. However, it must provide some benefit because they have sold a fair few of them. I clearly made the trip up to Everett to catch its arrival and I wasn’t alone. One more 727 in a time when they are not very abundant and a different configuration to boot.
The end of production of Boeing 787s at Everett meant that there was no longer a need for the Dreamlifter operations to support Dreamliner production. However, while the Dreamlifter base has closed, there are still some production activities at Everett on the 767/KC-46 line that require large structures to be delivered and the Dreamlifters are used for this sometimes. I understand at least one of them is currently stored, but the others are active.
I only rarely find myself at Everett when the Dreamlifter is there, but it has happened a few times over the last few months. Here are a few of the shots I have got since these things became a little bit rarer up this way.
I promise that this is the last of the unusual types that headed to Alaska for a large military exercise. This one I caught as it came through Paine Field. I like the SAAB 340 anyway but stick a pod under the fuselage and I will be doubly interested. The company that operates this jet is based in San Diego from what I can tell. Their product naming might be coincidental, but I suspect I know the favorite author of someone high in the company.
The arrival just before sunset of a Kalitta 727 was the subject of a recent post. It departed later that evening, but it was very dark by then and I didn’t hang around. It wasn’t long before the jet was back again and this time it arrived a little earlier in the day. That meant that there was a chance that they would depart before sunset. That was something I was willing to take a chance on. In the later evening, it is a quick jaunt to Paine Field from home. Sure enough, they obliged by being prompt. I had barely got there when the jet taxied. The light was very nice, and they were flowing to the north so I was able to get a few shots, hop in the car and be home so fast that Nancy thought I must have blown off the idea altogether!
Once Russia went to war with Ukraine, the ability of Russian cargo operators to continue their US business went away. Volga Dnepr had been providing a bunch of service for Boeing operations at Everett bringing in outsize airframe parts. With them out of the picture, Boeing had to find an alternative. Antonov Design Bureau designed the AN-124 originally and it has an in house airline, Antonov Airlines. They seem to have picked up a bunch of work that Volga Dnepr previously had. Despite the enthusiasm for various people calling them Russians, they are definitely Ukrainian!
They have been in and out of Paine Field pretty frequently over the last few months. I have got shots of them at different times with the aircraft carrying various messages about cities in Ukraine. Having got shots at different times, I also started shooting some video. Here are some of the shots along with a video of one of the departures.
I posted about the visit of Western Global and their 747-400F a little while back. They did not wait long for their next return and, this time, they went for a rarer type by bringing in the MD-11F. I know FedEx and UPS still have loads of these (although they are starting to retire them) but other operators are thin on the ground. This was worth catching. (I have since heard that Western Global is in liquidity difficulties so who knows if they will still be around soon.)
It arrived at Paine Field when I wasn’t able to be there, but it did depart in the morning when I was able to get to see it. The weather was not ideal, and I would have appreciated a little sun on it but I’ll take it in any conditions given that I don’t know when I might get another opportunity. What a cool looking jet the MD-11 is from the front quarters. When they are gone, we shall have lost something special.
The large exercise that was taking place in Alaska attracted a lot of unusual types and I have posted about the Hunters and the Northrop Grumman testbed heading up there already. They weren’t the only ones, though. Paine Field had a couple of transients too with a pair of Sabreliner jets heading north. This vintage bizjet is a pretty agile type and Clay Lacy used to display one on the air show circuit. These two had an interesting pod mounted under the front fuselage – presumably for some sort of electronic warfare role. I was able to head up to Paine Field that weekend to get them as they arrived. I didn’t have the time to get them departing although they weren’t around for long – just getting some fuel and then heading onwards.
They did route back through Paine Field when the exercise was done so I was able to get a second go at shooting them then but the conditions were much as before, so the shots are not too different. I did take a bit of a chance with my shots by dropping the shutter speed down pretty low to try and get some good motion blur – always a risk when shooting something new!
The last 747 to be built was conducting test flights from Everett in advance of being delivered to Atlas. It was due to get back from a test flight one evening and the timing looked good for a landing just before sunset. Along with plenty of other photographers, I headed up to Paine Field to await its return. As we tracked the flight, it was looking more and more like they would not get back before sunset. A few people decided that this wasn’t worth the wait and headed off. I figured I had made the effort so I was going to get a shot, even if the conditions weren’t any good. I was there, after all.
Sure enough, the sun went down while we waited and a little while later, the familiar shape of the 747 appeared in the distance. However, luck was going to be on my side this time around. While the sun had now set, the higher-level clouds off to the west were now being illuminated from below turning them a warm red color. The light from these clouds was now what was landing where we were and, as the 747 came down the approach, it had a warm and soft glow to it from the remnants of the day’s light. Far from being a disappointment, this was actually really attractive. What a lucky break for me and those that remained.
The Janet 737s go to ATS on Paine Field for maintenance when required. I should, therefore, see them more often but I usually don’t know anything about it until they are gone. Consequently, when I caught one this time, it was purely by chance. Luck is to be embraced, of course. Another Janet might seem a little repetitive, but I don’t care.