Tag Archives: photo

The Holidays Bring Us Some A300s

The freighter fleets of the big operators like FedEx and UPS are gradually being recapitalized.  The older jets are heading to the desert and getting replaced with new airframes.  The A300-600Fs in both fleets are not going away quickly but they won’t be around for a lot longer.  The UPS A300s don’t normally show up in Seattle with 767s and MD-11s being the regulars here.  However, the holiday season results in a big increase in parcel traffic and so extra jets tend to show up.  That meant some A300s at Boeing Field.  Great to have them here and I hope we get another time when they show up reliably.

Line 2 Opening Weekend

The spring timetable change was the opportunity for Sound Transit to open a new line.  The troubles with the crossing of the I-90 bridge mean that the Redmond to Bellevue section of what is to be Line 2 is isolated from the rest of the network.  However, it was decided to open it up as a starter line to provide some service for the area pending the completion of the connection to the other side of Lake Washington.  They had a grand opening.  Rather than go on the Saturday when everyone was due to be out, I decided to try out the line on the Sunday.

I drove to the South Bellevue station which has a large parking garage.  It is the southern/western end of the line for now.  Trains run every ten minutes and I hopped on one to ride to the other end at Redmond Technology Center.  This is also an interim terminus as there will soon be an extension into downtown Redmond.  I checked out the route in the trip out and decided I would stop off at a couple of stations on the way back.

Plenty of people were out on the Sunday too.  Many seemed to be like me and exploring the new service.  Sundays aren’t a day to judge utilization of a system, but it will be interesting to see what ridership is like as the service gets going and people find out how best to use it for their purposes.  I hopped off at Wilburton Station to have a look at the platforms and the view across to downtown Bellevue.  I bumped into a guy I know from Sound Transit who was part of the opening support team for the weekend, and we ended up chatting for a while.

I then went to the station in Bellevue itself which is a nicely designed station just at the end of the tunnel that runs under the city.  You get a long view of the trains approaching from east as they come across the bridge while you can hear the trains coming through the tunnel as they approach.  After checking out a few elements of the station, I decided to head back to South Bellevue to pick up the car and go home.  The alignment was pretty good.  Ride quality was good in most areas and the stations seemed nicely put together both operationally and aesthetically.  It will be a good line when it is fully connected but, as an interim step, it seems to be worthwhile.

River Test at a High Level

The River Test really should be considered multiple rivers because it splits and rejoins as it moves across the Hampshire countryside.  You can cross all sorts of minor streams, but you do also get some larger crossings where the river is well defined.  One of these is the road to Longstock.  There is a weir across the river just upstream of the bridge and it seemed to be flowing pretty well when we were there.  We had experienced lovely weather, but I guess quite a bit of rain had preceded our arrival.  There was a single swan on the river, and it seemed to be making some effort to move upstream.

Intelsat’s CRJ Thwarts Me with Weather

Testbed aircraft are the sort of thing I like to see and, when Intelsat brought their CRJ to Seattle, I was hoping to catch it.  Sadly, its arrival and some initial flying were not at good times, so I didn’t get to shoot it.  Then it was due out when I was heading to SEA for a trip of my own.  However, the conditions were awful, and I could barely make it out in the gloom as it got airborne.  Cameras – even with really modern tech – struggle to focus on something that is barely visible in the mist.  I did have one last chance when it was taking off, but I was at the terminal at the time and could barely get some shots of it as it taxied and took off. After that, it left.  I was frustrated throughout its time here.  Will it return?

Malaysian Max Departure

A simple post today of a plane taking off.  Nothing too special about this one.  Just a regular Max 8 heading to Malaysia.  Since it was a delivery flight, I knew the jet would be a bit heavier and would have a longer takeoff run.  I was hopeful of rotation in a good place for me to get some shots.  It didn’t disappoint.  I do like the livery on these latest jets for Malaysian Airlines.

Status of the Stuka

When making my first visit to FHCAM after it re-opened, one of the things I was interested to know was whether the Stuka had made any further progress from when I last saw it or whether it was paused for restoration.  Things looked like they had moved on a bit since I was last there, but it didn’t look obvious that a huge amount had happened so that could have been after I was there and before they closed down.  It would be very cool to have a Stuka back in the air so we shall see if this one progresses.  If anyone knows, please comment below.  In the meantime, here are some shots of how it looks most recently.

Clipper Race Sailing Boats

The Clipper Round the World race has been underway for many years.  It is a race of a single class of sailing boats/yachts (depending on where you live) with two qualified crew and the remainder are individuals that can pay to take part on one or more of the legs around the world.  It starts and ends in Portsmouth and stops off at various cities around the world.  It has been to Seattle since we have lived here but I never managed to get down there to see the boats.

I had a work event down at the harbor one evening when the boats had arrived.  After the event, I took a few minutes to walk along the waterfront to see them tied up.  I managed to get a few shots with my phone in the low light – how impressive phones can be in dark conditions – but couldn’t get any closer.  Then I made an error.  They were advertising that you could visit the boats to look around, so I headed down at the weekend with Nancy.  There was no one to be found.  Turns out, they weren’t doing tours that weekend.  It had been a wasted trip (combined with it being a wet and windy day anyway).  However, there is more to come on this topic.

Luke F-35s

I have never photographed at Luke AFB before.  Mark and I spent a few hours there as part of our trip.  The base is home to the F-35A training unit and a variety of foreign F-35A training too.  Plenty of USAF F-35s were in the pattern that day.  I got loads of shots of the based jets but, with the current style of low observability finishes, the jets did look very alike.  Yes, there were crew names and unit badges to be seen but, sadly, one Luke F-35 looks a lot like another Luke F-35.

Family of Blackbirds Out for a Meal

A family of blackbirds was a regular sight in the front garden of the place we rented in Stockbridge.  They were happily finding whatever they could eat in the grass.  There appeared to be two parents with some youngsters in tow.  The chicks were now pretty fully grown and seemed to have their feathers, but they were less interested in finding food than they were in having their parents do the work.  I will let those of you with children make your own comments.  The chicks actually looked a little larger than their parents, so they are probably eating well.

A Development Dash 8

I may have a soft spot for testbeds, but development airframes are also something that will interest me.  While driving around Tucson International Airport, we were looking at the various airframes at one of the schools based on the field.  There was a Dash 8 sitting in the yard.  It had Series 200 markings on it and seemed to be a development airframe.  With Mark being a Canadian, he was definitely pleased to catch this but I was too.  It looks in surprisingly good shape.