The A340 is a plane that keeps on going despite repeated claims it was done. The 300 series jet is actually not as inefficient as it is popular to suggest (the 600 series is far less competitive) and it is still working for a few airlines including Lufthansa. This winter the jet is back on the run to Seattle which has pleased me. Most of the jets have been repainted in the new livery which is not that thrilling. There are also Star Alliance liveried jets but there are one or two of them still in the older Lufthansa colors. This is a better look from my point of view.
I did have one of them come in one weekend when the light was good and the wind was favorable for the shots I was after. The landing shots were more of a struggle because the plane landed at noon and the lighting angles were not helpful. Departure was mid afternoon and so this was slightly better. They have been back occasionally since but not on days with a) good weather and b) me being available to be there. I hope I get more chances before they finally head to the desert.
With some nice autumnal light and a northerly flow at SEA, I was going to stay around to see what jets were heading out as the light was starting to be at its best just before it disappeared completely. At that time of year, there would be a number of widebodies heading out to Europe and the Middle East that would be close to sunset. In the weeks afterwards, they would all be after sunset! I decided to see what I could catch.
The light got better and better, so it was pretty straightforward to catch some really nice images of the big jets (and some smaller ones) as they climbed out of SEA on their way back to home base. Just looking through the viewfinder, I knew that I was going to be very happy with the results. Then, the sun set, and the light changed dramatically. However, some of the shots I got after this time will justify their own post.
Condor has gone on a bit of a Marmite route with its livery. They have decided to paint their aircraft with a striped paint scheme that looks like a beach towel. When they first went this way, the A330s that came to Seattle were leased jets and they only painted the fins rather than the whole airframe. They had ordered new A330-900s from Airbus, and these were delivered with the full paint job. I took a while before I finally saw one of these come to SEA and it was the green one. I still haven’t seen beige or blue! I have heard comments that really show how much people dislike this choice. For me it is such a nice change from the norm that I am really happy to see them. Something different is fun.
When we headed to the UK we departed from the South Satellite at SEA. It is the location used by most of the international operators. We got there in good time so I had a chance to watch some of the other flights arriving and departing. Here is a selection of shots of the airlines that came and went while we were there (including our jet to the UK).
Delta has gone in for the A321neo in a big way. They are taking delivery of them at a pretty steady pace. That doesn’t mean you get them everywhere as some types get focused on regions that others don’t. For a while, we didn’t see too many of the neo jets up this way but that seems to have changed now. I am seeing loads of them if I am around SEA these days. Here is a selection of shots of their jets that I have taken in recent months.
A while back I got a notification of an A320 departing SEA heading to Korea from an airline called AeroK. I didn’t have the chance to be there and wrote it off as a missed opportunity. Then, earlier this year I got a similar notification on a weekend, so I was able to make the trip down to see this depart. I hadn’t made the connection, but AeroK is Korea in reverse. It is a low-cost carrier that only recently started operations. I assume these were delivery flights for their new fleet since they won’t be operating to the US at this stage of their development. It would be good to see more of the planes at some point.
Honeywell’s Boeing 757 demonstrator has been on the blog before. I caught it at Paine Field during some awful weather. More recently, it was back in Seattle and I managed to get it again. This time the weather was a little better. It was actually getting a bit of a tour of the region in with passes at Paine Field, SEA and Boeing Field. I thought I was going to be in the wrong place for it but I was fortunate enough to catch it twice in one flight.
I was at SEA as it came in on the outer runway. A little bit close in on the underside but I figured it would show off the unusual pylon for engine testing that is mounted on the upper side of the front fuselage. It wasn’t landing there, though. It then continued on and headed for Boeing Field. They changed the flow direction around the same time so I was actually able to make it back to Boeing Field before it landed there. It did then park up at Modern for the day.
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.
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.