A few times a year, Boeing Field is treated to the arrival of a Hawker 4000. This was not a successful jet for Hawker and so they are far from common. I have shot them on occasions, and they have probably got blog posts when I did. I saw this one coming in one weekend so headed over to see it. When I looked up the operator, Talon Air, I was interested to see on their website that they have quite the collection of 4000s. I guess owning a bunch of them makes supporting them a little easier. Annoyingly, another one was at BFI while I was there and got towed near me before I realized what it was. It didn’t fly while I was there unfortunately.
The Dornier 328Jet is not a total rarity but it is unusual enough to get attention. Earlier this year, one showed up as coming through BFI. Since I was able to be there, I decided it had to be worth the trip. Sure, it is just another landing shot of a small airliner but I spend too much time thinking back to things I never bothered about at the time that are now gone so I’d rather not add to that list.
It’s been a while since I posted some images of Marine Corps Hornets having issues starting up to depart from Boeing Field after a weekend visiting for training. I didn’t include any images in there of them actually taking off. I got a reasonable spot to try and see them take offs even though the weather was not really great. I was surprised at just how quickly the jets got airborne. They were already quite high by the time that they came by me. I was still able to get some reasonable shots of them. Fast jets are always a nice change to the usual Boeing Field traffic.
Previous posts have shown that I like a bizjet that isn’t painted like all of the others and being painted black is even better. It won’t surprise regular readers, therefore, that when I got to see not one but two black Gulfstreams on one afternoon at Boeing Field, I was quite a happy chappy. The weather was not great, though. It was raining pretty steadily which doesn’t make for ideal conditions. However, it isn’t all bad. Sunny days with black jets can produce some harsh contrast conditions while overcast light is more even and soft so it might not be all bad.
Rain in the shots is still going to be an issue though. Depending on the shutter speed you choose, you may well end up with the raindrops being visible in the images. A bit of tweaking of the settings when processing can boost the contrast a little, but those raindrops are not disappearing. Still, the subject is an interesting one to me and that’s what counts.
The number of times I have just missed something or didn’t even know it was close by I cannot count. However, sometimes I can get lucky, and I had one day when things just clicked. The result will be several posts. I was at Boeing Field to catch a test jet from Gulfstream (which I did and will appear here soon). I was waiting for it to show up on approach and was scanning FlightRadar24 when I saw an odd registration appear turning in to the approach. I tapped on it, and it showed as a Hawker Hunter.
Needless to say, this was quite a surprise. Then, another one appeared. The two came down the approach in trail. I got shots of both of them being a little brave/reckless with my shutter speed. Even as this was happening, a third and a fourth popped on screen and it was not long before the second pair had made it into my viewfinder.
They taxied to the ramp at Modern and shut down. Sadly, I wasn’t able to be there when they made the next leg of their trip to Alaska. One was delayed by engine issues and my friend was able to get some shots of it testing. I was hoping to catch them during their return but that took place while I was up in the Islands. However, I had got them once and that was a lucky break I am grateful for.
This is a continuation of my string of good luck. I was back at Boeing Field awaiting the G700 movements. I had headed down to the south end of the field and was glancing at FlightRadar24 when I saw a CRJ700 on the display making a track that looked like it was coming to BFI. Normally, aircraft like that show up with a call sign/flight number rather than just as a CRJ. For some reason, I thought this might be an unusual CRJ and my mind jumped to the Northrop Grumman testbeds.
I had missed them once at BFI before when one took off while I was over at the museum. Having seen the BAC-111 testbed many years ago, I wanted to catch this one. I decided to try and get to the other end to see what it was just in case. The road along the airfield is not well suited to swift travel but I was patient as I figured there was just enough time. I made it to the other end and grabbed the camera quickly. Barely any time passed and then there it was. It was indeed one of the NG testbeds. Result!
I hung out for a while before deciding to head back to the other end. Nothing interesting was due in so I figured I’d see what was departing. When I got back, I pulled up FR24 just to see what was moving on the field and, lo and behold, the CRJ was up at the hold, ready to go. Rapidly out of the car, grab camera and, just as I am ready, here it comes. This was a continuation of my string of good luck. It’s all going well. Then I see that some Sabreliners are heading north. The streak continues!
Boeing has had a number of aircraft in its Eco-Demonstrator program. The most recent one is a 787-10 that they have been using to test air traffic control innovations including some trans-Pacific flights in coordination with control agencies in various Asian countries. When I shot the 777 demonstrator a while back, I thought it was the end of the line for that plane and it was heading to desert. Apparently not. It is back and flying and made a trip to the Paris Air Show. I got it on its return recently from Europe. Maybe we shall see more of it in the coming months. Now to try and find the 787!
When the Singaporean Air Force wanted to add tanker capabilities a few years ago, they bought some surplus KC-135Rs from the US to operate. More recently, they acquired some A330 tankers from Airbus and the KC-135s were, again, surplus. This time they were picked up by a company called Meta Aerospace that bid on refueling work for the US Navy. I think Meta has changed its name to Metrea – presumably to avoid being confused with the Facebook parent.
Whatever the name, they brought one of the aircraft to Seattle for a little over a week for work that was being undertaken over the Pacific off the coast of Washington. They have their tankers painted in a rather nice livery with the company logos and I was hoping to catch one. As it happened, one was up one afternoon and there was a chance of getting there after work to get it. I headed down thinking I had some time in hand. I was wrong. They came back a little earlier than expected, the airport changed runways which meant I had to go further and traffic on that extra section was backed up. I got to the fence just as it was coming over the threshold and I managed a few weak shots with sections of barbed wire cutting through the airframe in most.
I wondered whether I had missed my only good opportunity but, thankfully, they were around for longer than expected and one of the flights again gave me a chance to get there after work. This time I was there with a bit more time in hand and was able to get some shots without the added benefit of wire foregrounds! The plane was on the ground at other times but, at this time of year, the heat haze at Boeing Field is pretty bad. Only on a crummy Saturday when my friend Chris was in town, was it possible to get a reasonably clear shot of it parked up. I wonder if we will see it back here at some point in the future.
This plane was teasing me. Ameristar has DC-9s in its fleet and they are clearly not young airframes, but it is nice when they get a fresh paint job. One was at Boeing Field in a shiny new looking livery. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going anywhere while I was near it. I got shots of it on the ramp and near the terminal building. I also got an overhead shot of it from up on the hill. None of these involved it doing anything other than sitting there though. Let’s hope I get lucky with it before too long.
Seattle is a place where you can get a fair bit of humidity at certain times of day. Earlier in the day, there might be a lot of cloud but it will burn off as the day goes on and you have some sunny afternoons and evenings. Watching the planes on approach to SEA on days like this can make for some rapidly changing conditions. I was watching a bunch of jets heading towards SEA as they came through the clouds and into clear air. They would be leaving trails in the cloud base behind them as they went but would be trailing their own little vapor fields behind them.
The conditions didn’t last long and soon the clouds were almost gone and the amount of vapor that they were pulling was minimizing. The vapor was clearly aligned with the flaps on the wings so you could see where the air was being worked the hardest. I did get some shots of them for this which I shall share later but the way in which the vapor puffs and dissipates is best seen in video, so I shot a bunch of that. Most planes were coming directly over me but a couple of the wide-bodies were going to the inner runway so were offset from my location.