When Horizon was still flying the Q400s, they painted a bunch of them in the colors of Pacific Northwest universities. The Q400s have gone and the Embraer E175-E1s are now the only aircraft flown by Horizon. Thankfully, they have decided to continue the practice. While we were away, I saw that a jet had been painted in Washington State colors with “Go Cougs” written in the fuselage. I was disappointed to have missed its arrival but it wasn’t long before it was scheduled for an evening arrivals in to Paine Field.
It was a Sunday and we had been up in Skagit County and I didn’t know whether our return would be in time (or if I was going to have to suggest a diversion on our way home to Nancy). As it was, we got home in good time and I had a while before I headed back out. With the seasons turning in the direction of autumn, the light is getting nicer and it was ideal conditions when the jet came down the approach. I could have waited for the departure but I had what I wanted and there was still dinner to think about so I headed home again.
Frontier Airlines has been adding a bunch of A321neos to its fleet. They are not a regular feature at SEA but they do come in periodically. The airline has at least one that is painted in a special green livery incorporating Pratt and Whitney imagery including a bald eagle. This is to signify the environmental benefits of the latest generation of jets. I actually saw one when I was elsewhere in the country. It was parked on a pier I could see but I didn’t have my camera available to get a shot in the nice evening light there was at the time.
Fortunately, it showed up as coming to Seattle one weekend. I figured I would get another chance at it. However, the weather wasn’t looking great. There was a hint that things might improve so I made my way there to see if I would get lucky. Sadly, the forecast was a little optimistic and it was still rather gloomy when the jet made an appearance. I made the best of it that I could but it was not great. Amazingly, I have had a long time since taking this shot and have yet to have another chance to shoot this jet. I think it may have visited but there was no way for me to be there. Hopefully I’ll catch it in good light one day!
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.
When Alaska bought Virgin America, they got an order for A321neos as part of the deal. When the merger was completed, Alaska painted some jets in their More To Love scheme to sell everyone on what the bigger airline had to offer. Two of the neos were painted in this livery. I have shot them both. Recently I caught one of them and it seems to have had a need for a replacement radome as the nose doesn’t go with the rest of the paint. Sadly, while there may have been more to love, Alaska doesn’t love these jets and they will be gone in October 2023, ending the use of Airbus jets in their fleet. They will then be “Proudly All Boeing” (and Embraer!).
The end of the Q400 operations at Horizon meant the departure of their special paint scheme with a retro livery. However, it wasn’t long before a new Embraer E175-E1 was delivered in the same scheme. I ended up coming across it a few times quite quickly after it was introduced and have seen it a bunch of times since. I think it looks pretty good in the old colors and we’ll have it looking like that for quite some time. I did catch it in some murkier conditions as it departed Paine Field one evening but it turned out to suit the livery quite well and I was pleased with the way that the shots turned out.
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 Alaska Airlines fleet is undergoing a transformation. Part of that was the removal of the Q400 from Horizon’s fleet with the Embraers becoming their only platform. Suddenly getting shots of the aircraft seemed a lot more interesting. I did manage to get the retro livery special one more time as it took off one evening. As it headed into the sunset, it seemed far too on the nose for their retirement. A few weeks later, they were gone.
We were in the Cotswolds for a wedding earlier this year and the morning of the wedding found my with little to do while everyone was getting ready. I was only 30 minutes or so from the old RAF airfield of Kemble, now Cotswolds Airport. Surely it would be churlish to not take a look since I was killing time? Kemble has quite a lot of interest and will mean there are several posts to come. The first will focus on one of the largest residents.
British Airways painted three of its 747s in retro liveries. The jets had different interior configurations which meant they were used on specific routes. I got to shoot the BOAC jet and the Landor jet when they came to Seattle but I never saw the Negus jet. When BA retired the 747 fleet during the pandemic, the Negus jet apparently made its way to Kemble to become a venue rather than get reduced to parts and scrap metal. However, I didn’t know this.
Consequently, I was rather surprised to find the jet sitting there as I drove up to the airport main buildings. There are other 747s stored on the field at Kemble but this one is very accessible. It was early in the day when I arrived so I could wander around unfettered but there were already crews showing up to bring in fixtures for an event that they were going to be hosting. Renting out a 747 for an event sound like just the sort of thing I would do! I was very pleasantly surprised to see the third of the retro jets and to see it in such good condition. (Sure, they have a few nacelle panels that have been switched around but it still seems in good shape.)
At the time of writing, the end is nigh for the second of Alaska Airlines’ Salmon Thirty Salmon paint jobs. These are a result of a sponsorship program with Alaskan fisheries and, from what I have heard, this deal has come to an end and the jet is due for a repaint. I came across the first of the Salmon Thirty Salmon jets many years ago at LAX. The original jet was a 737-400 and I shot it on Sepulveda Boulevard resulting in a shot I was rather surprised and happy with.
The -400s have gone from the Alaska fleet and the livery was added to a 737-800. I have seen it a few times over the years but never in good conditions or too close so, once I heard it was heading for repaint soon, I decided to try and get some parting shots. These shots required a combination of decent conditions, the right time of day, not being at work etc. I was lucky that the jet was departing SEA early one Saturday morning so I would get it with low early sun as it climbed out. That worked out pretty well.
The second shot I wanted was inspired by my original shot. I wanted to get a low shot from underneath. Fortunately, I got an evening when the jet was due in and would be approaching from the north which gave me a good location to get the shot. Mission accomplished so, now when the jet gets painted, I will be fine. If they paint a Max9 in the livery, that would be cool but no sign of that so far.
Air Canada brings a pair of A220-300s in to SEA each evening – one from Toronto and one from Montreal. They leave the following morning with the Toronto flight heading out early and the Montreal flight following a couple of hours later. The Toronto flight one weekend was the TCA special aircraft so I decided to head out and catch it departing.
The day started very overcast and gloomy but there was a sign that things were going to get better. This did happen but things were still not great when the jet departed. The light had improved a bit but the cloud was still there. When looking at the shots, I figured it was time to make use of the masking options that Lightroom offers. The latest update has improved their usability somewhat. First I drop the exposure of the shot overall to get the sky looking roughly how I want it. Then I select the aircraft suing the Subject option. It does a pretty reasonable job but I do then refine it with an addition brush to bring in the bits it has missed and a subtract brush to take out the detail areas where the mask has overlapped.
The new option is the click on this mask and choose the Duplicate and Invert option. This gives me a sky selection that matches what I have got for the aircraft. For the sky, I can work on the white balance to bring it back to something more cool which suits the overall look of the shot. I can similarly work on the white balance for the jet to make the reds pop more in the livery. The exposure can be brought up a bit with the shadows helping a little while bringing the blacks down while improve the contrast.
All of this is pretty straightforward. One nice feature of the latest update is that you can actually apply the same settings to multiple images. The brush adjustments are not going to work well for this so it is best to do the overall selections and sync to the various images and then, if a shot is worthy of further work, the refining of the mask can be done afterwards. If you know which shot is the best, you can just focus on that one.