An American Airlines 777-300ER on approach to Paine Field in Everett – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
I don’t know about other AvGeeks & plane spotters out there but I have this list of aircraft that I have been trying to get photos of lately. Â Well it sure was a lucky day in Everett when I can tick two off the list in the span of a few minutes.
What is on my list?Â Â First, I hope to get eachÂ airline that operates theÂ Boeing 787s (because some of the liveries are just downright pretty) and also every airline that operates to Australia (where I am from). Other than that, my list is pretty much made up ofÂ airlines that I feelÂ good looking schemes or ones that I haven’t seen before. Â The holy grail’s though are the special schemes and the retro liveries.
A Saudia Cargo 747-8F about to turn onto 16R at Paine Field – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
TheÂ four that have eluded me lately up at Everett had been the American Airlines new Livery, Aeroflot’s 777-300ER, Saudia Cargo 747-8F and the Uzbekistan Airlines 767. Â When I saw on the Saturday morning that the American 777 was doing a test flight, well you can bet where I was headed. Â Even though the fog was thick in the morning for the takeoff, I ran some errands and came back for the departure. Â When the sun had burnt away the fog and it was a glorious looking afternoon.
To make the afternoon even better, as the American 777 came onto its final approach, the Saudia Cargo 747-8F got taxi clearances for the test flight it was about to begin…Â score!
An American Airlines 777 in the New Livery Touches down as a Saudia Cargo 747-8F taxi’s by – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
Even though some of the photos were not perfect, it doesn’t matter. Â It’s about getting out and enjoying the sunshine, seeing the aircraft and chatting with fellow AvGeeks. Â Here is to a fruitful spring and summer of spotting!
This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.
Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
Spotters on the back of a Ford F150 taking photos of a Korean Air Cargo Boeing 747-8F.
For me, the photo above is the essence of what it means to be an AvGeek. Not many people could understand why I would be willing to get up at 3:30am in the morning, hop on a flight from Seattle to Anchorage to take photos of airplanes for the day in below zero temperatures before getting back home at about 10:30pm. If the thought of that excites you — then you are surely an AvGeek.
Nippon Cargo Air Boeing 747-400F in special green livery. JA04KZ.
I can admit that I am notÂ die-hard plane spotter. I think I am probably too weak. Sitting outside waiting all day for the perfect shot normally doesn’t appeal to me. But then again, Anchorage is different. It is a main hub for large Boeing 747 aircraft to make a technical stop from Asia before continuing on their journey. So when given the chance to spot for the day (I have never done it before at ANC), I jumped at the chance. Well… I wasn’t so excited when my alarm went off at 3:30am, but it was all well worth it.
I woke up just in time to catch some of the sweet views into Anchorage.
Our flight out of Seattle went well… I think. I remember boarding. I think I remember taxiing, but I surely do not remember take off — I was asleep. After picking up our rental truck (thought we needed 4-wheel drive, but the roads were actually okay), we were off to look at airplanes.
It is a bird. Nope, it is a plane. Wait, wrong again. It is a moose.
One of the first great spots that we had was not a plane; but a pair of moose (mooses? meese?). Yes, I know I looked like a total tourist pulling over to take photos of the local wildlife, but I didn’t care, I hadn’t seen one in the wild before. The moose above was interested in a bicyclist (and omg, I saw like half a dozen people riding their bikes in this freezing weather — wow) and I watched at the guy got off his bike and climbed a nice embankment to avoid the moose. I was using a long lens and stayed close to the truck — I heard that they can be quite aggressive.
I haven’t seen a Boeing 737-200 take off in a while. Check out that smoke out of the engines.
I came prepared: long underwear, hat, gloves, multiple jackets and more. But I was still freezing. The whole -1deg F temperature wasn’t too bad, it was the 10-15mph wind that was a killer. I could only stay outside for a few minutes before having to retreat back to the warm truck (yea, I am a wuss).
Two Korean Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F’s welcome the new 747-8F.
But I have to say that I loved spotting in Anchorage. Where else can you get a collection of small aircraft and big aircraft with almost no medium sized aircraft like this? The small ones are used to shuttle people around the region, while the large ones are mostly making technical stops to fuel up before continuing their long journeys.
Eva Cargo Boeing 747-400F and MD-11F. Photo taken from inside the airport.
The day was long, but it went quick. We knew it would be a quick process to get through security at ANC, so we waited until the last minute to head back over to the terminal. Turns out that not only was gas pretty far away for the truck, but someone (okay it was me) missed the exit for the car rental return, so we ended up missing our flight. Luckily there was another flight to Seattle only two hours later that we were able to make.
Not everyone can understand making a day trip up to Anchorage, but that is what us AvGeeks do — I am sure most of you understand.
This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.
David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.
Cargolux's first Boeing 747-8F (LX-VCB) takes off from Paine Field earlier today. Photo by Boeing. Click for hi-res.
No music, no balloons and no Champagne to celebrate Boeingâ€™s first delivery of their new 747-8F (LX-VCB) yesterday. It is really sort of sad that so much has gone into making the new 747-8F and it took off from Paine Field with almost no fanfare.
The plane was supposed to be delivered with three days of celebration on September 19th. Cargolux was not happy with the 747â€™s performance and went into negotiations with GE and Boeing. All three companies were silent during these negotiations and it wasnâ€™t until September 30th, that Cargolux/Qatar Airways announced it was looking to take delivery on October 12th. Â Many were waiting to see what would happen after an October 7th board meeting, but all three still remained mostly silent.
The Boeing 747-8F gets its first real cargo load at SEA. Photo by the Port of Seattle.
It was not until early yesterday morning that rumors started to turn into facts when it became clear that Cargolux would take delivery of their first 747-8F.Â Even though it should have been a happy day, it just feels like it was sort of stolen. Yes, it is great that in the last 30-days, Boeing has finally delivered not only their first 747-8F, but also their first 787 Dreamliner, but it is just unfortunate that all the employees who have spent many hours on the aircraft were not able to celebrate like the 787 team did.
Nose up. Cargo in. It didn't take long for Cargolux to put their new 747-8F to work. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
After being handed over to Cargolux, LX-VCB’s first flight was short. A quick hop from Paine Field (PAE), down to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) where it took a few hours to be loaded with cargo and then off to Luxembourg. Although seeing a Cargolux Boeing 747 at SEA is nothing new.
Cargolux is one SEA’s longest serving cargo carriers which began in 1983 and in 2010, the airline shipped 8,796 metric tons of cargo through SEA.Â “We appreciate the commitment by Cargolux to this region’s freight hauling capacity by placing this historic aircraft into service right here at Sea-Tac,” said Mark Reis, Managing Director of Sea-Tac Airport. “This investment by our freight partner highlights the capabilities of Sea-Tac’s air cargo service as an economic engine to our entire region.”
Easy does it. Surely don't want to damage a brand new plane. Photo from the Port of Seattle.
It is interesting that on Boeingâ€™s press release for the delivery, they donâ€™t give exact numbers on the 747-8â€™s increased performance vs the 747-400. â€œThe 747-8 Freighter offers double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating cost and lower emissions over the airplane it replaces.â€ Previously Boeing has stated a 16% performance gain, which Carglux has stated there is a 2.7% shortfall in that gain, which has caused the delivery delay.