Photo taken from the LearJet chase plane by Jaunted. Image by Joe Corrigan
This story was written by Cynthia Drescher with Jaunted.com and re-published with permission…
Have you ever been on a flight and spotted another flight off in the distance? It’s just the coolest thing to see another plane in midair; they become your friend for a few minutes, as if you’re sharing the delicious secret that 38,000 feet is the place to be. And it is. Now imagine that flying alongside other airplanes was an everyday occurrence for you—even better, that it’s your job. This is actually the case for the badass pilots and aerial cinematographers at Wolfe Air.
Thanks to our buddy David Parker Brown of AirlineReporter.com and the team at Wolfe Air, we were able to go beyond watching the LAN Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery flight to participating in it while discovering how Wolfe Air makes their magic—the magic of capturing the Dreamliner on film, in flight, from a few hundred feet off the raked wingtip.
The chase plane seen from the LAN787 Dreamliner.
Though Wolfe Air has an arsenal of three aircraft, it’s their Learjet 25B that’d be our whip on this trip. From a distance, the slick plane looks jet-black; up close it’s actually a smart charcoal gray to eliminate glare and reflections on other aircraft. Typically based at Hawthorne Airport outside Los Angeles, the Lear has specially flown up to Everett, WA’s Paine Field this day, in order to fly out ahead of the Dreamliner, circle back around and join up with the plane as the 787 heads out over the Olympic Peninsula.
Erase any preconceptions of private jet interiors from your mind. Wolfe Air’s Learjet is all business on the inside, and its ability to shoot IMAX, hi-def, Vectorvision, and digital stills means that camera equipment has booted the leather seats and champagne bar. And thank god for that, because the serious G-forces we felt on some turns to position for shots aren’t for your average bizjet.
There aren’t luxurious seats inside the LearJet, but there is a lot of technology. Image by Joe Corrigan
Aside from the two pilots up front, two camera operators squeeze in the rear, remotely controlling the lens ports in both the top and bottom of the Lear’s fuselage. It’s this way, over the 1.5-hour flight over Washington’s scenic terrain, that LAN will end up with the polished midair photos to put in commercials, in magazines, online and anywhere else they want to show off their new Dreamliner.
Curious to check out more of Wolfe Air’s work? Just hit up Netflix, as Wolfe are the people behind the in-air filming that makes movies like Air Force One, Transformers and Thirteen Days so awesome. Not to mention that Wolfe has actually had a hand in NASA’s preparations for the Mars Curiosity Rover (more on that here).
MORE IMAGES FROM THE CHASE PLANE:
Disclosure: We were at the delivery of the LAN 787 Dreamliner as guests of Boeing and LAN Airlines and a guest of Wolfe air onboard the photo flight, but all photos, video and opinions are strictly our own. [Video: Joe Corrigan/Omega Pictures. Photos: Joe Corrigan, Cynthia Drescher and David Parker Brown/Airline Reporter]
LAN’s first Boeing 787 sits next to the Future of Flight at Paine Field.
LAN Airlines first Boeing 787 has successfully been delivered to Santiago Chile. I have many photos to go through and things to write up, but for now, you can enjoy this little preview of the adventure.
We had a nice little circle flight over western Washington after take off. Image from FlightAware.com.
We took off a bit before 6pm PST from Paine Field and headed west. Anyone watching our flight route (seen above) might have been confused on what was going on. Turns out we had a chase plane film the 787 before heading south for the rest of our adventure (check this out).
Above is a video that was showing during the delivery ceremony that highlights the production of LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Not going to lie; it gave me goose bumps watching all the LAN employees viewing the video before being shown their aircraft for the first time.
Before landing we did a fly-by Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL). This is us heading back to land.
It was quite the experience, with a few surprises and I cannot wait to share them. It is never easy being in economy for 12.5 hours on any aircraft, but that was the easiest economy experience for me to date. Do not worry — much more is to come — but for now, it is time to check out Santiago.
LAN’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (CC-BBA) at Paine Field. Image by Tony Rodgers.
This weekend is Labor Day weekend in the US and what better way to celebrate than head down to Santiago, Chile with LAN Airlines on their 787 Delivery flight?
LAN will take delivery of the first of 32 Dreamliners that they have on order. Currently, the airline has 22 787-8s and 10 787-9s on order. The new planes will be used to replace their older 767-300ERs. Although LAN will be flying the plane from Everett on Friday, it is most likely the official paper signing and money transfer will happen sometime tomorrow.
I feel honored to be invited on the delivery flight and look forward to checking out Santiago and Chile for the first time.
During my time in Santiago, I will have the ability to check out LAN’s flight simulators and maintenance facility. As always, please feel free to follow along on my Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully there won’t be too much jetlag not only from testing out the 787 for a long distance trip (my previous flight was only 90 minutes), but also Santiago currently shares the same time as New York (and only three hours ahead of Seattle-time).
I will also end up with some free time while in Chile, so if you have any suggestions on things to check out — please let me know.
On my flight back to the US, I will be flying on one of LAN’s Boeing 767-300ERs. It will be quite interesting to compare the 787 back-to-back with the aircraft that it will be replacing. You can bet there will many photos and a few stories to share of this adventure.