Tuesday, August 23, 2016

American Airlines MD-80 Retirement Day

Tuesday August 23, 2016 was a pretty momentous day for American Airlines.  They retired 20 McDonnell Douglas Super 80's, for so long, the backbone of the American domestic fleet.  At the height of their career, there were over 360 different variants of the aircraft in the fleet.   With the fleet renewal process occurring, there would be a time that they would go to their well deserved retirement.

One of the 20 aircraft that was retired in the process was N565AA, a DC-9-83(MD-83), C/N 49347, L/N 1373, first flight 4/23/1987.  It's port of departure for it's final retirement flight was Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL).   At 11:15am, she was pushed back from the gate, and then taxied out to runway 10L and in some glorious sunlight, departed for it's final resting place is Roswell (KROW), New Mexico.  Here are some shots from the day, taken with a new acquisition, a Sigma 50-500mm lens - that I am looking so forward to using more and more...

In the meantime, some more time spent behind the camera lens...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

What a recent move did.....

Well, recently my family moved house - we moved into the specific school location for our son for when he goes to high school.  However, what it has also done is move us a lot closer to the flight path for my home airport, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.   Now, while I am out in the back yard grilling, or taking the dog out for a walk, or just standing outside for the heck of it, I can, with my 300mm lens on my camera, shoot the arrivals onto runway 10L.  One of the first ones I was able to get is something I have wanted to catch for a long long time...the Virgin America San Francisco Giants special scheme.

So, hopefully, there will now be more time spent behind the camera lens.....

Saturday, March 19, 2016

That never ending quest - for the special schemes

Having seen sooooo many special schemes over the years, it's amazing that as soon as you think you have them all, another one appears on the horizon.  There - are some - that - will never (well, I guess never is the wrong word - probably ever be seen is better) actually be met by my camera's sensor, but for those that are, the quest is never ending.  What is missing?  All the Alaska schemes, except Salmon-Thirty-Salmon ( I know - go to Seattle), Southwest - Colorado One, JetBlue - the Mint specials (I know - go to New York or the West Coast), the list goes on.  However, there is one that I was just able to cross of the list - YAY!! :)  United (thank you scheduling department!!) brought the March of Dimes special in late on night, and then let it depart the next morning - and - I made sure I was there that next morning!!

So, the list does get one entry crossed off - but - the quest is still ongoing.....

In the meantime, some more time spent behind the camera lens....

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Iron Maiden Arrives

For the second time that I have been in South Florida, I have been able to see the arrival of "Ed Force One" - the aircraft used to transport the heavy metal group, Iron Maiden around.  Back in 2011, it was a Boeing 757-200 that belonged to the English charter company Astraeus Airlines.

For the 2016 tour, the group as upgraded considerably, this time being a 747-400 belonging to Air Atlanta Icelandic that has recently been acquired from Air France when they retired their Boeing 747-400 fleet.

Why it is always cloudy when they arrive, I have no idea, maybe it's because of the flight 666 call sign :)  But - regardless of the weather, they are always a welcome sight.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

South Africa January 2016

I traveled to South Africa for a special family occasion at the end of January/beginning of February, but no trip to Johannesburg could be undertaken without a trip to OR Tambo International Airport.  This time, I decided to spend a Saturday morning at the end of runway 03R for the arrivals that turned out in absolutely perfect weather.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Air Zimbabwe A320 - I've actually never seen this color scheme before - very plain, but very nice.

The only place in the world where you can see the British Airways logo on a Boeing 737-800 winglet.

LAM (Mozambique) Boeing 737-700

One of my favorite aircraft - Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i

Mango (South African Airways low-cost) Boeing 737-800

Having flown on one of these back in November, another of my favorite aircraft - Qatar Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

South African Airways Airbus A330-200

South African Airways Airbus A340-600

FlySafair Boeing 737-400

FlySafair Boeing 737-800

And, another that I have been looking for for ages as well - Kulula's "This Way Up" Boeing 737-800

There are a lot more I have to edit - South African Airways A320/319's for example, but, in the meantime, some more time spent behind the camera lens......

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Summer Happenings...

It's been a really nasty summer in the sense of spotting.  The weather has been incredibly hot, creating masses of the dreaded heat haze, over-exposure and all those sort of not so happy photographer things.  As the end of the summer has drawn near, our rainy season has kind of picked up, and of course, that seems to have been mainly when I can get to the airport - during lunchtime.  But, as ever intrepid as any aviation photographer can be, I've managed to get some highlights and some lovely new things during the summer, so here are some of the happenings...

The runway on the south side of the airport has become more and more a Spirit/JetBlue highlight runway with some internationals (look a little further down for them) and customs types featuring.  This, of course with its nicely shaded Greenbelt Park, gives some nice close ups, especially for the special schemes, in this case, the JetBlue NYFD special.

Talking of special schemes - there have been some new ones around and some older ones that I have not managed to get.  Delta has their Spirit of Seattle B737-900ER.

Azul has their Tudo Azul (the frequent flyer program of Azul).

And Allegiant has their new "Make a Wish" scheme.

There has been a new airline as well, Dynamic Airways has started flying from Fort Lauderdale to Caracas, Venezuela using a Boeing 767-300ER.  They are soon to get competition from Albatross Airlines - a Venezuelan company using a Boeing 737.  This was taken the first day of operations.

Another new airline for me is one that has been around for a while, but only seems to come into Fort Lauderdale on occasion.  Not a big aircraft, but an extremely nice color scheme - the Embraer E120 of Inter Caribbean.

Volaris, the Mexican airline, has been flying into Fort Lauderdale for a while now with flights from Mexico City and Guadalajara.  Their planes normally just have names on them and one particular day that they were late, I thought it would be the same until it got close to the runway, and it turned out to be a brand new special scheme for them, celebrating the Guatemalan rock band "Alux Nahual".

Spirit has taken delivery of the first two of their new A321's that were ordered last year, and they are in their new yellow color scheme.  They have started revenue service and are in and out of Fort Lauderdale all the time.  The yellow color scheme has invoked a few nicknames for them - the yellow taxi, the banana plane, and some that are not able to be posted on a family safe blog :)

Finally, there was one very special visitor to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of weeks over the summer and this caused photographers from all over the country to take quick trips down here to catch her.  NASA brought in their special DC-8-72 with her lovely CFM-56 engines from her home at the Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, CA.  She was brought over to Florida to fly over weather, and some tropical storm formations to study ice crystals.  Most of the time she was in Fort Lauderdale, the weather was pretty nasty and wet.  However, on National Aviation Day, August 19, a spectacular morning was on hand for me to catch her departure on another study mission.

The day of her departure back to Palmdale, was however another nasty day, with the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika that they had been studying for a few days bringing rains to the area.  However, it was still a wonderful departure view.

So, the fall shooting season approaches and with it, some uncertainty of what will be coming down from our northern country with the failure of Canjet which was a very regular visitor - watch this space I guess....

In the meantime, a whole lot more time spent behind the camera lens....

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A tale of one airframe.....

To it's owners, Southwest Airlines, it is N280WN, manufacturers serial number 32533, a Boeing 737-7H4, delivered on June 22, 2007.  However, to spotters all over the US, it is one of the special schemes that all aviation photographers chase.    That hasn't always been the case though.  When it was delivered, it worse the standard Southwest Canyon Blue color scheme.  Six years later though, it received it's first special scheme, and with the partnership between Southwest and SeaWorld, it became Penguin One.  This is the first time I managed to catch it in my camera lens.

However, with the dissolution of the partnership between Southwest and SeaWorld, all the special schemes like Penguin One, Shamu, etc. needed to be be repainted and so in April 2015, Penguin One, gave way to the latest in the state special schemes, and became Missouri One.  And, recently, I managed to catch that in my camera lens too!

And, so some more time spent behind the camera lens, searching for the elusive special schemes.