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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finally - getting around to an update...

The past few months have been very busy - and - I didn't realize how long it had been since I last updated this.  And - then - I realized - how much has gone on since I did the last - for the sake of less excuses and more pictures, I'll post some of what has happened....

Back in December, scimitar split winglets were really starting to become frequent on United Boeing 737-800's - but - then I managed to get the first -900ER with them - and - a spectacular looking bird she is!!

The other thing that really started to show up back in December was the new Southwest color scheme - I really started to like it more and more after initially being a little dubious - of course, the computer screen (where I saw the first ones) and real life are totally different - and - that's what made the difference I think.

January brought around a couple of new things, one of which was a new camera body - I upgraded from the Nikon D200 to the Nikon D300 - and - that opened up a new learning process.  But, January also brought around the annual Florida Aviation Photography convention with the ramp tours of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport.  Both of them brought around their own spectacular views - the most special was from Azul who had recently started to fly from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Fort Lauderdale.  Through some arranging, they agreed to bring the special Brazilian flag scheme in for the day and that was perfectly shootable!  Sunwing also had specials in for the day.

The Miami ramp tour also brought around some nice views - American has started to bring in their new Airbus A319's which look really nice - and - then the Bolivian Boeing 767-300ER - which is pretty new to the Miami scene as well!

As February came around, so did one of the Southwest special scheme's that I was really looking forward to shooting!  Heart One (and it's sister Heart Two which I still have to catch) came in to Fort Lauderdale.

One thing I started to discover in February was that the new South Runway (10R/28L) has some great spots for viewing, especially when the airport is in westerly operations! 

One of the older aircraft to ply the tradewinds from Canada to Fort Lauderdale in snowbird season got a new color scheme too - Air Canada finally painted an Airbus A321 with the Star Alliance scheme.

Towards the end of February, something that I had been searching for for a long time finally made it's way back to Fort Lauderdale - the "spook" bird with Comco on the tail - not a lot is known about it - other that it seems to be owned by a defense contractor - but - still - it's an interesting bird to see.

And, finally to March and some of the aircraft that have started to come into Fort Lauderdale have been new things.  Allegiant has finally started to bring in some of it's Airbus fleet and Frontier brought in the new color scheme that has also eluded me since it came out!  And - then - a surprise FedEx visitor as well - this one an ATR42-300 - something I haven't seen before at all.

So, finally I have caught up - and - hopefully, will not leave it as long to update the next time!  At least, there has been more time spent behind the camera lens!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Special JetBlue Veterans Aircraft

I was lucky to catch the JetBlue Veterans dedication jet on its first day or regular service after the special charter day dedicated to the Veterans that was well covered on  The first revenue flight brought the aircraft into Fort Lauderdale on a perfect cool fall day.  Here is the special bird....

More time spent behind the camera lens....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So much has been happening....

It's been quite a while since I posted - there has been so much going on - in the aviation world, in the business world, in the family world - sometimes it all just catches up at one time.   So, let me try and recap at least the past few weeks....

First of all, I was very privileged to be on the inaugural flight that landed on the brand new runway at my home airport, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.  Articles I wrote for both on the opening of the runway and on my good friend Captain Eric Auxier's blog for the event had a great deal of the coverage.  Here are a couple more pictures of the event, including Captain Randy Forester and First Officer Scott Morgan pointing at their fresh first rubber laid on the brand new runway.

Of course, I had to get a shot of me on the runway in front of the aircraft as well.

On the same day, I was able to catch a rare sight in Fort Lauderdale, Flair Air, a Canadian charter company brought their perfect Boeing 737-400 in as well.

A few days later, in the midst of the first cool (can't really call them cold fronts in Florida in October), I caught my first Southwest Boeing 737-700 in their new color scheme as it departed off runway 28R.  What I loved about this shot was the ability to get the new heart on the underside of the aircraft.

The next exciting event was being able to cover the brand new service of TAME from Ecuador into Fort Lauderdale.  Again, this was well documented for  The brightly colored A320 is now a regular sight with it's "Love Life Ecuador"titles.

And finally for this post, the new US Airways heritage aircraft with American titles have started coming out.  My first catch of one of these was the repainted PSA smiling bird.  The day after that, came a different surprise.  One of the US Airways special schemes that I have not caught before, Battle Born Nevada came in.  The fate of this color scheme is not known in the new American fleet, so it was great to finally get it.

So, finally I have managed to get caught up for the last few weeks.  The Winter shooting season in Florida has all but started now as well.  Following the time change this weekend, we should start to see more of the heavier winter schedule start to arrive here and with the weather as it has been the last week or so, it certainly bodes well for a good season.  Hopefully, some more of those US Airways Heritage and special schemes in the near future as well :)

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yellow Taxi Anyone???

With the rash of color scheme changes that past week, I managed to get one at Fort Lauderdale.  I was surprised actually, because this one I had no announcement of until the day it happened.  But, the next day, said aircraft came to home base, so it was good to get it...

It sure is bright, but it's interesting to say the least....

Some more time spent behind the camera lens...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weather Permitted Again.....

I have, in all the time I've lived in Florida never had had such a pattern of disruptive weather as far as spotting and photography goes!  If it isn't raining, it's cloudy.  If the sun is shining, the heat is oppressive and that causes heat haze like mad!!!

Today, however, all the elements seemed to combine for a lunch time that was (mostly) sunny.  I honestly didn't think of going to Fort Lauderdale today, but the possibility of a Southwest Boeing 737-800 in the new color scheme tended to be the lure towards the viewing park.  Said Southwest, when I checked later, was running 1hr 30mins late so I never got to see if it was a new one or not.

What did show up, however, were two United Boeing 737-800s with split scimitar winglets, within 30 minutes of each other.  One arrival and one departure.  Seeing as I hadn't managed to catch any of these before, it made the trip justified for sure!  So, here they are - I do love these new winglets!

Hopefully, the weather pattern will soon allow some more investigation of traffic at Fort Lauderdale.

Next week however, will be an exciting time!  Thursday, September 18, will be the opening of the new runway at Fort Lauderdale - the new 10R/28L.  I will be there for the opening and will hopefully have some good shots of stuff for the day - the first to land on the new runway will be a JetBlue A320 charter.  So, stay tuned for next week!!

In the meantime, more time spent behind the camera lens!!