Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tis the season - at Opa-Locka (OPF)...

I'd promised previously to post some of the season goings on at Opa-Locka. There hasn't been the level of activity that there has been at Ft Lauderdale, but there were certainly some nice sights to see at Opa-Locka over the season. This was all shot in about a 15 minute period - not a lot of time, but Opa-Locka is like that - it's an easy compact airport to shoot at, but the shots can be very rewarding.

The first shot is something that I had been hearing about from various sources and some pictures of it that were already posted. The Mexican Air Force had brought their Boeing 737-200 into OPF for some refurbishment and work. I had been wanting to go down to OPF to try and shoot is and as time rolled by, I was wondering if, by the time I got to OPF, it might had departed already. However, the day I was there, it was standing right next to the fence with the APU running and some technicians going back and forth between the aircraft and the hangar. I managed to get my shot in perfect light and came away very happy.

Sitting right across the apron from the Mexican Air Force B732 was this Global Air Boeing 737-200 with it's engines removed. This Mexican registered B732 is very plain in it's color scheme with just the 3 stripes of color. This B732 started it's life at Southwest Airlines and has gone to Japan, Kazakhstan, and many other destinations before arriving back at Global in November 2009. I'm guessing that soon enough, it will have it's engines restored and will be back in the air, but I might be wrong on that.

Talking of Boeing 737's, another model that has been making final visits to OPF have been the Boeing 737-300's of Brazilian airlines GOL and Varig. There are probably a total of 6 or 7 from the 2 airlines at OPF - sent here to end their life and be broken up for parts. This particular aircraft, PR-GLH I had seen at the customs building at Ft Lauderdale when it arrived in the country from Brazil. It then flew from Ft Lauderdale to OPF to probably end it's flying life.

Finally, I'd noted the first Siberian S7 A310 that had arrived at OPF in my last posting about OPF. Since then, that first A310 VP-BSZ has been moved out to one of the remote parking areas and it is currently having it's wings disassembled. This is the second S7 A310 that arrived at OPF not long after it's sister ship. VP-BTJ is now sitting out on the apron, it's titles covered and most likely to suffer the same fate as her sister ship.

The weather starting 2010 in South Florida has been unseasonably cold and the winds have been consistently out of the west. I'm hoping that soon enough, we'll be back in the glorious light sunny days so that a lot more time can be spent behind the camera lens. I'm also trying to work on some options to have a few special features on the blog over the next year or so, so please keep checking back..

Friday, January 8, 2010

'Tis the was...

First of all, Happy New Year to all - I hope the festive season was peaceful and the New Year ahead is everything that you all hope for.

Ft Lauderdale has been interesting this festive season. Having worked through the working days of the season, I was able to take advantage of some of the stunning Florida season weather to catch up on some on my list of want to have's, and there have been quite a few of them!

Canjet, the Canadian charter company always seems to get some interesting schemes for the aircraft that they lease over this busy period. Two schemes that I knew were flying for them this season were both from Germany - one from Tui and the other from Hapag Lloyd. Both are yellow schemes so it is quite a change from their usual blue and white scheme. One of them I have been able to get - the Tui. I'm hoping the Hapag Lloyd scheme comes into Ft Lauderdale sometime before it gets returned to Germany, so I'm keeping my eye out for it.

airTran has painted several of their Boeing 717's in special color schemes for NFL teams and one for a NBA team. I've seen the Atlanta Falcons jet, but in terrible weather, so when I saw the Indianapolis Colts jet, Colts 1 in perfect light, I was a very happy person. I have to get the Falcons jet, the Baltimore Ravens and Orlando Magic jets in just the same light to complete the collection.

One very interesting catch of the season was a US Airways B767-200ER that came into Ft Lauderdale on a maintenance ferry. Apparently, something had gone wrong with this aircraft at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and it was ferried back to Charlotte via Ft Lauderdale. The very interesting part is that the flight from San Juan, about a 3 hour flight, was completed at 10,000' - well below the pressurization level.

Continental, for a while, has been equipping their Boeing 757-300's with winglets. Since my first Boeing 757 with winglet view, I've always loved the look of them. Now to get their -300's with winglets as well was a prize for me - interestingly enough, I caught two of them two days in a row - almost the exact same shot. I hope that Northwest (Delta) does the same with their -300's - those will make for a great shot as well

Northwest (Delta color scheme) did grace Ft Lauderdale with one nice surprise of the season - the football charter bringing the Pittsburgh Steelers in for their post New Year game against the Miami Dolphins - and - they did it with style - an Airbus A330-300 in Delta colors - I think this aircraft is probably the best for the new color scheme after the Boeing 747-400's.

Finally for this post, I always love to see biz-jets, and this one is a classic. This Lockheed JetStar was manufactured in 1966 and still flies with great regularity. I've seen flying in and out of Ft Lauderdale a few times - this is her home base, but each time I manage to catch her, there is bright sunlight, or heat haze and as you can see from her color scheme, bright light and heat haze do not do her justice.

That was just a sampling of Ft Lauderdale over the season. Watch this space as some time was also spent at Opa-Locka over the season, and there was at least one very special catch there.

More time spent behind the camera lens.....