Avgeek/Spotting

now browsing by category

All my posts about Aircraft Spotting

 

The 12th Plane

Boeing painted up a 747-8F in a special Seahawks Livery.. check it out

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

First Spotting session for 2014

So it may have been a failed day of spotting today at Boeing Field while the third Boeing 787-9 flew donuts over Moses Lake when it should of been coming back to Seattle (damn it!). Still managed to get a good amount of photos of what felt like every bizjet coming into Seattle.

From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014
From Seattle Spotting 2014

Looking Back & Looking Forward – Goals in 2013 & 2014

Each year I set myself goals for the year ahead. These are not “resolutions” as that is just a way of saying “i should do this” where as a goal to me has an end and feels more like an achievement. I tend to set two different kinds of goals, I have my fitness goals and I have my travel goals. In 2013 my travel goals and my fitness goals were fairly ambitious (at least to me). Some people may not think so but well, they are my goals anyway.

So for 2013 I set my goals and to be honest I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. I didn’t complete all my travel goals but i did complete everything else.

So for my Travel Goals I did requalify for Virgin Australia gold, and managed to do that after 2 mileage runs and a trip back to Australia. I did get to spend a good amount of time at OshKosh and I am extremely happy with that week off in July. A truly happy and amazing experience.

Then there was the goal to explore more of my own new home state. I did this in two parts with a trip out to Yakima with Dan & Shawna to go cherry picking and also the last minute (like on Monday) trip on the ferry to the Kitsap Peninsula. I did also drive down to Portland for a weekend back in May but that doesn’t count cause it is technically another state :P But it was fun none the less. The only Travel goal I didn’t complete was to use up the remainder of my Qantas points. I had been banking them for something I have planned this year hopefully but time will tell.

I did however complete all my fitness goals for 2014. I had set myself the goals of competing in two 5ks here in Seattle, the 10k at the Marine Corp Marathon and also the Triathlon. All were completed successfully and I was impressed with my times for each and every single one of them.

My two 5ks in Seattle:

Then there is the Triathlon

And the 10K for the Marine Corp Marathon

But what about my goals for 2014? Well that is pretty simple, but I am going to break it down to 3 parts this year Personal, Fitness & Travel.

My Travel goals for 2014 are:

* Return to Japan
* Visit Maho Beach
* Singapore Suites
* Lufthansa First Class

Ambitious for the last one, but I have enough points to do it, it is just going to be a matter of timing.

My Fitness Goals for 2014 is just one:

* Half Marathon

It’s a big one, and I am sure I can do it, but anything else will just pail in comparison. Essentially doubling my longest ever run and more will be nuts, it is going to take a lot of preparation for it, but I am in for a challenge. Not sure which one I am going to do yet (depends where I am I guess) but I will do it!

My Personal goals for 2014 are where what would normally been mixed into one of the other two categories I want to do this to challenge myself some more I guess. These goals are also something that I think if I put them out there it makes me more accountable. So my personal goals for 2014 are:

* Jump out of a plane
* Go on at least 1 date
* Get my weight back to pre USA levels and keep it there!

The first one is pretty crazy but I have been working towards it. I don’t really want to do it as a tandem but I will do what I have to do. I would rather do it as a Free Fall and deploy my own chute (my friend Dan has done it that way) but I will take it anyway I can. The other two are definately something I wouldn’t normally put out there but I need to make myself accountable for it!

So there you have it my goals for this year are out there, I can’t go back on it now!

Looking Back at 2013 – Fun & Memories – Part 2

I ran through my fun memories of the first half of 2013 in this post and here are the last half:

July

In July I had a chance to go tripping in summer with my friends Shawna & Dan as they showed me a little bit of their home. I had a blast as we went Cherry picking and I got to see parts of Washington I had not seen. I got to use the Truck for its intended purpose of hauling stuff around. I Also had another dream fulfilled when I got to step foot in OshKosh for the EAA Airventure.

From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From AirVenture 2013

August

In August while I was in OshKosh I got the chance to accompany a group of Vietnam Veterans on an Honor Flight to Washington DC. Words can not express exactly how amazing this day was and how many memories I have from it. Being the month of my Birthday there was lots of celebrations and a few friends came to visit. Another memorable experience was getting to see my parents as they were stopping in Vancouver for a brief visit. It was a great weekend (though only brief) and getting to spend more than 3 hours with my family was a memory I will not forget.

From EAA Honor Flight
From EAA Honor Flight
From Fiona's Visit
From Fiona's Visit
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver
From Family Visit to Vancouver

September

September saw my friend Yena come over to visit, (though she was here for the last couple of days of August as well but he, it counts) and getting to spend Labor Day weekend with a great friend and showing her my new home town and having some old school shenanigans like old times was great (like licking a GE90 to win a $20 bet). A memory I will not soon forget. September was also the month I had trained long and hard for. I competed in my first Triathlon, a Super Sprint distance event in Woodinville for the “Cottage Lake Tri” and I did so much better than I expected.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

October

Work got really busy towards the end of September but for most of October I actually spent my time in New Zealand, a good portion of the month actually. I was down there for training and the AOT Megafamil. I probably had what I think was my best famil ever and I enjoyed every minute of it. I met some amazing people, had a blast of a time and truly made friends who I hope to keep in touch with for quite some time. I also did some pretty stupid things, like Jump off a building or go on a giant canyon swing (without the canyon though) all to combat a fear. After getting back from New Zealand I jetted back east for a couple of days to Run my 2nd 10K race ever. I ran the Marine Corp Marathon 10K, something I had wanted to do for quite some time. If and when I ever get up to a full marathon, I want that race to be there as it felt like one of most amazing events I have seen.

From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – South Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K
From Marine Corp Marathon 10K

November & December

November was a tough month, No real travel, nothing happening really. There was thanksgiving which I spent at home but it was all work. I needed to get back to work after spending so much time off. I did manage to skip out to Kansas City for the start of December for my $100 challenge which I won and then the snowpocalypse happened as well towards the end of month. A pretty cool thing to experience for the second time in a year

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

It has been a year of ups and downs, both good and bad, but I have had a blast and have some memories that will last a life time. To my friends old & new who I have shared moments with this year, Thank you for making this year truly special.

Looking Back at 2013 – Fun & Memories – Part 1

After my post earlier in the week on my travels during 2013 I wanted to go back and talk about some of my favourite memories and fun moments from 2013. Some of these are travel related, but a lot of them are from around here in Seattle and surrounds. The easiest way to go through them is to do it month by month, there are quite a few I wanted to go through so this is going to be a photo heavy post.

January

Not much happened in January other than being here in Seattle but the more fun part was escaping south to Los Angeles for a bit of sun, warmth and getting my first photos at an iconic location, Randys Donuts.

From Artistic 2013

But the reason I was here was to get photos like this:

From LAX Spotting 2013

Where else can you get planes flying through a donut? January was also Australia Day back home, and over here it meant my friends having some fun with that by taking me to Outback Steakhouse for a true “Aussie” experience. While it was far from being authentic it was still a fun night.

February

February was the month of my first Superbowl here in the USA and a friend came to visit me that weekend, though I didn’t go out to any Superbowl parties, I did get to enjoy it on my couch, in real time, with the ads. A REAL american experience! My biggest fun memory from February was over Presidents Day weekend, my first Aviation Geek Fest, I was looking forward to it so much and after helping to organise it along with David and Sandy, it was going to be a big weekend. It was fun and I had a blast and I can’t wait for next year to do it all over again.

From Aviation Geek Fest 2013
From Aviation Geek Fest 2013

March

More work in march and the second half of my mileage running but the first dumping of snow in Seattle I was to ever experience was pretty much my biggest memory from this month

From Seattle Life 2013
From Seattle Life 2013

Pretty amazing yet scary experience for me at the same time

April

In April I headed home to Australia for a wedding and it was great to catch up with my friends. I also got to experience my first real First Class flights and that was truly a memory I will never forget.

From Wedding Time Down Under
From Wedding Time Down Under
From Wedding Time Down Under
From Wedding Time Down Under
From Wedding Time Down Under

May

In May I had my first experience of a Road Trip in the truck on my own when I drove down to Portland for a weekend and I also travelled out to New York for Memorial Day to do some stuff with Delta but to mainly try Cathay First Class. The big ticket item that month was the Paine Field Aviation Day. I smashed my time in the Annual Fly Day 5k and set a new 5K PB, which I was super happy with (though it lead to a very bad memory in the end) and I had a blast with my friends watching the good stuff in the air that day.

From PDX Road Trip
From PFAD 2013
From Memorial Day Firsts

June

Well, June was truly epic. Barely days after getting home from New York for the long weekend I was off again, this time for what was to me an amazing trip, one that I loved every second of. I flew to Hong Kong as part of the ANA Ambassador program to help promote the resumption of 787 services to North America. I had the most amazing time and I blogged heavily about it but here are a couple of photos of my favourite memories. I met some amazing people, did some amazing things I will never truly forget.

From ANA Ambassador Spotting & Artistic
From ANA Ambassador
From ANA Ambassador
From ANA Ambassador
From ANA Ambassador

But June was not totally a good memory. It was also the start of my toughest struggle. In Hong Kong while running along the waterfront, I strained my peraformis muscle. My first major injury ever, it made life very tough for me. I slumped into a bit of a depression and still battle with the after affects today. But it is moments like this that make us stronger, make us look at our selves and realise what we love and what we do in life. Though not a fun memory, it is a memory I will not forget from 2013

Looking back at 2013 – Travel

It’s the final week of the year and rather than moan on about how crappy christmas time is for someone who is seperated from their family (it is crap… avoid it), I am going to look back at some of the good times of the last 12 months. I did a MASSIVE amount of travelling in 2013. Both for work, pleasure and for the sheer hell of it. I did my first real mileage runs in 2013 with the BBQ run to Dallas and the Comfy run to Newark. Both taught me a few things about flying in the USA (never have tight connections in winter in the midwest, that is just CRAZY!). I tried a few new airlines, got to return to Asia and even managed 2 trips to the South Pacific.

Some of my favourite travel moments looking back over the last 12 months though all involve random events. Things like being photo bombed by a Qantas Cabin Manager

From Wedding Time Down Under

Having to replace stickers in LAX repeatedly

From LAX Avgeek Run

Or just random stupid things in New Zealand

From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island
From AOT NZ Megafamil – North Island

All in all I had a great time this year travelling but it was a big big year. I haven’t fully broken down my stats to see what aircraft was top but it will be a close call between a 737 and an A320. Though to be honest this year was filled with so many different types it will be hard to tell. Some of the stats that I do know though:

New Airports: Salt Lake City – SLC, Dallas Fort Worth – DFW, Memphis – MEM, Atlanta – ATL, Newark – EWR, San Jose – SJC, Madison – MSN, Green Bay – GRB, OshKosh – OSH, Washington DC National – DCA, Phoenix – PHX, Philladelphia – PHL, Kansas City – MCI

New Aircraft – MD-88, A321, 767-300 (non ER)

New Airlines – Cathay Pacific, Hawaiian, Southwest, American, US Airways, Jetblue & numerous Regional Airlines flying under other carriers (for Delta, United, & US Airways)

The biggest stat for the year though is my total mileage. I don’t think I have ever flown as many miles in my life. It definately beats last year and I think also the year I flew around the world. My total mileage for 2013 was 83,071! That is a LOT! When you put all the cities on the one map it looks like this:

All My travelling in 2013 layed out on a map

All My travelling in 2013 layed out on a map

That is a LOT! Obviously the 3 trips across the Pacific gave me a good portion of that mileage (over half at least), but it was a pretty fun year. Not sure what travelling will entail in 2014, but i don’t think it will be as big… but who knows!

Sunday Night Avgeek Porn

Well as the weekend comes to a close I spend most of my time working pn photos from the weekends spotting. But this Saturday morning allowed something a little bit special… some Mt Rainier goodness, but I will let the photos do the talking.

American Airlines - 777-300ER

American Airlines – 777-300ER

Cathay Pacific Cargo - 747-8F

Cathay Pacific Cargo – 747-8F

Air India - 787-8

Air India – 787-8

Trip Report: To Kansas for BBQ – Seattle to Kansas City

Saturday 7th April 2013

A leisurely morning almost compared to my usual trips as I could sleep in till a half normal time, work out, have breakfast and partially clean the house all with a couple of coffees under my belt and making my flight without a hassle. An extra coffee for the truck and I was headed out a little delayed waiting for something to upload to my tablet. I was travelling light this time with just my duffle and a backpack. No SLR, no laptop, just the tablet and my p&s.

From Kansas City BBQ Run

I made it to the parking garage with good timing and by the time I hit the terminal since I already had my boarding pass I was looking good if the lines were not to bad, sadly… they were not good. I tried and old trick since the Alaska mobile boarding passes barely showed any information and used the United/Alaska premium security entry and funnily enough they let me through showing my Gold Card. O silly Seattle TSA, how Gullible you are.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

Through security (eventually), grab a photo of one of the numerous Alaska special liveries at SeaTac that morning and onto the Train to the N Gates, popping out just about 10 minutes before boarding should commence. Being mindful that Alaska board almost an hour before departure for some unknown reason. Ran into someone I knew for a quick hello and chat, grabbing a printed boarding pass and then it was to Starbucks for more coffee and a water bottle fill and I was off to the gate, rocking up just as boarding started for general economy.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

Alaska Airlines – AS762
Seattle Tacoma to Kansas City International (SEA-MCI)
1030-1542
Boeing 737-900 (N315AS)
Economy Class – Seat 24A

Boarding: 0950 (Gate N3)
Push Back: 1029
Take off Roll: 1040 (Runway 34R)
Top of Descent: 1513
Touch Down: 1540 (Runway 1L)
Shut Down: 1458 (Gate 59)

Boarding for my area was called and I was off to the back of the flight, all the way back. Being a 737-900 (my 3rd flight on the type) it is like boarding an A321… lots of way to go to the back (not as much though but you get the idea). The whole point of this trip was doing it on the cheap, I wasn’t checking bags or anything so I just sucked it up and went all the way to back like I was meant to. Luckily I was at the front of the line so I did manage to get some overhead bin space. With a full flight expected I stashed my gear and sat down as quickly as possible.

From Kansas City BBQ Run

All my gear stored appropriately and I was doing the usual pre flight stuff (photos, log book, general tweeting) and next thing I know the doors are shut, theres a middle seat next to me free and we are pushing back. SCORE! What was even better was the sun was out as we pushed back and although it was freakishly cold the light was awesome. So as we taxiied past a few specials and some heavies at the South Terminal, I saw the Spirit of Hawaii (which had been parked at the gate next to ours) sitting in the penalty box… o no! We took off ahead of them and pretty soon we were turning left towards the east and parts unknown.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

It was wierd to be using my phone and tablet all the way over as it was my first flight with the new PED rules and I do like it! Managed to get through a good chunk of my book but sadly, no music for the first part of the flight. I hadn’t checked the batteries on my headphones so as soon as I turned them on, they went dead. Checked for spares…none… DOH! So no music till I could take out my earplugs.. dammit, ah well.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

We cruised east and the crew started a very long service process, selling their entertainment systems, then food, then we can get a drink. But it was ok I had water and thought ahead to bring some lunch with me. Bagel, Turkey and some carrots. Boring, cheap ($3 total) and filling enough for a 3 hour flight. With a diet lemonade I was ok enough. Even managed a few rounds before they closed up service. What did I do on the flight? I read, used some free wifi thanks to Gogo and just bummed about.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

We started descent somewhere outside of the airport, I had no idea where I was or what should or shouldn’t look familiar so just took it all in. As we approached Kansas City (Missouri side) you could see a sprinkling of snow around the airport, which did not bode well at all really. It was going to be cold, I had expected that but I didn’t want it to snow on me. We came back around after going the long way into the airport. As we touched down and cleared the runway it was a plethora of trijets on the freight ramp. A couple of 727s and an MD11F, add on a DC9 as well and it was awesome vintage time. Off in the distance was a couple of ex Qantas 767s awaiting destruction as well. It is always unique being in the midwest. The rest of the airport seemed deserted with just one or two aircraft in existence it seemed.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

We pulled into the gates next to a Delta 757 and just like that my flight to Kansas City is over. By the time I Was able to extricate myself from the back of the plane, I was prepped to grab my jacket from my bag before I froze to death. That didn’t take all that long as once you leave the gates your about 4 steps from the landside of the terminal…Aircraft to Landside in less than 10 metres…. SCORE! Next thing I know its time to get my jacket out and get moving, since I had just officially stepped foot in a new state.

From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run
From Kansas City BBQ Run

Trip Report: To Kansas for BBQ – Introduction

I had set myself a goal this year to be able to add at least one more state to my list of US States visited and unfortunately I had left it pretty late to get to that point. Without it I would go one short on some of my goals and that could not be so. But I didn’t want to spend all that much money really. It’s the end of the year, travel is expensive in the holiday season so it was time to use up some of those points that are just floating around.

I had enough points in my Alaska account for a round trip economy or enough in my american for a one way in first. So I figured round trip economy would be perfectly fine but if i took some out of each I could get away with a bit more choice. But where to? The two easiest places for me to get to were either Kansas City or Anchorage. Both would add points off my list, both had interests to keep me going for at least 24 hours if required. The issue was picking which one to visit. Yes Alaska at this time of year is freezing cold, but then where isn’t. But the time of year it would not be all that much light during the day, so that would be cool I guess. Getting some plane spotting in for a day and seeing Alaska would be nice. But then there is Kansas City where I can knock two states off for the price of one, as the Airport is technically in Kansas City Missouri a few miles from the Kansas City in Kansas… I like this idea. A friend out there tempted me further by offering to show me around and take me for some good BBQ as well. It wouldn’t be the first time I had flown across the country for BBQ, might as well do it again right?

Flights booked and thanks to using points and times etc it was going to be my most boring trip of the year almost with tickets on the Alaska direct flights in each direction, the price in cash outlay $5 total, points was down a good 25,000 all up with half from each of my Alaska & AA accounts. Not a big deal there. Next came picking a hotel, this was probably going to be the most expensive part of it. But the day after I booked the flights, IHG released their points break list where they offer accommodation for 5000 points, well under what they normally offer. Funnily enough a hotel in Kansas City Kansas was on the list. I snatched it up instantly. Hell I could now justify both states as I was flying into one and staying in the other. It may of been a little bit out of the main downtown core but who cares. Total cost to me $0 cash, 5000 points.

So car hire was booked on the usual last minute specials that National offers and I was looking at a damn cheap trip, what with a cost of less than $45 in cash outlay on the three essentials I was look pretty good, it was just time to wait for the day to arrive.

I believe it’s Winter

I do believe temperatures below 32F make this the coldest I have ever dealt with, the final few days of last week proved that last winter was nothing and that I am in for a rude surprise.

Even with stupidly cold weather the weekend was good. Why? I escaped into the sky. I was back in the air for probably my last time for the year, time to get those laat few miles towards the end of year run. I managed to add some new experiences to the list.

A new airport is always good and I added Kansas City International to it, add on the fact i crossed two more States offy list in the one trip and I think that is good just for that! But I also experienced snow for the third time, real falling snow. I didn’t go out running in it this time (learnt that lesson) but I did get out and drive in it (not that I had much choice).

I wil have a full rundown and trip report from the weekend on this blog, plus the $100 challenge piece on AirlineReporter.com but it was a successful weekend. What started off as an excuse to get some more bbq turned into a pretty fun weekend. Who knows maybe an annual BBQ run should happen?