Sunday, 28 June 2015

Still flying after all these years

Living on the approach path to Okęcie airport, my senses are finely attuned to air traffic that's out of the ordinary. Sounds that make me grab my camera and dash to a window. Most of what flies in and out of Okęcie is twin-jet airliners, mainly Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s and Embraer ERJ175s and 195s. Some twin turboprops, like the Bombardier Q400s and ATR 42s and 72s. And these five types sum up around 95% of the planes flying over Jeziorki. The Queen of the Skies around here is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operated by LOT. Ah - and Emirates' Airbus 330.

Military stuff is interesting, as are planes built a long long time ago. So when this morning I heard the distant roar of four turbojets in the distance, I knew something interesting was on its way. Indeed - the Israeli Air Force's increasingly infrequent flights of a Boeing 707 to Warsaw.

So I grabbed my camera - and snapped as it passed. Wonderful sight. Like a steam train or classic car. Well maintained and still flying after all these years (this particular example was built in 1974, spent time in China before being bought and refurbished by the Israeli Air Force in 1998 and fitted out for air-to-air refueling - note boom under rear fuselage).

Below: Israeli Air Force Boeing 707, serial no. 264. approaching Warsaw Okęcie. Overhead, an Aeroflot Airbus A330 leaves a pair of contrails as it passes over Warsaw at 33,000ft.

Below: leaving a cloud of soot worthy of a steam locomotive, the 707 makes its final approach. Built in 1973, this plane was used by communist China from 1973 to 1993, when it was bought and refurbished by the Israeli Air Force. So this particular aircraft has been flying for 42 years.

The last time I snapped an Israeli Air Force Boeing 707 (indeed any 707) was four years ago in late June 2011. Good to see these aircraft still in service. They remind me of my childhood, not far from London's Heathrow Airport, when the Boeing 707 was an everyday sight.

Another Israeli transport Boeing snapped this month was this El Al 747-400 freighter (4X-ELF) that visited on Sunday 4 June. Its presence at Okęcie drew a large crowd of spotters. The blueness of the sky, the glistening whiteness of its fuselage against a dark green forest and the airport infrastructure including razor wire fence creates a Sublime Aesthetic feel.

This particular aircraft is far younger than the 707 - built in 1994; no veteran but still a plane with 21 years of service behind it. How long will the Dreamliners that LOT has bought keep flying?

This time last year:
Yorkshire's smallest city

This time two years ago:
Cramp in the night

This time three years ago:
Football goes home

This time four years ago:
Birds of Omen

This time five years ago:
Yes, it does matter who you vote for

This time six years ago:
Poland could do with some more mountains

This time seven years ago:
Warmth of the Sun
- the Beach Boys and Noctilucence

This time eight years ago:
Polish roads that look like America

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Good to see a big freighter in Warsaw.
This means high value items being shipped directly, and cheaper, to and from Poland.
This option will be a big advantage over shipping everything by truck to Frankfurt am Main first. Yes the other Frankfurt.

Regards, Alexander