Paul Filmer's 2010 blogGAR Entries

JUL 02 2010
Chasing Old Jets at Denver International

At my local International airport, Denver (DIA), it had been noticed that a Capital Air Cargo Boeing 727 had recently been arriving in place of the normal DHL Boeing 767. It seemed prudent to check it out considering that 727s are becoming scarce. Its normal schedule showed that it usually arrives between 05:30 and 06:00, apart from a Monday when it's in at 03:45! DIA is about an hour from where I live and to make sure I had enough buffer time I left the house at 04:00.

She arrived on runway 17R just at sun up which made the fuselage a weird shade of pink, so I'll have to do another early morning to try again. The ATI daily DC-8 flight was due 30 minutes later so it would've been rude not to hang around and shoot that as well. As fellow photographer Louis was with me we decided to hang out a little longer and shoot the westerly departures on 08. As luck would have it a UPS A300 and a FedEx Boeing 727 used this runway to depart when we were there. The Capital 727 unfortunately uses runway 25 to depart to the east and that runway is impossible to shoot this time of the morning.

DIA has 6 runways and covers 50 square miles so shooting can be a challenge, but if you're adventurous and willing to explore there are some glorious spots to shoot from. When I moved here in 2002 I read all over the internet that it was impossible to shoot here, but all those photographers were shooting from near the terminal and associated buildings and would get hassled by the police. I can never understand why people don't explore.

After shooting a FedEx MD-11 and MD-10 depart on 17R I decided to do a big loop home via Rocky Mountain Metro to check if any of the air-tankers were flying. The answer was no, but to my surprise WP-3D N43RF belonging to NOAA was on the NCAR ramp. I last saw this aircraft in Alaska but it was holed up in a hangar and I had to use the ultra wide 10mm lens.

Later that afternoon Louis called and told me he had tracked down the owner of a Boeing 727 he saw a few weeks ago at DIA. N17773 is a private Boeing 727 used by our local baseball team and it was due back home at 20:00. In for a penny, in for a pound, so we arranged to meet again at DIA later. Just before she landed on 16R we got a bonus FedEx 727 arriving on the same runway, but the light was fading fast behind a huge black storm front.

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