A couple of brief visits to Long Beach Airport provided Paul Dunn with some rather nice movements in very pleasant conditions.
Recently I had a trip to the Los Angeles area. Having spent the early part of the day on a visit down to the south of the city, followed by a couple of frustrating hours unsuccessfully chasing helicopters along the Pacific coast, I was heading back to the hotel in Long Beach when I decided to take a detour to the airport. It turned out to be a good decision, as the late afternoon light was great, and there was a great group of local (and not so local!) snappers there who made it a very pleasant diversion.
The majority of airline movements at Long Beach are JetBlue A320s, and several jets came in an out during the time I was there. I quite like JetBlue aircraft, as they have a selection of different tail designs, and all the aircraft have names, rather unusual these days!
Long Beach also sees some regular cargo movements. While stuck in traffic on the I405, a FedEx A300 flew over on short finals, and I was rather disappointed to have missed it, but a UPS 767 did arrive while I was there, which went someway towards making up for it.
Gulfstream have a facility at the airport where they paint and finish new aircraft, and also service older models, so there are normally a decent number of Gulfstreams of various models and ages to be seen. Indeed there were several brand new G650s on the ramp, some of which were unpainted in green primer. A G650 flew a local flight while I was there – a very impressive machine, with it’s LED landing lights making it a distinctive sight while still a long way out on the approach.
As well as the larger freighters, a couple of smaller cargo aircraft also appeared, including a Fairchild Metro and Beech 1900 belonging to Ameriflight. These aircraft parked near the UPS 767, and freight was transferred between the smaller and larger aircraft.
Happily, the FedEx A300 which I had missed earlier departed shortly before sunset, when the light was at its nicest – I do like shooting freighters, especially older jets like the A300.
In the last light of the day, a couple of nice regional jets arrived; a Frontier Embraer E190 and a Alaska (Skywest) CRJ700 before it was time to hit the road and head to the hotel for some rest.
Next day, I made the decision to return to Long Beach for a brief visit before my flight home in the evening, which turned out to be another good decision. Long Beach is probably most famous as the former home of McDonnell Douglas. Since the merger with Boeing, the facility has progressively got quieter until the only aircraft produced here today is the C-17 Globemaster III.
Earlier in the day, a brand new aircraft had been delivered to the USAF, and there were also two undelivered Indian Air Force examples to be seen on the airfield. As well as building new aircraft, the plant at Long Beach also modifies and repairs aircraft in the existing fleet, and I was pleased to catch a jet from the 60th AMW at Travis AFB, departing the modification facility following work.
Once again, there were several JetBlue arrivals, pleasingly including one of their special colour scheme jets, painted in the colours of the NFL team the NY Jets.
FedEx provided my highlight of the day, with the afternoon service being operated by an A310. With the A310 fleet being progressively reduced in size and the retirement of the type being accelerated, I was particularly pleased to catch one in nice conditions.
With that it was time to head to the airport. A very pleasant couple of hours on both days, made especially so by meeting some great people – regards especially go to Michael Carter and Adam Wright. Hope to catch up with both of you again soon.