The calendar read February 18th, but it felt more like May 18th. Spring, almost Summer was in the air for several days during a week of record warmth in the Upper Midwest. Temperatures were in the upper 60’s to low 70’s with clear blue skies made for a perfect opportunity for some spotting and photographer! What better way to enjoy the weather than to spend it down at Chicago O’Hare Airport (KORD).
Chicago O’Hare has two different traffic patterns: West Flow with arrivals on Runways 27 Right and Left, also Runway 28 Center. Departures will be on Runway 28 Right and Runway 22 Left. East Flow will see arrivals on Runways 10 Right and Center, also Runway 9 Left. Departures will be off Runway 10 Left and Runway 9 Right. We were treated to one day of each traffic flow. The traffic was continuous both days with a great mix of the usual traffic but a great mix of special color schemes as well.
Several different freighters including an Air China Cargo 777F, Atlas with the 747-400F in an all-white color scheme, a 747-8F from Silkway Azerbaijan Airlines, and a rare Sunday appearance of the Turkish Cargo A330F. The airline “Alliances” were also seen with an Air Berlin A330-200 and a Qatar Airlines 777-300 wearing One World titles. The Star Alliance was represented by Avianca with an A320-200 and United with a 777-200. Delta provided a 767-300 in Skyteam colors. The Low Cost Carriers (LCC’s) were out in force with Frontier providing A320’s in three different colors, and three different A321’s. Spirit Airlines had A319’s, A320’s, and A321’s in three different color schemes. One of the A320’s was a brand new A320-NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft only 4 months old. Virgin America, soon to be part of Alaska Airlines, was present with an A320-200 wearing San Francisco Giants titles.
The major domestic US and international airlines also provided several unique color schemes as well. United Airlines provided the Eco Skies 737-900 which denotes its pledge to reduce its’ environmental footprint. American Airlines treated us with the 737-800 wearing a Yellow Ribbon on its tail and wears “Flagship Liberty In Support of All Who Serve” titles on the fuselage. Alaska Airlines provided its 737-800 painted in its special “Employee Powered” colors, the signatures of its employees can be seen on the back part of the fuselage. Japan Airlines also had their specially painted Sky Eco 777-300 on hand. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines brightened things up with a 747-400M freshly painted in their new colors.
Perfect weather, perfect sky, and most certainly perfect subjects to photograph. You could not ask much more from a February weekend in the Upper Midwest.
Until next time, “Blue Skies to All”!