Photo of Note: T-38 chases 787 fuel jettison test

As often happens in aviation, there are eyes in the most unlikely places. On Monday, ZA004 restarted 787 certification operations with a test of its fuel jettison system. While high in the skies over Arizona, the system was tested along with one of Boeing’s T-38 chase planes. You’ll also note the wings are a day-glo red, for a reason that I’m not entirely sure of at the moment. Though my first guess would have to do with visual contrast of fuel venting against the wing. Either way, it makes for a heck of a shot of the 787 against a brilliant blue sky.


Photo Credit John Bezosky

Pima Air and Space Museum

8 Responses to Photo of Note: T-38 chases 787 fuel jettison test

  1. AirShowFan January 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    I was lucky enough to get one like that of a 747-8 flutter test:

  2. Niyoko January 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    Plane spotters are the best eyes on the sky. (^-^)
    This is a great look at the testing process in action. I love seeing the plane come together as well as seeing it being tested.

    I enjoyed the 777 PBS documentary that covered a lot of the building, testing, and struggles or that plane. The has to be one in the pipeline for the 787. :)

  3. niyoko January 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm #


    Wow. Do you have to use a special lense for a shot like that? I also wonder at what flight level they preformed that flutter test, FL300+?

    Nice Shot!!

  4. Hans January 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Jon, my guess is it’s akin to the dye applied to the fuselage during water trough tests. They want to see where/if fuel runs around the wings and/or if any gets onto the horizontal stabilizer.

  5. AirShowFan January 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    I don’t know how high they were (I tried looking up that May 15th flight on FlightAware but you have to pay to see records that far back) but I figure it’s gotta be in that rough neighborhood, i.e. cruise altitude give or take.

    And I’m not sure whether you consider a 100-400L to be a “special lens”; A good deal of airshow photographers use it. That photograph I linked to was waaaaay cropped, too, as you can see by the grain. And the one on this post (which is not mine) was also way cropped, as you can see by the aberration, but the noise reduction is more aggressive (and better-done, I should admit). In both cases, I bet the airplane took up roughly 10-20% of the width of the frame; You really have to zoom into the picture to really know what the airplane is!

    Got some great shots just now of ZA102′s first flight. I’d link to them here but then the spam filter would eat my post :[

  6. Aero Ninja January 20, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Does anybody else think the fuse, in this picture, looks wide and stubby? Especially when compared to the wings?

  7. StarBlue January 20, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Aero Ninja – Some of that is chromatic aberration. Digital camera’s are more prone to it than film, but it happens in film too. Mostly is due to the way light gets bent going through many lenses before it hits the film/sensor.

    BUT even some of the ground shots, the -8 can look stubby. That is why I think the -9 and hopefully the -10 will look more lean and graceful. If you really want to see stubby, look at a 747SR! However the -8i to me looks awsome.

  8. anonymou January 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    The red dye is to determine if fuel impinges on the airplane. I believe it changes colors when fuel contacts it.