Spotting Report: Dreamlifting Weekend at Nagoya Centrair Airport

Dreamlifting in Nagoya

Posted: March 22, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, the friend that I organized the Iran tour with received an invitation to participate in an aviation memorabilia show at Nagoya Centrair airport to promote the Iran tour and also to sell some goods. After a bit of discussions, we decided to take the chance to promote our upcoming tour. Besides participating in the show, we also managed to do some spotting at Centrair airport resulting in photographing not only the first 787 prototype, but also the Dreamlifter. But more about that below…

Quick Spotting Before the Show

The show was held on March 20th from 10AM until 3PM. We decided to go by car, and so after an overnight drive, we arrived at the airport and unloaded all the promotion materials and goods for sale.

Before the show started, we prepared the tables, but we also did a quick trip to the observation deck as the Finnair flight was operated by an A330 in special colors.

We were also surprised to see a Cathay A340 taxiing for take-off, and of course we could not leave without taking a picture.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 departing Nagoya bound for Hong Kong.
Finnair Airbus A330-300 (OH-LTO) in Marimekko special colors taxiing to its stand after arriving from Helsinki.

The Show

We got back to the hall where the show was held about five minutes after 10, and the hall was already crowded.

The rest of the day, we spent enjoying introducing our tour, selling aviation goods ranging from amenity kits to safety cards, and just meeting other aviation enthusiasts in general.

Yukihiro introducing our “Iranian Skies & Cities” tour.

After the show, as we were tired following the overnight drive, we had a quick dinner at the airport and headed straight to our hotel.

Almost Missing the “Jimbei” 737 Completely

The next day, we were planning to leave the hotel early to photograph the 7:40AM departure of JTA’s special colors. Unfortunately, due to being tired, we arrived at the airport a couple of minutes too late, and the aircraft was already taxiing for take-off.

As such, we were not able to get a shot of it taxiing by, but at least we managed to snap it on the runway.

Japan Transocean Air Boeing 737-400 (JA8939) in special Jimbei colors taking off bound for Naha, Okinawa.

The next 30 minutes, we spent on the very windy deck taking pictures of the traffic. After ANA’s green DHC-8 departed, we decided to leave the deck for a bit and head to the perimeter.

Spring Airlines Airbus A320-200 (B-6561) taking off from runway 36.
ANA Bombardier DHC-8-400 in special ECO colors taxiing for take-off.

Nagoya: The Land of Dreamliners

The reason we went to the perimeter was “N787BA” – the first Boeing 787 prototype. It was donated by Boeing to Nagoya in 2015, since Japan has played a crucial role in developing the aircraft and since major parts of the aircraft are manufactured around Nagoya.

Currently, the aircraft is parked a ten minute walk from the terminal, and can be photographed through the mesh fence in the morning.

Yukihiro and Akiko photographing the 787 through the mesh fence.
…and my photo of the aircraft. Love the Boeing house colors!

While photographing it, we noticed wing parts sitting outside next to the parking spot dedicated to the Dreamlifter – a 747 specially modified to carry 787 parts from across the world to the US for final assembly.

Boeing 787 Wing Part
787 wing parts resting on the Centrair airport apron. The Dreamlifter must be coming?!

…and indeed, when we checked FR24, we found the Dreamlifter there, heading towards Nagoya!

“5Y4512” heading towards Centrair. The Dreamlifters are operated by Atlas Air.

After taking enough photos of the 787, we headed back to the deck to wait for the arrival of the Dreamlifter, and also for the departure of a Cathay Pacific A340 in OneWorld colors.

A sign on the deck introducing the Dreamliner and the Dreamlifter. We were lucky to see both!
Centrair airport offers a nice observation deck. Unfortunately, the light is only good for photography in early morning.
Centrair airport offers a nice observation deck. Unfortunately, the light is only good for photography in early morning.

While Cathay was supposed to depart before Dreamlifter’s arrival, it ended up being the other way around.

First, however, some regular traffic.

Tigerair Taiwan Airbus A320-200 (B-50011) departing bound for Taipei.
United Airlines Boeing 737-800 (N77296) with the new Split Scimitar winglets taxiing after arrival from Guam.

Before long, we could spot the very distinctly shaped aircraft approaching runway 36 of Centrair airport.

The Dreamlifter approaching runway 36 on the right side with the payload awaiting to be hauled to the US pictured on the left side.
The star of the day slowing down after touchdown.

After touching down, it passed in front of the deck on its way to its parking spot.

The Dreamlifter vacating the runway.
…turning onto the taxiway.
A close-up – what a strange looking airplane! It’s hard to believe it can fly!
…and taxiing to its parking spot.

As we wanted to see the aircraft open itself (to fit the large parts, the aircraft “folds” itself), we photographed some regular traffic including the not-so-regular Cathay OneWorld A340 for a bit.

JCAB’s (Japan Civil Aviation Bureau) new toy – Cessna 525C Citation CJ4.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 (B-HXG) in OneWorld colors departing bound for Hong Kong.

Finally, vehicle attached to the powerless Dreamlifter door started moving and turning the aircraft into an L-shape.

Apologies for the backlit photo. Think it is worth showing the Dreamlifter “broken” in half in spite of the light conditions.

Once the door was open, we left the deck to head back towards Tokyo.

Green Post Boxes on Our Way Home

A little bonus to end with.

On our way back we made a quick stop in Nishio close to Nagoya that is famous for its “matcha” green tea.

Due to this, some of the town’s post boxes are painted green instead of the usual red.

Matcha Post Box
One of the “matcha” colored post boxes in Nishio.

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