PHOTOS: Elston Hill photographs behind-the-scenes at Sea-Tac Airport


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Resident Elston Hill was invited recently to get a behind-the-scenes tour of Sea-Tac Airport’s environmental program, and here’s what he photographed:

A couple weeks ago, Jackie and I were privileged to attend a presentation at Sea-Tac Airport regarding their environmental program. The program is impressive. All taxis coming to the airport must sip gasoline sparingly—mostly Prius taxi cabs. When a plane comes in to a gate, it is hooked up to electrical outlets and air ventilation so that the engine is turned off—the yellow tubes and cords below (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

As most of us know, bees are endangered. Hence, the airport maintains hives of bees that use the vegetation surrounding the airport. South of the airport, Sea-Tac is also turning an old golf course into a flower meadow for bees:

There are several large retention ponds to catch water runoff from the airport. This water is cleaned before it is released into streams that drain into Burien, Des Moines, and Normandy Park. Note the nets above the pond – these make the ponds inaccessible so as not to attract birds to the airport:

Most interesting are the lures around the airport to trap raptors. These are cages with pigeons. The pigeons are safe. When a predator such as a hawk flies down to catch them, a door closes at the top to catch the predator bird which is then released in the wild. Many of the cages have wifi to notify the naturalist to come remove the predator:

Another interesting feature is the fence around the airport. The fence goes down several feet below the ground to keep coyotes from digging under the fence to come on the runway.

When we visited the airport a couple weeks ago, we traveled around the air field in a bus. Not a great place to take pictures. Marco, Program Manager, saw our equipment and invited us back. Today we returned  and Brian was kind enough to drive us around the field again to take pictures. Our tour was made even more interesting by the presence of Jon Ostrower, Aviation Editor for CNN.

Our trip had barely begun when we encountered some new firefighters practicing the hosing down of an airplane. Brian asked the firefighters if we could take pictures and they told us where to park and stand to observe their practice:

Driving north, we discovered an Amazon Prime airplane unloading Amazon Prime shipments:

Jackie in the sign shop:

Doing maintenance on an aircraft:

Not that many passenger 747 planes land at SeaTac.  So Brian let us watch as this Lufthansa flight taxied up and took off for Frankfurt:

At the north end of the runway, a Delta Commuter plane flew overhead:

I am guessing from the bright color that this is a Spirit Airlines flight:

A Virgin Atlantic 787 arriving from London:

An Alaska commuter plane:

At the south end is snow removal equipment:

Radar:

With 13,000 spaces, Sea-Tac Airport parking garage is the second largest parking garage on the planet. The airport is doing its best to promote public transportation to the airport:

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Comments

One Response to “PHOTOS: Elston Hill photographs behind-the-scenes at Sea-Tac Airport”
  1. Theresa says:

    Once again, most excellent pictures and reporting, Mr. and Mrs. Hill. My favorite artistically is the blades on the snow-removal equipment. Thank you for sharing!

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