20 Feet from an A220 @ Dulles Airport | July 2, 2020

So, yesterday I went to Dulles to catch the first A220 to ever land in the DC area, a Delta A220-100 (CS100 as it said in front of the nose gear door) from Orlando. It was operating as a cargo flight for Delta, number DL8910. It was a guessing game for me, as there was no way to know until about 10 minutes from landing what runway she’d take, either 1R or 1C. I was between the spotting location for 1C/19C, Daily Parking Garage 2, and the spotting location for 19L, Daily Garage 1. I would have a hard time getting her if she went to 1R, but I knew that she would land on 1C for three reasons:

  1. Cargo flights generally land on 1C at Dulles because it is closest to the cargo apron, though I had no idea until I saw the aircraft that she was a cargo flight
  2. The arrival gate was TBA, which usually meant parking on the remote apron or in the cargo area
  3. Previous Delta flights operating under a 88XX or 89XX flight number to Dulles have all parked in the cargo apron.

I heard on frequency that the pilot wanted to land on 1C, so my prediction was correct, and I ran up to the top of the Daily 2 garage (you can’t park in it because the number 2 garage is for employees only), expecting to see a lot of people like when I went to spot the AN-124 a month ago, only to find that my mom and I were the only ones there. We waited for a few minutes, and during those few minutes, I got pictures of some aircraft with my new Canon T7 Rebel with a 70-300mm lens.

N26FE, a Bombardier Challenger 300, banking left off of 1R to an unknown destination (possibly Memphis).

OE-LPD, a special Austrian Airlines aircraft in the ‘My Sound of Austria’ livery, loading up at gate B51 for flight OS94 back to Vienna

HZ-AK31, a Saudia 777-3FG(ER) which had just arrived from Jeddah

So, we waited a bit more, and finally, I saw the A220 in the difference. I was listening to the frequency when the A220 had just tuned into Approach, and the controller was confused by the callsign and aircraft type, with the Delta Airlines callsign, and an aircraft that he thought was a helicopter:

Approach: “And… 8910… what is your aircraft type?”
Delta 8910: “An Airbus A220, sir.”
Approach: “Ah, ok. I didn’t recognize the aircraft type.”
Another aircraft on frequency: “It’s made in Canada!”

That last part cracked me up when I heard it. It was so random.

So, the aircraft touched down in the 95 degree heat, hence the heat haze from hell in many of these pictures.

Delta 8910 not quite greasing on 1C, but it was a good landing.

The aircraft passing by a large group of stored United 767s and 777s on an apron between 1C and 1L, as well as the weekly UPS 767 that stays parked for a couple of days at a time.

The aircraft, N124DU, perpendicular to me on top of the garage.

She is taxiing to the cargo apron as I thought!

So, we finish on the top of the garage and walk back to my mom’s car, and I ask her to take me to a parking lot near the apron, with a fence between the two, and we park and I get to see her in all her glory from just a few feet away! Also one of the ground workers waved at me while I was taking pictures!

Please let me know which photo was your favorite! Also, are any of these ok for jetphotos? I know the first bunch are definitely not, but any of the photos on the ramp?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

0 voters


Also, please read all of the text, and not just look at the pictures. Thanks!


These are some great pictures and lots of information!

1 Like

Unfortunately I think the second to last is the only chance. The others are backlit (so annoying) or have obstructions and poor quality. Second one has a thing in front of the engine and I’m not 100% if that counts as an obstruction. Great pictures just try not to get backlit

1 Like

There was no way to not get backlit here. The only locations for spotting 1C/19C at Dulles are facing west, against the sun. Thanks for the feedback tho!

1 Like

Gotta rise and shine for that location or find a different location for convenience. I’m sure IAD has other spots

1 Like

I have a 420-800mm lens on order, though it may make the lighting worse.

1 Like

I’m still trying to figure out how this is a freighter flight? Usually DL uses the 89XX callsigns for charters

1 Like

Second to last is a no go unless you can convince them that the motive of the shot is to show that it’s connected to ground power, which you won’t be doing, so unfortunately it’s not going to make it.

1 Like

What’s the f stop? Unless it’s some like f/10 beast you should be fine if you can bump the iso. 1/400, and even 1/800+ ss isn’t that hard to do on a sunny day, but a longer lense won’t fix the backlight, only a different time of day, or angle could do that…

the 420-800 is f/8.3-16

1 Like

Ya, on a sunny day you should be mostly fine exposure wise. Now, if it’s a lens where the apiture gets smaller as you go out, then like f/12 or something at 1/800/sec could be difficult on all but the sunniest of days. The backlit though won’t go away because you have a longer lens.

You can’t go wrong with the A220!! (And no I’m not an A220 fanboy, my dad instructs on it for Delta so I have a personal connection to it)

Really really cool pictures of my favourite airplane! Such a photogenic one! Also a hilarious ATC conversation you wrote about in the text and nice pictures of the Austrian and Saudis B777s as well.

Thanks for sharing!!

1 Like

Thank you! Glad you liked the ATC remarks!

1 Like

Really awesome photos! A220 = Best narrowbody aircraft.

And sorry to say, like @N1RG said, this isn’t cargo.

It likely came in empty from MCO and then took a sports team down there. These past few weeks Delta has been running several sports charters, with many flying under DL8910.


This aircraft was used to fly my beloved DC United down to Orlando for the #MLSisBack tournament. Great photos though! If you look carefully there are a lot of MLS teams arriving today:



That’s interesting, because when I got there, they were unloading some cargo boxes out of the aircraft. Guess it served both purposes?

1 Like

Could just be transporting supplies for the team. All the players posted pictures throughout Instagram of inside the aircraft, and no cargo was onboard except team equipment.

1 Like

That was for the return flight back to MCO. This was the day before, right as the aircraft got there. The world will never know (except the ground crew workers and cargo masters).