If You Snooze You Lose – Missing the Dreamlifter

The move to Seattle meant lots of new things to shoot and that includes the Boeing 747-400LCF Dreamlifters.  These transport the components for the Boeing 787s between the production locations and the final assembly lines.  We were sitting indoors one Sunday afternoon when I saw one was inbound to Paine Field.  I figured the light would be okay so I would head out to catch it.  I had a bit of time.  Did I get up there and then or did I mess around for a bit?  You guessed right if you think I was wasting time.

I did finally get going.  I head the scanner on in the car to listen out for it and, sure enough, as I was driving towards the field I heard them call final.  As I got closer, the unmistakable shape of the jet was on short final.  By the time I got there, it was safely on the ground.  Crap!  I was in place for it taxiing back to the base they operate out of.  However, I would have been a lot happier if I had caught it in the air.  Was the other stuff I was doing worth it?  Since I can’t remember what it was, I seriously doubt it.

Posted in aircraft, civil, Pacific Northwest, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fremont Bridge

Bascule bridges were a popular thing for me when we lived in Chicago.  The Chicago River was crossed by many of them and I liked watching them being opened when the sailboats were entering or leaving the lake.  Fremont also has a bascule bridge and it is really nicely looked after.  It is well painted and seems to have a few decorative elements.  We also got lucky with it opening as we were walking along the trail that runs underneath it.  I wonder how good it looks at night.  I guess I will have to come back and find out!

Posted in Pacific Northwest, photo | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dormant Centerline Jammer

The Growlers use the same jamming pod that came from the Prowler.  A new jamming system is in development but, for now, the ALQ-99 is the system that they have and the pods are the same pods.  The jamming power comes from a generator that is powered by a turbine mounted on the front of the pod.  As the jet flies along, the turbine spins in the airflow and provides the “juice” to power the electronics within.  Even at relatively low speeds the turbine gets rotating.  However, when the jets come in to land, if they have a centerline pod, the turbine is not moving.  I don’t know whether the blockage from the nose gear doors is enough to stop it or whether it is deliberately switched off.  However, the turbine blades are feathered and it is not moving.  Compare the wing mounted pods and the motion and blade angle is clearly different.

Posted in aircraft, military, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Troll Lives Under the Bridge

How many childhood stories included a troll?  I never even got to think what a troll really was.  They just seemed to live under bridges and take pleasure in making life miserable for anyone coming across the bridge.  When you think about how mean spirited they were, it isn’t difficult to see how the name has been co-opted for modern usage.  Fremont on the north side of Seattle has its own troll.  It probably has many of the modern version but this one is old school.

Situated under a bridge that takes the road down to the city center, the troll is rather large.  He has been sculpted out of the earth under the bridge and, I assume, some other building material.  He is a pretty grim looking fellow.  This doesn’t stop attracting a lot of people that come to check him out.  If you want to get some sense of the scale of him, he has a VW Bug under one hand.  That appears to be a genuine Beetle so you can see he is a pretty big chap.  I didn’t notice anyone having any trouble getting across the bridge so he either isn’t good at his job or else the propaganda about trolls was fake news!

Posted in Pacific Northwest, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Structural Remains

I do like coming across test aircraft. Production jets will be seen all over the place in due course but the test aircraft often show small signs of their test role no are a bit more individual.  However, any test program also includes airframes that never get much coverage.  This is because they never fly.  Structural test specimens are vital but usually out of sight.

Boeing has a yard around the back of the Everett plant in which the remains of these test articles are stored.  Bits of airframe sit awaiting any possible future use.  The yard also includes a few bits that appear to have been operational at some time.  The front fuselage of a 747-400 that still shows United colors is there.  I wonder whether it was bought back to allow them to do a condition assessment based on the in service fleet.

Irrespective of how they got here, they are all rather forlorn looking as they sit in this space, out of the way and maybe never to be used again.  Service life extension programs may require them to be brought out again although I have no idea whether the storage outdoors will have rendered them less useful.

Posted in aircraft, civil, Pacific Northwest, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Racing Eight (ish)

Washington has a history of rowing that goes back decades.  If you want a good read, get hold of the The Boys in the Boat which is about University of Washington rowers in the 30s.  Rowing is still a big deal so I wasn’t surprised to see a coxed eight come across the lake.  However, something was amiss.  A quick count showed that someone hasn’t shown up that day.  The gap in the crew was pretty clear.  They didn’t seem to be struggling though.  Their speed across the water was impressive and I imagine the eight person pulling would make them that bit faster!

Posted in Pacific Northwest, photo, sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BBJ at Medford

Directly opposite our hotel during our overnight stop in Medford Oregon was a Boeing BBJ.  There was no way I wasn’t going to try and get a shot of it despite the fence.  The initial shots were when we first arrived because I didn’t know what the timing of the rest of the day would be. However, after dinner, the light was getting so much better so I wandered back out to have another go.  No idea whether it is based there or whether someone was just visiting.  We left before it moved.

Posted in aircraft, civil, corporate, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gas Works Park

In the days before natural gas, the gas supplies for towns and cities came from making gas from other sources such as coal.  Gas works were a big feature of towns.  However, they have disappeared as natural gas replaced them.  The huge metallic structures have been taken away and the land has found new purposes.  Seattle managed to both find a new use and keep the works.

The north end of Lake Union has Gas Works Park.  Much of the gas works has been cleared away but substantial chunks of the metal work remain in place.  Some is cordoned off but other parts have been integrated into displays.  We both commented on the complexity of the pipes and valves and how everything had a role.  The geometry of the structures and the connecting pipework were great to look at.  The middle of the day is not the best time to photograph this so I will think about coming back at some point to have a wander around specifically for photography.  However, on a sunny day, a park by the lake with tons of people seemed to be a very relaxing place compared to how this would have been when it was in use.

Posted in Pacific Northwest, photo | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learjet and a Global Through the Fence

San Jose has a little park next to the airport which provides a good place to watch the approaching aircraft.  It is also situated right next to the taxiway that the corporate jets use to get to the threshold for departure.  You get a really good view of them and, as the day progresses, the light is on them nicely.  Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, there is a big fence in the way.  It is a high fence and there are no spaces to photograph through.  The only option is to get very close to the mesh, try and align with the holes as well as you can and then shoot wide open to blur out any wire that does get in the shot.  It works surprisingly well.

In this case a couple of Bombardier’s jets showed up.  The Lear was nice to see but I do prefer the big corporate jets and the Global Express has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  I think it is an elegant jet and this one was painted nicely to enhance the lines.  I await the first chance I shall get to see the Global 7000 to see whether it shares the family looks.  I should pay my friends in Wichita a trip – to see them of course!

Posted in aircraft, Bay Area, civil, corporate, photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Old Seattle Streetcar and Its Modern Counterpart

We were wandering around down by Lake Union checking out the sights of the city.  When it was time to head back, the easiest thing for us to do was to grab the streetcar that runs back up to Westlake.  This is a relatively new addition to the city and they are expanding their streetcar system at the same time as Sound Transit expands the light rail system.

It did remind me of a previous trip we had to Seattle quite a few years ago.  At that time, there was a vintage streetcar that ran along the waterfront.  We had stayed down there on that trip and the streetcar tracks ran right outside the hotel.  During the course of some redevelopment activity, the barn where the cars were stored and maintained found itself in the way and it was demolished.  The system went away and clearly has not returned.

The tracks are still along the right of way but obviously aren’t used anymore.  I thought it was interesting to contrast the old style of a streetcar with the modern vehicle that is appearing in cities all across the US today.  The return of streetcars are gaining momentum all across the country.

Posted in Pacific Northwest, photo, vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment