Sometimes my poor choices can help other people out. I made a trip down to Auburn to see the Stinson Reliant that the local chapter of the Commemorative Air Force has. They were having an open day but the conditions were not looking great. I got there as things were opening up and had a look around the plane while they prepped it to run. Then they fired it up and ran the engine for a while before shutting down. At this point, the rain was thinking about starting up and I decided to call it quits.
This was just what everyone else needed. I got a call as I was heading north again. My friend Bob told me they were looking to go flying. I was tempted to turn around and go back but decided not to. I had some other things I wanted to see and felt the conditions were likely to mean that they skipped the flying. I was clearly wrong. My friends got a bunch of nice shots of the plane flying. I have to make do with it on the ground for now.
Making a cross country flight from Wisconsin to Washington is a long enough trip but it is even longer if you are in something that isn’t too speedy. A DC-3 is not something that is going to cover the ground that fast. It will be a bit quicker if it has been re-engined with a turboprop but, even then, it is going to be a long trip. I think it was the best part of eight hours to make the journey and then overnight at Seattle before continuing on to Alaska the next day.
The arrival of the BT-67 certainly got the attention of a few local photographers. Sadly, things got a bit cloudy just as it arrived so the conditions were not ideal. It was still cool to get a shot, of course. Fortunately, they had parked near the Museum of Flight so I was able to get a few shots of them parked up. The crew were just closing up so the gate to the ramp was open for them and a kind security guard allowed me to shoot past him without having to deal with the fence.
When I find out that a HondaJet is in the area, I do try to get a shot of it. It is such an unusual design, I am hoping to get a good shot of one. Sadly, two things seem to be conspiring against me. First, they all seem to have a variation on the same paint scheme. No doubt you can paint it how you like but they almost all seem to look similar. The second thing is that I always seem to get them in cloudy conditions. This doesn’t stop me trying though. I have even got one in a better livery but not with good light. However, these are the recent examples I have seen. Maybe I will get a shot of one that I am happy with at some point.
Red Flag 22-2 included a detachment of B-1B Lancers. The Bone is a cracking jet as it combines the size of a bomber with the shaping and engines of a fighter. It is an elegant shape whether the wings are fully swept or not. I have shot them at Nellis a few times over the years but I was still keen to get some shots of them on this trip. Unfortunately, things did not quite go to plan.
They didn’t fly on the day that I arrived. I had gone out in the evening for the night launch but they were not part of it. The following morning, they launched a lot earlier than I expected so I was still at Cheyenne when they went. My last day, they again didn’t launch. That meant the recoveries from the early launch were my only chance.
Weather was not helping too much. This was not just for the Bones. It was pretty overcast for a good chunk of the afternoon. The two jets came back in formation and broke into the pattern. Thankfully, the arrivals were using the 21s and they were allocated to the right runway. A pretty sporty pattern for a big jet combined with me having chosen a good spot by the Speedway meant that they were almost filling the frame as they turned on to final. Some nicer light would have been great but, since this was all I was getting in daylight, it would have to do.
Canada has had a surge in low cost airlines. One of them is Flair. They too delivery of a few new jets but I never happened to be around when any of them was on test so, I never got a shot of their pretty bright colors. Another delivery was due recently and I happened to be at BFI when the jet was being ferried in from another location – presumably where it had been painted. Not the greatest light I’m afraid but still enough to be worthwhile and the colors are a bit more interesting that the usual. I’ve no idea how their operations are going but, with so many new players in the market, they will have their work cut out for them.
The Navion is a type that you see a fair bit around the US. They are a popular aircraft and are both used for private flying and also sometimes for display teams. I’ve shot a bunch of them over the years. However, I did not know until very recently that Ryan, when they took over the design, came up with a larger cabin version of the aircraft called the Rangemaster. I only found out because I happened to shoot one at Paine Field. It was only when I looked it up that I found out what it was. I may have seen one before but I certainly didn’t know it if I did. A quick search shows that there weren’t too many of them built and I guess a lot less are currently airworthy.
Boeing Field has a lot of civilian traffic, but it is also a popular stop off point for military traffic. What I hadn’t anticipated was a McChord C-17 wanting to use it for some pattern work. I was sitting in the car working on a spreadsheet updating my forecasts for a project that we are working on. I guess I had heard something call up but was busy with the work and had not realized what was coming. However, the rumbling of four engines got quite loud and I looked up to see the C-17 on short final.
I did grab a couple of quick shots, but luck was on my side. They wanted to fly a few patterns so I was going to get another go at it. The left-hand patterns meant you could see them heading downwind and turning back on to final. I could get on with my spreadsheet and be ready when they came back again. The light was really nice and they seemed to fly a little higher on the approach than is normal so getting shots was not tricky.
At one point, while flying downwind, I could see another C-17 flying directly across the field. They were actually setting up for an approach to McChord and were not going to come our way but it was cool to see both in shot at once. After they completed their pattern work, they headed back north again so I am not sure what their next plans was but I was pleased to have seen them and had the chance to try and few different shots.
A SAAB 2000 in passenger configuration was transiting through Seattle. It was registered to PenAir in Alaska and had apparently been repainted since it was now showing up in the colors of Aleutian Airways. I had not heard of Aleutian Airways but it isn’t hard to work out where it serves. The plane arrived with a PenAir registration still showing but it looked like it was applied temporarily so, presumably, it is going to have a new registration before too long.
They didn’t spend too long on the ground before departing for Alaska. They were heavy for the longer flight but still off the ground quite quickly compared to the full length of BFI’s runway. Then they looped off around the south end of the area before climbing overhead and en route to their next stop. The livery is a bit retro but I did like the look of it.
My buddy, Mark, sent me a message about a plane that he had spotted coming inbound from the Pacific which he had hoped would stop in Vancouver. It was a Royal Thai Air Force Airbus A340-500. Instead it was coming further south but it was still at cruising altitude so there was no way it was coming my way either. However, it did end up flying directly overhead, albeit at 34,000’. It was a lovely clear day and the four contrails from the jet showed up nicely as they ran back and then rolled up together. I grabbed the camera from the trunk and got a few shots as it passed overhead. It was heading for DC so we didn’t have a chance that day or for the return journey.
The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia and Belarus have meant that any jets that were destined for them can no longer be delivered. Consequently, Boeing has been looking to find new homes for them with other airlines. After the downturn in the industry that resulted from the pandemic, there has been a surge in short haul traffic which means that narrow body jets are in demand. Boeing apparently hasn’t had a problem placing the jets since there are airlines that are desperate for new aircraft.
Turkish Airlines is taking some jets that were destined for S7. They are currently still painted in the lime green colors of S7 but the name of the airline and the logo on the fin (excluding the rudder which is harder to paint given the need to balance it) have been painted over and the new registration is applied for testing. I don’t know whether a full repaint will happen before delivery or if the airline will take care of that. I also don’t know about the interior.
Belavia was also due to take a jet and, while there is nothing apparent on the outside to say where it is going, the tracking websites are already showing it as heading to Correndon. Same story in that I don’t know what it will look like when it is handed over but they should be in service soon.