Category Archives: civil

Where It All Began for Gulfstream

Everyone always associates the Gulfstream brand with business jets.  These days that is all that they make but it started out with a turboprop.  The first Gulfstream was a straight winged plane with a low set tailplane and a pair of Rolls Royce Dart turboprops for power.  If you look at the airframe, it is not hard to see how it was married to a new wing, power plants and empennage to create the G-II,  However, the turboprop is the original.  I remember seeing Ford’s aircraft operating from Stansted to their European bases.  However, I have rarely shot one of the originals.

I have two that were operating at different locations but, judging by the registrations, they are probably from the same operator.  Not much diversity there.  I also have shots of an old NASA airframe stored as part of the Pima Air Museum’s collection.  Not sure whether it has been reassembled at this point or not but, hopefully, one of the locals there can let me know.  This was the beginning of a long line of top of the range bizjets.

EMS Bell 407

A non floatplane visitor to the Splash In at Clear Lake one year was a Bell 407 that was used for EMS work.  It flew in and landed in the parking lot next to the area where the planes were parked after coming out of the water.  At some point, early in the day, I heard it firing up.  Apparently it had been called out on a mission.  Off it went, sadly not to return for the rest of the day.

Widgeons at the Splash In

I found myself looking through some old photos (as I have done a lot in the last ten months) and came to the Clear Lake Splash In that takes place in California.  I only made one trip up to this event and, while I was told that it was a quieter year than previous events, it was still a pretty cool thing to experience.  Three Grumman Widgeons showed up at the event.  The classic Grumman amphibian look was cool to see in action.

They landed on the lake and then dropped the undercarriage to allow them to power up the steel plate ramp that had been laid to provide access to the parking field.  The three of them were parked together over near the trees.  One went out to do some flying during the course of the day and then they all headed home when things wrapped up.

Watching something of this size transition from the water to the land was most impressive.  Similarly, the trip back down the ramp and in to the water was cool to witness.  The Widgeon sits pretty low in the water when it is not at speed but, once it is up on the step, it is a very different beast.  Since they were operating parallel to the shore, it was possible for them to be quite close while they were at speed which was great.

NetJets Gets the Good Conditions

In this previous post, I mentioned the good light I was hoping would be available for a Dornier 328Jet.  While that didn’t work out, I did get a NetJets Latitude arriving at that time.  NetJets colors are certainly not very exciting so they are a bland subject normally (and a Latitude is hardly the most exciting looking bizjet either.  However, with the right lighting, even this can look pretty dramatic!

Turbine Beaver

There is no shortage of DHC Beavers in the PNW, even of the turbine variety.  Plenty of them are on floats, too, so even that doesn’t make it particularly special.  However, when you haven’t been able to shoot much aviation for a long time, one is a welcome sight.  Even better when it switches to the closer runway when on approach.

The Max 737s Are On the Move

Boeing has been building and testing 737 Max jets throughout the grounding so having them flying is not a great surprise.  However, with the grounding order lifted by the FAA, things are moving into a higher gear.  United took delivery of a jet and American Airlines has indicated it will start service before the end of the year.  Two jets were up on the same day which leads me to think that they have already undergone the mod programs and are being tested prior to delivery to the airline.

Balloon Deflation Video

The arrival of the balloon in Woodinville resulted in a previous post of the balloon flying in and another of the crew once the balloon was on the ground.  I didn’t just shoot stills during the post landing time, though.  I also decided to get a little video of the process of deflating the balloon.  I was surprised how long it took but, while there is a large vent on the top of the balloon, once the envelope is lying on its side, the vent is no longer at the top and the air needs to be squeezed out.  Here is the video I put together.

Please Give Me Good Light for a 328Jet

Late in the day in the PNW, you can get lucky with good lighting.  It is not unusual to have a crappy day end with the sun, low on the horizon, cutting under the clouds and providing some briefly great conditions.  With a Dornier 328Jet due in, I was hoping that the conditions might be just what I wanted.  However, the plane was delayed from its planned time.  At the scheduled arrival time, conditions were, in fact, rather good.  I got something arriving then that looked pretty cool and will get its own post.

However, my 328Jet was running late.  I kept my eye on the horizon, hoping the sun would make an appearance but the thick cloud layer hanging on the horizon told me that things were not going to work out.  Sure enough, when the 328Jet showed up, the sky was decidedly dull.  This was all the more annoying given that it had a really nice color scheme.  They aren’t exactly rare but they are not common enough to ignore the chance to get one so this still counts as a plus for me.

It Might Be Raining, But It Is A 727!

Winter in the PNW does not mean reliable conditions for photographing planes.  If the weather is bad, you might decide it isn’t worth going out.  If it is raining and threatening to rain harder, there is a strong possibility you would skip a shot opportunity.  However, 727s are getting pretty rare these days so that seems worthy of a trip out.

The weather was unpleasant when it made its approach but not as bad as it got a short while later.  I went with my normal approach for shooting in really bad conditions by pushing the overexposure pretty high.  I include a couple of edits.  For the main image, I actually blended two different process versions in Photoshop to get the combination that most reflects how the shot looked through the view finder.  The other edit is a straightforward Lightroom edit where the angle and the light suited it.

Stored 777X Numbers Grow

While Boeing has delayed the entry to service date of the 777X, they have continued to produce airframes at Everett with the result being a number of stored airframes on the field.  There are four jets in the test program and the rest are not going to fly until certification is close so, for now, they are finding spaces across the airport for them.  Some are on the Boeing flight test ramp (with production of the other widebodies ramping down, space is more available I guess) while others are on the cross runway.  This has been home to 787s and 737 Max jets over the years and now it is the turn of the 777X.  Some of them are identifiable by the paint on the folded wing tips while others are unmarked for now.