Category Archives: military

Why Not Shoot an M-21 While I’m Here

I was at the Museum of Flight for the IPMS exhibit but, while I was visiting, I figured it would be churlish not to take a picture of the M-21 that dominates the main hall.  It is actually a bit difficult to photograph and there is a lot of contrast with the background and it is always busy so a bit cluttered.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a great shot but decided to crop tighter on the airframe and shoot bracketed exposures and maybe go with an HDR process.  It isn’t great but it came out better than I had expected.

Military Surprises at Boeing Field

I was sitting at Boeing Field awaiting the return of a couple of jets.  Apps like FlightRadar24 allow you to keep an eye on where things are and when they are due in.  What they don’t usually cover is military flights.  Fortunately, I had the radio scanner sitting on the dash so, while I was busy doing something else while waiting, the sound of someone calling up on approach caught me by surprise.  I finished what I was doing and then got the camera just as a KC-135 hove in to view.  What a nice surprise.

A while later, something similar happened.  Another plane called up with what sounded like a Navy callsign.  This time I had a bit more time to get out and look up the approach to see what it might be.  A P-8 was coming in.  They got bounced around on short final by the gusty conditions which were combining with the airport buildings to make things pretty interesting for the crew.  I had an easier time taking the pictures I think.

Some A400M Samples

As I was skipping through some images, I saw a few extra shots of the A400M at RIAT.  I figured that I hadn’t seen many examples of the transport in service – just the test aircraft performing in displays.  However, I have seen both Luftwaffe and Armee de l’Air planes at times so thought I would share a few shots of them plus some test planes for good measure.

Renton Flight Line

The flight line near the runway at Renton is always worth a look.  The majority of the planes (when production is normal) will be airliners but one spot at the south end is likely to have a P-8 Poseidon in place.  Such was the case this morning with a US Navy example heading the line.

The 767 That Never Was

Prior to the KC-46 Pegasus, Boeing had another go at selling the 767 to the USAF as a tanker.  The aircraft that they had intended to be the solution at that point was a different configuration to what ultimately made its way in to the inventory.  They went as far as building a speculative airframe for the project.  However, when the project was aborted (for reasons that are far too complex for a simple blog post), the airframe lay unfinished.  It was stored for a while at Paine Field before eventually being scrapped.  Here is a shot of it prior to its demise.

CV-22 Display

I have seen plenty of MV-22B Ospreys in service with the Marine Corps but I haven’t see too many CV-22s with the Air Force.  One of the early ones was at Hurlburt Field when I visited years ago but we weren’t allowed to photograph it.  RIAT provided my first opportunity to shoot one in action.  I got some shots of it on arrival day but I was not pleased with the results for a lot of them.  I don’t know whether the focus was off or it was my struggles with the low shutter speed but I didn’t do too well.

They did display during the flying program, though, so I had a lot more chances to get some shots.  The extra lumps and bumps make this distinctive from the USMC version but it is still a hard thing to photograph if you want to get significant blur on those giant, slow turning props.  The different shade of gray they go with seems slightly more interesting than the Marine’s scheme too.

The Arrows’ Display Itself

I have posted a few times about the Red Arrows at RIAT covering their prep for display and post display.  I haven’t actually shared any good shots from the display itself.  Here are a few that I got over the course of the show.  Some were taken close to show center and others were taken from the end of the display line to give a different perspective on the same maneuvers.  They put on a great show and it is funny that, when you see them regularly, you get blasé but, when you haven’t seen them for a while, you come to appreciate the display a lot more.

Departure Day

I have been to a bunch of shows at RIAT and have done arrivals day a few times too.  One thing I had not managed to do before was be there for departure day.  I wasn’t going to be able to do the full day because I needed to head off on the next leg of our vacation but I got a good chunk of the time.  Of course, the weather continued its theme of overcast conditions.  There were certain things I really wanted to see which didn’t always work out whether it was Tornados going when I wasn’t there or things that departed up field and didn’t come near us.

Even so, there was a great selection of interesting bits and pieces to see heading out.  Some of them just took off and climbed away normally.  Others seemed to be trying to get as high as possible quickly which wasn’t much fun for the gathered photographers.  A few put on a decent wag of the wings to please us.  The rotation point for most aircraft was quite a way from where we were which was a bit of a shame as rotation can make for an interesting shot.  A bit of heavy cropping and you can get the idea.  At least the lack of sun reduced the amount of heat haze.  Here is a gallery of a bunch of shots from the time I had.

Wright Patterson C-17 Visiting Texas

I headed to Alliance during my time in the Dallas area.  There was a C-17 parked on the ramp a bit away from where I was.  However, it was in nice light at the beginning of the day.  Things improved a lot when I saw the beacons come on followed by the sound of engines cranking.  It wasn’t too long before the jet taxied for departure.  The Wright Patterson markings on the fin meant it was easy to see that this jet was from Dayton.  I don’t know if that was where it was headed or whether it had stopped at Alliance en route to somewhere else.

A Pair of Beale’s Jets Show Up at BFI

Boeing Field gets the occasional military visitors and you never know what might show up.  I glanced up and saw a pair of T-38s downwind for arrival.  They came in with about a minute of spacing between them.  The tail codes showed them to be Beale jets.  They headed to the FBO at Modern and were soon being refueled.  The canopies stayed up so they may have been heading out again a while later but I had to move on so I didn’t get to see them depart.