F1 Engines (New and Used)

I was too young to see a Saturn V launch.  My one and only space launch has been a shuttle flight and that was very impressive.  I can only imagine how cool the Saturn V was to witness.  Maybe when the new generation of heavy launchers comes into service I will get to see something similar.  The power for the first stage was provided by the F1 engines, five of which were clustered together.  We made a trip to the Kennedy Space Center a long time ago and a Saturn V is on display there lying on its side.  You can get face to face with the engine nozzles.

More recently, we checked out the Apollo exhibit at the Museum of Flight, here in Seattle.  They have a display of an F1 engine but this one is not looking so pristine.  This is because it is a used engine.  Not just used as in test firing used but used as in flew on a mission, free fell to the ocean, hit the sea at speed, sank to the bottom of the Atlantic and stayed there for decades.  Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, funded a project to recover the engines from Apollo 12.

The nozzle is gone which is no surprise given how thin it is as you can see in the pictures of the undamaged version.  However, the combustion chamber and the turbopump seem to have come through the experience in remarkable shape.  The injector plate is also on display and has been pulled out of the assembly to show it off more clearly.  The F1 was quite a feat of engineering – 1.5 million lbs of thrust and the pinnacle of 60s technology.

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Two More 737s Heading to Renton

At various times I have seen the fuselages for new Boeing 737s heading by on the trains through Seattle.  Usually I am a distance away from them and I get a shot that is a bit hazy and less than distinct.  Recently I was working in a yard alongside the main tracks as some equipment was being loaded.  I had my camera to hand to record the loading process as a train came by behind us.  Initially I figured it was just another freight train so didn’t pay attention.  Then, I caught the color of the fuselages out of the corner of my eye and realized a couple of new jets were onboard.  Before it got too much further, I was able to grab a couple of shots.


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Some Modern Supercars

When a museum has a wide variety of vehicles to look at, it seems a bit cheesy to spend too much time looking at the modern supercars.  It feels a bit like being a kid with a picture of a Countach on the wall.  However, supercars are pretty cool and worthy of a look.  On the main floor of America’s Car Museum, there were a few pretty great looking cars.

Ferrari were well represented with some lovely looking modern motors as well as a Testarossa.  That car took me back to the 80s.  An Aston Martin was also there along with a Lamborghini Aventador which was pretty special.  Porsche was also well covered.  A 918 first caught my eye but I was quickly drawn away by a Carrera GT.  This was only the second example I had seen.  (The first was actually driving along Wacker Drive in Chicago, something that would make me very nervous in a car that expensive!)


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Seasprites Don’t Show Up Too Often

The first time I ever heard of the Kaman Seasprite was in the 1980s when Airfix released a new kit of the SH-2F variant.  I thought it was a cool looking model but I wasn’t very aware of what it was used for.  It was already getting towards the end of its time in service with the US Navy with the SH-60B Seahawk becoming the platform for shipboard helicopters.  A few export programs went forward but these were not particularly successful.

I am not sure whether I have ever seen a Seasprite for real prior to visiting Evergreen at McMinnville.  They have a corner that is stacked with helicopters.  A Seasprite is one of the collection and I was pleasantly surprised to see it.  Given the number of airframes they have in this corner, everything is jammed together.  This made it hard to get a nice angle on the Seasprite but I was able to get a few shots anyway.

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New WSDOT Locomotives

In the days running up to the introduction to service of the new WSDOT Siemens Charger locomotives, they were stored in the yard in Seattle awaiting the clearance to run.  I was down there for another project and all of these shiny new locomotives were just asking to have their picture taken.  How could I refuse?  Sadly, one of these locos was involved in the accident a few weeks later.

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Lufthansa Retro Jet

Lufthansa have painted up one of their 747-8I jets in a livery that is based on their old color scheme.  Until recently, the Seattle route was being flown with a 747-400 so I didn’t anticipate the chance to see it.  Then, in the aftermath of the Air Berlin bankruptcy, Lufthansa deployed some 747s on domestic services to bolster capacity.  This meant some 747-400s were pulled from routes and the 747-8I was subbed on to Seattle.  I was down there on a crummy day to get the IL-76 and the special jet was due in.  I figured I couldn’t miss it, even if the conditions weren’t great.  The light was not great as it came down the approach but the shot from behind as it got to the threshold was a bit better.

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Ducks Take a Bath After a Busy Day

Walking back in to Log Boom Park from the pier, you get to the shoreline which is a popular spot for the ducks.  They clearly like the shallow water and the multiple spots where they can come out of the water to rest.  As I was approaching, they seemed to be in agreement that it was bath time.  Every duck was taking a turn at washing their plumage.

I figured I would take a chance on the shots.  Slow shutter speeds were worth a go.  The problem with this is that the ducks are moving a lot so the chances of getting a sharp head/eye are a bit limited.  However, if that does work out, the flapping of the wings should look more interesting than trying to freeze the action.  Making use of the high shutter rate on the camera is a good way of improving the likelihood of some success and, I was okay with getting a few that worked out.

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Filming With a G650ER

I missed the best of this event.  I got to Everett towards the end of a filming session with a Gulfstream G650ER jet.  An Astar was being used to film the jet as it flew some approaches.  I had actually noticed the jet online earlier in the day because it had been flying orbits over some of the islands and showed up on FlightRadar24.  I didn’t know what it was at the time but, once I got to Everett it all became clear.  I didn’t get anything of the Astar as I didn’t have the camera out when I first arrived but I did get a shot or two of the Gulfstream near the end of the flights.  Looked like a fun sortie to be involved with.

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Yachats Harbor

We spent a few days in Yachats, Oregon between Christmas and New Year.  It was a nice opportunity to have a break, see some pretty scenery and relax.  Yachats itself has a nice harbor and, as you drive around the south side of the harbor, you can pull off onto a smaller road that runs parallel to the shore in amongst the many houses that have been built there.  You are on the opposite side to the town itself and the view across the water and the sand flats looks nice with the low winter sung angles.

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Qatar Cargo Recycles the Seahawks 747-8F

Boeing announced the sale of a couple of 747-8F freighters to Qatar Cargo and then immediately delivered one of them.  I was confused at the time as I thought it would be a while before the deliveries took place, but it turned out that they had sold a couple of jets that had been previously built but had not been delivered.  The second of the jets was recently in flight test.  This jet is quite well known as Boeing had painted it up in Seattle Seahawks colors for a Super Bowl appearance and then for a few follow up flights.  Now it has been repainted and, when I shot it one weekend afternoon, it was close to being ready for delivery.

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