Falcon 20s

AE7I8056.jpgThe Falcon 20 was a ground breaking corporate aircraft.  It sold well and has been sufficiently flexible that it has also found a lot of secondary uses including FedEx package carrying and electronic warfare support.  However, its use as a bizjet was its main role.  Now, it is a dated airframe so it doesn’t show up very often.  As a result, when we were heading around the perimeter of McCarran I was pleasantly surprised to see one parked up on the ramp.  What really caught me unawares was to find another one a short distance away.  This must be the place that old Falcon 20s gather!  Sadly they weren’t in a position to shoot but I did see one depart while I was there so it will have to do to represent the type at McCarran.

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Lenin on a Street Corner

Knowing the mix of people I know, all sorts of comments could result from this post!  Let’s see who has self-restraint.  We were spending a weekend checking out different parts of Seattle and a lunchtime stroll took us to the Fremont area of town.  As we walked up to an interchange, a large statue was looking down on the road.  Vladimir Ilyich Ulynaov Lenin was there.  Of course, I know he is dead and embalmed in a tomb in Moscow but his likeness in bronze was sitting by a plaza.

I don’t know why he is there.  Whether it is a tribute, an ironic insult or just a weird outcome to some other plan, I have no idea and I don’t really care.  This blog is not about political statements.  It is a record of things I have come across at various times.  If your sensibilities are unable to handle a picture of a statue of Lenin without you exploding with rage, tough luck.  His brand of crazy is not what this is about and neither is your adopted brand of crazy come to that.  Instead, I just came across a strange statue and I am writing about it.

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PG&E Heli Lift Training

I miss the amount of helicopter shooting I used to do.  Every once in a while I come across a help in action and I feel like it is a little victory.  One time it was the local sheriff’s department practicing line work and that showed up here.  On this occasion, I was coming away from an interview I had done for a GAR feature.  I was at Yolo County airport in California.  As I drove down the road, an MD500 was hovering over the field next to the road.

I pulled off a short distance away to see what was going on.  PG&E is a local power company and they appeared to be running a training program for they power line teams.  They were hooking up transmission components and moving them a short distance to another team that then unhooked them.  This process continued as they moved items from place to place giving the ground teams practice with the various items.

There was a strong breeze and a bit of gustiness so the pilot was working quite hard but, since everything was at ground level, I suspect it was a lot easier than if this was at the top of a pylon.  He wasn’t the one getting the training, though, by the look of it.  I watched for a while and from a couple of different angles and then left them to it.  I hope the class was successful.

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What a Great View of the Sound!

The house at Bloedel Reserve sits up on the hill with the grounds landscaped to provide an unobstructed view down to the sound below.  You can imagine the tranquility of sitting on the terrace in the evening, sipping a cocktail and looking out at the water.  Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, a large barge was moored a short distance out in the water.  I’m sure the view is beautiful but, with a barge plonked in the middle of things, somehow the delightful nature of the scene is a little compromised!

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Why Travel North if the Aurora Comes to You?

Icelandair painted one of their 757s in a scheme that portrays the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  It is named Hekla Aurora.  It was painted a long time ago but, since they didn’t operate anywhere I lived, I hadn’t got to see it.  Then I had my first sighting when landing at SeaTac when it was parked across the ramp as we taxied in.  I certainly didn’t get a shot of it.  Moving to Seattle meant I would have a chance to see it in action but that was dependent on it operating here on a day when I could actually be there.  Turns out my luck was in – and it was sunny!  (In fact it had been a crummy day but I had a feeling it would clear up and, while it was raining as I drove down, the sun came out on cue.  Hurrah!)

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Remains of Another Battery

I mentioned our trip to Fort Ward in this blog post.  The fort was designed to protect the harbor at Bremerton.  Therefore, it would not be silly to assume that there had been some form of armaments here.  Just like our explorations of the Marin headlands here and Baker Beach here, it turns out that there was a gunnery battery covering the entrance to the harbor.  The guns are long gone but the concrete emplacements are still in place.  The ground has clearly done its best to try and reacquire control of things.  Doorways to lower levels are now partially filled in with earth with just the tops of the doors still showing above ground level.

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Citation Xs

Today’s post is for my buddy Pete.  Pete flies for a living and for fun.  He loves to fly anything he can have a go with.  There is one bizjets that he hasn’t got his hands on (yet) but which he really has a soft spot for.  That is the Cessna Citation X.  When it was introduced, the Citation X brought a far higher top speed than the competition.  It did this by having two honking great engines strapped to a relatively small fuselage and a highly swept wing.  It has been a popular seller.

It has been attractive to fractional programs as well as individuals so it is not unusual to see one show up at an airport that has regular bizjets traffic.  Certain angles look good on the jet.  Anything that emphasizes the size of the engines appeals to me but the sweep of the wings and the fin also give it a going fast while standing still feel.  Here are some shots for you Pete.

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Cormorants Lined Up for Inspection

It’s been too long since we last had a cormorant on the blog.  Time to rectify that.  These are not action shots.  Instead, as we walked along the shoreline on Bainbridge Island, there was a wooden beam out in the water.  The cormorants were lined up waiting for me.  I think they knew I didn’t have a long lens with me, otherwise they would probably have flown off.  Instead, they were hanging out in the sun drying themselves.  My choice was to shoot from along the beam or side on.  I went with both!

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Armee de l’Air A400M

The A400M Atlas is now in service with a number of air forces.  My encounters with them, though, have only involved the development airframes displayed by Airbus.  That changed in Sacramento when The Patrouille de France arrived as part of their North American tour.  They brought an A400M as he support plane.  I was rather disappointed that it arrived late in the evening, after I had gone home and disappeared early the following morning to recover some delayed jets.

It was back for the day of the display though.  It started up at a remote location but then proceeded to give a short flying display.  It then taxied back to the crowd line where it shut down and was opened up for visitors.  The people were lined up to get inside it for ages.  The plane still looked pretty clean so I guess it had not been in service too long.  I was glad to get a close up look around the outside as well as to see the crowds inside and the flying display itself.  Not a dramatic performance like the test crews have put on but still good to see.

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Fort Ward

Our Bainbridge trip included a bonus element.  I had been advised how busy the ferries could be on nice summer weekends so we headed out early anticipating some long lines to get on the boat.  We got to the terminal about an hour ahead of when we were planning to sail, bought our ticket, drove straight on to a boat and it sailed a minute later!  This was a pleasant surprise.  However, it did mean we were on the island a lot earlier than our planned first stop was open.  We needed to kill some time.

Nancy did a quick search and came across a place called Fort Ward.  We put that in the GPS and headed off.  Fort Ward is an area of the coastline that used to be part of the protection of the approaches to Bremerton naval shipyards.  It was given up by the military a long time ago and now sections of it are rather nice housing and more of it are a state park.  In the early morning, walking along the shore through the park was a very pleasant way to spend some time.

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