I was walking along the trail that goes through the park next to the airport at Renton taking a look at the stored jets. There is a bridge across the river that is used by Boeing to move jets from the production areas to the flightline and, as I got close to the bridge, I could see the tractor hooking up to a China Southern 737-800 that had yet to be painted. They looked like they might bring it across the bridge. I figured I might linger and see what was up.
Sure enough, they started to pull the jet out and towards the bridge. I stayed out of the way but the wings of a 737 hang over the trail when they are moving it. This was not a problem so they were happy for me to stand there as the jet was moved out. I figured a little iPhone video was in order.
They pulled the jet onto a taxiway and left it there so I figured it might be heading out on a test flight. With the light now slightly to the other side, I chose to go back to the car and move to the overlook on the west side of the field. The jet was starting up but they clearly had a few things to run through so I had time.
They taxied to the south threshold which initially disappointed me. The wind had flight operations in the other direction which would have meant a takeoff towards us and into the light. Going the other way meant they would be airborne a long way away and heading over the lake. What I hadn’t figured on was, just like at Everett, they would do a run with an abort first prior to flying. They carried this out and were then at the north end of the field.
A turnaround at the far end of the field and they were soon lined up. A floatplane was flying about in the background as they got ready to take off. Then it was power on and rolling. There was a lot of crap in the foreground and this was a bit of an obstruction at the point of rotation but I was able to get some good shots as they got airborne and climbed out past us. The green primer/protective film was glinting in the sun. The flight will have ended at Boeing Field where I hope everything was trouble free.
Two of the later obstacles in the Spartan Race involved water. The first was crossing a small river. It wasn’t too deep but the cold water on tired leg muscles was not nice. The banks were also getting very muddy and slippery given the number of contestants that had been before. Then there was a second water crossing. This was across and back the river with bank climbs on both sides. The water was also a lot deeper and the bottom of the river was uneven. Here people really struggled and the tiredness was really showing.
I was on the wrong tower at Hyakuri when the crews came out on the recce ramp to crew up. Rather than get down and move around and potentially miss it, I accepted that shooting through the trees would have to do. The ground crew did their work efficiently and the flightcrew walked around the jet before jumping in. Soon they were powered up and coming towards us. This was early in the day and the beginning of a fun day out!
The ospreys on Lake Washington have got some attention on the blog recently. However, they are not alone. Some bald eagles have also been showing up. They aren’t around in such large numbers and I didn’t see so much fishing activity close by but they were out there having a hunt for some food and sometimes came closer in allowing a shot or three. They are an impressive looking bird.
Parked up on the ramp at Renton was what appeared to me to be a de Havilland Canada Beaver on floats. However, it looked different to every other Beaver I have seen. This one seemed to have a fun that was cut right down. Initially I figured it needed a repair but then I realized that there was a large dorsal extension to the fin. This would compensate to some extent to the missing top but whether it is a good configuration, I can’t say. It didn’t look good to me but it looked airworthy so maybe it flies fine? Has anyone seen more about this and can share with me some of the history?
The walk back from the Imperial Palace grounds to the station took me by a statue. This was an impressive looking warrior on horseback. The weathering of the statue, the shadows cast by the high light and the intensity of the expressions of both him and his horse quite caught my imagination. I found myself wandering around all side and starting at this work for quite some time. As a whole it was impressive but I loved looking at the details and the sense of motion the artist had captured.
The UH-60 Black Hawk is a pretty neat helicopter but in the standard fit, it is not terribly exciting. However, I do like it when they are kitted up with a lot more stuff. The external stores support system makes them look very purposeful and a flight refueling probe is another good addition. The UH-60JA at Hyakuri had both with tanks fitted to the pylons. It was at the far end of the ramp so, when it took off, I couldn’t get anything worthwhile.
It returned later in the day and came almost directly overhead. Shooting a dark blue/gray helicopter looking straight up on a cloudy day is not a great combination but you aren’t going to ignore it. I wish it had flown a few patterns or even taxied by, but I guess it was not to be. Still, it was good to see it up close.
A couple of the obstacles in the Spartan Race that I saw involved getting yourself across a series of ropes and hoops or using grab handles that moved while you hung on. These obstacles would be tough if you were fresh but they were in the latter portion of the race when tiredness was already very apparent. It was fascinating to see the different techniques people used and the success or otherwise. Dropping off was very common given how tired people were and the resultant 30 burpees will not have helped.
The physiques of people didn’t seem to have any indication of the probability of success. Some people looked like they would struggle as they set up to start and would then surge across. Others would look good and then drop off quickly. Knowing how I would have fared, I was very sympathetic. A few were in fantastic shape and just flew through. Others got so close to the cowbell at the end that signified success and would drop when almost in reach. You were willing people on.
One of the toughest to watch was one of the elite female competitors. She was in third place coming to the last obstacle and nearly made it across before slipping. She headed off to do her burpees and, while she was doing them, the person in fourth approached. She got onto the test and made it across cleanly jumping into third place. The other competitor had to finish her burpees which must have been so hard having just seen your podium position slip away.
The two B-25s that live on Paine Field are regular performers. When they both went up at Skyfair, I have to admit that I was not so excited. However, I was not anticipating a series of flypasts that were significantly better than I had seen from them before. They brought them in with a tight formation and some angles that allowed some great topside shots as they curved around on to the runway alignment.
Watching them line up, you could see that they weren’t going to come so close and ruin the photo opportunities. Instead, we got lots of banking and pulling with far better shots than I had achieved previously. I was not alone in appreciating the effort. Everyone around me was most impressed by the performance.