Sikorsky’s Historic Landmark

Igor Sikorsky is well known as a developer of helicopters even though his early work was based on fixed wing types.  The airframe he developed to demonstrate practical rotary flight was the VS-300.  This helicopter went through a number of design changes over its life including upgrades to the cyclic system to make it more controllable.  When testing with it concluded, it was donated to the Henry Ford museum in Michigan and that is here I saw it.  It is a historic landmark and hugely significant.  However, it is stacked up in a display behind other artifacts, so it is actually pretty tricky to photograph.  I tried making a pano of it to avoid the things in front with some success.

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Busy Bees

The rhododendrons at Meerkerk Gardens weren’t only attracting the people to visit.  It was awash with bees.  The flowers were heaven for these insects and they were on so many of the plants.  The sound of buzzing was a constant accompaniment.  It was also interesting to see the different types of bee.  Some plants had large, fuzzy bees while others had a thinner and shinier species.  Clearly, the bees are very specific about which plant is their favorite.

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Rainy Pegasus Takeoff

I have shot KC-46s in bad conditions more often than would seem probable.  I got one in conditions so dark it was like a night shoot.  This time it was heavy rain.  Of course that can mean vapor.  The matte gray of fuselage actually looks better when it is wet.  I had hoped the inlets would fog but that didn’t happen.  However, the flat light helped the fuselage a bit which often gets too contrasts.  Besides that it throws up a ton of spray behind it as it accelerates down the runway. Rotating in front of me meant I was rather happy with the result compared to what I expected.

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A Very Unoriginal Night Shot

This shot looks just like a million other people’s shot of Seattle.  I have been to Kerry Park plenty of times but I had never been there at night.  This time I was having dinner with some colleagues and, when we were done, I figured I would pop up and grab some pictures.  Here you go.

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My First A220

The A220 (or C Series CS100 if you are not yet ready to have it labeled as an Airbus) has been in service for a while but, until recently, I hadn’t seen one.  Then, while I was on the shuttle between the terminals at DFW, we came around the terminal that Delta uses and I realized that the jet that had just pushed back was an A220.

It was early evening so the light was quite nice.  The shape of the jet was quite distinctive.  Aside from the cockpit shaping, the wings are quite large (giving it quite decent range capability) and the large fans of the Pratt GTFs are conspicuous.  It is not a bad looking jet the Delta colors looked good on it.  Sadly it taxied to the other side of the airport so I didn’t see it depart but it was nice to finally see one for real.

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Chicago Suburbs From Above

Dropping in to O’Hare you get to overfly lots of neighborhoods.  The lower you get, the more you see each individual house.  I find myself wondering about each of the house and who lives there.  Since they clearly have a lot of planes flying over them every day, do they get annoyed by my passage or are they oblivious to each passing jet given the frequency with which they appear?

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Cape Air Ramp

I have read a lot about Cape Air.  They are a small operator in the New England area flying a fleet of (mainly) Cessna 402s.  The reason I know this is that they have been heavily involved in the development of a new piston twin with Tecnam which they intend to use to replace their fleet.  The first examples have started to show up but, for now, the 402 is still their workhorse.  While I was sitting at a gate at Logan waiting for a flight home, we were right across from their ramp so I was able to watch the comings and goings of their planes.  Seeing them mixing in with the big airliners was pretty impressive.

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The Henry Ford (Museum)

We headed to Michigan for a family event recently.  We had a little time to spare and decided to check the Henry Ford (apparently it doesn’t have museum in the name but that is what it is).  The museum complex includes many elements including a village and tours of the F150 factory but we only had time to try out one so we focused on the main museum building.  As it turned out, we had way too little time to even do that justice.  As is often the way with us, we spent plenty of time in the earliest elements and then were rushing to see the rest when time ran out.

The museum is an eclectic mix of different themes, some of which will get their own posts.  It included elements about the industrialization of the country, sections on how homes had developed, examples of furniture styles, many different cars (no shock there given where we were), aviation, rail transportation, math and science and so on.  I have no idea how much of it we didn’t even see.  With time ticking, we had a frantic last few exhibits!  I could easily have taken a full day to check everything out.  With the village next door not even looked at, we had plenty left.

These types of museum have a difficult challenge.  They curate a bunch of old items and new ones to provide a comparison.  Of course, the newest ones are soon dated and there is a need to bring ever more in to provide some modern relevance.  They seemed to have done a pretty good job of meeting this need.  As we wrapped up and headed on our way, we were left contemplating how we had missed out on making a trip here when we lived in Chicago and this would have been a simple journey to make.  I don’t know whether I will ever get back to the area but, if I do, I shall make an effort to go back and give it substantially more time!

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Global Finding Everett Sun

Returning from Whidbey with Paul, we stopped off at Paine Field to see what might be moving.  There was a bit of frustration with a delayed departure that we couldn’t catch but we got a few bits and pieces and that included a Global 6000.  This one popped up on approach just as the sun was reappearing from behind the clouds so we could get some nice light on it as it crossed the threshold and touched down.

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Meerkerk Gardens

Spring is a good time for rhododendrons and there are a number of gardens known for their flowering in the Seattle area.  We decided to take a trip to Whidbey Island to visit Meerkerk Gardens.  I hadn’t heard of it before but Nancy had done some research so we gave it a go.  While it was not in full bloom – peak blooming was one to two weeks away – it still was a gorgeous sight.

You can get blasé about the beauty of some places as each next view is as pretty as the preceding one and you have to remind yourself that this is not normal.  It is a peak of color and shape that doesn’t last long and has to be appreciated while it is there.  I lack the vision to come up with a good way of conveying just how pretty it is but I will have to make do with sharing some of the shots I took while strolling around.

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