Helicopters are constantly moving around McCarran. There are tourist rides operating seemingly around the clock so hearing a couple of helps is not a surprise. However, these two were close to each other and seemed to have a more powerful sound. It turned out that they were two USMC AH-1Z Vipers coming in to an FBO. Paul was able to try and get some shots as they landed but I had to move the car. I settled for watching them for a bit and then got the camera as they were shutting down. It was unbelievably dark given how much ambient light there is in Vegas so I was pushing the camera’s capabilities a bit. The closer one shut down first which was unfortunate but let’s not get picky. They were still there the following morning when we were shooting departures as I could see them in the background of some shots.
En route from a day with a client to the airport I had a spare hour to pay a visit to Boeing Field in Seattle. I figured that my time window would mean there was nothing much to see and I didn’t have anything longer than the 24-105 with me anyway. However, when I got there I could see an interesting collection of USMC machines on the opposite side of the field and the Blue Angels were parked up near the Museum of Flight.
I took a ride around to where the Marine helicopters and V-22 were parked and got chatting to one of the crews. He explained it was the start of Marine Week and offered a chance to walk around the ramp with one of the crew. I was not going to refuse that. Mario kindly showed me around and let me shoot anything external. They had three UH-1Y Venoms and three AH-1Z Cobras along with a single V-22. One fof the Cobras was marked up in special squadron colors. I took a walk around all of them and grabbed a few shots while chatting with Mario about what it was like to support these machines. He had worked on the UH-1N before converting to the Venom so he had some interesting perspectives on the relative reliability of the two.
These machines were going to be progressively moved across to the other side of the field as part of the public displays for Marine Week and the first of the Cobras actually was towed while I was there so my timing was excellent. However I did have to go and then my timing let me down as, while I was driving away, I saw an AV-8B Harrier II coming down the approach. Oh well. I still did better than I had expected.