Tag Archives: airplane

T-45s at El Centro

My involvement with the T-45 program was back when the aircraft were just coming into service.  Now I am reading articles discussing the US Navy’s plan for the replacement of the Goshawk fleet.  Another type I have been involved with that is going to disappear from service before too long.  Since the jet was never exported, when the Navy gets rid of them, that will be it.  Consequently, while I have shot T-45s at various places and times before, getting some more shots while on our trip was worthwhile.

We made a detour from our Arizona locations to El Centro to catch the Harriers.  El Centro is a regular haunt of the T-45s with the training wings sending jets out to use the ranges just north of the base.  Since it is not too far to travel, you can watch them launch and know it won’t be too long before they return.  Getting the departing jets as they break towards the south with the last jet cutting the corner the most to catch up with the first ones is easy enough.  The returns give you an option at both ends with either the overhead break with speedbrakes out at one end or the final turn at the other.  Managed to catch both.  I am sure I will see more T-45s in the coming years but here are some shots from the recent visit.

Twotter Jump Ship

One of the sky diving airfields in Arizona is at Eloy.  A small field in a very small town, Eloy has a lot of customers for the jump ships and the vertical wind tunnel.  During our trip, I had seen some Skyvans operating as jump ships, and I was quite looking forward to the chance to shoot some Skyvan ops from close range.  When we got to Eloy, it turned out that things were different on the day.  The Skyvans were nowhere to be seen.  Instead, it was Twin Otters providing the lift and, once we were there, only one of them.  However, there were a couple of locations around the field that gave us options to photograph the Twotter with it taking off to the north and recovering in a southerly direction.  There was even one departure when it turned right over us but the reason for that will show up in a future post.

Doesn’t Everyone Have a Hornet by the Front Door?

When deciding on what garden furniture to have, there are many options.  You could have some garden gnomes, maybe a stone lion, all sorts of possibilities.  Most of these are because most people don’t have access to a fast jet.  If you do, and the California Science Center does, you’d stick a Hornet outside the front door.  It was in the shade from the building in the morning I was there, but I thought it provided just the right amount of gravitas.

Vistara Flying at Last

With so many stored 787s at Everett in recent years, I have seen a bunch of Vistara jets on the ground.  However, I hadn’t really done very well in catching them moving.  Not very well is generous – I hadn’t got anything worthwhile.  Then I was up at Paine Field earlier in the day for something else and a Vistara jet taxied out for a test flight.  Thankfully it ran reasonably long on its takeoff roll and I was able to get some good shots of it.

A-4 and F-8 Airframes Aren’t Going Anywhere

Arizona is packed with old airframes.  You can go to any number of airports and find some old military aircraft stacked up in spare locations.  Marana Regional Airport is a great example.  Wander along the fence of the airport by the road and you come across a bunch of A-4 Skyhawks and F-8 Crusaders tucked away.  The weather is ideal for preserving an airframe and they look like they are in great condition.  No idea what state they were in when they arrived and what bits are missing but they do look like they could be so close to being useful even if they are really never going to move again.  Oh to see a Crusader or two back in action.

Some P-8s But Not Many Markings

A trip to Whidbey Island at the end of last year resulted in some encounters with the local P-8 Poseidons.  The disappointment was that they weren’t exactly showing off loads of unit markings.  With one exception, they were rather anonymous.  I’m not sure whether they had been recently received and were later to get squadron emblems or not.  I hope so.  Fortunately, the light was nice at that time of year so I got some images I was pleased with.

A Short Time Between Two Visions

It doesn’t take long for the weather to change in the Pacific Northwest.  One afternoon I got a couple of Cirrus Vision Jets into Boeing Field.  The weather was a bit overcast for one of them and then cleared up nicely by the time the second one showed up.  The result was a far nicer shot for the second jet than for the first.  It is amazing how quickly conditions can change and what a difference it can make to the images.

Finally, the Jetz Black Jet – Just No Sun

Air Canada operates a charter service under the Jetz brand.  While the A320s are not the focus of the mainline fleet, they are part of the Jetz fleet plan.  With a lot of use in sports charters, they do show up at Seattle pretty frequently.  One of the Jetz jets has been painted in a gloss black livery which looks pretty cool.  I really wanted to get some shots of it but they only seemed to be bringing it in late at night and departing in the early hours of the morning.

I wasn’t going to be out that late and photographing a black jet at night was not going to be that worthwhile.  Then I saw one was going to come in on a Sunday morning.  I took a look at the forecast, and it was showing the potential for the sun to be out and I decided to give it a go.  Finding a location on that side of the field for the morning light has got a lot worse since construction has taken away some of the options.  However, there are still some things that can work.  I was hopeful that the sun might be there but, with the jet turning on to approach, there was still some cloud taking away the best of the morning light.  Nevertheless, the jet looked pretty good as it flew by to touchdown.  I wasn’t unhappy with the results.

Foreign F-35s

Luke AFB is not just home to a load of USAF F-35s.  It is also the training base for many of the export operators.  They also allocate some of their jets to the unit, so you do have the opportunity to catch a bunch of jets that are not from the USAF.  This includes Italian, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch jets.  Aside from the Danish ones that actually have a tiny bit of color in their national markings, all the jets are low viz.  At least they are slightly different, even if not very conspicuous.

328Jet Departure Only

A period of some pretty frequent visits to Seattle of 328Jets was nice to have.  Unfortunately, I was unable to be there when one of them was arriving.  Not chance to get the landing configuration but I was there by the time they were heading back out.  I wasn’t sure of how quickly they would be off the ground given that the 328 is able to handle some short fields.  As it turned out, they ran a reasonable distance and I was happy with the results.