At the main entrance to the airport at Mojave is an area with some preserved aircraft from test programs. While Mojave is not particularly welcoming to visiting photographers on most of their land, this location seems to be just fine. The dominant aircraft is an ex-NASA Convair CV990. It was used for Space Shuttle landing gear trials amongst many other things. It is joined by an ex-USAF F-4 Phantom and a SAAB 35 Draken that had a second life at Mojave after retirement from the Royal Danish Air Force.
Tag Archives: airplane
Bizjets Approaching Mt Rainier(ish)
Sometimes you can get too fixated on image quality and forget the overall image. I was hanging around at Ruby Chow park one weekend when some jets were approaching Boeing Field. I got some shots as they came overhead but then switched to getting shots of them as they got close to touchdown. The view down the runway is looking straight at Mt Rainier. The jets in front of the mountain look great. Very quickly, the heat haze can make the clarity not as sharp as I would normally expect of myself but, actually, the shot is fine at full scale. Just enjoy the image and don’t fret about the details.
The Virgin A350 Comes to Me
When we were in the UK, I had hoped to see the Virgin Atlantic A350-1000s in use. I did see them in the distance but never got anything of them moving. I was a touch disappointed because the Seattle route is served by the 787 fleet and we don’t get anything as large as the A350 coming here – normally! However, Virgin is apparently involved in supporting the NFL games in Europe and the Seattle Seahawks had a game scheduled in Munich. Virgin sent an A350 to Seattle to collect them. It operated the normal inbound flight and then took the team direct to Munich.
It arrived in good conditions and from the south which allowed me to get some reasonable shots of it. Lighting was a little overhead but it wasn’t too bad and could definitely have been worse. I wasn’t able to see them depart but, once the game was over, the return trip was made. I didn’t get the arrival but I was able to see the final departure of the jet as it headed back to London. Maybe Virgin’s traffic will grow enough to justify the A350 on the route more often? I would certainly like more opportunities to see the jet.
In From Manila And On To Teterboro
A sunny Sunday morning trip out for a bizjet got a bonus. I was a touch late for the arrival unfortunately but this G650ER had come in from Manila on its was to Teterboro. It would have been nice to catch it landing but, after it cleared customs, they taxied out for departure to the east coast. I’m sure it was nice to stretch the legs after a trans-Pacific trip although I doubt a G650 is that uncomfortable!
Edwards Plane On A Pole
Heading into the show at Edwards took you past a lot of planes that had been preserved outside the base buildings. The parking areas around these buildings had been coned off given that there were thousands of vehicles making their way along the roads so stopping to grab shots looked like it might be frowned upon. However, we weren’t always moving so it was possible to grab shots out of the window. I would like to have got more and have seen the shots of others that I missed but I did get a P-59 Airacomet on one of the poles which is a relatively rare beast.
One Of The Oldest Tornados
The Tornado was entering service in big numbers with the RAF at the same time that I was getting seriously into aviation. I always felt it was the plane I knew the best. When I ended up working on them, it felt like a continuation of my youthful enthusiasm. The Tornado GR1 was my jet. After I moved on to other projects, MLU came along and that became the GR4. Somehow, the GR4 never felt like it was mine. I was a GR1 kid.
When I went to the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at Old Sarum, there was a Tornado at one end of the hangar. It was a GR1 that had never been updated. Better than that, is was one of the earliest production jets that the RAF received. Some of the test jets at Warton were from this batch so this one really felt like one of the originals for me. The Tornado is long gone from RAF service but, for me, to see one of these earlier jets was really a treat. Camo with black radomes is how the Tornado should look!
Falcon 50 Through the Snow
Crappy conditions are not usually what you are after when photographing aircraft but, sometimes it is what you get and you have to make the best of it. One upside is that, if you are somewhere with a reasonable amount of traffic, you can play around with getting shots of something you weren’t necessarily focused on. While standing in the snow waiting for the Skycourier’s arrival, I did have a Falcon 50 on approach. I like the Falcon 50 a lot so this would normally have my attention already. However, crummy conditions almost left me in the car. I decided at the last minute to try it anyway.
I was really quite pleased with the patterns that the snow made around the jet as it came in. in such bad light, the landing lights are always going to be more dominant and their ability to light up the snow flurries ahead of them can work out well. These pictures will probably never be gracing anyone’s walls but I got a kick out of them when I went through them back at home.
Edwards AFB might be the home of the USAF flight test center but it is also home for NASA’s Armstrong test center. Consequently, NASA was included in the flying display. They put up a three ship formation that mad a series of passes. The formation was led by a Gulfstream with an F-15 and an F/A-18 on the wing tips. The Eagle is one that has been with NASA for years and is painted in a white scheme. The Hornet was still in Strike Test colors from Pax River but I have no idea how long it has been with NASA.
The two jets also did some demonstrations of sonic booms as they maneuvered high above the crowd with the booms reaching the ground at different times depending on how high they had been created. The sound was also modified by the maneuvering of the jet. Formations like this don’t appear regularly at air shows so this was a welcome addition to the flying program.
What Is Experimental About This?
Dassault is developing their business jet line. The 5X was stillborn as a result of engine supply issues but it led to the 6X which I got to see last year when it came through Boeing Field on tour. The next jet is the 10X. This is going to be a large cabin and long range jet to play with the Global 8000 and G800. However, it hasn’t flown yet. When I saw this jet at Boeing Field, I wondered what the story was. The large graphic on the side must either relate to something else or is delusion of grandeur on the part of the owner.
Alaska Air Cargo Finally in Good Conditions
Alaska Air Cargo operates some 737-700s that have been converted to freighters. For some reason, I feel like I have struggled to get any good shots of them. I have either been too distant or the weather was crummy or I just made a bad job of the shots. They operate in and out of SEA daily so you would think that, after six years up here, I would have got something of them that I liked. Finally I got a bit more lucky. Some afternoon departures to the north on days when I could be there and the light was cooperating meant I was able to get something better. The -700 is not a big jet so, even with the 500mm, I was stretching things a bit but winter light makes everything better. If only the Cargo logo wasn’t hidden behind the wing for a good chunk of the time. The low light does make the texture of the door conversion on the front of the fuselage show up, though.