While waiting for the UPS 747, there was a bit of light aircraft traffic in to Paine Field. With nice low sun, I wasn’t going to ignore them. They all looked nice enough but I was particularly impressed with a Cirrus that came in sporting a custom paint finish. It looked particularly nice.
The camera ship for the majority of the photo missions at Madras A2AX (and all of the flights I undertook) was Scott Slocum’s Beech Bonanza. This is an aircraft which is certificates for flight with the doors removed. With the rearmost two seats removed, this provides a great location for two photographers to shoot back at the target aircraft. Both photographers wore harnesses that were strapped to the airframe.
Once airborne, one person would sit on the floor by the door and the other would stay on the seats and shoot over the head of the other photographer. This system worked really well. During the turbulent flights, the person by the door was probably a touch more aware of how close they were to the door as we bounced around but it was all safely planned and a lot of fun. Full credit to the work Scott did as the photo pilot coordinating the aircraft as well as guiding us students.
I was at Boeing Field when an interesting shape appeared on the approach. When I first saw it, I thought it looked like a Beech Starship and, sure enough, as it got closer, that was exactly what it was. The Starship is an interesting plane although it was not a success for Beech. I first saw one at Farnborough where Beech was displaying it for the first time in Europe. I think the aircraft was destined for Denmark. Since then I have come across them infrequently.
The program was not good for Beech (although they probably learned a lot about building composite aircraft) and it didn’t become the new King Air that they originally thought it would be. When the program was wrapped up, Beech went through a process of buying back airframes and having them destroyed rather than support them going forward. Not everyone was willing to give them up though. Consequently, there are a number of them still operating and a few more in museums.