Omni provides a lot of charter work in the Seattle area, presumably military work for JBLM. The planes usually operate from SeaTac but then will reposition to Boeing Field. There is often an Omni 767 parked up at the south end of the field but I have not ever seemed to have been there when they are moving. More recently, I happened across one coming in to land after a short trip from SeaTac (I could probably have driven it faster given the routing that they had to take). It was nice to see one up and about so it prompted this post with a few Omni 767s.
The heat haze was a bit of a problem on this day so I was hoping that they would roll out a bit long to get into usable range. They couldn’t have been more obliging. It turned out to be a US Marine Corps KC-130J. They didn’t exit early for the taxiway even though they could have done so with ease but instead rolled all the way to near me before exiting and taxiing back to the ramp in the other direction. This was very kind of them. I got them close enough in to have little in the way of heat haze and to get a decent look at them.
This 737 was sitting on the ramp at Boeing Field, apparently getting ready to move. It showed up online as a variety of possible owners including Aramco. However, I thought I knew who it really belonged to and it did indeed turn out to be used by the Federal Government. I think it is part of the US Marshal service and I suspect it is being used to transport individuals that are not popular with law enforcement to a new location. I don’t know whether that is internal transport or deportation but I suspect I don’t want to be on one of those flights. They certainly don’t divert any funding to painting the jets!
I was at BFI one day looking to get some other interesting visitors and I had got what I came for. I was just contemplating whether to go home or do something else before returning when I saw something on the approach at the other end of the field. It looked big, smoky and a prop so I thought I should wait a little longer. A look through the long lens told me it was a C-130! It was a Linden Air Cargo airframe, sadly unpainted in their colors which are very nice. I was most glad that I hadn’t been in a hurry to get on my way!
A Boeing F-15SA development airframe has been in the PNW. The F-15SA is a development of the Strike Eagle family specifically for the Royal Saudi Air Force. They are buying new jets as well as updating the F-15S jets they bought years ago. Production jets have been delivered for a while now but testing activities continue. I had heard that a jet was at Boeing Field for a while and had even seen the tails parked on the ramp as I drove by but I hadn’t seen it moving.
Military jets don’t usually show up on the mainstream flight tracking apps (but this one had when it traveled cross country) so I didn’t know it was airborne. However, I heard it call up on approach so stopped what I was doing and grabbed the camera. Sure enough, it came zipping down the approach. A few quick shots and then it was down. Apparently I was rather lucky. A couple of days later it headed back across country.
This P-8 is the first jet for a second batch ordered by the Indian government. I have to admit that I didn’t know that they had ordered more jets. I could tell it was different because the earlier jets had ARK written on the fin and this one has DAB. Maybe that is a squadron thing? The P-8I for the Indians has a number of changes from the USN standard of jet. It has a different radar mounted on the fuselage and also includes a MAD which was not part of the USN spec. Here are some shots of the two jets to show the differences between them.
I mentioned the arrival of some USAF T-38s in this post. They weren’t alone, though. Boeing had both of their T-38 chase jets out on missions and they had to come back at some point. The day had lovely weather so I was going to wait around and get on with some work to see when they showed up. The jets have similar paint schemes but are slightly different in detail. I had shot one of them in nice conditions once so was keen to do better. I got both of them as they returned so finally felt like I had some success.
I wonder how long they will last. Since Boeing has won the contest to replace the T-38 in USAF service, I wonder whether the early T-7 jets they built will find their way to Boeing Field at some point to support flight test activities. They will probably not be a match for production jets so would be of less use for in service test activities. We shall see. The T-33s are still around so the T-38s may have years ahead of them.
This is part one of a two-parter. I was at Boeing Field sitting taking calls and doing emails and keeping an eye out for anything interesting. That included the Boeing chase T-38s but they are going to have their own post. They weren’t the only T-38s though. Three jets from Beale AFB also showed up. I missed the first and got the second as it landed. The third followed a while later. Strangely for Boeing Field (which sits under the SeaTac approach path) it did an overhead join and then broke into the pattern before landing.
The three jets were on the ground for a while and didn’t leave to late in the day. I heard them call up that they were taxiing and decided to try and get down to the other end of the field for the departure. As I drove down, I could hear them on the radio getting ready to go. I knew it was going to be close but sadly, it wasn’t close enough. As I pulled in to the parking area, they took off in formation. They kept it low and the light was gorgeous. It looked great but no photos to prove it. The third jet had taxied out but must have had an issue because it returned to the ramp. Oh well…
My Saturday morning trip to Boeing Field was to see the Gulfstream test jet covered in this post. I wasn’t expecting much else other than the usual traffic but I was very happy when I pulled up early to see three F/A-18D Hornets from the Marine Corps training unit, the Sharpshooters. They were parked on the other side of the field but had people around them and one was already strobing. It looked like they were going flying. All three soon powered up and taxied out.
The taxiway on that side of the field has a kink in it which provides an interesting angle on the jets as they taxi up together. I was wondering how the departures would look since the weather was heavily overcast and a gray jet with a gray sky is not ideal. The first jet got airborne and climbed quickly which was disappointing. However, the number two kept things a lot lower as they gained speed which helped a lot.
About an hour later, I heard them call up on approach. No run in and break at this airfield. The traffic over the top for SeaTac makes that more complicated so it was straight in approaches for all three jets. They did run down a decent distance and then turned off to return to their parking spots. That was a bit of a bonus. I don’t know whether they were flying again later as I had other plans but a launch and recovery was welcome.
I heard a rumor about a Gulfstream test jet being at Boeing Field. With a Saturday morning free, I decided to head over and investigate. One of the things I had seen suggested it might be the G700. Since that had only recently had its first flight, I was surprised it would be operating out of the west coast rather than Georgia so I decided to try and see it. Of course, it wasn’t the G700. Instead it was a G600 test airframe. Since I had not seen a G600, I was still pleased to catch it. The weather was crummy and it was due to go back to Savannah so I was wondering what sort of shots I would get.
Like any test jet, it didn’t depart when scheduled. It was an hour later than planned when it rolled to the runway and then hung around at the hold point for ages. Then it turned and taxied down towards the end where I was. I couldn’t see it departing in the opposite direction because SeaTac was still flowing to the south and wasn’t showing any sign of changing. It came down past me to the end of the runway and then turned around and taxied back the way it had come. After all of this it departed into the overcast.
Given that I was expected a departure from the far end and a swift climb into the gloom, I hadn’t expected to get many shots I was pleased with. Therefore, this sojourn down to my end and back provided plenty of chances to get a bunch of shots so this turned out to be a lot luckier than expected. I am also a sucker for a jet in primer so thrown in a few instrumented panels for test purposes and I am a happy camper!