Tag Archives: conversion

Turbine Bonanza

Any airport in North America on any given day will have a reasonable chance of a Bonanza showing up.  Them come in all vintages, shapes and sizes but they usually come!  I’ve therefore shot tons of them over the years.  However, I think I may have had a first in that I recently shot a turbine Bonanza.  It was on the approach at Paine Field and it was obvious that there was something different about it.  The noise was clearly a turbine and the tip tanks had been fitted with winglets.  Given the location, I assume they are for drag reduction since they wouldn’t add much to directional stability.  Tip tanks are probably a must given the rate at which turbines burn fuel compared to pistons.  It was a smart looking thing with the revised nose shape looking quite graceful.  Sadly the landing wasn’t as graceful but floating is fine when you have 10,000’ ahead of you!

New Rolls Royce Testbed

One of the things I was interested to see at Moses Lake was the new testbed being fitted out for Rolls Royce.  Rolls currently has a Boeing 747-200 that they use for airborne testing of their engines.  I shot it at Tucson and posted about it here.  They recently acquired a 747-400 from Qantas to use as a testbed and it was moved to Moses Lake for conversion by Aerotec.  I don’t know the timescales for the conversion process but it will be interesting to see it when ready in house colors and hopefully with a big engine installed on one of the inboard pylons.

Drone F-4s at Mojave

Before the F-16s became the drone target conversion of choice for the USAF, the F-4 was the jet. The contract for conversion was run by Tracor which ultimately ended up being part of BAE Systems at the time I saw these jets.  They did the conversion program at Mojave Airport in California.  We were a bit of a distance from the ramp where they were parked but it was early in the day and the heat haze was not yet a problem so a long shot was feasible.  Looking at these, I think they were both RF-4C jets that had either been converted or were about to be.