There is no shortage of DHC Beavers in the PNW, even of the turbine variety. Plenty of them are on floats, too, so even that doesn’t make it particularly special. However, when you haven’t been able to shoot much aviation for a long time, one is a welcome sight. Even better when it switches to the closer runway when on approach.
Tucked inside the fence at Renton was something I don’t think I have seen before. It was a Piper Aztec on amphibious floats. No reason why an Aztec wouldn’t be on floats but it isn’t something I have seen before. I would certainly like to see it on the water at some point. Sadly, because it was tight to the fence, my best option was to use the phone to get the shot!
Another jump back to just before things got locked down and a visit to Log Boom Park in Kenmore. I was hoping for either some interesting wildlife or some Kenmore Air activities. The only floatplanes I ended up with were a couple of Cessnas. However, the light was nice and the evening was calm so this actually proved to be a good alternative. They may not be as neat as a de Havilland Canada beast but they are still fun to shoot.
The Caravan’s of Seair seemed to delight in making their departures closer to Stanley Park than the Harbour Air flights. This meant the long lens was way too much at their closest point but it did provide some nice angles for the aircraft as they took off and climbed out. The Caravan looks rather uncomfortable when on floats on the water but, once it is airborne, it looks pretty good to me. I was quite pleased with these passes.
We flew across Lake Union on our way back to Kenmore so went over the top of Kenmore Air’s base there. It turned out to be a busy time for the base. There were a bunch of planes on the water heading in and out of the base with others tied up awaiting their next flight. Having watched ops at the base on a number of occasions, the view from above provided a very different perspective to what I have seen before. At some point I hope to fly in there to experience it for myself.
I had a work day up in Vancouver. I finished up in the office at the end of the day just when rush hour traffic would be at its worst. The sun was out and the temperature was still nice so I figured I might delay my drive home for an hour or so and head to Stanley Park. It is a nice place to hang out, there is always plenty going on in the harbor and the floatplane departures might have factored in to my decision making.
There is a bit of an evening rush of departures but, with the days getting shorter and floatplane operations being a very visual thing, I figured they wouldn’t be going out too late if they were to be back before dark. I was actually pretty lucky as there was a wave of departures shortly after I got there and then, when I thought it had all wrapped up, another burst of flights headed out. Meanwhile, there were arrivals coming overhead for landing. It killed a bit of time and made for an easier drive home when I headed back south again.
With a friend visiting from the UK who was keen to experience some float plane flying, we booked ourselves on some flights with Kenmore Air. Having spent a fair bit of time over the last couple of years photographing their planes in service, it was nice to be actually experiencing their flying for a change. It proved to be a fun time and I will cover more bits of it in coming posts. Today I am focusing on their base. They were happy for us to wander around while we waited for our flight which was a lot of fun. Plenty of aircraft up on the land awaiting their next flights so here are some shots.
A couple of Kenmore Air planes departed from Kenmore while I was at Log Boom Park. The conditions were pretty damp and humid (and were about to be joined by pretty heavy downpours of rain!). This meant the departing planes had a good chance of pulling some streamers from the prop tips. Sure enough, when the Otter took off (and it started the takeoff run a little early which helped the shooting angles) the prop was streaming some vapor. The shape of the cone of the tip vortices as they flow across the fuselage was quite interesting.
A little while later (and just before the downpour began), a turbo Beaver came out. It, too, pulled some nice vapor from the prop tips as it accelerated across the water. A bit of a cross wind was apparently coming in (no doubt related to the impending storm) and they got airborne one float at a time. At this point we retreated to the car – but not in time to avoid the rain entirely!
Getting an Otter at Kenmore is not a challenge. The Kenmore Air fleet returns to their home base each evening so a steady stream of them can be relied on. What I hadn’t seen before was two showing up almost simultaneously. I was watching the first on final approach when I saw a second appear in the background. It provided a slightly more dynamic view of a regular occurrence.
Renton may be home to the 737 and to plenty of other aircraft but it also has a floatplane dock at the north end. A Husky was dragged over to the ramp during my Sunday morning stroll and dropped into the water. The pilot powered up and proceeded to water taxi around for quite a while, presumably while the engine was coming up to temperature. Finally he was ready to go and given acknowledgement from the tower that he could go if he wanted. A surge of power, up on to the step and then airborne and climbing away. No two ways about it, flying floatplanes is definitely cool.