What I thought was a JetRanger came in to BFI one evening. The color scheme looked a little odd and the markings had a bit of a military feel about it. Once I got home, I looked up the registration to see who the operator was. It turns out it was a JetRanger – sort of. It was actually a retired TH-67 Creek which King County Sheriff’s department had bought. They obviously haven’t repainted it. I wonder whether they will.
My day off work to go plane hunting continued to provide interesting things for me. I had noticed a UH-1 Huey on FlightRadar24 while looking for something else. It was off to the east and had been circling various locations. I assumed it was a firefighting mission and thought no more about it. Actually it was the King County Sheriff’s airframe and, while I was at Boeing Field, it made an approach and landed at Modern Aviation’s ramp. It was a bit distant but I got some shots of it and thought no more.
A while later, I was at Renton awaiting the arrival of the A-26 when I heard the distinctive sound of the Huey again. This time it was close over the top of me and just to the sunny side so rather backlit. I figured I would shoot it again anyway at which point it commenced a tight descending turn to land on the field. It came right around me so I got shots all the way – particularly as it got to the right side for the light. To be honest, it was a little close to me for a good angle but this day was throwing me tons of opportunities and I was not going to complain.
I was hoping for an approach and landing when I saw this Black Hawk heading downwind but, sadly, it was just passing by, presumably on its way back to JBLM. It was a bit distant but I still decided to get some shots. The crewman was looking out of the side of the cabin as they flew by and a few of the shots seem to have them looking directly at me. The helmet and mask combination that they use is very intimidating. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, honestly.
I posted some shots of the Black Hawks that were delivering personnel to Paine Field for their onward flight in a USAF C-32. There were only a few shots in that post, but I took a lot of photos of the Black Hawks as they made there approach. Since there is a limit to what I get to shoot these days, I felt a post could certainly be made of some of the other shots from that day. Nice evening light really helps a Black Hawk look good.
Robinson operations at Boeing Field are very common. There are quite a few airworthy Robinsons – R22s and R44s – on the field. Apparently, someone has plans for a bunch more airframes though. This selection of airframes are stored awaiting something new. Not sure whether they are going to be overhauled or just turned in to parts supply for other airframes. They clearly aren’t flying any time soon.
There is no shortage of Robinson R22s and R44s at Boeing Field. Plenty of flight training takes place there and these types will be on the move on a regular basis. This R44 was coming in one evening when I was over there waiting for a later arrival. What caught my eye was that it was fitted with a boom of some sort. It looked like the sort of thing from which a camera might be mounted. An extension would be needed to bring to camera forward far enough but maybe this was the base of the mount? It was certainly not normal. Anyone know details about this installation?
Life Flight Network operate a lot of movements at Boeing Field. They have a Bell 429 that is there regularly. The thing I like about this airframe is that it has a metallic looking paint finish which looks great on a sunny day and can really catch the light. Here it is heading out on a mission from a while back.
The Bell 206 JetRanger was an immensely successful single turbine helicopter and was ubiquitous for decades. However, the type was dated and more modern helicopters had come along and taken market share. Bell needed to come up with a solution and that was the Bell 505 which has since become branded as the Jet Ranger X. The project was not as smooth as intended but it has now entered more widespread service.
That didn’t mean I had actually seen one, though, until recently when I got to photograph one at Boeing Field. At this point, trouble has reached the program again with fatigue failures in the controls for the right seat meaning you aren’t supposed to fly one solo from that seat until a redesigned control is fitted. This will get addressed, of course, but it is another issue for the type. The example I saw was marked as Experimental so I wonder what purpose it was being used for. According to the FAA, it is registered to Bell but what it is doing is anybody’s guess. Putting aside its technical issues, my biggest problem with the 505 is that I think it doesn’t look very good. It reminds me of a tadpole and seems to have a slight feel of a toy design compared to the other types in this class (or the original JetRanger). That is not going to make or break it of course – just a personal observation.
The evening departure of the C-32 was covered in this previous post. I hinted then about the arrival of some of the passengers. I’m not sure where they had been visiting but they returned Ina. Three ship of Black Hawks. Some of those who had been around earlier in the day had seen the departure and apparently it followed the same process.
The three ship of Black Hawks flew downwind on the west side of the field having approached from the south. They then turned to final in a stream, descending to a lower level and flying the length of the runway prior to setting down near the fire station and close to the awaiting C-32. Since it was late in the day, the light on them was really nice once they were over the field (conversely, they were seriously backlit while downwind).
After dropping off their passengers, they pulled up and departed back to the south, presumably heading towards JBLM. I haven’t seen any UH-60s for a while so this was a nice change from the norm. It was also fun looking at the crew on board with the helmet and face masks as they looked back at us. Hopefully they didn’t mind being photographed too much!
Quite a few years back, I was at Van Nuys when the Children’s Hospital Sikorsky S-76 flew over on final approach. I found out a little while later that this helicopter had been donated by Helinet. I found this while talking to Alan Purwin who ran the company prior to his death. It was a nice looking helicopter which isn’t hard since the S-76, while an old design, is a sleek looking machine.
I made a detour recently to Anacortes airport, purely because I had never been there before. Nothing much was going on but, stored at one end of the airfield was this S-76. It looked exactly the same. The registration had been changed but zooming in on the airframe, I could just make out the outline of the old numbers. Sure enough, it is the same airframe. Clearly, it isn’t looking like it is going anywhere soon but it did provide years of good service.