In my younger days, I was all about modern aircraft and didn’t have much interest in warbirds. Over time and having been involved with a number of groups that operate these aircraft, I have grown far more interested. Being in the US, you get a lot of American vintage aircraft to see. In the UK I might not have been so bothered about Spitfires but, now I see them less often, they have become of greater interest.
The later model Spitfires seem less graceful to me but the earlier models have a simpler and more elegant appearance. This one was carrying out some flybys at Paine Field during the Open Day. The rumble of the Merlin is well known and common to the P-51s. The line of the Spitfire is unique, though, and seeing it swooping by was really quite exciting. What a great looking aircraft.
The field trip during the ISAP Symposium was held at Paine Field in Everett. We were hosted by the Heritage Flight Foundation and its owner John Sessions and they were excellent hosts. (I visited once before and you can see that post here.) Aside from the selection of aircraft still in the hangar where we were set up, they had arranged some photo sorties with some of their aircraft. The B-25, Grumpy, was the camera ship for a few photographers and the P-51 Mustang was the target. A T-6 also went up as a second camera ship. Each photo position was a paying ride with the T-6 obviously being the premium slot.
I had decided not to take the ride. It was not cheap although certainly not bad value for money. As the weather was not looking great, I wondered whether I had chosen wisely. As it was, the people who did go up did get some great images. The area certainly can provide some nice backdrops and the light, while flat, did not hurt things. However, even as someone on the ground, the flights seemed over very fast so I imagine for those on board, it was gone all to quickly.
For those of us on the ground, we got treated to the departure and arrivals of the aircraft plus a few passes of the P-51 and T-6 which were a lot of fun. Gloomy skies made it all a little flat looking but still a great sight. Being able to be close to the aircraft during the start up, taxi out and return was certainly worthwhile. The following day they were having a public event and I hope the weather improved for the large numbers they were expecting.