Airport roads can sometimes throw up interesting surprises. I was driving around Paine Field one weekend and came upon this fuselage sitting on a trailer. I had a chat with the guys loading it up. It is a Lockheed 12 and was heading to Minnesota for restoration to flight. They suggested a lot of work was needed and it would be a while before it was flying again. However, I was just taken to see it sitting beside the road as I happened to pass by.
The time that the NASA DC-8 spent up in the Pacific Northwest was a ton of fun for the aviation enthusiasts. Since I did get to shoot the jet a few times, I got some closer shots of the airframe to show the various sensors that cover the jet and are used for the sampling work that has been its specialization. There are plenty of them on the top, sides and bottom of the airframe. Here are some shots. I wonder what will replace the jet and whether it will have a similar array of probes?
Having been operating 747 freighters, Silk Way West, an Azerbaijani cargo airline that is upgrading its fleet with 777Fs. They took delivery of their first one a while back and there was no time when I could be anywhere close while the jet was on test or being delivered. I was a bit annoyed to miss it, but these things are part of the process. When a second jet came off the line, I was similarly unable to get anywhere near it while it was on test. However, the delivery flight did coincide with some free time I had.
I headed to Everett with the hope of catching it leaving. Delivery flights are not always reliable. The timing of getting airborne can move and sometimes odd things happen and they don’t go at all. This is not the norm, though, so I was hoping it would all work out and I was lucky. The flight was direct to their home base so, while the jet had no cargo in the hold, it was going to be heavily fueled up so I was hopefully of a reasonably long takeoff run. It rotated in a good spot for getting some shots but was still quite well off the ground when it came by me. Still, not a bad location for some shots. I wonder if/when I shall next see this jet!
As some previous posts may have indicated, I have not had the best of luck with Ameristar DC-9s in the past. They never seem to move when I am around. I heard that some were coming in to Paine Field and, again, I wasn’t going to be around when they got there. However, I was up there a little while afterwards and, after getting the shots I came for, the evening light was looking nice so I figured I would head around to see if there was a good shot of them on the ramp.
When I got there, I was disappointed to see some vehicles parked up inside the fence and in the way of any shots of the jets. Rather than give up, I headed in to the FBO to see if they would let us outside and they were very helpful. Turns out one of their team is a keen photographer himself and he was happy to escort us out. The two DC-9s were sitting on the ramp in lovely light. What more could you ask for? There was a medical helicopter crew getting ready to depart and we had to stay well out of their way but this did not impact what we were after. A great opportunity to get the jets in nice conditions.
A few days later, one of the jets was heading out. It was a northerly flow and, given the ability of the original short body DC-9s to get out of shorter fields, it was going to be pretty high when it came by me. That wasn’t going to stop me getting a shot, though. Got to make the most of it when the opportunity presents itself. When DC-9s were everywhere with operators like Northwest, it was easy to ignore them. Now they have rarity value, it is a different story!
There was an evening when the weather was awful and the NASA DC-8 was out on a mission. The forecast suggested things might get a bit clearer late in the afternoon and so, while the light was awful, I thought I might take a chance and head to Paine Field after work. The sky was dark and ominous but I was there so I might as well wait. As the Max 10 was first on approach, it was the one I would try out first. There was a hint of the sun starting to punch through the cloud and it did look okay.
Then, when the DC-8 showed up, the clouds parted. The backdrop was still and evil looking sky but the sun was on the plane as it came down the approach. I had thought of shooting video but, when I saw the light, I couldn’t resist shooting stills. The joy of modern cameras is the ability to switch rapidly from one to the other. I got video down the initial approach and then stills as it was close in. Then back to video once it was by me. This actually didn’t make for a bad video edit.
I have had various encounters with the C-130s of Lynden Air Cargo over the years, but they have usually been a relatively normal side on type of shot. I saw one of the aircraft had gone into Paine Field and I was fortunate that the departure was scheduled for a weekend day when I could get up there. I decided at the last minute to make the trip up and, as I pulled up at my preferred location, a quick check of the phone showed the aircraft was already at the hold.
I got set up as rapidly as I could and then they were rolling. The advantage of this location is that the plane will have rotated and is climbing out towards me. The Herc is able to get out of short strips just fine, but it isn’t climbing too rapidly so I knew I should get something different to what I have taken before. I quite liked the front quarter shot but the others were fine too. I was then back in the car and home in a short time. It was almost like I hadn’t been away, but I had got the result I wanted.
The NASA DC-8 was up in the Pacific Northwest for the trials sampling the air when burning sustainable aviation fuel. The aircraft that was actually burning the fuel that they were sniffing was a 737-10. This Max 10 is ultimately destined for United Airlines. Since the Max 10 is not certificated yet, I guess the jet was free for Boeing to use. It had a special livery for the trials program. Not sure whether this will be kept for service or not. However, when I was shooting the DC-8, I usually got to shoot the Max as well. It didn’t always get the best light, but I still got a few good shots of it.
Autumnal weather can make for unpredictable conditions when photographing anything but especially planes. I was up at Paine Field for the NASA flying but was pleased to see that a Falcon 20 was also due to make a stop. This was an IFL Group aircraft making a short stop before heading off again. The clouds had been rolling through, but they parted just before the Falcon showed up. We had great light on it as it landed.
Conditions didn’t stay great and, by the time it taxied back out to depart, it was not so good. Not terrible by any standards but certainly not the lovely light we had for the arrival. It’s rare that I see a Falcon 20 being used for personal transport these days but the fact that they still have a good role for freight usage means we get to see them around still which is welcome.
A hangar has been under construction at Paine Field for a while and, while so much time has been taken up by the preparation of the groundwork, I happened to be there when they were assembling the frame of the hangar. The long span that the finished structure will have is built up of two pieces with the side beams and the roof beams for one side being assembled on the ground and then two cranes being called in to lift both halves up simultaneously so that they can be bolted in the center to provide the rigidity needed.
Seeing the cranes holding these large frames in place and the crews using scissor lifts to get up to put the connections in place was quite neat. Once the frames are in place, the process of cladding the building can take place in slower time. Those cranes will have been expensive to rent so getting that heavy lifting done as fast as possible will have been the goal.
Beech built the Mentor trainer for the military with a piston engine before coming up with the more powerful turboprop version, the T-34C Turbo Mentor. This saw extensive service with the US Navy. Now there are plenty of them on the civil register including this one I saw one day departing from Paine Field. The dark blue paint enhances the look of the plane and it looks like it has plenty of oomph. I imagine it is a ton of fun to have. I think it would be great to shoot air to air as well!