Tag Archives: military

Norwegian P-8 On The Line

I saw an article in Flight about the first P-8 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force having rolled out at Renton.  It showed an airframe with a large saint emblem on the fin.  I figured this would be worth a look when I could next get to Renton.  My day off to chase planes provided that opportunity.  Sure enough, there on the flight line was the new P-8.  It was sitting next to an RAF P-8 – their eighth example.  The RAF jet flew that day but I imagine it won’t be too long before the Norwegian example follows it in to the air so I shall have to keep an eye out for that.

Passing Black Hawk

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.

Sexy Sue Returns

An A-26 Invader, marked up as Sexy Sue, is based at Renton.  It is flown pretty frequently.  It is normal for it to take off and head up towards the San Juans before looping around and coming back down to Renton.  A flight lasts about 40 minutes which means, even if I knew exactly when it got airborne, the chances of getting to Renton in time to get its return are pretty limited.  I have caught it out and about one time when it landed from over the lake on a cloudy day.

My day off with the planes had me at Boeing Field when I got a notification that the A-26 was airborne from Renton.  I was anticipating the arrival of something at BFI so wondered where I should put my priorities.  It is about fifteen minutes from Boeing Field to Renton so a quick reposition is possible.  I figured I could probably just make it when my other arrival touched down.  However, I had assumed incorrectly about the direction of flight and the A-26 was heading off through Snoqualmie Pass instead of going north.

I tracked it for a while anticipating a turn but it kept going and eventually landed at Walla Walla.  I did wonder whether they were heading to Oshkosh or not.  Once it was on the ground, I forgot about it for a while.  Then, when checking something else a little later on, I realized that they were up again and heading back home.  Again, there was a question about something inbound to BFI but timing looked good so I waited for the first shot to be made and then hopped in the car to Renton.  The lights all seemed to take forever but I was at the overlook in plenty of time.  I wondered whether they would try for an approach across the lake and I would need to relocate but there was a lot of light aircraft traffic so they slotted in to the normal pattern having gone north a way before turning back in.

They were easy to see while downwind and then turned across the housing around Renton before lining up on final with Mt Rainier in the background.  I decided to risk a slower shutter speed since the light was very bright and with such a cluttered background, I needed to blur things as much as possible to try and make the plane stand out.  It worked a bit but it was still noticeable how much the background takes over shots from that location.  As soon as they touched down, I was ready to head back to BFI since more things were due there.  This day off was proving very fruitful.

One of Boeing’s T-38s Again

Stopping by Boeing Field en route to somewhere else and finding that a Boeing T-38 chase jet is about to arrive is a lucky coincidence.  Turned out even better as I saw a car parked in my normal spot and realized it was my friend David.  A chance to chat and catch up while the T-38 made its approach was a lot of fun.  Good to see both him and the T-38!

North Weald Throw Back

Scanning old photos has mainly focused on my folders of negatives.  Unlike serious photographers, I almost always shot negatives.  However, I knew that slides were supposed to be the way to go and decided to experiment with them a few times.  One of those times was a show at North Weald during my college days.  I did not know a lot about what I was doing then and that is even more the case when considering the use of slide film.  However, some of the shots are okay.

What is more fun is seeing the sort of planes that showed up at a show in the late 80s.  Some of them are familiar today while others are long gone.  A Norwegian A-26 was there which is coincidental given I have recently shot a Norwegian P-8 and a private A-26.  A Jaguar displayed from the RAF as did Tornados.  Sally B was busy then as she is now.  Some things change and others don’t.  Here is a selection of the least crappy shots from that event.

More Black Hawk Shots

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.

Early Pegasus Jets Getting Reworked

The KC-46 Pegasus program continues to be a problem for Boeing.  Delivery rates are lower than planned and articles describing the shortcomings in the jets continue to get circulated.  They have a long way to go, and Boeing is going to have to spend a lot more money before they are fully capable.  Meanwhile, jet do continue to be built and delivered.  The earliest jets were given civil registrations because they were undergoing a civil certification program as well as a military one.  Two of those jets are now back at Everett getting reworked – presumably because they will ultimately get delivered to the USAF.  I shot a couple of them on the airfield while up there one sunny weekend.

What Will This Neptune Get Labeled With?

The Indian P-8I fleet is different from the P-8A Poseidons of the US Navy and that have a different name – Neptune.  The original batch had Ark on the fin.  The second batch had a different name but the current test aircraft I saw at Boeing Field both departing and arriving had a blank fin.  I am not sure whether this is because it won’t have a unit name, whether it hasn’t been decided yet or whether it hasn’t been disclosed and will be added at a later date.  It made for a slightly more boring look combined with the US registration taped over the paint scheme.  I got it departing and returning so experimented with some slower shutter speeds to make things more interesting.  The takeoff run was long so it must have been pretty heavy when it departed.

Honolulu Military Traffic

While sitting at the terminal at Honolulu waiting for our flight home many moons ago, I was staring out of the window at the traffic arriving and departing.  Being in a different area meant plenty of different airlines as well as the more familiar ones.  I created a post a while back that included some of the more usual operators.  However, the airport shares a runway with the Air Force base.  When you are on final approach, you get to see some of the fighters in shelters.  It also means that some military traffic might arrive.

A bunch of F-16s started appearing as they rolled out after landing.  I don’t know whether Hawaii was their destination or just a good stopover as part of a Pacific crossing.  They weren’t making the journey unsupervised though.  A KC-10 was dragging them across the ocean and it soon showed up too.  I guess the last refueling was the cue for the F-16s to put in a burst of speed to get in first with the “Gucci” following them home.

Aspen Sounds Familiar

There was a call sign of an inbound flight at Boeing Field that caught my attention.  It was Aspen.  This is a call sign that the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB has used since the days of the SR-71.  I have seen their T-38s show up at Boeing Field before so thought there was a good chance it could be another one.  Sure enough, when they called up on approach, I could see a T-38 inbound.  However, it was coming in at the same time as something else and it was actually aligned with the short runway.

They put the power on when crossing the airfield boundary and pulled up into the downwind for a second approach.  The first approach had made the jet look pretty small in the viewfinder – I hadn’t realized that they were further away than the main runway – so I went with the 500mm when they came back.  This made for a tighter shot than expected.  However, I managed to get a few shots of the jet as it turned final – a long way away – and then as it was on short final.  A nice treat.