Sentry Eagle 2022 had a couple of F-16s on static display that had been painted up in special color schemes. They were supposed to be throwback schemes but, according to those I know that know more about these sorts of things, there are some issues with the schemes that they chose. I have no idea about such things but I have to say, neither scheme seemed to look that great to me. They felt slightly cartoonish but I can’t come up with a better explanation what it was.
Getting shots of them both was not straightforward. First, there were a ton of people around as they were central to the static displays for the show. Also, the sun was very high and bright and they was a lot of contrast to deal with. One of them was also close to a shadow from a hangar which made for even more contrast issues. Since we weren’t staying on base for the full show, I only had a narrow window to work with. It did improve just before we left, thankfully.
Our return trip from Klamath Falls also provided a bunch of opportunities to stop en route and see different aircraft. We had seen some images on Google Maps of A-4 Skyhawks at Albany in Oregon. The airport is right next to I-5 so we decided to take a look. Sure enough, the airframes were on the field but not where they had previously been seen. However, we had missed that a preserved A-4 was on a pole at the entrance to the airport so we got some shots of that first.
The stored airframes were now along a fence line on the east side of the field. This did not seem immediately accessible but, it turned out the the next property was an event center and it had a parking area that was open. We were able to get up to the fence amongst the parked RVs and get some shots of the airframes as they sat on the ground. No idea what the plan is for them but it doesn’t look like much at the moment.
The 173FW at Klamath Falls has flown a variety of types over the year. One of the advantages of the base being open for Sentry Eagle 2022 was the chance to check out the preserved examples that they have. There is a central avenue on base that is the location of an F-4, an F-15 and an F-16. They are mounted on poles and in the colors of the unit. The lighting can be a bit tricky depending on the time of day but there are ways of making the most of what you can get.
Each plane is set up in a dynamic pose as is appropriate for a fighter aircraft. They are well looked after and there aren’t too many items on them that you would want removed, like spikes to deter birds from landing. I was surprised how few of the visitors to the event actually came to check them out as they weren’t far from the main route to the ramp but it certainly made it easier trying to get some shots.
When I first visited Madras, the Erickson firefighting fleet was in the process of transitioning from the DC-7 to the MD-80. That transition is now complete and the DC-7s are now all stored with some of them on the ramp at Madras, gently baking in the sun. The conversion of the MD-80s has been underway for a while. A bunch of ex Spanair jets were there last time I visited. On this visit, there were a few MD-80s out on the ramp that appear to be providing a source of spares for the in service aircraft.
I don’t know whether these jets will eventually get modified but, given how much has been taken from them, I suspect not. Various control surfaces have been taken and panels removed. I have no idea what the systems inside are like but I would imagine that those are the most valuable parts. However, any spares are worth having since the MD-80 fleet worldwide is dwindling and supporting the air tanker fleet for a long life is going to need a good stockpile of parts. The dry Madras atmosphere makes for a good storage environment so the planes should be in good condition for a while yet.
We had a lot of time to shoot the arriving aircraft at Klamath Falls in the day before the show. One aircraft that showed up was a C-12. I don’t recall seeing it when I was in the show so it either went somewhere else on base or it departed again. However, when I looked at the shots of it, there seem to be a lot of modifications on the airframe that look like there are designed for mounting other items. The C-12 family has received any number of different modifications over the years and there are tons of different configurations. Whether this is one that was de-modified for regular transport use or has the ability to be reconfigured as needed, I don’t know.
In 2015, I made a trip to Madras Oregon for an air-to-air photography course. Based at the Erickson museum, we had an interesting few days discussing the approach to air to air photography as well as the chance to get some shots while airborne. I had a good look around the museum while I was there as well but I was looking forward to a chance to check it out again when we headed south through Oregon. Madras was on our route from Hood River to Klamath Falls so it was a definite stop.
We didn’t have a huge amount of time available to spend at the museum but we had enough to get a reasonable look around. They were busy preparing aircraft since they were taking a few planes to the show at Klamath Falls that we were going to see. As a result, some of the planes were either out on the ramp or at the front of the hangar being prepped for their ferry south.
There seemed to be more planes than I remembered from my previous trip and things were definitely squeezed in. Of course, it might just be my memory not being up to par. The more unusual types like the Bellanca or the Mauler are always worth a look but everything in the collection looks great.
Alaska Air is going through a re-fleeting process in the near future. They are consolidating types in service with some aircraft disappearing. The Airbus fleet is on the way out which is no great surprise to anyone. The Horizon fleet is also getting some changes with a focus on the Embraers and the Q400 turboprops also going away. The Q400s have been ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest for so long that I didn’t always pay them much attention. Now I need to think about them a bit more.
One of the fleet has been painted in a retro paint scheme for Horizon’s days gone by. Despite it being a plane that should appear at Seattle multiple times a day, I had never seen it before. Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see it at Portland when we were down there. Our photo location was directly above the ramp that the Horizon planes were operating from and the south runway, which was their runway of choice, was convenient too so I was able to get a bunch of shots of it in action. How long before this plane and all of its sisters are gone from the area.
The Oregon trip with Mark provided a lot of options for additional aviation experiences while we were en route to the main event in Klamath Falls. This included a stop off at Hood River to check out the museum there. I had heard that it was an impressive collection of both planes and cars and that was no understatement. When it comes to older aircraft, I am well out of my depth. My interest in aviation came out of the military side of things in the 80s and the era of WWII and before was not something I paid any attention to.
The result of this is that a museum like Hood River is full of aircraft that I know nothing about. I couldn’t identify many of them if asked and, when there are many variants of a given make, I don’t recognize what distinguishes them and whether one or other of them is significantly rarer than any other. Instead, I just find it interesting to look at the wide variety of looks and finishes that the planes have.
The Hood River museum certainly provides me plenty to choose from in that regard. There are so many aircraft in there and, while they have several hangars, it is not unfair to say that things are pretty on top of each other in order to get everything to fit in. It is also a little dark but, since modern cameras are so good in low light conditions, this isn’t really a problem anymore.
Mark and I are both plane guys so the car collection was not a big focus for us. We did take a look at to some of the vehicles that were there but, since we had a schedule to keep if we were to get to Klamath Falls in time for some dinner, we had to focus on the planes. There is no way I could cover the collection in one blog post and I won’t even try. Instead, I shall provide a tiny selection of what we saw. Maybe, as I work through some of the shots, I shall revisit the collection in some future posts.
Crater Lake is a lake in a caldera. In the middle of the lake is an island that was formed as the eruptions from beneath built up a new outcrop from the original caldera. That island has itself formed a caldera on the summit. The scale of everything is so large that it is easy to not even notice that this second caldera sits within the first caldera. There are some trees on the island that give you some context as to how large it all is.
British Airways was an early customer for the 787 when Boeing launched it in the form of the 787-8 and has been growing the fleet ever since. They now operate the -8, the -9 and the -10 versions. Their introduction allowed the retirement of the 767-300 fleet so the 787s are now the smallest of the widebodies (although the 787-10 has similar capacity to a 777-200ER). In Seattle, we tend to get the 787-9 or an occasional 787-10. However, Portland gets the 787-8 so, when I got to shoot one there, it was the first time I had seen a BA -8 in ages. They look quite stubby in comparison to the rest of the family.