Tag Archives: Paine Field

FHCAM’s 262

My most recent visit to FHCAM was also my first encounter with their Messerschmidt Me-262.  I knew they had one, but it was never on display when I went previously.  Fortunately, it is now part of the main museum exhibits.  I think the 262 is a very interesting looking design.  Early jets were not always the most elegant shapes but the 262 had a really interesting, blended look to the fuselage and wings.  I was hoping I could find a way to get something that reflected that in my shots.  What I really wanted to do was use the monopod to get some higher angle shots but the museum has strict rules about such stuff so I had to make do with whatever my arms could manage.

The jet is a pretty small airframe.  That generation of planes was not particularly large with a few more specialized exceptions so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.  Compared to modern jets, it is tiny.  First generation jet engines were not efficient beasts so it would have worked its way through its fuel load quite rapidly, I imagine.  That assumed that both motors kept running for the whole flight.  I still haven’t seen one of the restored/replica 262s fly, sadly.  I wonder if I shall do that at some point.

Rainy Sunday for the National Queen

Given that National Airlines has a better than average livery, I will always be happy to get a shot of their planes.  The 747s are a favorite given that they are less common post the pandemic.  I was therefore really pleased that one was due into Paine Field one weekend.  Of course, this is the Pacific Northwest and that means no guarantee of good weather.  Sure enough, it was a bit overcast, and the air was damp.  I wasn’t going to get gleaming illumination of the airframe, but I might get some vapor.

Things weren’t that great but there were some vortices streaming from the flaps as they came across the threshold at the north end of the airport.  The grey of the livery was blending a bit with the clouds behind it, but the blues did still have a bit of punch to them.  It could have been better, but it was still something I was pleased to get.

At Last, a Japanese Pegasus Airborne

Japan is one of the few countries to order the KC-46 Pegasus tankers for its Air Force.  Their initial four jets have been coming through the production line at Everett and I had seen the occasional one when it was on the ground being prepared.  However, I had never seen one fly.  I finally broke that duck a while back.  I was at Everett not only for the departure but the return of a Japanese jet.  I thought I was going to miss it taking off because it was lined up when I was getting close to the airfield.

Fortunately, it was doing a high-speed taxi first and then backtracked for the real departure by which time I had arrived.  The return was a lot more relaxed from my point of view and I was pleased to finally get one airborne.  I doubt I shall have many opportunities to see them once they are delivered.

Lockheed 12 Heading East

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.

Sampling the Air in Detail

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?

Silk Way West Can’t Avoid Me Forever

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!

Great Access for the Ameristar Jets

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!

The Return of the DC-8 and Max 10 After the Storm

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.

A moment with light like this is very rare and you have to be excited when it all works out.

A More Dynamic Angle on Lynden at Last

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.

United’s 737-10 Being Used for SAF Tests

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.