Tag Archives: patrol

Boeing Flight Test Ramps

From my new spot, you have a good view of the main civil ramp at Boeing as well as a slightly more distant view of the military ramp.  The civil ramp was full of Max jets waiting to get delivered now that customers can start accepting the jets again.  Not all agencies have cleared the Max so I guess Boeing was focusing on those that have and aiming to get as much cash as they could in before year end.  You could also see the stored jets on part of the ramp as well as those in the parking lot across Marginal Way.

There were three 777X development airframes parked while the second jet was out on a test flight.  I was hoping to get it returning but it was out over the Pacific off the Oregon coast and I rightly guessed that, despite the online forecast, it wouldn’t be back before sunset.  The military ramp was a little quieter than I expected with a couple of KC-46s and some P-8s including the next one for the Royal Air Force.  There were also two KC-46s up on the civilian flight test ramp.  Plenty to see and it would have been better in morning light.

Return of a P-8 Test Flight From Above

The first decent sized arrival I got on my BFI visit was a US Navy P-8 Poseidon returning from a test flight.  It gave me a chance to get the hang of picking the arriving planes up against the background and working out their positions as the are on final.  Things are pretty cluttered in the background which doesn’t help make a photo look interesting but, once they are over the airfield itself, the background is a lot cleaner and the plane stands out more.

Once over the runway, everything is unobstructed so you get a good view of the touchdown and roll out.  The runway wasn’t too damp so not much in the way of spray from reverse thrust but a good amount of tire smoke as the mains hit the ground.  Heat haze was not too much of a problem as the conditions were not too sunny but you still had to be pretty close in before the shots were sharp enough to look at closely.

P-8 Tries to Trick Me

The afternoon lighting was looking good and, when I saw a P-8 was up, I was tempted to get some shots.  When I saw the Dornier was also coming in, it helped make up my mind.  Even better, it spared me from a fruitless trip.  The P-8 was out of Boeing Field and was scheduled to make approaches at Everett before returning to base.  I would have been tempted to shoot it up there but, with the 328Jet in the mix, I figured Boeing Field was it.

As it turned out, the flight plan for Everett was a distraction.  I watched the jet heading back up from Oregon and it looked like it was coming direct to Boeing Field.  That was indeed the case.  No approach to Everett.  If I had been up there, I would have been pretty annoyed.  As it was, I got the arrival, even if the conditions were nowhere near as nice as they had been when I first headed out.  This one was a US Navy example.

More of the RAF’s Poseidon Test Flying

In this recent post, I had an RAF Poseidon flying over the house.  A little while later, I was at Boeing Field when the same jet came back from a test flight.  Here are some shots of it as it rolled out after landing.  It wasn’t long after this that the jet was delivered to the RAF and made the trip to its new home in Lossiemouth.

US Navy P-8 Test Flight

Boeing Field always has the possibility of something interesting going on and a P-8 test flight for a US Navy jet was on the cards while I was there a while back.  Even better news was that it wasn’t a long flight that they had planned.  Consequently, I was going to be there for both departure and return.  Since the jet was lightly loaded, takeoff was not labored and they were well up by the time they were close to me.  Still, not a big angle on the jet with the light as it was.

I didn’t head to the approach end for the return as I was waiting for something else.  It did mean I was closer to the jet as it rolled out on is landing run.  The military ramp for Boeing is at that end of the field so the jet rolled to the end and turned off.  Heat haze is always a problem at this time of year but things looked surprisingly good considering.

Royal Air Force Poseidon

My Renton visit also produced a P-8A Poseidon.  I have seen plenty of them over the years but this one caught my eye because it is the fourth airframe for the UK’s Royal Air Force.  Sitting on the ramp on a sunny day with heat haze is not ideal but it was still worth a shot since, once it gets delivered, I am unlikely to get much of a chance to see it again.

The Second Batch of Indian P-8s Commences

This P-8 is the first jet for a second batch ordered by the Indian government.  I have to admit that I didn’t know that they had ordered more jets.  I could tell it was different because the earlier jets had ARK written on the fin and this one has DAB.  Maybe that is a squadron thing?  The P-8I for the Indians has a number of changes from the USN standard of jet.  It has a different radar mounted on the fuselage and also includes a MAD which was not part of the USN spec.  Here are some shots of the two jets to show the differences between them.

Lots of P-3s, or One P-3 Lots of Times

Paul and I headed to Whidbey Island on the hunt.  We would be happy to shoot a variety of stuff but P-3s were the goal.  Whidbey still has them but they are disappearing fast so get what we can.  As it turned out, we got a ton of P-3 action but it was all with the same plane.  It flew a bunch of circuits after returning from a training sortie and then finally landed.  However, it wasn’t done.  A crew change and they were back up.  That plane got some use that day.  We could hear another engine running but it obviously wasn’t going flying.  Here are lots of shots of one specific P-3 instead!

P-3s Coming Out of the Sun

When Ault Field is operating on 25, the aircraft taxi out to the departure end along a taxiway that gradually brings them into view from the crash gate.  The sound will usually precede them and, in the case of the P-3s, that is a pretty distinctive sound.  As the day wears on, they are coming at you out of the sun so a bit more silhouetted but that helps to make them look more interesting.  They pull around to the hold point, sometimes mixing in with the Growlers before departing off to the west.  This is a sight that will soon be gone as the P-8s take over.

Aussie P-8

With the progressive retirement of P-3 Orions around the world, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon is starting to take over as the dominant maritime patrol aircraft.  The US Navy is the principal customer, but Australia was relatively quick to order the type too.  They are now in the process of being delivered and I happened across one coming back to Boeing Field at the end of a test flight.  Since it was operating from their military ramp, it taxied back along the field after landing and right by giving me a good look at the configuration the Aussies have gone with.  India has been another customer and, before too long, the first of the RAF jets should make it through production.