I first saw the Douglas World Cruiser when Hayman and I were were skulking around Boeing Field prior to an ISAP symposium. The aircraft was being worked on by a restoration team and we chatted to them for a while. When I moved it up, it had moved too and now it lives at Renton. I have seen it plenty of times as it sits in its open ended hangar at Renton. However, it clearly is moved as, on a recent visit, the nose was pointing out of the hangar rather than in. It is not in a great place to shoot but a bit of live view and holding the camera above the wall and you can get a shot.
The Avro Lancaster is a very famous bomber from the Second World War but its transportation derivative is a lot less well known. Outside the aviation community, it is probably totally unknown. It is the Avro York (War of the Roses comments are welcome) and it takes the flying surfaces and power plants of the Lancaster and mates them to a larger fuselage for transporting people. It was an important type in the latter stages of the war and immediately afterwards. This example is in the main hangar at the IWM Duxford.
The Slingsby T-67 was a design that was quite popular when I was younger. They were aerobatic and were used for training by a number of establishments. I didn’t think of it as a plane that got much traction outside the UK market but maybe they did okay. Seeing one in the US was a bit of a surprise. This example was taking off at Paine Field. I wondered whether it was an ex-military example that had been sold to the civil market. If anyone knows the background, do let me know.
The days of the Martin Mars flying boats are probably done. Coulson had been flying them on firefighting duties but they have been superseded by more modern and cost efficient types. One of the airframes had been painted up in US Navy colors as what was supposed to be a move to a museum but that plan fell through. The two airframes are now sitting on the ramp at Sproat Lake and are showing no sign of moving.
The drive to Tofino takes you right past the Coulson facility so I stopped off on the way over. They don’t take visitors anymore so I just took a look through the fence. On the way over, I was really looking in to the sun so getting a shot was tricky. On our way back a few days later, we had made progress compared to schedule and the light was on the better side so I stopped off briefly to get a couple of more shots. I wonder what the future holds for these planes?
Northrop Grumman brought the Firebird to Fairford for RIAT. RIAT is a big public show but it has developed a significant trade element to it and Firebird was clearly aimed at that audience. It is a Scaled Composites design (with Northrop Grumman having bought Scaled a while back) and, while it has a cockpit, apparently it has the option to be flown unmanned. I don’t know whether this is well tested or not. Nor do I know the state of production examples. I believe the one at RIAT was the prototype.
It was parked in the static park for a portion of the time I was there. I did see it getting towed across to the north side at one point, presumably so it could be parked in a hangar rather than left out. Supposedly, there is a US Government order for some of these and I imagine they will be fitted with some interesting systems. Whether I shall ever see one is a different story.
This is not a great shot but it is a rare airplane. I was out and about when I heard what sounded like a vintage aircraft engine rumbling nearby. I took some long shots and only checked them out when I got home. It turns out it is a Hamilton H-47 Metalplane. This aircraft used to operate on floats – that would have been good to see – but it now is on wheels. Apparently it lives someone in the area so I am going to try and track it down at some point.
I posted some shots of John Sessions’ Dragon Rapide in this post. I was pleased to see another Rapide show up at Fairford for RIAT. I managed to get a few shots of it. It was painted in a nice color scheme and looked very elegant as it pottered by. Not a speedy plane (despite the name) so plenty of time to enjoy it.
I had a work day up in Vancouver. I finished up in the office at the end of the day just when rush hour traffic would be at its worst. The sun was out and the temperature was still nice so I figured I might delay my drive home for an hour or so and head to Stanley Park. It is a nice place to hang out, there is always plenty going on in the harbor and the floatplane departures might have factored in to my decision making.
There is a bit of an evening rush of departures but, with the days getting shorter and floatplane operations being a very visual thing, I figured they wouldn’t be going out too late if they were to be back before dark. I was actually pretty lucky as there was a wave of departures shortly after I got there and then, when I thought it had all wrapped up, another burst of flights headed out. Meanwhile, there were arrivals coming overhead for landing. It killed a bit of time and made for an easier drive home when I headed back south again.
A text message from a relative let me know that the Collings Foundation’s B-17 had crashed in Connecticut. Such a terrible shame for those who died or were injured and those associated with them. The loss of an historic airframe is also very sad. I have seen the Collings Foundation tour on a number of occasions are different locations including earlier this year. I hope they will continue with the other aircraft because it brings so much joy to so many. Here is a selection of my shots of Nine-O-Nine.
With a friend visiting from the UK who was keen to experience some float plane flying, we booked ourselves on some flights with Kenmore Air. Having spent a fair bit of time over the last couple of years photographing their planes in service, it was nice to be actually experiencing their flying for a change. It proved to be a fun time and I will cover more bits of it in coming posts. Today I am focusing on their base. They were happy for us to wander around while we waited for our flight which was a lot of fun. Plenty of aircraft up on the land awaiting their next flights so here are some shots.