I saw a notification that an Avanti was heading to Paine Field and due to arrive later in the evening and not long before sunset. This seemed like an ideal opportunity. I waited to see it depart from Mather Field in Sacramento and then got stuff ready to head up after dinner. I made good time getting up there and the light was looking great. Everything was on a northerly flow which was not what I had hoped for but never mind. However, a quick check on my phone showed no sign of the Avanti.
Eventually I discovered that it had diverted back to Mather. I don’t know the reasoning but it was on the ground down there and not close to arriving near me. I was rather annoyed I hadn’t checked this out just before leaving because it would already have been back on the ground by then. However, I was there and the light was nice so why not make the best of things. A variety of planes were making the most of the conditions including a nice Stinson, some bizjets and a Horizon jet so it wasn’t a totally wasted trip.
I was sitting at Boeing Field having had a relaxing time getting some shots on a sunny afternoon when I got a notification that the A-26, Sexy Sue, was up again from Renton. It is just over 10 minutes to get over there so I figured I would have plenty of time to get across once my next arrival was in. The trip across to Renton was not an issue and I was there in plenty of time for their return from the San Juans.
They took some really long winded route to the south of the field before doubling back on themselves, all specifically to avoid the best of the light at the field. Things had clouded over a little by the time they arrived but I still was okay with the shots. I then headed down to the parking area at the entrance to the airport to be in position for them to taxi in. I got there just in time and they taxied in towards me and shut down.
I waited for them to put the plane away. I am not sure why they spent such a long time thinking about it. Part of me wondered whether they were waiting for me to get lost but finally they started to move her back in to the hangar. Having a look at some of the shots afterwards, I saw the BOAC Speedbird logo on one side of the fuselage along with a lot of names of individuals. If you know the story behind this, please let me know.
Thanks to my friends, Bob and David, I became aware one Saturday morning that a fly day was underway that day up in Skagit County. The Heritage Flight Museum was going to have a few planes flying so I made a quick change of plans and headed up there. The conditions were a bit overcast so not ideal but it was still worth a look. There were a few of the regulars up there too so it was a chance to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while.
Of the various warbirds that they had flying that day, the A-1 Skyraider was the one that was of most interest for me. It was the only one I hadn’t seen at previous events so I was keen to get a chance to photograph it. On takeoff, it seemed to be trailing a fair bit of smoke. Since it was recently off overhaul, this concerned me a bit but it seemed to clean up as they flew for a while so everything seemed to be fine.
There were straight passes across the field from various formations followed by some arcing turns over the museum ramp individually. I backed up the road a bit to try and get a bit more of an angle on the planes as they ran across. It would certainly have been nicer to have a bit more light on them but it was still good fun to be shooting something different. I’m very grateful to the guys for giving me the heads up.
Arlington’s air show included a brief performance by the replica of the Spirit of St Louis. I have only shot the plane once before and understand it is up for sale so it might not be around for much longer. A chance to get it again was welcome and, since it was an evening air show, maybe some good light would be on the cards. Sadly, it was pretty late by the time they got ready to go and the evening was overcast anyway. Instead of good light, it was barely any light.
Even so, you go with what you have. They taxi out passed our location which is nice to have. Takeoff was away from us so they were a bit distant by the time they were airborne but still not too bad. Some passes over the field and then a landing form the other direction and that was it. They did taxi back in our direction of course. Nice to see it again but, oh to get it in nice light.
2021 is the 75th anniversary of Kenmore Air. Since we moved to the Pacific Northwest, I have been grateful to Kenmore for providing plenty of floatplanes for me to see and some convenient locations to photograph them. I have also had a fun flight with them. When they announced that they were holding a public celebration I was in for that. It was a free event at their Kenmore Harbor headquarters and it was a lot of fun.
This 182 showed up at Boeing Field during my day off. I was a bit far away from it but wasn’t going to pass up the chance to shoot something new and floats make a Cessna a bit more interesting than it might otherwise be. It didn’t hurt that a Q400 from SEA was climbing out in the background and showed up in a few of the frames.
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.
There is something interesting about amphibious planes. Whenever I come across one, I am hoping I can get a shot of it. This one was parked up tight against the fence at Renton. Shooting through the fence with my normal camera is problematic with the wire strands always being in shot and hard to remove in post. The phone lens is a better bet in this situation. I stitched a few shots together to make something usable. I liked the star formation on the fin which led me to think this one might come from Alaska.
I was riding around Lake Washington on my bike and Renton is approximately halfway around. I wasn’t in any particular hurry so figured a few minutes down at the float plane base were justified and that I can get a bit of a break before continuing the ride. The phone was the only camera I had with me but it would do to get a photo of this Beaver on floats that was moored there. There wasn’t a huge amount of activity during my visit but it was still a good place to pause and have a drink.
A Piper Malibu was launching out of Boeing Field last year. Things were quite busy and the tower asked them to make an early turn downwind once airborne. They clearly took them at their word because they barely seemed to be off the ground before yanking it in to a tight turn to the north. I doubt they even passed the tower! They were only going a short distance and were due back about fifteen minutes later so I guess they know the area well.