Tag Archives: seattle

In From Manila And On To Teterboro

A sunny Sunday morning trip out for a bizjet got a bonus.  I was a touch late for the arrival unfortunately but this G650ER had come in from Manila on its was to Teterboro.  It would have been nice to catch it landing but, after it cleared customs, they taxied out for departure to the east coast.  I’m sure it was nice to stretch the legs after a trans-Pacific trip although I doubt a G650 is that uncomfortable!

What Is Experimental About This?

Dassault is developing their business jet line.  The 5X was stillborn as a result of engine supply issues but it led to the 6X which I got to see last year when it came through Boeing Field on tour.  The next jet is the 10X.  This is going to be a large cabin and long range jet to play with the Global 8000 and G800.  However, it hasn’t flown yet.  When I saw this jet at Boeing Field, I wondered what the story was.  The large graphic on the side must either relate to something else or is delusion of grandeur on the part of the owner.

A Pair of Max Delivery Flights

At the rate Boeing is building 737s at the moment (the actual rate rather than the one that they would like to be building at) means a delivery on any giving day is a possibility.  I happened to be there when two deliveries went out in close succession.  The nice thing about deliveries is that the planes are usually a lot heavier as they are fueled for a longer flight.  When they are departing to the south, that means that they will rotate a lot further along the runway so will be easier to photograph.

Two airlines were taking delivery on this day.  One was Lion Air for its Batik Air subsidiary.  The other was COPA.  The light wasn’t great for either of them but sometimes the dark skies make for a more interesting background provided the light on the aircraft is not terrible.  I did okay on this occasion.  I have been making better use of the processing capabilities of Lightroom since they introduced the more advanced masking functions so that certainly helps.

F-35A Demo At Seafair

The F-35’s appearance at Seafair has resulted in a few posts of departures and arrivals at Boeing Field on this blog.  However, I don’t think I have actually shared any shots of the display itself.  I quite enjoyed the demo routine that the USAF had last year.  Unfortunately, the display axis for Seafair is a long way from the shore so the shots were a bit distant.  I also didn’t know the routine and was caught out when flares were dispensed and so didn’t get shots of those that I am happy with.  However, there were a few times when the jet came in close to the shore and I got some closer views.  I do want to see the display at a more conventional location at some point.

Pipes And Valves

In a previous post I talked about the visit to the Georgetown Steam Plant.  I mentioned in that post that there are all sorts of interesting details around the plant with the old technology of vale’s and pipes – technology that probably is still pretty relevant today.  This post is a sequence of shots that I got while wandering around the plant that show some of the more interesting detail elements.

Shocks On The Sneak Pass

One of the highlights of the Blue Angels’ display is the sneak passes.  The display is good but the sneak pass gets the jets as fast as you are going to get in their routine and there is a chance of vapor cones forming around the shocks and expansion fans.  A display over water enhances the chance of the vapor.  The distance of the display line on Lake Washington was a little disappointing as the jets were quite far away but the advantage of this location was that Mercer Island provided a backdrop.

The benefit of this backdrop was that, the rapid changes in density of the air in the shocks and expansions makes the refractive index change and this will distort the view of the background.  With a clear sky, this is usually not visible but, with a background, you can see the shocks around the airframe.  This is a rare opportunity.  Fortunately, while there was little vapor, there were plenty of shocks.  I was quite happy when I got home and studied the shots of the display to find I had some good results.  It would have been great to have been on the media boat but let’s not complain.

Inside A Boiler

Within the Georgetown Steam Plant, one of the docents was keen to show off the details of the boilers.  These were originally oil fired but, during the Second World War, they were converted to operate using coal.  After the war, they were reverted back to oil and there are hardly any signs left of the coal configuration.

The layout of the pipes within the boiler is quite complex.  It is designed to create a circulating flow of the water in the pipes and create the stream at the top of the boiler to feed the turbines.  These pipes lie in a triangular framework angled over the make everything operate as intended.  These were assembled and the walls of the boilers were then constructed around them.

There are access hatches which allow you to see into the boiler and see the pipe arrangements.  It is very dark in there and a flashlight is needed to see anything at all.  The boiler walls are metallic but they are lined with fire bricks.  These bricks had a limited life so there would be a time when they had to be replaced.  People would have to climb in through the narrow hatches to knock out the old bricks and pass them out before installing the replacements.  They would also have to clean off the pipe work exterior as this would accumulate debris from the hot gases of combustion.

Accessing the interior of these boilers looks extremely unpleasant.  It would be far too claustrophobic for me to think about and that is before considering the hard work in a hostile environment.  These guys were tougher than me!  The boilers are in pairs with a gap between each pair so I guess they would have to close down both parts of the pair to allow a temperature that was acceptable for entry.  Even then, I doubt it was a good place to work.

Motorcade Comes In The Back Gate

I was at Boeing Field awaiting the departure of the Vice President and was wondering when the motorcade would appear.  I had assumed it would drive down the road alongside the airport and in through the FBO’s entrance.  As I looked to the north, I could see that there was not traffic on I-5 southbound so I knew they weren’t far away.  The helicopter hovering above also suggested things were close.

Then I saw a bunch of flashing blue lights coming across the bridge near Ruby Chow Park.  I was a little confused by this but a short while later, I saw a string of vehicles with lights flashing coming along the taxiway alongside the main runway.  I assume that the Secret Service had elected to enter via one of the crash gates at the north end of the field.

The variety of vehicles was quite fascinating.  There were the heavily armored SUVs that the Veep was in.  These were followed by other SUVs, minivans and ambulances.  I guess the motorcade is equipped to cover any eventuality.  They crossed the runway and headed for the waiting C-32.  Not everyone was going on the C-32 though.  Various people would be on the C-40 that was also waiting while others would be picked up later or travel via different methods.  Watching the whole cavalcade arrive was quite a sight.

F-35A Departure And Arrival

Over the course of the Seafair weekend, I got to see the demo F-35A arrive and depart a few times.  The demo pilot would get airborne and keep the jet on the deck in full burner building up a decent amount of speed.  Then, she would pull to a steep climb just as she got to the perimeter of the field.  This looked pretty impressive from the side but it was even more impressive from head on.

The return to land after the display was a lot more sedate.  It was a pretty standard pattern and approach but there were plenty of people at the south end to enjoy the last moments of the flight.  I headed down there a couple of times.  You could easily do both departure and approach since you had the whole time that the display was underway to re-position.  I did all go to Ruby Chow Park from one departure and shot video rather than stills.  Seeing the F-35 come right at us and then pull hard was impressive.  The noise was intense and the wake threw dust and debris into the air around us.  It made an impression!

Georgetown Steam Plant Visit

Near the north end of Boeing Field is the old Georgetown Steam Plant.  This is an old power station that was decommissioned decades ago.  I had been curious to see what it was like inside.  I had thought about going a while back and then the pandemic put paid to any visits for a couple of years.  The opening hours have now been established and they open on the second Saturday of each month.  That proved problematic for a while as that clashed with travels or other plans.  Consequently, I put the first opening in my calendar and tried my best to make sure I could go.

The Saturday came around and it was a gloriously sunny day.  This shouldn’t matter much since I was going to be indoors but it does make for a nicer day to be out anyway.  It was due to open at 10am so I decided to get there right at the beginning.  Turned out this was a good idea.  The parking lot was already looking pretty full and more were arriving.  I have no idea why it was so busy.  Sure, a nice day encourages people to go out but how many people see a sunny day and think “let’s go to a decommissioned power plant”?  I asked a docent whether this was normal.  He said they normally get about 30 people over the day and they had four tours of 50 people booked plus those, like me, that didn’t take the tour!

The power plant was built at the beginning of the 20th century.  It had three steam turbines of different vintages, powers and technologies.  The first two are vertical and the third horizontal.  These are fed from a large boiler room.  There are balconies with the control electronics which you can see but are not yet accessible.  I was happy to let the tours concentrate people in various locations which meant it was quieter wherever they weren’t so I could wander around casually.

I had figured wide angle was going to be my friend in the building so had a wide zoom and a fisheye zoom with me.  I used the fish a little initially but soon concluded it wasn’t that useful to me so I swapped it out with the 70-200 to allow me to get some detail shots of the machinery.  Older machinery has a lot of character with polished metals, complex mechanisms and multiple gauges.  It is a great look in to a bygone era.

These shots are few of the overall layout of the building.  There are some details from within the plant that will have their own posts to come so I can focus on them.  I don’t want to try and squeeze it all in to one post and lose some of the curious elements in the larger story.