After such a long time of struggling to get shots of the Boeing T-33 chase planes, I seem to have had a lot more luck recently. One showed up at Paine Field and, rather than just shooting an approach and departing straight to Boeing Field, it made a full stop landing, taxied back, took off, entered the pattern and came around again. This was a welcome addition to a sunny afternoon. There was only one crew onboard so I guess with was some continuation training.
As the plane taxied back to the threshold, I got a good look at the upper side of the front fuselage. There appear to be quite a variety of antennae mounted on there. I didn’t know whether they were GPS location antennae or other types but there are plenty there. Whether they are used for different functions or are needed for validating test data and cross referencing, I have no idea. Some of them may even be redundant but no one has seen the need to remove them. Whatever the reasons, there are lots there!
I caught one of the Boeing T-33 chase aircraft that had been out supporting the 777X flight trials. The weather had been crappy which is par for the course when I am seeing the Boeing chase planes. However, it did start to improve. A hint of sun came out as it came down the approach but the light was better a bit far out. I could see it in the distance but it was more shady as it got close. Still, not too bad. I heard a rumor that they might be retiring them before too long. I hope that isn’t the case but we shall see.
My inability to see a Boeing T-33 jet in nice conditions continues. I was at Boeing Field when one of the T-33s was taking off in support of a Pegasus test mission. The weather was crappy with rain and a heavy overcast. I thought that this was not going to work well but sometimes bad weather provides good opportunities so I gave it a go. Besides, I don’t see them enough to pass it by. As it turned out, the flat conditions and the dampness made the jet show up nicely against the background when it was still low on climb out. Once it was against the sky, things weren’t so great but it turned out a lot better than I expected.
A previous post talked about wanting to get the Boeing T-33s after having seen one of them flying over my office. I saw that two T-33s were actually operating out of St Louis. They appeared to be operating with the Catfish 757 testbed. A couple of days later I happened to see that the two jets were operating cross country, presumably en route back from St Louis to Seattle. Sure enough, that was what they were doing.
I was able to get to Boeing Field when they were completing the return journey. The tow jets were operating about ten minutes apart. The weather wasn’t great, unfortunately. There had been some nice sun a little earlier but, by the time they arrived, the clouds had rolled in. Even so, it was good to catch both jets. One of them was operating solo but the other had someone in the backseat who seemed to spot me and watched me most of the way down the approach.