No lengthy story for this. I was waiting at SeaTac for an arrival and got distracted by the jets lining up for departure. It got quite busy at one point with a bunch of jets awaiting their slot. Occasionally the departing jets appeared nicely in the background. Unfortunately, there are some lot poles in the area which are rather distracting.
I was working through some RIAT photos of the Patrouille de France display. I had some tight shots of the first four jets as they took off and, as I looked closer at them, I was confused as to why two of the jets had a more nose high attitude than the other two. Since they are taking off on formation, I figured that they should look the same.
A closer look at the images and it seems that the flap settings of the jets vary. The nose high aircraft seem to have less flap – hence their need for a higher angle of attack – than the other two jets. I have been trying the think why they would adopt this approach. With all jets accelerating together and climbing together, I had imagined that they would all be in the same configuration. I wonder whether there is something to do with the outwash from the nearby jets that requires a different configuration but I haven’t come up with anything conclusive. I throw it out to the aero engineers that read this to propose your ideas as to why. If any of you know anyone in the PdF, feel free to ask them instead!
Departure day at RIAT was a bit overcast, much like the majority of the show. The damp atmosphere did have the positive effect of meaning many of the more powerful prop aircraft were pulling vortices from the tips of their propellers. This was most obvious earlier in their take off runs but you could get a pretty good view of it even head on from where I was sitting in the FRIAT stand. Here is one of the Hercs that was beating the air into submission.
A quick post from my visit to RIAT. There are going to be plenty of things from my time at the show that will show up on the blog in the coming weeks but this is an intro even though it comes from the last day I was there. Departure day included some more energetic maneuvers from some of the participants including this M346 heading back to Italy. It waggled the wings to give us a nice top side view. Thanks chaps.
I stopped off at Renton one Sunday morning to see what was on the flight line. (This was prior to the groundings after the Ethiopian Max 8 crash.) There was a first flight showing up on the flight plan so I kept an eye out for any sign of activity as I walked along the park trail. Sure enough, the sound of an engine start reached me when I was down near the bridge between the factory and the flight line. This is a bit far away from where I would want to be to photograph the take off but this is a first flight. There is plenty to check before they go flying unlike a regular flight, so time was on my side.
I made my way back along the river in plenty of time for the jet to move. Prior to flight they accelerate and brake to a stop. They did this along the runway the opposite direction to that in which they planned to take off so they actually taxied up past me, turned and accelerated before turning again to make the actual take off. This gave me plenty of views of the unpainted jet. They climbed away and then redeployed the gear, possibly to cool off the brakes a bit. They then turned off on their departure heading. Moses Lake will have been part of the test plan but the flight will have ended at Boeing Field.
It’s been a while since I had a cormorant post on this blog so time to have another one. This one is to showcase something I love about watching cormorants but that I hadn’t got good images of. When cormorants take off from the water they start flapping and running across the surface. They take quite a while to get up to a speed at which they can sustain flight. This trip across the surface usually is too far away to get a good shot of, even if you do spot them in time to get the camera on target.
However, if you are in a boat and the boat approaches the cormorant, you might spook it into taking off. They are pretty resilient creatures so may just float on by and ignore you but sometimes they will take off. Then, if you notice in time and the camera is to hand, you might get the takeoff sequence. They hop from wave crest to wave crest as they flap and accelerate and then they are flying. You can also lose a little weight before take off to improve performance!
Aside from the USAF, FedEx is the main recipient of aircraft coming off the 767 line these days. They have just placed another order too so they will continue to take new 767 freighters for years to come. One of the jets was planning to have a first flight at Paine Field. Prior to first flight, Boeing tends to run a high speed taxi and braking profile. If this goes well, they will then take off for the first flight. Judging by the radio traffic this time, things were not going well. They did one run, braked and vacated. They taxied down to my end and repeated in the opposite direction. Then they called the tower to confirm that they were heading back to the ramp. I imagine they fixed the issue before too long but no first flight on this occasion.
This Learjet 31 was heading out of Boeing Field on a lovely afternoon. The pilot obviously liked a bit of speed because, after rotation, instead of climbing out, he kept it on the deck and built up some speed. Then, as he got further along the runway, a more aggressive pull into a “zoom” climb. I appreciated the effort because it meant the jet had some ground behind it as it came past which is a pleasant change. The color scheme was pretty cool too.
Another shot from the Portland Open House of the Redhawks and a gratuitous reference to Top Gun scripts. In this case it wasn’t really a flyby. Instead, the jets were launching off the near runway. They were all doing a nice job of keeping it low on departure and they ended up pulling up as the passed the ramp and the tower. A nice view as they pulled up with a few of them getting some vapor is they climbed out more steeply than the average departure from the airport!
Paine Field held an open day which included some flying from the local aircraft. The Heritage Flight Museum had a number of the aircraft taking part including their B-25, Grumpy. On one of the takeoffs, they used a technique that was reminiscent of the Doolittle Raid. They applied power and full back controls to lift the nosewheel from the ground and roll down the runway in a wheelie. It was quite an interesting thing to see.