I had to go into the city for a meeting but the time before it was filled with calls. The only time I could realistically make the drive without clashing with anything was early in the morning. Consequently, I parked myself up at Boeing Field to sit in a car in the rain and talk to various colleagues. In a break between calls, the rain had let up and I was treated to the departure of a C-146 Wolfhound. A Dornier 328 would be a nice surprise at any time, but a Wolfhound was definitely a bonus.
It taxied past me when heading for the departure end and I was able to get a quick couple of shots. I then had another call and figured that the departure itself was not going to work out. For some reason, though, the departures were really slow. Everything was sitting at the hold for ages. I wonder whether the conditions combined with the departing traffic from SEA meant that they were restricting the releases. Whatever the reason, they held for over half an hour and my next call ended just before they took the runway. A lucky bonus as reward for sitting in a parking lot in the rain taking calls for a couple of hours!
Making a cross country flight from Wisconsin to Washington is a long enough trip but it is even longer if you are in something that isn’t too speedy. A DC-3 is not something that is going to cover the ground that fast. It will be a bit quicker if it has been re-engined with a turboprop but, even then, it is going to be a long trip. I think it was the best part of eight hours to make the journey and then overnight at Seattle before continuing on to Alaska the next day.
The arrival of the BT-67 certainly got the attention of a few local photographers. Sadly, things got a bit cloudy just as it arrived so the conditions were not ideal. It was still cool to get a shot, of course. Fortunately, they had parked near the Museum of Flight so I was able to get a few shots of them parked up. The crew were just closing up so the gate to the ramp was open for them and a kind security guard allowed me to shoot past him without having to deal with the fence.
A SAAB 2000 in passenger configuration was transiting through Seattle. It was registered to PenAir in Alaska and had apparently been repainted since it was now showing up in the colors of Aleutian Airways. I had not heard of Aleutian Airways but it isn’t hard to work out where it serves. The plane arrived with a PenAir registration still showing but it looked like it was applied temporarily so, presumably, it is going to have a new registration before too long.
They didn’t spend too long on the ground before departing for Alaska. They were heavy for the longer flight but still off the ground quite quickly compared to the full length of BFI’s runway. Then they looped off around the south end of the area before climbing overhead and en route to their next stop. The livery is a bit retro but I did like the look of it.
Cessna recently received certification for their new twin turboprop, the Cessna 408 Skycourier. The aircraft can be either a passenger or a freighter configured type with the initial orders being for FedEx to replace their Cessna Caravan fleet. It won’t be too long before there are tons of them around but, right now, FedEx has only just taken delivery of their first. I was driving to Boeing Field to catch another arrival and, as I came down the hill towards the field, I saw an unusual shape fly down the approach. I thought it looked like a Skycourier and it turns out it was.
I was super annoyed that I could have got a shot of it on approach if I had been about two minutes earlier than I was. It had arrived from Alaska and I hoped it was going to continue on but, unfortunately, it was parking for the night. I could just about get a shot of it across the field but the heat haze was not good. I did see that it filed a flight plan for the following morning which, since it was the weekend, meant I could get out to see it.
The following morning was dull and rainy – of course! The departure time had slipped 20 minutes but I wasn’t trusting anything so headed out early. I got to the terminal area and discovered that it had already taxied and was at the hold short. Having missed the taxi shot, I was pretty annoyed but at least I was able to get the departure. It rotated level with me and climbed away heading for Casper as its next stop – presumably with Wichita being the final destination.
The Puppy Spot SAAB 340 is a regular visitor to the Pacific Northwest but I had never shot it. As I was leaving SEA after the arrival facility trial, I saw that the SAAB was due in to Boeing Field in less than half an hour. It is not far between the two places but arrival time was going to put the sun right on the nose. No good options to shoot it – assuming the sun stayed out. I headed for Ruby Chow Park and was there in time to get it arriving. Light wasn’t great but I did finally check it off the list. Not sure what the story with the name is but I think they transport puppies across the country. Must be a lot of cash in the puppy business if air freighting them around the country is cost effective.
My cloudy Sunday afternoon included a bonus visitor. I saw that a turbo DC-3 was heading this way. Initial estimates had it coming in quite late but they were making good progress and would be in while I was there. The turboprop conversion means a better cruise speed on a long cross country and, since this flight was direct from Oshkosh, it was a pretty long trip.
I have shot plenty of DC-3s over the years but I don’t think too many of them have been turbine conversions. This was a nice surprise. It didn’t hurt that the weather was steadily improving during the afternoon and a hint of sun was showing up by the time it arrived. That hint wasn’t quite as strong as I would have liked but it was okay. I also got to see it on the ramp when it parked up near the Museum of Flight. I think Basler has a base at Oshkosh and, since they do the conversions of DC-3s to turbine power (along with a small fuselage stretch I think), I guess this must be one of theirs.
Sometimes, when in Nevada for Red Flag, I will head down to McCarran in the morning to shoot some of the airliners prior to heading back to Nellis. This time, I barely went down that way. However, I did see a movement that caught my attention. There is a daily rotation of a Shorts 360 freighter from Phoenix up to Las Vegas. I haven’t shot a Shed for a while and figured this was worth a look.
There is a viewing area along the south runway at McCarran but it was closed for COVID and hasn’t been reopened yet. Short staffing means it is low on the airport’s priorities which kind of makes sense. Consequently, I ended up scoping out a parking lot that would give me an alternative. It was pretty hot and heat haze is always a concern plus I didn’t know whether to use the long lens or the zoom. I used a couple of jets coming in before to decide what to do and also stuck the polarizer on to cut the light down to get better shutter speeds for the props. Then the box on wings came on to the approach and I grabbed some shots. If you had told me 30 years ago I would make an excursion to photograph a 360, I would have laughed. Now they are rare enough that is exactly what I do!
The Epic E1000 is a development of a kit built turboprop aircraft called the Epic LT. It has been around for a while and the development from kit built to certificated production aircraft has been very drawn out. While many similar projects falter, this one seems to have hung in there. I think there are a only one or two of the production E1000 aircraft at the moment and one came to BFI. I caught it rolling out after landing and then taxiing to the Modern ramp. It is a curious looking airframe.
It later departed but it was hard to get a good shot. It got airborne early and there was quite a crosswind so they nosed in to that and towards my position. I effectively got head on and underside shots only so barely identifiable. Still, it was good to see it. I have seen some of the earlier airframes in California and at Oshkosh but not for a while!
I was heading back from south of Seattle when I was surprised to find out that the NOAA WP-3D Orion, Kermit, was at Boeing Field. It had come in the day before but I hadn’t heard about it. I was planning to stop for lunch so why not go to BFI? Just after I got there, I saw a prop start turning on the number one engine. However, after running it up, they shut down again. I was dreading that they were going to go tech and the plane wouldn’t move.
Fortunately, whatever they were concerned about wasn’t too much of an issue. A little while later, while I was still eating my lunch, I looked up to see two engines running. This looked more promising. Sure enough they taxied shortly afterwards. The nice news was that they crossed the runway to taxiway bravo so we got a good look at them. A while later it was their turn for departure and they came my way. The nice thing about a four engined prop is that they didn’t climb too rapidly so a good angle on them. It was pretty overcast so not ideal light but the dark colors show up better without too contrasty light.