In this previous post about the hangars at Moffett Field, I mentioned that I was there to cover an exercise. The MC-130s were a big part of the exercise. They were loading up and launching down to remote landing strips on the California coast. The holds were full of equipment including off road vehicles. Loading these up was a tight fit. While the crews spent time getting everything ready to go, I was reasonably free to wander around the airframe and get some shots.
Here are some that I got that day. These were some of the oldest Combat Shadow (and maybe Hercules) airframes around at the time and I suspect that they have been replaced by now, I think by Combat King J models.
There is no shortage of DHC Beavers in the PNW, even of the turbine variety. Plenty of them are on floats, too, so even that doesn’t make it particularly special. However, when you haven’t been able to shoot much aviation for a long time, one is a welcome sight. Even better when it switches to the closer runway when on approach.
Any airport in North America on any given day will have a reasonable chance of a Bonanza showing up. Them come in all vintages, shapes and sizes but they usually come! I’ve therefore shot tons of them over the years. However, I think I may have had a first in that I recently shot a turbine Bonanza. It was on the approach at Paine Field and it was obvious that there was something different about it. The noise was clearly a turbine and the tip tanks had been fitted with winglets. Given the location, I assume they are for drag reduction since they wouldn’t add much to directional stability. Tip tanks are probably a must given the rate at which turbines burn fuel compared to pistons. It was a smart looking thing with the revised nose shape looking quite graceful. Sadly the landing wasn’t as graceful but floating is fine when you have 10,000’ ahead of you!
Unusual visitors to an airport are obviously welcome and give you the chance to get something new. However, that also means you want to make sure you get the shot so you don’t want to experiment too much with settings. Having someone bashing the circuit for a long time and flying a variety of different approaches means that you can take as many shots as you like and try all sorts of different things.
My Sunday at Paine Field included a pretty smart looking Quest Kodiak doing some training flights. Lots of approaches, some straight in and others curving. All the opportunity I could want. Wide shots, tight shots, how low will I dare go with the shutter speed? I had the 1.4X teleconverter on the 500mm so shooting at 1/100th of a second at 700mm is going to have a pretty low success rate but I was pleasantly surprised how many came out nice and sharp. Not bad to have a day of panning practice.
The Kodiak is an interesting looking plane. Having a turbine means a nice high prop speed on approach which certainly helps but it is also something that can be thrown around easily so the training flight included a bunch of different approaches. I appreciated the effort they made on our behalf. Now to get the light on the prop to show it up nicely!
A small twin is not going to get a lot of attention from the local photographers at Paine Field on a busy day with lots of traffic. However, it was still relatively early in the day and the air still had a fair bit of moisture in it. I took a guess that this might result in some prop vortices so decided to shoot it anyway. Sure enough, some swirls of moisture showed themselves. Not a dramatic look to them but still what I was after and there wasn’t anything else to do anyway!
The FedEx freighter fleet is extensive and includes a variety of jets. However, the feed of packages to those big jets is partly the role of a bunch of less glamorous types, a significant one of which is the Cessna Caravan. These planes shuttle cargo from out stations to the larger airports and then distribute packages back out to those same stations. It’s not the most exciting flying in the world but it is a valuable job. Here are a few Caravans from FedEx’s fleet that I have seen (relatively) recently. The Cessna Skycourier made its first flight recently and it is intended to replace these guys in the coming years.
The heat haze was a bit of a problem on this day so I was hoping that they would roll out a bit long to get into usable range. They couldn’t have been more obliging. It turned out to be a US Marine Corps KC-130J. They didn’t exit early for the taxiway even though they could have done so with ease but instead rolled all the way to near me before exiting and taxiing back to the ramp in the other direction. This was very kind of them. I got them close enough in to have little in the way of heat haze and to get a decent look at them.
I was at BFI one day looking to get some other interesting visitors and I had got what I came for. I was just contemplating whether to go home or do something else before returning when I saw something on the approach at the other end of the field. It looked big, smoky and a prop so I thought I should wait a little longer. A look through the long lens told me it was a C-130! It was a Linden Air Cargo airframe, sadly unpainted in their colors which are very nice. I was most glad that I hadn’t been in a hurry to get on my way!
On a previous visit to Haneda I ended up getting a photo of a Japanese Coast Guard Gulfstream. This time, the weather was not great so I ended up staying on the side which should be backlit but wasn’t since there wasn’t much light! A turboprop showed up on approach which I hadn’t noticed online and initially wasn’t bothered about. However, I shot it and it turned out to be a Japanese Coast Guard Dash 8. I was pretty pleased!
More from the film scanning archive. I made a trip to the museum at RAF Cosford when I was visiting my friends Jon and Charlie in the area. Now Jon works there but at the time it was just an extra to my visit. At the time, British Airways had a collection of aircraft at the museum. This included lots of their older types in storage. Sadly, the cost of keeping the collection was not something BA management deemed worthwhile and they stopped funding it. The museum couldn’t afford to keep them up so they were scrapped on site. I wish I had a better record of them but this is all I have. Fortunately, others will have done better recording them.