The answer to that question is clearly “not much” but it isn’t zero. We do get things flying overhead here on a regular basis. We are on the approach to SeaTac for some arrivals and we do sometimes get Boeing Field traffic too. It’s a rarity when there is something interesting and I am ready, though, so that doesn’t provide a lot. However, I did recently have a T-38 from Boeing’s chase fleet come over the house. It was a bit high but it was enough to get me out in the driveway!
We have also had helicopters fly over on occasion. An Army Chinook came past one time while and Navy Seahawk was another transient. In each case, I only heard them shortly before they arrived so grabbed the camera while at my desk and shot through the window. That is not a good plan but it was all I had available at the time. These can count as my lockdown at home aviation projects!
Have you ever been excited to have a lucky break and then felt disappointed by the same thing afterwards? If so, you are like me and you really need help. I was up at Pinal Air Park in the evening after our time on the range at Hawgsmoke. An Apache helicopter was flying around the pattern. I was impressed that it was flying while I was there and grabbed some shots. The Singaporean forces have some Apaches there that they train on. When I looked at the shots, I was hoping that was what I had got. Sadly, it was just a normal US Apache. Why was I so disappointed? No good reason. It was still cool to see one in the nice evening light but you often focus on what might have been. Not healthy!
A while back a friend of mine told me about a modified Dash 8 that the Army was using that had been flying out of his airport. It ended up coming to Livermore – a short drive from home. I went to see it but it was parked in a hangar on the other side of the field and I couldn’t see much. It flew a few times but never when I could see it. I figured that there was nothing much to do since I wouldn’t see it. Imagine my surprise when I came across its siblings.
I was driving around Tucson International when I saw two Dash 8s parked up. Sure enough, they were in the same configuration as the previous one. This time they had their civilian markings obscured. A little check with Google and they are apparently RO-6A airframes. The Air Force operates Dash 8s to monitor ranges for traffic under the -7 designation but these are different. Spooky stuff no doubt. Sadly, they didn’t move while I was there but they had been active. I was just glad to catch them out in the wild.
One display at Dayton that I liked was the US Army Apache display. I have seen a few displays by Apaches over the years but they are not a regular feature of shows. The Apache is an impressive looking machine and given its nature, it can be kept close in front of the crowd to make a display that never loses your interest. Service pilots don’t tend to put the machine through as aggressive a flight demo as a company pilot might when trying to sell it. However, they do still show it off well.
The subdued finish on the Apache makes for a harder time getting shots on overcast days. However, it does take away the problem of harsh shadows on an already dark airframe. The subtlety of the different greens on the airframe are hard to show in some cases but here they do actually become apparent.
In my previous post I talked about my trip up with the Golden Knights. It was a lot of fun and the primary goal was to get some images and information for the article. However, since I was there, I decided to grab some video too. I had a combination of the video capabilities of my SLRs as well as a GoPro I mounted on a wrist strap. I tried to make this point in roughly the right direction but it was a bit of a struggle when I was focused on shooting stills.
Anyway, excuses aside, I knocked together a short edit of some of the footage I got. Still not going to get the Emmy people excited but hopefully it gives a bit more of a feel for what it was like on the flight.