Tag Archives: washington

Tokul Tunnel

My walk along the trail up near Snoqualmie started and ended at a road that went above the old railroad bed.  There was a small tunnel under the road.  I assume this was once a proper rail tunnel or a bridge but the tunnel that is there now looks like a more modern construction.  Even so, it is a little interesting so here are some shots of it.

Eviation Alice Readying To Fly

North of Seattle is Arlington and the airport at Arlington is home to Eviation, a company developing an electric powered aircraft called Alice.  They undertook some low speed taxi trials during December but plans for high speed taxi and flight were thwarted by consistently bad weather.  A recent nice day on a Sunday looked like the first opportunity to do some testing again and a NOTAM was published meaning we knew something was up.

I met my buddy, Bob, up at Arlington and Alice was already out on the field when we got there.  The time for the testing was at the end of the day so they were preparing for when the runway was theirs to use.  Sadly, the aircraft was not playing ball.  As is the way with flight test, things were not necessarily doing what they were supposed to.  They did run one of the motors up to speed but the other failed to perform and resulted in the first shutting down too.  Not ideal for an aircraft.  No doubt they will resolve such things in due course.  By the time they had spent some time troubleshooting, the sun was setting and there was going to be no taxi trial.

I chose the side of the field that was backlit since it was closer to where the testing would take place.  Some great shots from the other side with the setting sun on the mountains behind were made by others.  However, I was in the right spot when they dragged the plane back to the hangar.  Things were getting pretty dark  and I was very pleased to have brought the 70-200 f/2.8 with me since it did a great job with the lack of light.  The raw images looked very subdued but they really came out well when I processed them.

I put together a piece for GAR on what we had seen.  You can see that piece here if you want to check it out.  It seems to have generated a lot of traffic which suggests there is a lot of interest in some of these electric aircraft projects.  Whether they will be successful or not, we shall see.  In the meantime, the weather got bad again but we shall hopefully have a break in it soon and a chance to see them taxiing the plane and then flying it.

Stone Gate House

There is a gate house to the estate that has now become the arboretum in Seattle.  I assume it once kept unwanted visitors at bay.  Now, it sits beside the road doing very little.  I don’t know if it is used at various times throughout the year but, when we were there, it was locked up securely which didn’t give the impression that it was regularly occupied.  The stone structure fits in nicely with the surrounding trees.

Silk Air But Not For Long

Singapore Airlines has been rationalizing their operations and one of the changes that they are making is getting rid of their subsidiary Silk Air and integrating its operations in to the mainline airline.  Silk Air has ordered a bunch of 737s from Boeing and these are in the process of being delivered.  A number of the planes were already painted in the Silk Air colors and apparently the airline determined it was cheaper for them to repaint them than to have Boeing do it.  Consequently, they are being test flown in the old colors.

I assume that later jets will be painted in Singapore colors as they come off the line (depending on how much Boeing charges for that change order) but I have yet to see one in the new colors.  I hope to get one before too long since I don’t have any plans to be in Singapore for a while.  We shall see.  I have got some distant shots of one passing near the house as it returned to BFI as well as some shots from BFI itself.

Snoqualmie Falls Is A Bit More Active Now

The recent months in the Pacific Northwest have been very wet.  It has felt like it was always raining and not just gentle rain but heavy rain on a regular basis.  This means that there is plenty of water in the mountains and the rivers coming out of the Cascades are heavy with flow.  I figured a trip up to Snoqualmie Falls was in order.  A few months back I had been up there when the flow over the falls was very low.

With the two power stations built in to the falls, the demands that they put on the water often mean that there is a lot less to go over the falls themselves.  Once the water levels get high, though, there is more than enough for everyone!  The falls were really raging.  The spray blowing up from the river was quite intense and, depending on which way the wind was blowing, you could either be quite dry or getting a deluge.

Since I made the visit, the weather hasn’t got any better.  I imagine that the falls have continued to be in full flow ever since.  Downstream, the river valleys have been in flood with the river levels all high.  Hopefully no one is suffering too much – those areas are prone to flooding anyway and they tend to be ready for it.

The Fourth 787 Struggling to Fly

Of the original 787 development airframes, three are now in museums and Boeing has one that it continues to use for test work.  It was the fourth of the jets and, I assume, the closest to a production standard.  It was recently out at Boeing Field for a flight.  It taxied by me to the end of the taxiway where it then waited for a very long time.  Some fire trucks were close by but not attending it – just watching as far as I could tell.  They called up to say that they would be there for a long time so the tower was diverting things around them.

Eventually they taxied back before finally getting whatever was the issue sorted out at which point the runway in use had changed.  They had to head to the other end of the field for departure.  This time they did take off and headed off for whatever testing they had planned.  Not sure of whatever it was that caused them so much trouble but I guess it got resolved.

Otter Underwater

Photographing animals underwater through glass walls on their enclosures is a bit hit or miss.  The otters in one of the enclosures at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo were playing near the glass a lot so I figured I would give it a go.  You aren’t going to get razor sharp shots since that glass is very thick but sometimes it can work out okay.  This otter was more than happy to perform for the camera.

Life Flight Bell 429

Boeing Field has a lot of aeromedical flights that come through and Life Flight Network is a regular part of operations.  They have a variety of types that they use including the Bell 429.  I think the 429 is a reasonable looking airframe compared to some of the other Bell products and the Life Flight colors certainly look good on it.  This one was arriving from the south with some nice light on it.

A Pair of G500s

Of the new generation of Gulfstream jets, the G500 was the first to test and the first to service.  It might have taken a long time to get certificated but it is now in service.  Even so, I haven’t seen too many of them yet.  However, I managed to get two on one day.  One of them was an approach to Boeing Field and what appeared to be a Gulfstream owned airframe was also parked on Modern Aviation’s ramp.

I think they are a pretty good looking airframe and have addressed some of my misgivings about the older generation Gulfstreams.  Now there are going to be a bunch of variants with the G500, G600, G700 and G800.  There is also going to be a G400 but I don’t yet know whether that is the same airframe design base or something different.  Probably similar though.  Can’t see much future for the G650 with all of these, though.

Marine Corps C-20G

Military movements don’t usually show up on things like FlightAware but they can make an appearance on FlightRadar24 or ADSB Exchange.  I hadn’t been checking either of them as I was getting ready to leave when one of the other people nearby let me know a C-20 was inbound.  It turned out to be a C-20G from the US Marine Corps.  I’m usually happy to shoot a Gulfstream but one in military markings is a bit more unusual and the Marine Corps even more so.  Glad to have had the tip not to go too soon.