Category Archives: military

More Black Hawk Shots

I posted some shots of the Black Hawks that were delivering personnel to Paine Field for their onward flight in a USAF C-32.  There were only a few shots in that post, but I took a lot of photos of the Black Hawks as they made there approach.  Since there is a limit to what I get to shoot these days, I felt a post could certainly be made of some of the other shots from that day.  Nice evening light really helps a Black Hawk look good.

Early Pegasus Jets Getting Reworked

The KC-46 Pegasus program continues to be a problem for Boeing.  Delivery rates are lower than planned and articles describing the shortcomings in the jets continue to get circulated.  They have a long way to go, and Boeing is going to have to spend a lot more money before they are fully capable.  Meanwhile, jet do continue to be built and delivered.  The earliest jets were given civil registrations because they were undergoing a civil certification program as well as a military one.  Two of those jets are now back at Everett getting reworked – presumably because they will ultimately get delivered to the USAF.  I shot a couple of them on the airfield while up there one sunny weekend.

What Will This Neptune Get Labeled With?

The Indian P-8I fleet is different from the P-8A Poseidons of the US Navy and that have a different name – Neptune.  The original batch had Ark on the fin.  The second batch had a different name but the current test aircraft I saw at Boeing Field both departing and arriving had a blank fin.  I am not sure whether this is because it won’t have a unit name, whether it hasn’t been decided yet or whether it hasn’t been disclosed and will be added at a later date.  It made for a slightly more boring look combined with the US registration taped over the paint scheme.  I got it departing and returning so experimented with some slower shutter speeds to make things more interesting.  The takeoff run was long so it must have been pretty heavy when it departed.

Honolulu Military Traffic

While sitting at the terminal at Honolulu waiting for our flight home many moons ago, I was staring out of the window at the traffic arriving and departing.  Being in a different area meant plenty of different airlines as well as the more familiar ones.  I created a post a while back that included some of the more usual operators.  However, the airport shares a runway with the Air Force base.  When you are on final approach, you get to see some of the fighters in shelters.  It also means that some military traffic might arrive.

A bunch of F-16s started appearing as they rolled out after landing.  I don’t know whether Hawaii was their destination or just a good stopover as part of a Pacific crossing.  They weren’t making the journey unsupervised though.  A KC-10 was dragging them across the ocean and it soon showed up too.  I guess the last refueling was the cue for the F-16s to put in a burst of speed to get in first with the “Gucci” following them home.

Aspen Sounds Familiar

There was a call sign of an inbound flight at Boeing Field that caught my attention.  It was Aspen.  This is a call sign that the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB has used since the days of the SR-71.  I have seen their T-38s show up at Boeing Field before so thought there was a good chance it could be another one.  Sure enough, when they called up on approach, I could see a T-38 inbound.  However, it was coming in at the same time as something else and it was actually aligned with the short runway.

They put the power on when crossing the airfield boundary and pulled up into the downwind for a second approach.  The first approach had made the jet look pretty small in the viewfinder – I hadn’t realized that they were further away than the main runway – so I went with the 500mm when they came back.  This made for a tighter shot than expected.  However, I managed to get a few shots of the jet as it turned final – a long way away – and then as it was on short final.  A nice treat.

P-8 Departs Over My Head

I was actually out looking for a work project which (I promise this is legit) was right next to Boeing Field.  While I was waiting for my project – which ended up being scrubbed due to a serviceability issue – a P-8 took off from Boeing Field.  I was basically aligned with the end of the runway so I could see it climbing out and it came right over my location.  It turned out to be a good thing since I wouldn’t normally get this angle on a shot so I am glad to have something different.  This view really emphasizes the different wing planform of the P-8 compared to the base 737.  No winglets and the raked tips really changes the appearance of the jet from below.

Canadian Hornets at Janesville

There was an airshow in the Midwest that everyone used to say was a great event.  It was held at Janesville and I finally got around to going to it shortly before it ceased to be.  I promise it wasn’t my fault that it ended.  I was there for the arrivals as well as the show and a pair of Hornets came in from Canada.  The nice thing about this arrival was that they seemed to have a little extra fuel.  Consequently, there was time for a few approaches and overshoots.

The light was a bit subdued that evening but it still had a slightly warm feel to it.  Besides, pick your white balance and you can adjust just how warm things actually looked!  I was shooting with the long lens from my location when they arrived so everything was taken at 500mm.  Sometimes that was way too much lens for the distance between us but it was just an opportunity for a tight crop – let’s say that was an artistic decision!

The Hornet gear tucks up in a complex way and I got a few shots of them cleaning up as they powered away in to the pattern.  A few times they pulled downwind pretty quickly and it felt like you were looking over their shoulder into the cockpit.  I can even crop in and see the displays on the panel (later in the day means the ambient light isn’t too much making the cockpit a deep shadow.  This was one of the high points of the evening.  Shame I never got to see other shows at this venue.

Delivery of a KC-46?

Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise.  However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual.  I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit.  Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country.  The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east.  Was it a delivery?  Who knows?

P-8 On a Sunny Day

I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field.  While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test.  With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure.  It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.

Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure.  One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot.  The departure itself was a lot better.  By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome.  As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away.  Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.

Three Black Hawks Bring In Some Passengers

The evening departure of the C-32 was covered in this previous post.  I hinted then about the arrival of some of the passengers.  I’m not sure where they had been visiting but they returned Ina. Three ship of Black Hawks.  Some of those who had been around earlier in the day had seen the departure and apparently it followed the same process.

The three ship of Black Hawks flew downwind on the west side of the field having approached from the south.  They then turned to final in a stream, descending to a lower level and flying the length of the runway prior to setting down near the fire station and close to the awaiting C-32.  Since it was late in the day, the light on them was really nice once they were over the field (conversely, they were seriously backlit while downwind).

After dropping off their passengers, they pulled up and departed back to the south, presumably heading towards JBLM.  I haven’t seen any UH-60s for a while so this was a nice change from the norm.  It was also fun looking at the crew on board with the helmet and face masks as they looked back at us.  Hopefully they didn’t mind being photographed too much!