I recently posted about the flights of the first Korean P-8. Next customer down the line is New Zealand. The P-8s are built at Renton but fitted out at Boeing Field so their first flight is to move across and then they go in to the hangar for a while to have the mission equipment installed. The first New Zealand jet has emerged from the paint shop at Renton and I saw it one weekend as it sat on the flight line awaiting completion for its first flight. I doubt I shall see that happen but I will try and catch it once it is undertaking test flights. I also have the second at Renton for good measure.
Erickson took their B-17, Ye Olde Pub, to the show at Klamath Falls. However, we first got to get a look at her when we stopped at Madras where she was out on the ramp being prepared for the trip south to the show. When she did make the transfer, we were ready for her arrival and then got a few chances to shoot her undertaking the display routine from a variety of locations both outside and inside the airfield.
She is a good looking B-17. I like the painted aircraft more than the bare metal versions (although there is not a huge amount in it). That makes her appeal to me a lot. (I do get a little annoyed by cutesy words with an added “e” but will let that go for now.)
The F-15 Eagle recently had the fiftieth anniversary of its first flight. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that a jet that I still think as high up the pecking order is really over fifty years old. Of course, the jets in service now are not the originals but the F-15Cs started production in fiscal year 78 which meant they were delivered from around 1980 onwards. Therefore, they are over 40 years old which is quite something for a jet getting such heavy use today.
The 173FW put a four ship of F-15C/Ds up for the Sentry Eagle 2022 air show. They tore up the field in an impressive way for the practice days and the main show itself. Having been a fan of the F-15 since my youth, this was a lot of fun to watch. I got a series of shots of one of the jets as it pulled hard to the vertical in full burner and then turned towards the crowd direction. Looking at the surface of the rear wing, there is definitely some deformation of the skins as the structure is loaded up. This is not a problem. It is quite common to get aircraft skin to ripple under varying load conditions but it is usually something that is more common on aging airframes.
The provision of aggressor services continues to expand across air forces. Some have come and gone and it is a developing situation with various old or retired military aircraft being picked up by the contractor market to provide services. Some of these seem to have a short life span as the demands of the customers increase beyond the point that older jets can be effective. One operator is called Tactical Air. They are operating a bunch of F-5s and have some based ay Klamath Falls.
One of their aircraft was on display in a hangar at Sentry Eagle 2022. It wasn’t the ideal conditions to try and get a shot of it but it was there and I was hardly going to pass it up. Earlier in the day, one of their jets had been towed to the north end of the field. I grabbed a shot as it passed, wrongly assuming it was a visiting T-38 and only realizing it wasn’t later. They had other jets parked at the alert facility but it was the sort of place that showing up with a camera seemed like it might be counterproductive so I didn’t get any shots of them.
The US Navy continues to take deliveries of the P-8 Poseidon jets but they are getting close to the end of their production run. Meanwhile, export customers continue to be receiving their jets. The latest customer to have an aircraft show up on the flight line is the Republic of Korea’s navy. Their first jet flew from Renton to Boeing Field a while back and then went in to the fit out process for a while. It is now out on the flight line and undergoing test.
I have managed to get a few shots of it so far. It is marked up quite colorfully so it looks better than the average jet coming off the line. We shall see how long it stays around here before it gets delivered to Korea. There will be others following it down the line too. New Zealand is the next customer to get its first jet so we shall see how long it is before that jet makes to move to BFI and then is fitted out.
Erickson has a B-17 as part of its collection. However, while Ye Olde Pub was sitting outside during my visit, there was a second B-17 on site. This is Thunderbird and it is undergoing some major airframe work. The fuselage was sitting on stands directly in front of you when you entered the hangar. The wings and empennage were in racks around it.
I don’t know what the schedule is for sorting out this aircraft but people seemed to be busy working on it so I assume it will be back in the air before too long. I did enjoy sneaking around trying to find good views of all of the parts that were stored awaiting their return to their rightful place on the airframe. Madras is quite a hike for me but it might be good to go back when they get the plane back in the air. It sounds like the sort of thing that Matt Booty might get down to photograph. Maybe I can be his assistant!
We were standing out to the east of the runway at Klamath Falls when the Erickson team was practicing their display ahead of the show at Sentry Eagle. I was looking in the wrong direction when someone called out that the Bearcat was diving in on us. I swung around and pulled the camera up at the last minute. Needless to say, I did not get the greatest shots of the plane but it was coming right at me so I will go with the best I could get. It was pretty cool having a Bearcat buzz right over my head!
I have posted about a MiG 21 and an F-104 Starfighter that we found in Corvallis and, if you read both posts, you might recall that we were there because we had heard about a Taiwanese F-5E Tiger II that was supposed to be there. While I have focused on the other two, it was indeed true that the F-5 was there. It was also tucked up at the back of the hangar.
It was squeezed in amongst the other aircraft which made getting a clear shot of it a touch tricky. I was using my phone – why I didn’t go back to the car to get the main camera I don’t know – but I ended up taking shots to stitch together when I got home. The jet looked in good shape. It even had a data plate on the wing tip which is unlike most other jets I have seen. I grabbed a bunch of shots but we had a long drive ahead of us and we couldn’t stay forever.
On the morning after our arrival in Klamath Falls, we headed out to a location that was hopefully good for getting shots of jets departing to the north in the morning. What we hadn’t counted on was that the based aircraft would be practicing their display for the air show the following day just after we got there. This was a four ship display that involved some sporty departures and then beating up the airfield from various directions and in various combinations.
They launched four F-15s in stream. The first jet up was the specially painted aircraft that the unit has had for a while but which I had not seen previously. It was joined by two more single seaters in unit markings and the last of the four was an F-15D that wasn’t carrying any unit markings. They would keep it really low after getting airborne and then cross the fence at speed and with burner locked in.
Then they would each pull hard to the vertical and blast upwards. The first one caught me off guard a bit – not ideal since this was the special paint jet. It turned out I got some shots of it, even though I found myself, twisting awkwardly to try and keep it in view. The others I had a slightly better idea about and was ready to track them as they went.
In a previous post, I mentioned coming across a MiG 21 in Corvallis Oregon. When we saw this jet through the door of the hangar, we were surprised. However, we are polite types so I went in to the office attached the hangar to ask if we could take a look at the MiG. When I said this to the person on the desk, she asked if I wanted to see their Starfighter. I was confused but wasn’t going to argue about the type since I wanted them to let me in. She pointed me through the door to hangar and said I was welcome to look around.
I went through the door and looked to my right and immediately realized what she was talking about. Tucked in a corner to one side of the MiG was an TF-104G Starfighter. It was in bare metal but there was a hint of previous paint on it. I found a panel with markings on it which suggested the jet had seen service with Turkey. Mark advised that they had received jets from other countries so it might have served elsewhere before.
While it was tucked in the back of the hangar, the hangar doors had plenty of clear panels which meant there was some nice light illuminating the jet as it sat there doing very little. The Starfighter is such a fantastic looking jet. It is so dynamic looking and, when in bare metal, it looks even more cool. I have no idea the story that brought it to Corvallis but was so happy to have found it as part of a short diversion from the long drive home.