After my afternoon out up in Skagit for the fly day there, I migrated with the guys down to Arlington. They were having an evening flying display that would include the Ryan I previously posted about. An overcast evening did not make for great light for photographing the aircraft. There were only a few displays to see so it wasn’t too much of an event but it was still nice to be out shooting planes again. Rene Price put on a good display in his Sukhoi and the Yak-18 display was a great example of what the plane can do. Interestingly, there was the occasional hint of sunlight from the horizon while it flew which would glint off the white airframe since it was high enough to see the light we weren’t getting.
Grumpy, the B-25, flew a bunch of passes having come across from Skagit. I guess with not much else flying, they were allowed to fly as many passes as they wanted. Other than that, it was a pretty low key affair.
I was sitting at Boeing Field having had a relaxing time getting some shots on a sunny afternoon when I got a notification that the A-26, Sexy Sue, was up again from Renton. It is just over 10 minutes to get over there so I figured I would have plenty of time to get across once my next arrival was in. The trip across to Renton was not an issue and I was there in plenty of time for their return from the San Juans.
They took some really long winded route to the south of the field before doubling back on themselves, all specifically to avoid the best of the light at the field. Things had clouded over a little by the time they arrived but I still was okay with the shots. I then headed down to the parking area at the entrance to the airport to be in position for them to taxi in. I got there just in time and they taxied in towards me and shut down.
I waited for them to put the plane away. I am not sure why they spent such a long time thinking about it. Part of me wondered whether they were waiting for me to get lost but finally they started to move her back in to the hangar. Having a look at some of the shots afterwards, I saw the BOAC Speedbird logo on one side of the fuselage along with a lot of names of individuals. If you know the story behind this, please let me know.
P-8 production is really moving along at the moment. Aside from the US Navy aircraft, there are planes destined for the Royal Air Force, the Indian Navy and the Royal Norwegian Air Force in production and on test. One afternoon I got both an Indian and an RAF jet arriving in close succession. The nice thing about arrivals from the south when they are military jets is that they then taxi back past you as they head to the military ramp.
Thanks to my friends, Bob and David, I became aware one Saturday morning that a fly day was underway that day up in Skagit County. The Heritage Flight Museum was going to have a few planes flying so I made a quick change of plans and headed up there. The conditions were a bit overcast so not ideal but it was still worth a look. There were a few of the regulars up there too so it was a chance to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while.
Of the various warbirds that they had flying that day, the A-1 Skyraider was the one that was of most interest for me. It was the only one I hadn’t seen at previous events so I was keen to get a chance to photograph it. On takeoff, it seemed to be trailing a fair bit of smoke. Since it was recently off overhaul, this concerned me a bit but it seemed to clean up as they flew for a while so everything seemed to be fine.
There were straight passes across the field from various formations followed by some arcing turns over the museum ramp individually. I backed up the road a bit to try and get a bit more of an angle on the planes as they ran across. It would certainly have been nicer to have a bit more light on them but it was still good fun to be shooting something different. I’m very grateful to the guys for giving me the heads up.
After a very lean start, I have done a lot better in recent times with getting shots of the Boeing chase T-38s at Boeing Field. I have shot them airborne and in good light so nothing to be unhappy about. However, the one thing that I haven’t had in the past is a good close up shot of them while on the ground. They have either been landing when on a northerly flow or coming from the other direction and so they haven’t taxied close to me.
Finally managed to break that one not long ago. Some tankers were heading out – one appeared to be a production test flight for an Air Force example while the other was one of the Boeing development airframes. The T-38 followed it out – presumably their flights were connected but I don’t know for sure. It taxied right passed me so I got a good look at it on the ground for a change. It took off, of course, so a little extra chance to get some shots with a cluttered background!
I saw an article in Flight about the first P-8 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force having rolled out at Renton. It showed an airframe with a large saint emblem on the fin. I figured this would be worth a look when I could next get to Renton. My day off to chase planes provided that opportunity. Sure enough, there on the flight line was the new P-8. It was sitting next to an RAF P-8 – their eighth example. The RAF jet flew that day but I imagine it won’t be too long before the Norwegian example follows it in to the air so I shall have to keep an eye out for that.
I was hoping for an approach and landing when I saw this Black Hawk heading downwind but, sadly, it was just passing by, presumably on its way back to JBLM. It was a bit distant but I still decided to get some shots. The crewman was looking out of the side of the cabin as they flew by and a few of the shots seem to have them looking directly at me. The helmet and mask combination that they use is very intimidating. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, honestly.
An A-26 Invader, marked up as Sexy Sue, is based at Renton. It is flown pretty frequently. It is normal for it to take off and head up towards the San Juans before looping around and coming back down to Renton. A flight lasts about 40 minutes which means, even if I knew exactly when it got airborne, the chances of getting to Renton in time to get its return are pretty limited. I have caught it out and about one time when it landed from over the lake on a cloudy day.
My day off with the planes had me at Boeing Field when I got a notification that the A-26 was airborne from Renton. I was anticipating the arrival of something at BFI so wondered where I should put my priorities. It is about fifteen minutes from Boeing Field to Renton so a quick reposition is possible. I figured I could probably just make it when my other arrival touched down. However, I had assumed incorrectly about the direction of flight and the A-26 was heading off through Snoqualmie Pass instead of going north.
I tracked it for a while anticipating a turn but it kept going and eventually landed at Walla Walla. I did wonder whether they were heading to Oshkosh or not. Once it was on the ground, I forgot about it for a while. Then, when checking something else a little later on, I realized that they were up again and heading back home. Again, there was a question about something inbound to BFI but timing looked good so I waited for the first shot to be made and then hopped in the car to Renton. The lights all seemed to take forever but I was at the overlook in plenty of time. I wondered whether they would try for an approach across the lake and I would need to relocate but there was a lot of light aircraft traffic so they slotted in to the normal pattern having gone north a way before turning back in.
They were easy to see while downwind and then turned across the housing around Renton before lining up on final with Mt Rainier in the background. I decided to risk a slower shutter speed since the light was very bright and with such a cluttered background, I needed to blur things as much as possible to try and make the plane stand out. It worked a bit but it was still noticeable how much the background takes over shots from that location. As soon as they touched down, I was ready to head back to BFI since more things were due there. This day off was proving very fruitful.
Stopping by Boeing Field en route to somewhere else and finding that a Boeing T-38 chase jet is about to arrive is a lucky coincidence. Turned out even better as I saw a car parked in my normal spot and realized it was my friend David. A chance to chat and catch up while the T-38 made its approach was a lot of fun. Good to see both him and the T-38!
Scanning old photos has mainly focused on my folders of negatives. Unlike serious photographers, I almost always shot negatives. However, I knew that slides were supposed to be the way to go and decided to experiment with them a few times. One of those times was a show at North Weald during my college days. I did not know a lot about what I was doing then and that is even more the case when considering the use of slide film. However, some of the shots are okay.
What is more fun is seeing the sort of planes that showed up at a show in the late 80s. Some of them are familiar today while others are long gone. A Norwegian A-26 was there which is coincidental given I have recently shot a Norwegian P-8 and a private A-26. A Jaguar displayed from the RAF as did Tornados. Sally B was busy then as she is now. Some things change and others don’t. Here is a selection of the least crappy shots from that event.