Airport roads can sometimes throw up interesting surprises. I was driving around Paine Field one weekend and came upon this fuselage sitting on a trailer. I had a chat with the guys loading it up. It is a Lockheed 12 and was heading to Minnesota for restoration to flight. They suggested a lot of work was needed and it would be a while before it was flying again. However, I was just taken to see it sitting beside the road as I happened to pass by.
The trip to the UK early this year included a quick trip to Kemble or Cotswolds Airport as it is also known. Near the tower, they have a couple of preserved airframes that harken back to the time that this was a Royal Air Force base (including it being home of the Red Arrows). One of the gate guards (okay, they aren’t near the gate, but you get the idea) is a Folland Gnat. I don’t know whether it is a genuine ex-Red Arrow or just painted to look like one, but it is cool either way. It is the tiniest of jets. I wonder what it was like ferrying one across the Atlantic as they did for a tour.
The other airframe is a Hawker Hunter. This is a classic aircraft and one that continues in use to this day. It is a trainer version with the side-by-side cockpit arrangement and in a grey paint job that I am not familiar with them having used in service. Either way, another great looking jet and something cool for any visitors to check out.
The P-59 was the first jet fighter that the US had. It was not a big success and was swiftly overtaken by more capable types. However, such was the progress in those days, aircraft had a short operational life. I have seen a couple of them that I am sure of. One was at Planes of Fame at Chino and the other is on a pole at Edwards. Here are the shots that I know I have of the type. The question is, do I have more that I haven’t keyworded?
The number of times I have just missed something or didn’t even know it was close by I cannot count. However, sometimes I can get lucky, and I had one day when things just clicked. The result will be several posts. I was at Boeing Field to catch a test jet from Gulfstream (which I did and will appear here soon). I was waiting for it to show up on approach and was scanning FlightRadar24 when I saw an odd registration appear turning in to the approach. I tapped on it, and it showed as a Hawker Hunter.
Needless to say, this was quite a surprise. Then, another one appeared. The two came down the approach in trail. I got shots of both of them being a little brave/reckless with my shutter speed. Even as this was happening, a third and a fourth popped on screen and it was not long before the second pair had made it into my viewfinder.
They taxied to the ramp at Modern and shut down. Sadly, I wasn’t able to be there when they made the next leg of their trip to Alaska. One was delayed by engine issues and my friend was able to get some shots of it testing. I was hoping to catch them during their return but that took place while I was up in the Islands. However, I had got them once and that was a lucky break I am grateful for.
Word reached me from my friend, Bob, that the CAF squadron at Arlington was planning to get some training done with their Reliant one Saturday. I thought this would be worth a trip as I had previously left one of their events thinking that they weren’t going to fly and they did. When everyone else got good shots of this plane, I was a touch annoyed. Time to rectify this.
They were putting a few pilots through sorties to get time in the plane. In the early part of the day, the weather was a little overcast so not great for shots but okay. Of course, as the day drifted on and the sun moved around to the other side, things brightened up. Just in time to be backlit. At this point, I decided to call it a day and head home. I did also have some good time near the plane while it was being refueled so I am quite happy with the results, even if they are nothing special.
I was planning to head up to Skagit for the May Fly Day at the Heritage Flight Museum anyway. As it turned out, I had been talking with Rich at COAP about the trip he was leading and, when he asked if I would like to tag along with their group, I said yes. They had been working with the Museum and arranged some opportunities to shoot from locations that normal ticket access wouldn’t allow.
The team at COAP and the team at the museum were super helpful and friendly. Add to that, the weather was great and the combination of aircraft they were able to put up was excellent so, the day was set to be a bunch of fun. It did not disappoint. I have shot at the museum fly days before but, sometimes, the planes I was after didn’t fly and sometimes the conditions weren’t ideal. On this occasion, everything came together. I did play around with my shots trying to get more dynamic images. The high vantage point we had available helped with that too.
I took a ton of shots and culled them heavily. The result was a few shots I was particularly happy with and it was nice that the museum shared a few of them on their social media platforms too. Seeing the Skyraider fly is always cool but the day was a trainer day and they put up some great trainer formations. The conditions were a little bumpy but they made a good job of it and there were shots to be had. I look forward to the next time I am up there.
The selection of Magisters at California City was the subject of a previous post. The day continued to improve, though, as a bunch of people showed up to take one of the planes flying. They had come from France and had a crew of people both helping launch and also filming them in the process. We were allowed to hang out close by to watch them go. This did mean having to deal with the intense noise from the tiny turbojets that power the plane.
I shot both stills and video and we were able to get out close by the runway. The video of the launch preparations was fun, but I wanted stills of the jet airborne, so I focused on getting those instead. The Magister is a great looking little jet and, I imagine it is a bunch of fun to have some that are airworthy. I imagine that, as warbirds go, it is probably one of the more affordable ones!
A jump back to the visit of Sentimental Journey last year. Because she was here for a while, I was able to shoot from a variety of locations to try and get some different shots of her. The weather played ball while she was in Seattle unlike the conditions at Arlington the following week. It was fun to try some different angles on the same plane since I had got the initial shots I wanted.
Glorious weather had greeted the B-17, Sentimental Journey, when it came to Seattle. The following week, it moved up to Arlington but was not so lucky. The skies were pretty overcast and the air was more humid. It didn’t make for great conditions to shoot a bare metal aircraft. However, many times before, I have written here about how poorer conditions can sometimes be worthwhile. This was one of those times.
I started off shooting from further up the field and, as the B-17 started her takeoff roll, it was clear that the props were pulling a fair bit of vapor from the air. Consequently, I headed further down the field for the next flight. This also provided a close look at the plane as it taxied out. The real benefit came when the power was applied. Vortices were streaming from the tips of the props and swirling back across the wings. It is always a tricky call when trying to shoot in these conditions. A good bit of prop blur is good as is a blurry background to emphasize speed but, this will result in the vortices being less defined. A faster shutter speed helps make them stand out. I tried to get a good balance with the speed I chose.
There are a few operators of large warbirds that take their planes on tours around the country providing people with an opportunity to check out the planes or, if they are willing to splash some cash, take a flight in them. Sentimental Journey is a B-17 that undertakes such flights and it came to the Pacific Northwest during the summer. I was at Boeing Field for a week before moving on to Arlington (of which more another time).
Because it does much of its business at the weekends, it is relatively easy to find time to come and see it fly. It did also do some flying later in the day so I was able to see it a few times. It certainly helped that the weather was really nice. I got some shots of it as it came to Boeing Field and then made some trips around the Puget Sound area. Here are some of the shots from that time. I did spend a little more time trying out shots from different places and those will get another post soon.