Tag Archives: aircraft

A Development Dash 8

I may have a soft spot for testbeds, but development airframes are also something that will interest me.  While driving around Tucson International Airport, we were looking at the various airframes at one of the schools based on the field.  There was a Dash 8 sitting in the yard.  It had Series 200 markings on it and seemed to be a development airframe.  With Mark being a Canadian, he was definitely pleased to catch this but I was too.  It looks in surprisingly good shape.

The A-26 Makes a Long Trip in the Rain

During the holidays and just before New Year, my friend Paul was in town for a day, so we did some exploring.  The weather started out being less than ideal.  We had swung by Renton to see if there was anything of interest and the A-26, Sexy Sue, was out on the ramp looking ready to head off.  We debated which direction they would depart and which would be most suitable for shots.  In the end, we stayed where we were figuring it would be too high at the lake end of the field.  (That proved not to be the case with a very low departure!)

Our chosen location did give us a good view of start up and taxi out of the plane.  They were flight planned to Oakland CA which struck me as quite a long trip to take in an A-26.  Sure, in combat people would have done that and when they were corporate transports it would have been normal but there are more comfortable ways to travel these days.  Anyway, before long, they were lined up and powered off.  There was plenty of vortex action from the props in such a damp atmosphere but it probably looked better from other angles.  With them gone, we jumped back in the car and decided to continue our adventures elsewhere.

Sunset Comes Too Soon for BA

My Arizona trip with mark started out in Phoenix.  I got there earlier than he did and shot a little at Sky Harbor but, once we had met up, we decided to try what the evening shooting might offer there.  I was particularly interested in getting the British Airways A350 when it arrived.  Phoenix is a busy airport but does not have a huge amount of variety so this would be one of the more “exotic” arrivals.  It was due to make it in just before sunset, but the flight was running a touch late, and I wasn’t sure if it would make it.

Keeping an eye on the track of the flight was one thing, but we were also keeping an eye on the horizon.  There was low cloud in the distance which suggested that the sun might disappear from view before it actually set.  Sadly, this proved to be the case.  Things got gloomy rather quickly once the sun went behind the cloud bank and then, as it got low in the sky (out of sight) the light was fading fast.  That’s when the jet arrived.  Still, it wasn’t a total loss.  Sometimes low light can be interesting.  It wasn’t as good as the last light of the day glowing on the nose, but it was alright.  We watched the jet taxi in and then decided to see what low light shots we could make work.

Two C-37s With One Being a Bit Shy

The US military operates a bunch of Gulfstream jets for transportation of key individuals.  One afternoon, I was at BFI and there was a C-37 from the USAF sitting on the ramp.  It had the powder blue livery common across the USAF VIP fleet.  I was hoping to see it takeoff, but it was not moving while I was there.  A little while later, it was joined by a second example.  This one was a lot less conspicuous.  It had no livery and no obvious markings at all.  The USAF has been toning down its planes recently and this was definitely in that style.  The lack of a registration might have told you that it wasn’t a civilian Gulfstream but the bigger giveaway would be the array of antennae that were on the fuselage.  This clearly could communicate with more than the average bizjet.

Photoship Over the Air Show

The Abbotsford Air Show was also apparently an event that the Aviation Photocrew from Europe had made the trek for.  They had arranged for a variety of photo flights associated with the show and involving some of the performers.  I didn’t know that this had been set up but, when we saw the Skyvan flying overhead with planes formating on it, we knew what was happening and my friend Mark told me that the same folks were running things.  I hope that they got some good shots.

Avelo Visits BFI – Can They Last Too?

A while back I posted some shots of New Pacific and commented on whether they would survive.  They are not alone in starting up an airline and operating tenuous routes.  Avelo is another airline that has been created and runs between secondary destinations.  I guess all of these new starts undertake charter work as well to keep utilization up and cash coming in.  Avelo did a run to Boeing Field, and I figured that, unless I get to one of their destinations at any point soon, this might be my only chance to photograph one of their planes.

The arrival was not in the best of light, but conditions weren’t too bad, and I was happy to get some reasonable shots.  When it came to departure, they were due out later in the day and the one thing you know about charter flights is that they won’t go even close to he planned time unless you are running late.  Then they will be off early!  Sure enough, they were dragging it out.  I was wondering whether there would even be any light left when they went but, having spent a bunch of time waiting, I was not giving up.

One of my friends had been waiting too but finally decided enough was enough and headed home.  I was not so sensible and stuck around.  Finally, they closed up the jet and got the engines going.  They taxied across the runway in a location that was quite convenient for me, so I got a bunch of shots.  Then they got to the hold point and waited.  I was thinking that they were toying with me, but it wasn’t too long and then they rolled.  Overall, I was quite happy with the results.  If I don’t end up seeing them again, these will have been worth it.  If they become a major success and are all over the country, this will have seemed a touch futile!!

My First Sighting of F-16Vs

The designation of the F-16V is one that leaves me a bit confused.  There are A model jets that are upgraded to this standard, but I thought some new build jets were also having the designation.  Maybe I am mistaken about that.  I also see two-seaters upgraded to the standard so an A or a B model can now be a V model?  Anyway, enough about that. I got to see some.

Taiwan has been upgrading its fleet of A and B model F-16s to V models.  The program is nearly complete from what I have read.  They operate a number of the jets from the Guard base in Tucson at the international airport.  While Mark and I were there, we got to see a bunch of them launch and recover.  This included one with special markings in the fin.  The markings are otherwise not too conspicuous but, because they are early model jets, the lack of the bulged fin root with its antenna is the thing that allowed me to identify them.  Must be some life left in those airframes despite their age!

Tight on a Departing Falcon 7X

When shooting departing jets at BFI, I often have a conundrum about the lens to use.  For some of the higher performing aircraft, they get off the ground quickly, so the longest lens is probably going to be best.  However, other types use a lot more of the runway and can rotate a lot closer to some of the places I like to shoot from.  The long prime can be best a lot of the time but, if they run long, I might be too close for the shot.  A Falcon 7X can run a bit longer if it is heavy as a result of the three-engine configuration versus the twins like the Gulfstreams and Globals.  This one did that but, it rotated quite close to me.  I was actually really pleased with how things turned out and then I spun around to get the climb out from a tight angle as well.

Northwest Aviation Consortium Exercise

Last summer, Arlington Municipal Airport was the base of a multi-agency emergency preparedness exercise.  Police, county, military and EMS helicopter operators all came together to practice how they would manage major incidents should they occur in the region.  The prospect of a bunch of helicopter operators showing up in one place was too much to resist so I headed along to see what appeared.

Both King and Snohomish Counties participated, bringing their helicopters in to carry out multiple missions.  The US Navy showed up early on with an MH-60 from Whidbey Island and launched off on a mission but sadly didn’t come back afterwards.  A variety of other emergency medical operators were there with their airframes and there was a pretty regular trade in helicopters departing and returning.

The Snohomish County UH-1 undertook some work to practice lowering crews into remote spots (which I think might include rooftop insertions).  They lifted a platform on which the teams could stand and be carried into position.  They moved various groups of people around the airfield before lowering them to the ground and swapping out the individuals.  I imagine the view from that platform would be pretty impressive.

I stayed well out of the way of operations, but the teams were very friendly and happy to chat when they weren’t engaged in training.  However, with them operating multiple helicopters and having not been part of any briefing, it was clearly appropriate to keep some distance.  This meant the shots weren’t quite what I would have preferred but they were still fun to get.

GlobalX Has Interesting Passengers

GlobalX charter flights are pretty common in our area these days.  The company is expanding aggressively, and any charter work seems to be on the cards.  This one flight was a bit unusual – at least compared to what else I have seen then do.  The buses pulled up with the “passengers”.  However, instead of all walking up the steps, they went one at a time.  A closer look showed that their hands were in front of them – presumably in cuffs.  I’m not sure whether this was a criminal transfer or a deportation flight, but I suspect the latter.  I have seen plenty of DOJ flights into BFI but this was a first for me to see.