A sunny Sunday afternoon had me driving past Renton so I figured I would stop off to see a few things. I swung by the floatplane base after I had done whatI came for and things were quite quiet. I had just missed a few planes and wondered whether I would bother hanging around. Then a Cessna made an approach, as covered in another post, and, while it was taxiing back to the dock, I saw a Kodiak heading towards us down the lake. Initially I thought it was going to make a straight in approach but, since the main Renton traffic was operating to the north, I guess it had to fit with that.
Consequently, it made a path that took it towards the eastern shore of Lake Washington before carving a sweeping, descending turn towards the lake. With the hills of that shoreline behind it, things looked pretty impressive. There were plenty of people out on the lake in boats, kayaks and paddle boards and they would have got a really good view as it came in to the lake to touch down.
They taxied back towards the base and I hadn’t appreciated what their plan was. I figured they were tying up at the dock and I had moved away slightly but they had dropped the wheels and were coming up the slipway. A good dose of power was needed to come up the ramp. I wish I had shot that or, better yet, got some video. I will have to go back to the seaplane base there. The new fencing is not great but there are still some good photo opportunities to be had.
The Oregon trip with Mark provided a lot of options for additional aviation experiences while we were en route to the main event in Klamath Falls. This included a stop off at Hood River to check out the museum there. I had heard that it was an impressive collection of both planes and cars and that was no understatement. When it comes to older aircraft, I am well out of my depth. My interest in aviation came out of the military side of things in the 80s and the era of WWII and before was not something I paid any attention to.
The result of this is that a museum like Hood River is full of aircraft that I know nothing about. I couldn’t identify many of them if asked and, when there are many variants of a given make, I don’t recognize what distinguishes them and whether one or other of them is significantly rarer than any other. Instead, I just find it interesting to look at the wide variety of looks and finishes that the planes have.
The Hood River museum certainly provides me plenty to choose from in that regard. There are so many aircraft in there and, while they have several hangars, it is not unfair to say that things are pretty on top of each other in order to get everything to fit in. It is also a little dark but, since modern cameras are so good in low light conditions, this isn’t really a problem anymore.
Mark and I are both plane guys so the car collection was not a big focus for us. We did take a look at to some of the vehicles that were there but, since we had a schedule to keep if we were to get to Klamath Falls in time for some dinner, we had to focus on the planes. There is no way I could cover the collection in one blog post and I won’t even try. Instead, I shall provide a tiny selection of what we saw. Maybe, as I work through some of the shots, I shall revisit the collection in some future posts.
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.)
British Airways was an early customer for the 787 when Boeing launched it in the form of the 787-8 and has been growing the fleet ever since. They now operate the -8, the -9 and the -10 versions. Their introduction allowed the retirement of the 767-300 fleet so the 787s are now the smallest of the widebodies (although the 787-10 has similar capacity to a 777-200ER). In Seattle, we tend to get the 787-9 or an occasional 787-10. However, Portland gets the 787-8 so, when I got to shoot one there, it was the first time I had seen a BA -8 in ages. They look quite stubby in comparison to the rest of the family.
The trip to Klamath Falls was all about military aircraft but, during the day, we saw some agricultural aircraft launch off the cross runway in the distance. At one point, one of them came pretty close to where we were so it would have been remiss of me not to grab some shots as it flew over.
The monumental screw up that was the 737 Max program has been getting back on track with the return to service of the 737-8 and 737-9 along with the new deliveries coming off the line. The 737-7 has been in flight test for a while now but its certification was going to be delayed until the main fleet issues had been resolved. Reports now suggest that it will be certificated in plenty of time before the year end deadline that Congress set for cockpit upgrade requirements.
A few Southwest 737-7s (Southwest is the significant customer for this marque) have been parked up at Renton for a while. These had been painted and then stored. However, a couple of 737-7s made flights to Boeing Field in recent times. These are Southwest jets but they have yet to be painted. The fact that they are on the move might be interpreted as suggesting that certification may not be too far away and that Southwest may soon be taking delivery. During the downturn that resulted from the pandemic, Southwest increased its -7 orders at the expense of the -8s. Now traffic is booming, I wonder whether Southwest will reverse that reversal and switch more orders to the -8.
This Challenger 604 taxied out at Boeing Field and I was slightly curious because it was in a grey paint job with a US flag on the fin. I didn’t think it was a government owned machine but maybe there was something interesting about it. When I got a good look at it, I could see that the airframe had some modifications. There were ventral fins and a fairing on the underside that looked like it might have been used for mounting something else which was now absent. A check on the registration shows it as registered to Boeing. They had a development program a while back to make a maritime patrol aircraft from the Challenger. Was this airframe part of that program originally? Where is it going 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.
I do like shooting bizjets and they can provide a bit of variety amongst the regularity of the other aircraft around. However, there is one thing that can disappoint and that is the unimaginative way in which they are usually painted. Airlines have adopted the variations on white but the bizjets have been doing this for ages. Consequently, when one shows up that is not basically white, I am really pleased.
Black painted bizjets look so much more interesting. The engineer in my finds myself wondering how well they keep cool out in the sun on the ramp but, since I am not the customer, not a problem I need to worry about too much. Instead, I can just be pleased to shoot a jet that looks a little out of the ordinary.
I was up at Paine Field after work one day for the arrival of a DHL/Singapore Airlines 777F. Before it was due in, an Alaska Airlines 737 was due in on one of the scheduled flights. Alaska operations at Paine Field originally were just using the Embraers but, with the success of some of the routes, they have upgraded a number of the services to the 737. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see whether the low shutter speed settings I was planning for the 777F would be okay.
I wasn’t going down to some crazy low shutter speed. I wanted to make sure I got a good shot. However, when you are close to the runway, as is the case at the windsock, you don’t need to be too low to get some blur. I was only using the 24-105 at that range as things are very close. The level of background blur I got was okay. It would be good to get more but it was going to be fine for the 777F. When playing with this approach, you know that a bunch of the shots will not be sharp enough. Unfortunately, you never know whether the key moments will be the sharp ones. Fortunately, one of the better shots was with a healthy dose of tire smoke as they touched down. I was happy with the result.