Quite a while back, I saw a shot that someone had composited of a Typhoon display over an airfield where they had the jet throughout its routine to show its route through the sky. I liked the idea and, while it was totally different, it got me thinking when I was up at Heritage Flight Museum. They had the Skyraider on the ramp but not flying. It was ready to go but hadn’t yet been signed off.
However, they did do an engine run for the visitors and unfolded and folded the wings a few times. Having got some basic shots, the idea of the Typhoon display popped in to my head so I shot a sequence of shots of the wings as they folded and unfolded. I took way more than actually was a good idea. I imported them all in to Photoshop as layers and then hid all of them except one and then progressively added some back to get the wings in different positions. If I had used them all it would have just been a blur of wings.
With the ones I wanted selected, I changed the blend mode for all but the base layer to Darken and that meant the dark wing elements overlaid anything brighter behind them. The result was a composite with multiple wing positions all showing at once. I think it came out quite well. I thought I might have issues with hiding things I didn’t want to or having to much movement between shots but that wasn’t a problem in the end.
I have only seen one flying B-29 prior to this year. That is Fifi from the Commemorative Air Force which I got to see in DuPage IL many years back and also saw overflying Oshkosh. A second B-29 was returned to flight about four years ago – Doc. It is based in Wichita KS and has been on a tour which included a visit to the Pacific Northwest. Its previous stop was in Spokane and then it came to Boeing Field for a week.
I saw when it was due in to BFI and got down there in time for the planned arrival from the other side of the state. It was a little later than I expected but that was fine. It was easy to track as it came across the mountains and then across the city and on to the approach for Boeing Field. The light was pretty good on it as it came down final approach although the reflective nature of the polished aluminum fuselage meant it took on a greenish hue as it flew over the grass inside the perimeter fence.
Shortly after arrival, they crewed up to make a press trip. Sadly, I was not part of this but it did give me a chance to get some more shots. The winds meant they were doing a southerly departure and I didn’t anticipate them climbing too fast when babying these old engines. They certainly didn’t climb aggressively! They kept it nice and low while cleaning up the gear and were still very low when they came past me. It was ideal. They then put in a surprisingly aggressive turn downwind where they kept it low enough that they were behind the trees.
I decided to try for something different for the next return. I headed to the end of the runway to try for some shots directly underneath the plane. It is a tricky place to shoot with buildings in the way for a while and more power lines than is ideal. Still, it provides a cool perspective and something a little different. I was very pleased with the success rate of the shots because, while you are shooting at a wide angle, there is a lot of relative motion.
Once on the ground, the plane was going nowhere for a few days until the paid flights started at the end of the week. There would be another encounter. I got to see it one day as it flew over the city but I did make a more deliberate effort to shoot it again. More to come…
Alaska Airlines likes to advertise that it is “Proudly All Boeing”. It isn’t of course. The Q400s and E175s are definitely not Boeing jets. When they bought Virgin America, they acquired a large fleet of Airbus jets too. These are not going to be part of the fleet for long, though. Alaska has made it clear that they are going away. The A319s are apparently too small so are the first in line for replacement. Go to Paine Field and you will come across a bunch of Alaska painted A319s bagged up and awaiting their future. A319s are generally smaller than airlines want these days – it is not that long ago that the A319 was more popular than the A320 but that is no longer the case. I wonder where these will go next.
Sometimes my poor choices can help other people out. I made a trip down to Auburn to see the Stinson Reliant that the local chapter of the Commemorative Air Force has. They were having an open day but the conditions were not looking great. I got there as things were opening up and had a look around the plane while they prepped it to run. Then they fired it up and ran the engine for a while before shutting down. At this point, the rain was thinking about starting up and I decided to call it quits.
This was just what everyone else needed. I got a call as I was heading north again. My friend Bob told me they were looking to go flying. I was tempted to turn around and go back but decided not to. I had some other things I wanted to see and felt the conditions were likely to mean that they skipped the flying. I was clearly wrong. My friends got a bunch of nice shots of the plane flying. I have to make do with it on the ground for now.
Making a cross country flight from Wisconsin to Washington is a long enough trip but it is even longer if you are in something that isn’t too speedy. A DC-3 is not something that is going to cover the ground that fast. It will be a bit quicker if it has been re-engined with a turboprop but, even then, it is going to be a long trip. I think it was the best part of eight hours to make the journey and then overnight at Seattle before continuing on to Alaska the next day.
The arrival of the BT-67 certainly got the attention of a few local photographers. Sadly, things got a bit cloudy just as it arrived so the conditions were not ideal. It was still cool to get a shot, of course. Fortunately, they had parked near the Museum of Flight so I was able to get a few shots of them parked up. The crew were just closing up so the gate to the ramp was open for them and a kind security guard allowed me to shoot past him without having to deal with the fence.
When I find out that a HondaJet is in the area, I do try to get a shot of it. It is such an unusual design, I am hoping to get a good shot of one. Sadly, two things seem to be conspiring against me. First, they all seem to have a variation on the same paint scheme. No doubt you can paint it how you like but they almost all seem to look similar. The second thing is that I always seem to get them in cloudy conditions. This doesn’t stop me trying though. I have even got one in a better livery but not with good light. However, these are the recent examples I have seen. Maybe I will get a shot of one that I am happy with at some point.
Red Flag 22-2 included a detachment of B-1B Lancers. The Bone is a cracking jet as it combines the size of a bomber with the shaping and engines of a fighter. It is an elegant shape whether the wings are fully swept or not. I have shot them at Nellis a few times over the years but I was still keen to get some shots of them on this trip. Unfortunately, things did not quite go to plan.
They didn’t fly on the day that I arrived. I had gone out in the evening for the night launch but they were not part of it. The following morning, they launched a lot earlier than I expected so I was still at Cheyenne when they went. My last day, they again didn’t launch. That meant the recoveries from the early launch were my only chance.
Weather was not helping too much. This was not just for the Bones. It was pretty overcast for a good chunk of the afternoon. The two jets came back in formation and broke into the pattern. Thankfully, the arrivals were using the 21s and they were allocated to the right runway. A pretty sporty pattern for a big jet combined with me having chosen a good spot by the Speedway meant that they were almost filling the frame as they turned on to final. Some nicer light would have been great but, since this was all I was getting in daylight, it would have to do.
Canada has had a surge in low cost airlines. One of them is Flair. They too delivery of a few new jets but I never happened to be around when any of them was on test so, I never got a shot of their pretty bright colors. Another delivery was due recently and I happened to be at BFI when the jet was being ferried in from another location – presumably where it had been painted. Not the greatest light I’m afraid but still enough to be worthwhile and the colors are a bit more interesting that the usual. I’ve no idea how their operations are going but, with so many new players in the market, they will have their work cut out for them.
The Navion is a type that you see a fair bit around the US. They are a popular aircraft and are both used for private flying and also sometimes for display teams. I’ve shot a bunch of them over the years. However, I did not know until very recently that Ryan, when they took over the design, came up with a larger cabin version of the aircraft called the Rangemaster. I only found out because I happened to shoot one at Paine Field. It was only when I looked it up that I found out what it was. I may have seen one before but I certainly didn’t know it if I did. A quick search shows that there weren’t too many of them built and I guess a lot less are currently airworthy.
Boeing Field has a lot of civilian traffic, but it is also a popular stop off point for military traffic. What I hadn’t anticipated was a McChord C-17 wanting to use it for some pattern work. I was sitting in the car working on a spreadsheet updating my forecasts for a project that we are working on. I guess I had heard something call up but was busy with the work and had not realized what was coming. However, the rumbling of four engines got quite loud and I looked up to see the C-17 on short final.
I did grab a couple of quick shots, but luck was on my side. They wanted to fly a few patterns so I was going to get another go at it. The left-hand patterns meant you could see them heading downwind and turning back on to final. I could get on with my spreadsheet and be ready when they came back again. The light was really nice and they seemed to fly a little higher on the approach than is normal so getting shots was not tricky.
At one point, while flying downwind, I could see another C-17 flying directly across the field. They were actually setting up for an approach to McChord and were not going to come our way but it was cool to see both in shot at once. After they completed their pattern work, they headed back north again so I am not sure what their next plans was but I was pleased to have seen them and had the chance to try and few different shots.