Tag Archives: Boeing Field

Sneak a Turbo Beaver While I Can

While walking along the main runway at BFI, the shorter runway remained in use.  Since I was at the north end, that meant walking parallel to some of the movements.  A Turbo Beaver was one of the planes to use the runway while I walked alongside so it would have been rude not to grab a few shots as it went by.  I was using the M6 which is not my usual camera for action work but you go with what you have!

Gulfstream’s GIII Is A Nice Surprise

Vintage business jets are a nice thing to come across and, while the modern generation of Gulfstreams are a common sight around the US, the G-III is now something of a rare beast.  Seeing one at Boeing Field parked on the Modern ramp was a nice surprise so I was just hoping for it to depart while I was there.  Fortunately, I was in luck.  It eventually powered up and taxied for departure.  The hush kits on the old Spey engines are a bit of a giveaway but they aren’t that effective.  The noise on takeoff was definitely a sign of something from a previous generation.

Kalitta Charter Falcon 20

A Falcon 20 making an arrival on a Saturday morning when the sun is out is not something to be missed if possible.  We were heading out that day but I just had time to make the run over to BFI to get the Kalitta Charter Falcon 20 as it arrived.  The timing could hardly have been worse with the sun directly down the runway so right on the nose.  (I suppose it could have been right on the tail if the winds were the other way around so maybe not the worst situation possible.) I was able to get a couple of previous arrivals to make sure I had a good angle since I rarely shoot from that location.  Then it was get the Falcon and back in the car to do what we had planned for the day.  Not a bad result.

A Pair of P-8s Testing Together

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.

UPS But Not The Best One

The shot you didn’t get.  How many of those do we have.  It’s easy to get blasé about something and decide not to bother.  Of course, many times, this will be just fine, otherwise we wouldn’t be blasé in the first place.  A couple of UPS jets had arrived.  One was an MD-11 and one was a 767.  A second 767 was on approach and I figured why bother.  As it touched down abreast my location, something looked decidedly odd about the radome.

I talked to Nick, who had been next to me and had photographed it and asked him to take a look at his shots.  Sure enough, the radome was a complete mess.  Presumably a bird strike had smashed it during the flight although whether it was early on or during the approach we couldn’t know.  It was quite the scene of destruction and I didn’t get a photo of it.  99 times out of a 100, it wouldn’t have been anything but this time…  Oh well.

Sierra Pacific -500 Is Old School

It must be a sign of aging how surprising it is to find something that was previously so common as to be boring suddenly is a rarity and has novelty value.  Sierra Pacific is an odd operator anyway but they have some 737-500s.  These were not the most popular of that generation of 737 but they sold reasonably well.  United had a bunch of them that I have shot and Southwest had a fair few, some of which I have flown on.  The follow up with the 737-600 and that was a poor seller.

Sierra Pacific was bringing their example in to BFI and I was able to get some time off to see it arrive.  It was scheduled to be a brief stop so the chances were good of getting it arriving and departing.  The -500 was a short jet – similar in length to the -200 and the last version to come of that generation that started with the -300 and then got stretched to the -400.  They were both more popular with the airlines.  It now looks like a toy compared to the current crop.

The skies had been a bit overcast but a bit of sunlight showed itself as the jet was on final approach.  Not fantastic light but certainly an improvement on a little while before it appeared.  It touched down and headed for Modern’s ramp.  It wasn’t long before a bunch of people were around the plane and then a fuel truck showed up so it looked promising for a speedy departure.  Sure enough, it was soon taxiing.  Bigger jets have to cross to taxi to the threshold but you always worry that they will instead take an intersection departure.  This day was a good day, though, and they crossed and taxied right by me.  They were heading to Omaha so we’re pretty heavy so it wasn’t an early rotation but, since it was later in the day, the heat haze was not so bad.

T-38 Up Close

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!

Strolling Down a 10,000’ Runway

King County International Airport held a public event in the guise of a FOD walk.  You could sign up for free for the opportunity to take a stroll along their main 10,000’ runway one Saturday morning.  Since I wasn’t planning on anything else, this seemed like a good chance to be somewhere that I normally wouldn’t get to be.  I showed up just before 8am on the Saturday to see how it was.  Weather was overcast but it was not raining which was a relief.

We had a briefing from the airport team and the fire chief prior to heading out.  They made it clear that they do take care of the runway so we were hopefully not expecting to find much but we would see.  They last did a runway walk ten years ago and that was for staff so this was a new thing to try with anyone from the community taking part.  We could take cameras with us but they limited what we could have.  Also, photographing the Boeing military ramp was not allowed.

They split the group into two with two buses taking us out.  The buses went to opposite thresholds with the intent that we walk to the middle where we would meet up and take some photos.  Fortunately, I was in the bus going to the north end which is the one I wanted.  Driving past the Boeing civil ramp with its 737s, KC-46s and 777Xs was pretty interesting.  They set up the illuminated X at the threshold prior to us starting (which was a relief).  We then spread out across the runway and walked down.  The smaller runway remained in use while we were walking but there had been a bit of a mad dash of planes getting out before we started.

The runway was clean as you’d expect.  For those that were walking along the edge and in to the grass a bit, there was more to find including some quite large items.  I guess the session did have a practical benefit.  We made it to the mid point of the runway where everyone gathered in front of the fire trucks and we had some group photos.  Then it was back on the bus and a close out with some prize drawings.  It’s not often you get to stand in the middle of a runway that serves everything up to wide body jets so I am glad I took the time to go out.  I hope that they do it again.


Citation X With Winglets

This post is for Pete.  He is a big fan of the Citation X so I might have posted it anyway but it is a special one.  Most Citation Xs were built without winglets but a few were retrofitted and I think Cessna even built a few with them from the factory towards the end of the production run.  I think they are a pretty nice looking winglet design so, Pete, this one is for you.

Sheriff’s Retired Military Trainer

What I thought was a JetRanger came in to BFI one evening.  The color scheme looked a little odd and the markings had a bit of a military feel about it.  Once I got home, I looked up the registration to see who the operator was.  It turns out it was a JetRanger – sort of.  It was actually a retired TH-67 Creek which King County Sheriff’s department had bought.  They obviously haven’t repainted it.  I wonder whether they will.