Tag Archives: Boeing

T-45s at El Centro

My involvement with the T-45 program was back when the aircraft were just coming into service.  Now I am reading articles discussing the US Navy’s plan for the replacement of the Goshawk fleet.  Another type I have been involved with that is going to disappear from service before too long.  Since the jet was never exported, when the Navy gets rid of them, that will be it.  Consequently, while I have shot T-45s at various places and times before, getting some more shots while on our trip was worthwhile.

We made a detour from our Arizona locations to El Centro to catch the Harriers.  El Centro is a regular haunt of the T-45s with the training wings sending jets out to use the ranges just north of the base.  Since it is not too far to travel, you can watch them launch and know it won’t be too long before they return.  Getting the departing jets as they break towards the south with the last jet cutting the corner the most to catch up with the first ones is easy enough.  The returns give you an option at both ends with either the overhead break with speedbrakes out at one end or the final turn at the other.  Managed to catch both.  I am sure I will see more T-45s in the coming years but here are some shots from the recent visit.

Doesn’t Everyone Have a Hornet by the Front Door?

When deciding on what garden furniture to have, there are many options.  You could have some garden gnomes, maybe a stone lion, all sorts of possibilities.  Most of these are because most people don’t have access to a fast jet.  If you do, and the California Science Center does, you’d stick a Hornet outside the front door.  It was in the shade from the building in the morning I was there, but I thought it provided just the right amount of gravitas.

Vistara Flying at Last

With so many stored 787s at Everett in recent years, I have seen a bunch of Vistara jets on the ground.  However, I hadn’t really done very well in catching them moving.  Not very well is generous – I hadn’t got anything worthwhile.  Then I was up at Paine Field earlier in the day for something else and a Vistara jet taxied out for a test flight.  Thankfully it ran reasonably long on its takeoff roll and I was able to get some good shots of it.

Some P-8s But Not Many Markings

A trip to Whidbey Island at the end of last year resulted in some encounters with the local P-8 Poseidons.  The disappointment was that they weren’t exactly showing off loads of unit markings.  With one exception, they were rather anonymous.  I’m not sure whether they had been recently received and were later to get squadron emblems or not.  I hope so.  Fortunately, the light was nice at that time of year so I got some images I was pleased with.

I Guess More Harriers Were in My Future

During the trip with Mark, we made the excursion to El Centro to catch the Harriers.  As I wrote in the post about those airframes, I thought it might be the last time I got to photograph Harriers.  Turns out, I was a bit premature.  With an exercise planned up in Alaska, the Marines were planning on taking ten jets to participate.  Their routing staged through Boeing Field.  The plan was for two sets of five jets to come across.

The moves were not entirely smooth.  Bad weather in our area was not ideal, tanker support was not working to plan and then you get the occasional jet that breaks.  However, we did get most of the jets showing up.  The first bunch showed up at Boeing Field from the north.  They were strung out on the approach but, from certain angles, you could see all of them stretched out over Seattle.  One by one they came in and reminded us how loud a Harrier is in STOVL mode.

There was due to be the second wave later in the day, but they ended up showing up on another day.  We had departures of the initial jets as well.  When they called up for departure, they asked the tower to line up on both runways.  This would have put them up at the north and away from where I was.  This was a bad development.  Fortunately, the tower informed them that they were too heavy for the short runway’s surface rating.

Instead, they lined up on the main runway spread out in a line.  They powered up simultaneously and released brakes at the same time.  The northern jet had no problem getting airborne in such a short space because of the STOVL capabilities of the Harrier.  The jets further back were also airborne quickly and accelerating rapidly while still over the field.  They climbed out in a loose line which meant assembling the formation would be a simple process.  What a great thing to see one more time.  Is that it for me and Harriers????

Reinforcement Around the Freight Door

While Alaska Air Cargo has been struggling to add its new 737-800BCFs to the fleet, the -7000 freighters have continued to provide service to them.  I have shot these a few different times, but I got some more recent shots of one of the jets at a time when the sun angle was such that the surface of the fuselage was illuminated in such a way to show up the textures of the construction.  The conversion to freighter involves a lot of reinforcement around the aperture for the freight door.  The light really highlighted this reinforcement well.

Malaysian Max Departure

A simple post today of a plane taking off.  Nothing too special about this one.  Just a regular Max 8 heading to Malaysia.  Since it was a delivery flight, I knew the jet would be a bit heavier and would have a longer takeoff run.  I was hopeful of rotation in a good place for me to get some shots.  It didn’t disappoint.  I do like the livery on these latest jets for Malaysian Airlines.

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!!

At Last, I Get a Shot of Another Icelandair Special

Icelandair painted a couple of its 757s in special liveries a few years ago.  One of them, called Vatnajökull, has never been where I was or, if it was, the conditions were bad, or I couldn’t take any images.  Finally, I saw that it was coming in one weekend and would be departing when there was a northerly flow, and the sun was likely to be out.  I finally had a good chance to get it.  Icelandair is adding plenty of Max 8s to the fleet and they are becoming more common into SEA and they will be getting some A321neos soon so the 757s might not be a reliable visitor here before too long.  Consequently, I was glad to finally get some good shots of this lovely looking jet.

The Harriers Really Are Here

While Mark and I were in Arizona, we were talking about the sighting of Harriers down at El Centro.  Harriers are getting pretty rare these days and the Marines only operate them on the east coast at this point.  A detachment to this side of the country is of interest!  We debated the merits of a drive across to El Centro and decided to go for it.  We left Tucson mid morning and got to El Centro in early afternoon.  A quick drive around the south of the base saw one Harrier out in the open.  We could hear it too but, before too long, all had gone quiet – at least as far as Harriers are concerned.

As the day wore on, we were beginning to wonder whether we had been mistaken or just unlucky when a call came up on the radio of what sounded like a Harrier call sign.  A flight of four.  The daylight was beginning to get a little thin, so it was quite late to be going out but, since they have night attack avionics, no reason for them to be limited to daylight only.  Sure enough, we soon see a four ship of Harriers taxiing to the departure end.

The four of them launch in stream and, while they didn’t turn towards us when we would have liked them to, they did keep it low enough to get some nice shots.  One of the jets even had some color.  With them off, we decided to head around to the other side of the base to hopefully get their return.  Not long after we got there, one appeared overhead and alone venting fuel.  Clearly something was amiss, and it was making an early return.  A long straight in approach was best for them if not us!  Then we waited.  Unfortunately, it became clear that they would not be back before it got dark, so we eventually gave up and started our return journey.