I recently posted about the flights of the first Korean P-8. Next customer down the line is New Zealand. The P-8s are built at Renton but fitted out at Boeing Field so their first flight is to move across and then they go in to the hangar for a while to have the mission equipment installed. The first New Zealand jet has emerged from the paint shop at Renton and I saw it one weekend as it sat on the flight line awaiting completion for its first flight. I doubt I shall see that happen but I will try and catch it once it is undertaking test flights. I also have the second at Renton for good measure.
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.
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 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.
Portland is a big base for FedEx it seems. (I think, at this point, I should called it FedEx Express but, since I am old enough to remember when they were called Federal Express, having Federal Express Express seems a bit redundant. I know, I am grumpy old git! Back on topic…) They had a ton of movements when Mark and I were there. On our first day, it was the afternoon and the southern runway was not ideal for photography given the light angles. Still, it was not terrible and the freighters provide a fair bit of variety.
The following morning, the light was move favorable for a while so we were able to get plenty of shots. The freighter traffic is usually busy at the beginning and end of the day for the express parcel business so we had enough to shoot. The big jets were operating with plenty of 767s on the move. They also had the feeder services with a steady stream of Super Cargomasters (Grand Caravans) and ATR72s to handle the local distribution. Good to take advantage of them before the replacement for the Cargomasters arrives.
The only 777s coming out of Everett at the moment are freighters. This can mean unusual airlines but not usually and I don’t head up there terribly often at the moment. However, one of the jets on test recently was destined for DHL’s operations in Singapore. Consequently, it is a hybrid of the DHL and Singapore markings. It seemed worth a look and it helped that they had taken off mid afternoon and were due back after work.
A few photographers had showed up for this arrival as was expected. At this time of year, even early evening is not the best of the light, but it was pretty good. They could be seen out as they set up for approach with Mount Rainier in the background. They touched down with the sound of the RAT buzzing in the background. I was ready to go and headed for the car, but I heard a shout from Royal and Nick that it was coming back. Sure enough, they had taxied back to do one further acceleration and abort on the runway, so we got a second chance at some shots.
The US Navy continues to take deliveries of the P-8 Poseidon jets but they are getting close to the end of their production run. Meanwhile, export customers continue to be receiving their jets. The latest customer to have an aircraft show up on the flight line is the Republic of Korea’s navy. Their first jet flew from Renton to Boeing Field a while back and then went in to the fit out process for a while. It is now out on the flight line and undergoing test.
I have managed to get a few shots of it so far. It is marked up quite colorfully so it looks better than the average jet coming off the line. We shall see how long it stays around here before it gets delivered to Korea. There will be others following it down the line too. New Zealand is the next customer to get its first jet so we shall see how long it is before that jet makes to move to BFI and then is fitted out.
I was scanning through some photos from my travels to Oregon with Mark and came across some photos of a United Airlines 737-700 landing at PDX. It was braking and had the reversers deployed. Looking at the shots, there is a dark burn mark on the engine nacelle that is split either side of the join in the reverser. It looks like something has been cooked a little. Anyone with experience that can suggest what has been going on with this engine?