I took this a long time ago but just came across it again. I was under the approach path for SeaTac and one of the many Q400s that come in and out every day was setting up on final approach. Since it was nothing special, I figured a low shutter speed was in order. With the light on the front of the plane, this should show up the prop disc nicely. It worked out pretty well.
On two previous occasions, the RAF’s Sentinel fleet has made an appearance on this blog. The most recent was for a damp example at RIAT that was in this post. The Sentinel fleet has spent a number of years under threat of retirement. It is a small fleet and it is custom made so it will have very high sustainment costs. Also, it provides a role principally in support of the Army so I imagine it isn’t the highest priority for some of the RAF upper echelons.
Previous reports of its retirement have been followed up with a reprieve. However, the MOD in the UK has just issued a request for proposals (RFP) for companies to come and dismantle the aircraft (along with a pair of E-3D Sentrys). This looks like it is really going to happen. The RFP states that the aircraft are not for reuse and that the selected contractor will disassemble them on site at RAF Waddington. Not only is the RAF not going to use them but they are making sure no one else does.
Various bits of information have flowed around about them. There is a suggestion that obsolescence issues mean a lot of equipment needs to be replaced. Since that will be a custom process, it will be an expensive thing to do and, with the axe having been hanging over them for a number of years, spending a lot of money on them if they might not be around for much longer just doesn’t seem likely. Maybe there are other issues too.
I’ve had a soft spot for V Sqn from the Lightning and Tornado F3 days. Seeing it move from a fast jet to a bizjet derivative was a bit odd but at least it survived while so many other squadrons disappeared. I wonder whether it will surface again. Maybe an F-35B unit at some point? We shall see. My best interaction with the Sentinels was on a Red Flag when I got to shoot them in some great light. Farewell you oddball.
On a previous visit to Haneda I ended up getting a photo of a Japanese Coast Guard Gulfstream. This time, the weather was not great so I ended up staying on the side which should be backlit but wasn’t since there wasn’t much light! A turboprop showed up on approach which I hadn’t noticed online and initially wasn’t bothered about. However, I shot it and it turned out to be a Japanese Coast Guard Dash 8. I was pretty pleased!
My first Delta A220 (or C Series if you are old school) showed up in this post from when I was at DFW. It was only on the ramp so no flying action on that occasion. SeaTac is one of the regular destinations now and one was departing when I had just landed and was waiting to meet my sister off her flight from the UK. Shooting through the windows at an airport is a bit hit or miss. The quality of the glass is one concern since it is thick stuff. You also have mixed cleanliness and reflections from the interior. Then you have to deal with the heat coming off whatever is on the ramp with the potential for lots of APU and engine exhausts. However, I did get some clear shots of it as it got airborne. I think the shape is quite distinctive and I am really coming to like the type.
Based on a Global Express business jet, the RAF’s Sentinel battlefield surveillance jet has plenty of lumps and bumps to distinguish it but the paint scheme is a different story. It is painted plain gray and, aside from one example I saw at Red Flag, it doesn’t have any interesting squadron markings. The Friday of RIAT was a very wet a dreary day but this had the effect of making the Sentinel look rather glossy. I have never seen them look too interesting before (aside from Red Flag) but this looked okay. I did shoot it departing too on an overcast day and it didn’t look too bad then so maybe this one was fresh out of the paint shop?
Shooting Dash 8s and Q400s at YVR is not going to be particularly interesting so I was able to spend some time playing with shutter speeds progressively lower and lower. Shooting very low shutter speeds on the 500mm handheld is a bit of a crapshoot but you never know what you might get. Besides, the evening light meant it wasn’t so bright that you were at ridiculous apertures with the associated endless dust spotting!
I was quite prepared to have got absolutely nothing from these shots. However, either my luck was good or my technique has improved – I think we both know which it is – and I got a few sharp ones with plenty of prop blur and background blur combined. Background blur always makes for a more interesting shot. However, when you want to make sure you get the shot, you aren’t always willing to risk it. Having something that is not a make or break shot means you can have a lot more leeway for experimentation.
I was walking around the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Tukwila after the opening ceremonies had concluded. A few things took off while I was there but nothing caught my eye. Then I heard another jet get airborne. I looked around and saw a CRJ climbing out. However, this was no normal CRJ. It was one of the Northrop Grumman radar test beds. These have replaced the BAC1-11 jets that are now all retired. I got the camera up late (settings weren’t ideal either) and shot it as it disappeared into the distance. I had no idea it was on the ground (and would have gone looking for it had I known). Oh well, win some lose some!
I was a touch disappointed that a Global 7500 demonstrator from Bombardier landed at Boeing Field about 15 minutes before I got there. I had not seen one previously and I missed it arriving. It was parked up across the field although the heat haze was not making for much of a shot. The following morning they filed a flight plan for departure at a time which meant I could get there before having to go to work so I headed across. In common with these things, they weren’t exactly prompt. However, they still taxied and got airborne in plenty of time for me. The morning light limits your shooting locations so I was further down field than ideal and the jet was quite high but I have still finally got one. They will be loads of them before too long but, for now, I am pleased to have this one.
The A220 (or C Series CS100 if you are not yet ready to have it labeled as an Airbus) has been in service for a while but, until recently, I hadn’t seen one. Then, while I was on the shuttle between the terminals at DFW, we came around the terminal that Delta uses and I realized that the jet that had just pushed back was an A220.
It was early evening so the light was quite nice. The shape of the jet was quite distinctive. Aside from the cockpit shaping, the wings are quite large (giving it quite decent range capability) and the large fans of the Pratt GTFs are conspicuous. It is not a bad looking jet the Delta colors looked good on it. Sadly it taxied to the other side of the airport so I didn’t see it depart but it was nice to finally see one for real.
Returning from Whidbey with Paul, we stopped off at Paine Field to see what might be moving. There was a bit of frustration with a delayed departure that we couldn’t catch but we got a few bits and pieces and that included a Global 6000. This one popped up on approach just as the sun was reappearing from behind the clouds so we could get some nice light on it as it crossed the threshold and touched down.