Tag Archives: chase

Two T-38s In Close Succession

I stopped at Boeing Field to make a couple of calls and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a Boeing T-38 chase jet was not far out.  I was able to get the camera out in good time for it to arrive and, even better, while there was plenty of cloud around, the sun popped out to allow me to get a reasonable shot.  I then went back to dealing with my calls.  I had noticed a USAF T-38 further east in the state but had assumed it was not coming my way.  However, I was wrong.  A short while later, it called up on approach.  The sun was less cooperative which was a shame for a gloom black painted jet but it was still good to shoot.  From expecting nothing to getting two T-38s in short order was a nice surprise.

One of Boeing’s T-38s Again

Stopping by Boeing Field en route to somewhere else and finding that a Boeing T-38 chase jet is about to arrive is a lucky coincidence.  Turned out even better as I saw a car parked in my normal spot and realized it was my friend David.  A chance to chat and catch up while the T-38 made its approach was a lot of fun.  Good to see both him and the T-38!

T-33 Pattern Work

After such a long time of struggling to get shots of the Boeing T-33 chase planes, I seem to have had a lot more luck recently.  One showed up at Paine Field and, rather than just shooting an approach and departing straight to Boeing Field, it made a full stop landing, taxied back, took off, entered the pattern and came around again.  This was a welcome addition to a sunny afternoon.  There was only one crew onboard so I guess with was some continuation training.

As the plane taxied back to the threshold, I got a good look at the upper side of the front fuselage.  There appear to be quite a variety of antennae mounted on there.  I didn’t know whether they were GPS location antennae or other types but there are plenty there.  Whether they are used for different functions or are needed for validating test data and cross referencing, I have no idea.  Some of them may even be redundant but no one has seen the need to remove them.  Whatever the reasons, there are lots there!

Edwards F-16s

Another day, another retro post.  I am pleasantly surprised by what I find as I go through old shots since I am not able to get any new shots while we are all self-isolating.  In this case it was a visit to Edwards AFB that was a pre-symposium trip ahead of an ISAP meeting.  I think Richard was the one that organized it all.  Anyway, the Edwards test fleet includes a bunch of F-16s.  Some are from the test pilot school and some are test program assets or chase planes.  There was also a Danish jet that was supporting the F-35 program.

We got to hang out on the ramp as see the jets under the shelters as well as get up close and personal as they were heading out for a mission and recovering.  We later went out to shoot near the runway which was fun but not ideal from a shooting perspective because of heat haze.  Who would have thought the Mojave Desert would have heat haze!  Still better than a day at work of course.

Here are a bunch of shots from that day.  I haven’t been through most of these for ages so it is interesting to see what upgrading them to the latest editing algorithms of Lightroom can do for the processing results.  I have yet to find one that doesn’t look better with the new processes applied.

Finally the Boeing T-38s Are In the Sun

I mentioned the arrival of some USAF T-38s in this post.  They weren’t alone, though.  Boeing had both of their T-38 chase jets out on missions and they had to come back at some point.  The day had lovely weather so I was going to wait around and get on with some work to see when they showed up.  The jets have similar paint schemes but are slightly different in detail.  I had shot one of them in nice conditions once so was keen to do better.  I got both of them as they returned so finally felt like I had some success.

I wonder how long they will last.  Since Boeing has won the contest to replace the T-38 in USAF service, I wonder whether the early T-7 jets they built will find their way to Boeing Field at some point to support flight test activities.  They will probably not be a match for production jets so would be of less use for in service test activities.  We shall see.  The T-33s are still around so the T-38s may have years ahead of them.

Chasing the Ball

Beaches are great places for dogs.  Plenty of space to run and then there is the water to play in if they like.  As we were walking along Long Beach in Tofino. One guy was throwing a ball for his dog to chase and fetch.  The dog was having a fantastic time roaring around the beach after the ball.  The guy seemed to be happy too but I think I was almost as happy as the dog watching it having such a good time.  A couple of times it came towards me and I wanted the guy to throw the ball my way more often to get some shots but I think he was throwing it away from me to avoid inconveniencing me.  I should have said not to worry.

The Light Almost Catches the T-33

I caught one of the Boeing T-33 chase aircraft that had been out supporting the 777X flight trials.  The weather had been crappy which is par for the course when I am seeing the Boeing chase planes.  However, it did start to improve.  A hint of sun came out as it came down the approach but the light was better a bit far out.  I could see it in the distance but it was more shady as it got close.  Still, not too bad.  I heard a rumor that they might be retiring them before too long.  I hope that isn’t the case but we shall see.

Boeing’s T-38 Finally Comes Out in the Sun

I have struggled to get shots of the Boeing chase aircraft in decent light.  Whether it is the T-33s or the T-38s, my encounters have generally been on overcast days.  Finally my luck changed and one of the T-38s came in to Paine Field for a couple of approaches on a sunny day.  It was the middle of the day so the light angles weren’t great but it was certainly a step up.  A couple of passes and then they headed to Boeing Field.

A Pair of T-33s, How Nice

A previous post talked about wanting to get the Boeing T-33s after having seen one of them flying over my office.  I saw that two T-33s were actually operating out of St Louis.  They appeared to be operating with the Catfish 757 testbed.  A couple of days later I happened to see that the two jets were operating cross country, presumably en route back from St Louis to Seattle.  Sure enough, that was what they were doing.

I was able to get to Boeing Field when they were completing the return journey.  The tow jets were operating about ten minutes apart.  The weather wasn’t great, unfortunately.  There had been some nice sun a little earlier but, by the time they arrived, the clouds had rolled in.  Even so, it was good to catch both jets.  One of them was operating solo but the other had someone in the backseat who seemed to spot me and watched me most of the way down the approach.