Tag Archives: civil

Photoship Over the Air Show

The Abbotsford Air Show was also apparently an event that the Aviation Photocrew from Europe had made the trek for.  They had arranged for a variety of photo flights associated with the show and involving some of the performers.  I didn’t know that this had been set up but, when we saw the Skyvan flying overhead with planes formating on it, we knew what was happening and my friend Mark told me that the same folks were running things.  I hope that they got some good shots.

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!!

Tight on a Departing Falcon 7X

When shooting departing jets at BFI, I often have a conundrum about the lens to use.  For some of the higher performing aircraft, they get off the ground quickly, so the longest lens is probably going to be best.  However, other types use a lot more of the runway and can rotate a lot closer to some of the places I like to shoot from.  The long prime can be best a lot of the time but, if they run long, I might be too close for the shot.  A Falcon 7X can run a bit longer if it is heavy as a result of the three-engine configuration versus the twins like the Gulfstreams and Globals.  This one did that but, it rotated quite close to me.  I was actually really pleased with how things turned out and then I spun around to get the climb out from a tight angle as well.

Northwest Aviation Consortium Exercise

Last summer, Arlington Municipal Airport was the base of a multi-agency emergency preparedness exercise.  Police, county, military and EMS helicopter operators all came together to practice how they would manage major incidents should they occur in the region.  The prospect of a bunch of helicopter operators showing up in one place was too much to resist so I headed along to see what appeared.

Both King and Snohomish Counties participated, bringing their helicopters in to carry out multiple missions.  The US Navy showed up early on with an MH-60 from Whidbey Island and launched off on a mission but sadly didn’t come back afterwards.  A variety of other emergency medical operators were there with their airframes and there was a pretty regular trade in helicopters departing and returning.

The Snohomish County UH-1 undertook some work to practice lowering crews into remote spots (which I think might include rooftop insertions).  They lifted a platform on which the teams could stand and be carried into position.  They moved various groups of people around the airfield before lowering them to the ground and swapping out the individuals.  I imagine the view from that platform would be pretty impressive.

I stayed well out of the way of operations, but the teams were very friendly and happy to chat when they weren’t engaged in training.  However, with them operating multiple helicopters and having not been part of any briefing, it was clearly appropriate to keep some distance.  This meant the shots weren’t quite what I would have preferred but they were still fun to get.

GlobalX Has Interesting Passengers

GlobalX charter flights are pretty common in our area these days.  The company is expanding aggressively, and any charter work seems to be on the cards.  This one flight was a bit unusual – at least compared to what else I have seen then do.  The buses pulled up with the “passengers”.  However, instead of all walking up the steps, they went one at a time.  A closer look showed that their hands were in front of them – presumably in cuffs.  I’m not sure whether this was a criminal transfer or a deportation flight, but I suspect the latter.  I have seen plenty of DOJ flights into BFI but this was a first for me to see.

A Black Challenger 850

What do you do if you have built a large fleet of 50-seat regional jets and now no one really wants a 50-seat regional jet?  You take that jet and refit it into a corporate configuration and change the name to match your other bizjets.  That is the way a CRJ200 suddenly transforms into a Challenger 850.  It’s a bit ironic because the CRJ was developed from the original Challenger jet anyway so maybe the reverse process is not a big deal.  Anyway, it finds a second life for some jets.

I wouldn’t have gone out specifically just to get a Challenger 850 (you might ask why that is when I go out for any number of other aircraft of niche interest), but this one was painted all black and I am partial to any jet that doesn’t look like all of the others.  A glossy black finish is definitely worthy of some attention and, if the light is going to play ball, it should look pretty good.  In the event, it did come out rather nicely.  I don’t know whether the operator will be back here on a regular basis, or this will be counted as a limited time offer but good to have had the chance!

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.

Calspan’s GIII Makes a Brief Visit to the PNW

The arrival of a Gulfstream III would be a good reason to head out in any circumstances but, when that GIII is one operated by Calspan, it definitely is worth a look.  It was due to come to Paine Field but only for a very brief stop before heading back across the country.  Why it was there I have no idea.  It was due in early in the day so I was actually hoping for overcast weather since I would be on the wrong side for the sun.  Of course, the sun burst through just as it lined up for approach.  Nevertheless, it was still possible to get a reasonable shot of it.

I then headed off to the departure end to be ready for it to go.  I did stop by the terminal to shoot it on the ramp but, when I saw one of the crew remove a chock, I didn’t hang around and got the departure end.  The sun did last a little, so I had some nice light on it as it got airborne.  The wind was very strong that day, so they were off pretty rapidly and climbing steeply.  Of course, the sun was obscured as they got closer to me but what can you do?

The Buzz-saw That is the Skymaster

When I was first flying, I remember looking in Pooley’s guide to see various places I might want to fly to.  In one I recall it saying that piston singles and twins were allowed but no Cessna Skymasters.  The noise they made resulted in them being banned from this airport.  I can’t remember which it was but that’s not the point.  They are a bit of a noisy beast (and this from a guy that loves Avantis).  There is one that lives at Paine Field, and I have been lucky enough to catch it relatively recently.  You don’t see a ton of them around anymore, so it’s good to get shots of one when the chance presents itself.  This one is painted in an interesting green finish which I think looks pretty good.

Putting Away the DC-8 Each Night

NASA chose to operate its DC-8 from the ATS facilities at Paine Field while they were deployed there for the trials program with the Max 10.  They would start up from there and then taxi past the fire station for departure.  I was more interested in getting the landing shots so I didn’t wait for their return there but, once the plane was on the ground, I did make a rapid move to get back where they might either be shutting down or would be disembarking.  Quite a few people were onboard for each mission.

Closing everything down took quite a while and, once everyone was off, the steps were removed, and the ground power disconnected.  They then towed the jet in to one of the open-ended structures so that the nose was under cover while the back end of the jet was in the open.  This was the process each time, so I was able to take photos from different angles each time I was there.  I never happened to be there when they reversed the process.  The jet was already out by the time I showed up.