Tag Archives: dhc-8

Some of My Rides on Safari

We took three internal flights while we were in Kenya and Tanzania and all three were interesting aircraft.  Better still, they were all different types.  One was a new one for me to fly on, but you might be surprised as to which that was.  Our first trip was on a Let 410.  It took us from the Serengeti to a short strip just short of the border with Kenya.  This wasn’t my first ride in a 410 but it was my first landing.  Previously I jumped out of one as part of a tandem skydive.  This one had far more comfortable seating.

Once we crossed the border, we took another flight into the Maasai Mara.  This was on a type that is ubiquitous in the area – the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.  I have never been on one of these.  They were very densely configured and getting through the cabin to a seat was quite an effort.  I don’t care to think what getting out in a hurry might be like!  We saw so many of these with different operators over the course of our visit.

The last type we flew was a Dash 8 100 Series.  A far larger type than the others, this flies some heavier routes, and these might involve multiple stops along the way picking up and dropping off customers.  Ours picked us up in the Mara and took us direct to Nairobi.  No intermediate stops for us.  It has been a long time since I flew in an early generation Dash 8, and I hadn’t thought of them as doing rough field ops.  However, supporting remote communities is part of their history so of course they are fine on these strips.  Unfortunately, heavy rains at the strip 90 seconds from our camp meant we had to drive for forty minutes to another strip to make this flight.  It was a good trip, though.  This part of the world was great for people like me that like close up encounters with aviation!

Horizon Retro Before They Go

Alaska Air is going through a re-fleeting process in the near future.  They are consolidating types in service with some aircraft disappearing.  The Airbus fleet is on the way out which is no great surprise to anyone.  The Horizon fleet is also getting some changes with a focus on the Embraers and the Q400 turboprops also going away.  The Q400s have been ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest for so long that I didn’t always pay them much attention.  Now I need to think about them a bit more.

One of the fleet has been painted in a retro paint scheme for Horizon’s days gone by.  Despite it being a plane that should appear at Seattle multiple times a day, I had never seen it before.  Therefore, I was very pleasantly surprised to see it at Portland when we were down there.  Our photo location was directly above the ramp that the Horizon planes were operating from and the south runway, which was their runway of choice, was convenient too so I was able to get a bunch of shots of it in action.  How long before this plane and all of its sisters are gone from the area.

Another Japanese Coast Guard Surprise

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!

A Change of Location Makes for Locals That Are of Interest

I made a stop at Vancouver International on my way to the city for a few days.  It was the end of the day when I got there and I met up with my friend Mark who gave me a few pointers of what to look out for.  The arrivals were in the opposite direction to that we had expected which messed up things a little but there were still options.  Besides, I hadn’t shot there before so I was keen to see what was going on.

When you live near an airport, you can get blasé about what comes and goes.  The same things every day can be a bit dull.  For someone who has never been there before, though, all of this stuff is new and interesting.  WestJet may be a familiar sight in Canada but I don’t see them very often.  Dash 8s may be very old hat but they have largely vanished where, replaced by the Q400 derivative, so I am pleased to see them.  It is this variety that makes somewhere new so interesting.  These shots are some of the items that sparked my interest that day.  Some more specific planes will get their own time on the blog in due course.

RO-6A Lurking Around

B11I4127.jpgA while back a friend of mine told me about a modified Dash 8 that the Army was using that had been flying out of his airport.  It ended up coming to Livermore – a short drive from home.  I went to see it but it was parked in a hangar on the other side of the field and I couldn’t see much.  It flew a few times but never when I could see it.  I figured that there was nothing much to do since I wouldn’t see it.  Imagine my surprise when I came across its siblings.

I was driving around Tucson International when I saw two Dash 8s parked up.  Sure enough, they were in the same configuration as the previous one.  This time they had their civilian markings obscured.  A little check with Google and they are apparently RO-6A airframes.  The Air Force operates Dash 8s to monitor ranges for traffic under the -7 designation but these are different.  Spooky stuff no doubt.  Sadly, they didn’t move while I was there but they had been active.  I was just glad to catch them out in the wild.