It’s been a while since I posted some images of Marine Corps Hornets having issues starting up to depart from Boeing Field after a weekend visiting for training. I didn’t include any images in there of them actually taking off. I got a reasonable spot to try and see them take offs even though the weather was not really great. I was surprised at just how quickly the jets got airborne. They were already quite high by the time that they came by me. I was still able to get some reasonable shots of them. Fast jets are always a nice change to the usual Boeing Field traffic.
The Memorial Day weekend included the visit to Boeing Field of four F/A-18 Hornets from the US Marine Corps. I had heard that they were in the area but wasn’t able to get out to see them until the Monday of the holiday weekend when they were due to head home. Weather was a bit overcast so not great for shooting a grey jet! Still, I wasn’t going to ignore them. When I got there, the crews were just beginning to look like they would be ready to go.
However, things were not going to be smooth. One of the jets was the color jet and I had heard that it had been leaking fuel during the stay. Sure enough, when they fueled it up for departure, it must have leaked again because a bunch of ground crew – presumably from the FBO – were suddenly out with absorbent pads and brooms to clean up whatever had spilled. This took quite a while to get done so the four pilots were hanging around the jets waiting to be clear to go.
Finally, everything was tidied up and they crewed in for departure. The sound of engines starting was a positive one but, as one jet fired up one of the engines, it definitely didn’t sound like it was spooling up at the same rate as the others. Sure enough, one jet shut down and the pilot hopped out of the cockpit, walked back down the fuselage and slid to the ground. I’m not sure what he did to the jet but he then retraced his steps, back up on the jet and strapped back in. This time, the start sequence went okay and they were all ready to taxi.
We made a trip to West Seattle with our guests while they were here. We were looking at the view of the city and also wondering what wildlife might show itself. I got a benefit in that departures from SeaTac and Boeing Field were coming to the north. I got a couple of nice airliner shots as they climbed out over us. They weren’t the only ones though. A KC-46 launched out of Boeing Field and climbed over us as it went off to its test area. I wasn’t paying attention, but my guests spotted something rocketing up behind it. An F/A-18C Hornet from the Strike Test unit was following it, presumably for some test work. It climbed rapidly but then leveled out, I assume to stay below the departure routes from SeaTac. Not a bad bonus for me while showing the sights to my guests.
We relocated to the other end of Boeing Field for the return of the Blue Angels. They ran in across the field trailing white smoke. Unfortunately, with little wind, this meant a pall of smoke was now hanging over the airport. As they broke into the downwind and then turned onto final, it was sometimes hard to see them at all. A healthy boosting of the contrast makes some of the shots a bit more visible but, in truth, the viz was really awful. I only hope they had a slightly better view of the ground than we had of them since their being able to see was slightly more important.