Tag Archives: helicopter

A Middle Wallop Gazelle Is Worth A Wait

I was ready to leave Middle Wallop when a look at ADSB told me that a Gazelle was operating in the vicinity.  The Gazelles are becoming a rarity these days so this seemed worth waiting for.  After a while, it vanished from ADSB and I was beginning to think it had landed elsewhere.  Fortunately, it popped up again, very close this time.  I was coming straight for me.  Unfortunately, it turned south and skirted around the airfield.  I could just see it in the distance.

Then it climbed up to the east before turning and conducting an autorotation to the field.  It landed away from me and beyond a ridge so out of sight.  I moved back to the balcony to see if I could see anything and was rewarded with it taxiing across the field in the distance.  It wasn’t long before it was behind the fencing heading to its ramp.  Still, while not a close encounter, it might be the last time I see one in UK service.

A Juno Interrupts My Lunch

Middle Wallop has a café upstairs in the museum and Paul and I retreated there for a little sustenance and some idle banter.  On the visitor ramp across from the museum, a Juno helicopter from the training fleet was sitting awaiting its next flight.  As we ate, we saw the crew step to the helicopter.  For those of you that have followed military aviation, you will know that there was no need to interrupt our food.  Unless there is an alert, military aviation happens at a deliberate pace.

After a while, with engines running and rotors turning, we did finally head out to the balcony alongside the taxiway that they would be using.  Even this was slightly premature as it was a little longer before the rotors finally generated lift and the Juno got airborne.  It then taxied towards us and through the gate to the airfield before turning across the grass and pulling up to depart.  A brief addition to the day but a good one.  My first Juno!

A Marine Corps Bonus Package

One weekend, I was at Boeing Field for a visiting warbird.  I was pleasantly surprised to see some US Marine Corps helicopters across the field too.  A combination of UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Vipers were on the ramp.  I had no idea if or when they would fly.  However, luck was on my side as a Venom/Viper pair fired up and launched on a training mission.  The rest stayed on the ramp while I was there but this pair taxied out to the main runway and then departed past my location.  A nice extra!

Army Flying Museum

Our vacation in the UK wasn’t about aviation exploits but, if an opportunity presents itself, it would be churlish not to follow up.  I had made arrangements to visit my friend Paul while I was in Hampshire and, halfway between us is Middle Wallop, home of Army aviation in the UK and also a museum.  I guess that would be a good place to meet up.

The museum isn’t large but it has recently gone through some refurbishment and it is definitely a good place to spend a couple of hours.  Army aviation has a strong rotary element to it but there has also been plenty of fixed wing activity.  The collection is a good reflection of both.  I will save one exhibit for a separate post but there are plenty of others.  The Lynx was a big part of the Army’s fleet for many years and the example that they have in the first hangar is actually a development airframe that has been restored.  The three windows on the cabin door are the most conspicuous identification item.  There is another operational Lynx in the second hangar too.

A selection of Austers are included in the displays.  There is also a Scout (with a second one on the grass by the parking lot).  An Agusta 109 is tucked away too.  This example was in service with Argentina in the Falklands and was co-opted by the UK forces when they took control.  It was used for support to the SAS along with a second example.  They ended up buying two more so I guess they worked well.  The Beaver was also used extensively with one sitting outside too.  The Alouette had a career with the Army but was not as widely used.  It is still displayed, though.  There are some old types reflecting the early days or military aviation too.

The only thing that confused me was the name.  I have seen it called the Army Flying Museum (on the wall) and the Museum of Army Aviation.  I wonder which it really is!

What Did This R66 Do Wrong?

The scanner is a good way of tracking what is about to happen but it can also give you an insight to what might not have gone to plan.  I heard a Robinson R66 call in for its approach.  When things are on a north flow, the helicopters will run along the river and turn in to land.  They can often come at quite a good angle for getting a shot. This one worked out well, despite the backlighting, and I was getting back in the shade as it touched down.  I then heard the tower ask if he was ready to take down the phone number he needed to call.  Oops!  I have no idea what the infraction may have been and I hope it all worked out okay.

The Sheriff Buzzes Juanita Bay

I was down in Juanita Bay with mum during her visit when the sound of a helicopter came towards us.  I managed to switch a few of the settings to get things mostly write although not the exposure.  However, RAW is quite forgiving these days.  It was the King County Sheriff’s JetRanger that was making a tour of Juanita Bay for some reason.  They were pretty low as they buzzed by and then circled around to the north side of the bay and disappeared.  Not sure why they came that way – maybe they know someone there?

Flying With The Doors Open

I had read quite a few articles about the Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter but I had not ever got close to one.  Then, when we were at Klamath Falls, I regularly saw two of them showing up on FlightRadar24.  Since they were not a focus for the visit, I didn’t think much of it.  However, at the end of one day, we were positioning for the return of a Huey that we knew was out on a flight.  While we were waiting, the two Cabris flew overhead.  One continued on southwards but the other turned to make an approach.  Their base was apparently close to where we were waiting and they taxied right by.  The person in the left seat was clearly feeling the heat as they had opened the door and were dangling their hand out of the gap while the right seater taxied them back to the ramp.

Perfect Skycrane Timing

One of the last legs of the trip Mark and I took was to Medford for an overnight before heading home.  Medford is also home to Erickson Aircrane’s operations and I had intended to swing by to see if there was anything to see there.  As we drove towards the airport, an S-64 was flying downwind.  It wasn’t apparent whether it was heading away or arriving.  However, I knew the route to their parking lot so we made a rapid move there just as the helo turned on to approach.

It made a stately descent and then taxied in.  We were able to shoot through the fence as it did so without any problem – if you ignore the fact that the temperature was 103F and getting out of an air conditioned car was quite a shock.  They taxied in and shut down and we rapidly retreated to the cool of the car.  We really couldn’t have timed the arrival any better!

LongRanger That Is Shy

This Bell LongRanger came in to Boeing Field and I got a few shots of it as it made its approach.  It was painted gray which made it look a little out of the ordinary.  Once I got home, I decided to check out who owned it.  However, trying to find the registration proved to be a little tricky.  Registration markings are supposed to be clearly visible with rules governing how they are applied.  I think the idea is to mean your registration can quickly be read if needed.  The choice of color and the placement made this one very hard to detect.  I assume someone doesn’t want you to know.

Airlift Northwest EC135 Is Busy

For a while, I was able to shoot up at Arlington a bit.  Our location there in the afternoons is close to the ramp used by Airlift Northwest.  They have some Airbus Helicopters EC135s that they use for aeromedical flights.  It is a nice looking airframe and theirs are painted well.  (They have recently painted one in UW colors which I have only shot from a distance.). They seemed to be in action a lot while I was there so was able to get the teams crewing up, departing, arriving and shutting everything down.  They are happy to give you a wave too which is nice.