I have posted about the JetStars that were stored at Klamath Falls. There were three airframes that we got a chance to check out. We were given a great opportunity because they also opened up the jets so we could look around inside. It was fun poking around inside what was once the premier form of executive transport. It was also interesting to see the difference in the configurations with things like the throttle quadrants looking very different between the jets.
The US Navy continues to take deliveries of the P-8 Poseidon jets but they are getting close to the end of their production run. Meanwhile, export customers continue to be receiving their jets. The latest customer to have an aircraft show up on the flight line is the Republic of Korea’s navy. Their first jet flew from Renton to Boeing Field a while back and then went in to the fit out process for a while. It is now out on the flight line and undergoing test.
I have managed to get a few shots of it so far. It is marked up quite colorfully so it looks better than the average jet coming off the line. We shall see how long it stays around here before it gets delivered to Korea. There will be others following it down the line too. New Zealand is the next customer to get its first jet so we shall see how long it is before that jet makes to move to BFI and then is fitted out.
I was scanning through some photos from my travels to Oregon with Mark and came across some photos of a United Airlines 737-700 landing at PDX. It was braking and had the reversers deployed. Looking at the shots, there is a dark burn mark on the engine nacelle that is split either side of the join in the reverser. It looks like something has been cooked a little. Anyone with experience that can suggest what has been going on with this engine?
I have posted about a MiG 21 and an F-104 Starfighter that we found in Corvallis and, if you read both posts, you might recall that we were there because we had heard about a Taiwanese F-5E Tiger II that was supposed to be there. While I have focused on the other two, it was indeed true that the F-5 was there. It was also tucked up at the back of the hangar.
It was squeezed in amongst the other aircraft which made getting a clear shot of it a touch tricky. I was using my phone – why I didn’t go back to the car to get the main camera I don’t know – but I ended up taking shots to stitch together when I got home. The jet looked in good shape. It even had a data plate on the wing tip which is unlike most other jets I have seen. I grabbed a bunch of shots but we had a long drive ahead of us and we couldn’t stay forever.
On the morning after our arrival in Klamath Falls, we headed out to a location that was hopefully good for getting shots of jets departing to the north in the morning. What we hadn’t counted on was that the based aircraft would be practicing their display for the air show the following day just after we got there. This was a four ship display that involved some sporty departures and then beating up the airfield from various directions and in various combinations.
They launched four F-15s in stream. The first jet up was the specially painted aircraft that the unit has had for a while but which I had not seen previously. It was joined by two more single seaters in unit markings and the last of the four was an F-15D that wasn’t carrying any unit markings. They would keep it really low after getting airborne and then cross the fence at speed and with burner locked in.
Then they would each pull hard to the vertical and blast upwards. The first one caught me off guard a bit – not ideal since this was the special paint jet. It turned out I got some shots of it, even though I found myself, twisting awkwardly to try and keep it in view. The others I had a slightly better idea about and was ready to track them as they went.
In a previous post, I mentioned coming across a MiG 21 in Corvallis Oregon. When we saw this jet through the door of the hangar, we were surprised. However, we are polite types so I went in to the office attached the hangar to ask if we could take a look at the MiG. When I said this to the person on the desk, she asked if I wanted to see their Starfighter. I was confused but wasn’t going to argue about the type since I wanted them to let me in. She pointed me through the door to hangar and said I was welcome to look around.
I went through the door and looked to my right and immediately realized what she was talking about. Tucked in a corner to one side of the MiG was an TF-104G Starfighter. It was in bare metal but there was a hint of previous paint on it. I found a panel with markings on it which suggested the jet had seen service with Turkey. Mark advised that they had received jets from other countries so it might have served elsewhere before.
While it was tucked in the back of the hangar, the hangar doors had plenty of clear panels which meant there was some nice light illuminating the jet as it sat there doing very little. The Starfighter is such a fantastic looking jet. It is so dynamic looking and, when in bare metal, it looks even more cool. I have no idea the story that brought it to Corvallis but was so happy to have found it as part of a short diversion from the long drive home.
The first stop on our Oregon odyssey was Portland International Airport. Aside from being a commercial airport, PDX is also home to an Air Force Reserve unit of F-15 Eagles. I have visited the base before for their open house but I have loved the F-15 from my childhood so I was hoping to see their jets in action again. They were done for the day when we arrived but the following morning we were optimistic that we would get a launch before we headed off on our further travels.
The aircraft were parked up under the shelters when we arrived but they are quite regular with their launch schedules so we were listening out for the whine of low bypass turbofans kicking in to life. We were also joined by our friend, Bill, who works locally and is familiar with what to expect. As we scanned the flight line, we noticed one of the jets had a sharks mouth painted on the front fuselage.
The airliners and freighters were busy with their operations when we finally heard the noise we had been hoping for. Sure enough, first two jets and then a third taxied out. Even better news was that one of the jets was the shark mouth jet and another was the one with unit colors painted on it. They taxied to the last chance, got checked out and then went to the departure hold.
I decided to be safe with the first jet to make sure I got a shot so I kept the shutter speed high. It was not configured with external tanks so was airborne as it passed us and tucking the gear up as it accelerated. For the second jet, I dropped the shutter speed a little to try for a more dynamic image with a blurred background. For the third, I dropped it even further. I figured it was time to get brave. High frame rates are your friend in this case and I was happy to get some acceptable shots of all three jets as they departed. With them on their way, it was time for us to depart too. Plenty more to do on this trip.
Chatting with Kev Perry, who we met in Klamath Falls, we got on to the topic of a Taiwanese F-5E Tiger II located at Corvallis Airport in Oregon. This was on our route home so we figured we would check it out. Corvallis is not a particularly busy airport and we drove around looking to see if we could find this jet. We got to the center of the airport and it involved driving past the open frontage of a large hangar. As we drove by, a look inside showed the nose of a MiG 21! This was a bonus that we hadn’t expected but it wasn’t alone! More to come.
When Boeing launched the 737NG family, the original models were very similar in size to the previous generation of 737s. However, there was pressure for more capacity so they added a new model to the family with the 737-900. A few were sold but it was not a capable enough aircraft and hardly anyone bought any. Instead, Boeing had to redesign the aircraft with some more capacity after redesigning the rear bulkhead and some more range resulting in the 737-900ER. This has sold considerably better. There are still a few -900s around though and Alaska has a few. They are very early jets and they are not worth the investment for adding winglets so they are some of the few NG generation jets to still have wings with the original wingtips. Here is one of them arriving at Paine Field.
G-Force One is a cool 727 that is operated providing zero g experience to people who are willing to pay. It shows up at Seattle periodically, presumably because one of the tech companies is giving rides to some employees (but maybe it is just a rich person chartering it themselves). Zero G is the company although the plane is operated on their behalf by Kalitta Charters. I have had mixed luck shooting this plane but I did okay on this visit. I got it arriving and heading out on a flight. I missed the return and was actually driving along I-5 south alongside Boeing Field as it departed back to Long Beach. Not the perfect combination but at least I got a few good shots of it this time.