Tag Archives: KAWO

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.

Wandering Around an Avanti

The Avantis that had been operating at Paine Field have relocated their base to Arlington instead.  I think they are getting maintained there and so it is the new base of operations.  One of them arrived while I was up that way and it parked up on the main ramp.  I wandered out and chatted to the owner as he put the plane away for the evening and then, once he had gone, I continued to get some shots.  The airframe is a selection of interesting shapes so I was trying to find good ways to shoot it.

The fuselage shape tapers aggressively, there is the front wing, the main wing and the tailplane and then there are the engines and their props.  Lots to try and work with.  The engines are interesting in that the exhaust from the PT-6s blows right on to the roots of the props.  This heat must be a form of deicing but it also must require something of the blade construction to manage the heat.  There is some sign of the particles in the exhaust in the dirt patterns that form across the blade roots.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  The Avanti is an amazing looking aircraft.  The combination of cabin size and performance is unmatched by turboprops (and a lot of jets too).  I wish it was more successful.  Lots of people focus on its noise but that doesn’t bother me.  However, having looked at those props in more detail, I can’t help but wonder how much of that noise is from the exhaust interacting with the blades rather than just the blades themselves.

Finally, The Aero 45 Is Airborne for Me

I have seen the Aero Vodochody designed and Let Kunovice built Aero 45 before at events.  However, it was always parked and never in motion.  I think it is such a cool looking like aircraft and reminds me of a mini Heinkel HE-111.  I really wanted to see it flying and I have had two opportunities this year to do so.  First it showed up at Concrete for the fly in.  This was great news as I got it landing from close proximity and then again when it took off.

It was not a lot later that the Arlington show was setting up.  I wasn’t going to be at the show but I was there the day before for some warbird flying and the Aero 45 was coming in to be on static.  (This was a repeat of the first time I saw it in person which was also at Arlington.). Not so close this time but another opportunity to catch it in flight.  What a cool looking plane.  Glad we have it up here in the PNW.

Molds for an Unlikely Airframe

I was up at Arlington airport to see some vintage planes one weekend and was a short distance away from the hangars that Eviation operates from.  This is where they built their Alice prototype.  A composite airframe, the Alice was molded on site by the look of things.  All I read suggests any production aircraft will be significantly different from the prototype so the molds are probably surplus at this point.

Whether that is the case or not, at least some of them appear to now be stored outside.  I took a few images of them because the shaping is quite interesting and the construction of the molds themselves is something I like to see.  Tooling for an airframe is not as elegant as the airframe it will produce and it needs to be rigid to allow it to produce what is needed.  Now it is no longer needed, I wonder what its future will be.

Gliding at Arlington

Arlington Municipal Airport has a steady stream of light aircraft activity, but it is also home to a gliding community.  At weekends, it is not unusual to see some Piper Pawnees tugging gliders into the air.  Depending on the suitability of the conditions, these might be some pretty short flights, or they might be up for quite a while.  I have been up there at various times when the gliders are operating off the grass next to the main runway.  Usually, I am there for something else, so the gliding photos are taken when the opportunity arises.  Here are some shots of the Pawnee tug planes and the gliders themselves.

DNR Huey Stops By for Fuel

While the CAF Reliant was refueling at Arlington, the unmistakable sound of a Huey could be made out.  Snohomish County operates a Huey so my initial thought was this might be it.  As it flew towards us, I realized it was one of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Hueys that are used for firefighting operations.  It flew low over the field and passed where we were.  Then I got a lot more interested as it turned towards us.  It was coming in for fuel and I was by the fuel tanks!

They turned in nice and close to us and I was able to get a bunch of shots.  After shutting down, I chatted to some of the team and they explained they were heading north to relieve another helicopter that was up at a local firefighting base.  With them preparing to depart, I figured I would try and get some video along with stills.  I thought I had set up one camera on the ground to get the take off sequence but it turns out I had not hit the right button sequence and I ended up missing the majority of the departure.  Oh well.  I did still get to shoot the stills I was after.

CAF Reliant Getting Time In

Word reached me from my friend, Bob, that the CAF squadron at Arlington was planning to get some training done with their Reliant one Saturday.  I thought this would be worth a trip as I had previously left one of their events thinking that they weren’t going to fly and they did.  When everyone else got good shots of this plane, I was a touch annoyed.  Time to rectify this.

They were putting a few pilots through sorties to get time in the plane.  In the early part of the day, the weather was a little overcast so not great for shots but okay.  Of course, as the day drifted on and the sun moved around to the other side, things brightened up.  Just in time to be backlit.  At this point, I decided to call it a day and head home.  I did also have some good time near the plane while it was being refueled so I am quite happy with the results, even if they are nothing special.

Firefighting Chinook – Just Not Now

We had a few helicopters show up in the region during the firefighting season.  One was at Arlington and that was a Boeing Chinook owned by Billings Flying Service.  Based in Billings MT, they provide a variety of aviation services including this helicopter for firefighting duties.  It was parked on the ramp at Arlington and had a logo on the airframe to show its home base as well as a text logo on the fuselage near one of the navigation lights that referenced the Police song, Roxanne.

I would love to have seen it fly but the weekend when I was up there, it was just parked and work really gets in the way of having fun with aviation on weekdays.  The paint scheme was really cool and it was fitted with an internal water system along with a snorkel for picking up water when needed.  I would love to see this in action but that hasn’t happened yet and there is something very unfortunate about getting to see firefighting operations underway since it is a sign that bad things are happening!

Sentimental Journey In Damper Conditions

Glorious weather had greeted the B-17, Sentimental Journey, when it came to Seattle.  The following week, it moved up to Arlington but was not so lucky.  The skies were pretty overcast and the air was more humid.  It didn’t make for great conditions to shoot a bare metal aircraft.  However, many times before, I have written here about how poorer conditions can sometimes be worthwhile.  This was one of those times.

I started off shooting from further up the field and, as the B-17 started her takeoff roll, it was clear that the props were pulling a fair bit of vapor from the air.  Consequently, I headed further down the field for the next flight.  This also provided a close look at the plane as it taxied out.  The real benefit came when the power was applied.  Vortices were streaming from the tips of the props and swirling back across the wings.  It is always a tricky call when trying to shoot in these conditions.  A good bit of prop blur is good as is a blurry background to emphasize speed but, this will result in the vortices being less defined.  A faster shutter speed helps make them stand out.  I tried to get a good balance with the speed I chose.

Vision Head On

I was hanging out at Arlington with my buddy Bob.  A variety of aircraft were flying that day but the conditions were not ideal.  We were there for something else but that is the topic for another post.  We had gone to the north end of the field where a path crosses under the centerline.  Some Eagle Flights were taking place that day and one of the planes providing them was a Cirrus SF50 Vision.  It took off while we were up there so we got some head on shots of it.  A grey jet on a cloudy day is not ideal so, rather than getting the regular side on shots, a head on view was actually a better outcome.