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.
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.
I made a kit of an RAF Puma when I was a kid and have had a soft spot for the type ever since. The Super Puma is a capable airframe that has had a few problems over the years but is still very impressive. If I can see one anytime, I will try to do so. The good news is that one has shown up at Arlington. It was parked outside a hangar without rotors when I saw it and got some shots. It has since moved indoors and I assume it is being fitted out for operations. If so, I can’t wait to see it in action.
I have never shot an airborne K-Max. I have seen them flying – indeed one flew over the house during the pandemic and I looked out of the window as it came low over me but no camera was handy. It is a bit of a problem for me that I have not yet shot one flying. I did manage to get close to one recently, though. The Bolt Creek Fire broke out up near Index and a number of fire fighting helicopters were drafted in. They were based at Harvey Field in Snohomish so just up the road from me. I went up to see what was afoot. Sadly from a photographic point of view (and from many others too), the fires had resulted in so much smoke in the area, the visibility was too poor for anything to fly.
Instead, I was able to chat to the crews and walk around the helicopter as it sat on the field waiting to see what would happen next. The orange paint scheme is pretty conspicuous as if the unusual configuration Kaman knows best was not conspicuous on its own. The airframe is minimal – space for a pilot, engine, fuel and transmission and not much more. From every angle, it is a strange looking beast. However, it is so interesting. A few weeks later it had moved to Arlington from which it eventually ferried home. Of course, that happened when I wasn’t there so I continue to wait for the chance to shoot one airborne.
I was up at Arlington when the Croman helicopters guys were in town. One of the local aircraft is a Seabee. It had pulled up on the ramp next to the S-61 – presumably so they could have a look at the visitor. When they were done, they taxied off. I figured I would shoot a little video of them pulling away. What I hadn’t considered was that they would reverse off the ramp. They backed away before adding some power to taxi north in the normal fashion. Here is some video of them.
I heard that a DC-3 had arrived at Arlington. It was a plane that had been with Air Atlantique in the UK for many years and was familiar to a friend of mine that had worked there a while back. I am not sure if I had seen it in the UK or not but had definitely seen shots of it. It came in during the week and was parked on the ramp at Arlington over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the weather was not great. However, with nothing much else to do, I figured I would head up and see it.
The rain was pouring down as I left home but it was actually drier and even with a hint of light up in Arlington when I arrived. Even so, the conditions were not great. However, the clouds, while plentiful, did seem to provide some interest to the sky. Consequently, I went with HDR to try and make the best of the conditions.
I am not sure what the plans are for the plane and whether it will remain in its old RAF colors as a Dakota rather than a DC-3 or C-47. We shall see. Hopefully it stays in the area and I’ll get to see it flying.
Arlington is home to a FW149 piston engined trainer. I have seen a few over the years but they aren’t too common. This one is painted up in German colors too. I have only seen it flying from a distance but it has taxied close to me a couple of times while up there. Theses are the shots I have got of it so far. At some point I will get to see it flying in decent conditions. The original design is actually by Piaggio but it was license produced in Germany.
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.
There is a Rutan Long EZ that lives at Arlington and flies pretty regularly. The Long EZ is a fun plane just because it is so different from the average. The tandem cockpit is not unique – there are plenty of RVs that give you that – but combine it with the rear wing and the fore plane plus the wing tip fins and you have a far more interesting configuration. Consequently, I want to find some times to get good shots of it.
The one at Arlington has flown a few times while I was there, and I have got these shots. However, I haven’t really got something of it that I really like yet. Let’s hope for a combination of good weather and timing and maybe I shall get something I am more pleased with. In the meantime, I shall continue to get what I can.
I had never heard of a Vashon Ranger before I looked up the registration of one I saw flying up here in the Pacific Northwest. On this day, a couple of them were out flying and, while it isn’t the most sleek shape or the highest performer, it is a different little beast and therefore worthy of attention. I will have to do some research about the company behind them and how many there are but I imagine I shall see more of them around.