Boeing Field is constantly operating from both runways at the same time. The light aircraft traffic on the short runway can co-exist with whatever is underway on the main, long runway. However, despite the clear ATC instructions, there are occasional when things don’t quite go to plan. We had a Cirrus and a Grand caravan on approach to the parallel runways. I am not certain who was at fault, but from my angle, it appeared that the Cirrus was drifting off towards the wrong runway. It corrected its path but not before the pilot of the Grand Caravan decided that things were not looking good and went around. It didn’t take them long to get back around the pattern and the second approach was incident free. I don’t know whether the controllers ended up talking to either crew or not.
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!
A bizjet with cool paint is always going to get my interest. In this case, the paint made it pretty easy to determine who the jet belonged to. If you know your sports equipment providers, you will recognize this logo as that of Puma. I guess the sports business is good and a G550 is a useful thing to have. Nike has a fleet of jets. Does Adidas?
I watched this Maule pull out of the hangars on the west side of Boeing Field. It was given taxi instructions by the tower which involved a right turn to taxi south on Bravo. For some reason, they turned left and taxied north. It didn’t take long before a gentle reminder was provided and they did a quick 180 and taxied to the correct end of the runway for departure. As they climbed out, I could see their markings next to the cockpit. They had some mission marks that suggested they may have fought for the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. The Maule is a nice little plane but it is hardly the Millennium Falcon!
While driving around the back of Renton, I saw this nice floatplane. It is a SIAI Marchetti 1019 – a utility aircraft with a turboprop powerplant. Based on the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, it had a decent military career and now plenty of them have found their way into civilian hands. A short while later, I saw pictures of this airframe at Oshkosh for the annual EAA gathering. Our paths were to cross again, though, when it showed up at Boeing Field, making an approach to the short runway. A bit further away than ideal but definitely cool to catch it again.
Until recently, I had only got one good shot of a Hawker 4000. This was Hawker’s effort at a larger bizjet and it also made extensive use of composites. It originally came under the name Horizon and the development program was very long requiring a couple of extensions to the certification application because it was expiring. The plane did not sell well and it was discontinued. They are so rare, the first time I shot one, I didn’t even realize what it was and figured it was a Challenger 300. Aside from one high overhead, I hadn’t seen one since.
When I saw one was due in to Boeing Field on a Sunday, in figured that was worth a trip on its own. I didn’t have anything going on so I headed over. As it happened, there was plenty of interest at BFI that day so the trip was very productive. However, even if that hadn’t been the case, it would still have been worth it to catch this unusual and rare type.
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 monumental screw up that was the 737 Max program has been getting back on track with the return to service of the 737-8 and 737-9 along with the new deliveries coming off the line. The 737-7 has been in flight test for a while now but its certification was going to be delayed until the main fleet issues had been resolved. Reports now suggest that it will be certificated in plenty of time before the year end deadline that Congress set for cockpit upgrade requirements.
A few Southwest 737-7s (Southwest is the significant customer for this marque) have been parked up at Renton for a while. These had been painted and then stored. However, a couple of 737-7s made flights to Boeing Field in recent times. These are Southwest jets but they have yet to be painted. The fact that they are on the move might be interpreted as suggesting that certification may not be too far away and that Southwest may soon be taking delivery. During the downturn that resulted from the pandemic, Southwest increased its -7 orders at the expense of the -8s. Now traffic is booming, I wonder whether Southwest will reverse that reversal and switch more orders to the -8.
This Challenger 604 taxied out at Boeing Field and I was slightly curious because it was in a grey paint job with a US flag on the fin. I didn’t think it was a government owned machine but maybe there was something interesting about it. When I got a good look at it, I could see that the airframe had some modifications. There were ventral fins and a fairing on the underside that looked like it might have been used for mounting something else which was now absent. A check on the registration shows it as registered to Boeing. They had a development program a while back to make a maritime patrol aircraft from the Challenger. Was this airframe part of that program originally? Where is it going now?
I do like shooting bizjets and they can provide a bit of variety amongst the regularity of the other aircraft around. However, there is one thing that can disappoint and that is the unimaginative way in which they are usually painted. Airlines have adopted the variations on white but the bizjets have been doing this for ages. Consequently, when one shows up that is not basically white, I am really pleased.
Black painted bizjets look so much more interesting. The engineer in my finds myself wondering how well they keep cool out in the sun on the ramp but, since I am not the customer, not a problem I need to worry about too much. Instead, I can just be pleased to shoot a jet that looks a little out of the ordinary.