Tag Archives: king county

Alaska Max Jets On Test

I got a couple of Alaska Max jets on test on the same day recently.  One was still unpainted but the colors were on the rudder and winglets so it was easy to see where it was going.  The other jet was already fully painted and probably close to delivery.  With me now traveling a little bit more and that travel being with Alaska, maybe I shall get to travel on one before too long.  We shall see…

MD-500 Doing Something Odd

It might be an old design but the MD-500 still holds some fascination for me.  It is an agile machine and has a five bladed rotor which gives it a distinctive sound.  Paint it in a sinister paint scheme and I am sold.  This one was flying around at Boeing Field when I was down there recently and I got to shoot it a lot as it was flying a lot of pattern work.  (I missed a cracking shot of it as well but that is a different story.)

The first time I was shooting it, I could see some flashing light coming from inside the cockpit.  Looking at the shots afterwards, the guy in the right seat was using some device which would flash periodically.  I am not a specialist on helicopters but I do know the rotor tracking is a thing that has to be done so I wondered if this device was a strobe to freeze the blades to allow them to be tracked.  Anyone know whether it is.

The second time I was shooting it, the pattern was reversed so I got to see the other side of the airframe.  Some cabling was clearly taped to the outside of the fuselage and then going in through one of the doors.  No idea whether this was for the same purpose or something else.  All good suggestions (and maybe some silly ones) are welcome.

Development Epic E1000

The Epic E1000 is a development of a kit built turboprop aircraft called the Epic LT.  It has been around for a while and the development from kit built to certificated production aircraft has been very drawn out.  While many similar projects falter, this one seems to have hung in there.  I think there are a only one or two of the production E1000 aircraft at the moment and one came to BFI.  I caught it rolling out after landing and then taxiing to the Modern ramp.  It is a curious looking airframe.

It later departed but it was hard to get a good shot.  It got airborne early and there was quite a crosswind so they nosed in to that and towards my position.  I effectively got head on and underside shots only so barely identifiable.  Still, it was good to see it.  I have seen some of the earlier airframes in California and at Oshkosh but not for a while!

Not Only a G-III But A Cool One

If I see a GIV these days, it barely gets any attention from me.  Sure, I’ll take a shot, but I am not getting excited.  Go back a generation, though, to the G-III and suddenly I am definitely paying attention.  One came to BFI recently and, while I was at the wrong end for an arrival airborne shot, I did see in the distance on final (no heat haze thankfully) and then as it rolled out and headed to the ramp at Modern.  It was also in a nice dark paint job and it looked pretty cool.

It didn’t hang around too long.  I watched it taxi across the field and up to the departure end.  Then it was time for the long lens.  The old Spey engines don’t have as much grunt as the later Tays so I anticipated a longer takeoff run and was not disappointed.  I then watched it climb out with the Speys belching smoke.  The engines are hushkitted but are still noisy beasts.  As it climbed away, I got a clear view through the hush kits including the lobes of the exhaust diffusers.  What a fun thing to see.

Korean Air BBJ Is Back

Korean Air’s fleet of bizjets come through Seattle quite frequently.  Their BBJs are not uncommon.  They use the airfield as the departure point for the trans-Pacific route to Korea.  Unfortunately, they often arrive in the middle of the night and head straight back out again.  I timed it well when they were making a daytime stop.  I got the arrival and the departure this time.

Conditions were not great but, last time I shot one of their BBJs, the high sun made the livery glare a bit.  Flat lighting avoided that this time.  The departure was a good one for me.  The route across the Pacific is a long one so the plane was pretty heavy.  This meant it rotated a long way down the runway and closer to me and was still only just climbing when it was level with me.  I went with a long lens which meant things got large quickly.  It did give me some shots I was pretty happy with, though.

Super Bugs At BFI

Stopping for lunch at BFI, I was happy to be informed by someone already there that there were a couple of Super Hornets from the US Navy that had departed earlier and were due back shortly.  I was able to munch on my sandwiches and do a little work while I waited but it wasn’t too long before they arrived.  Initially, they appeared to be making a section approach but, as they got closer to the field, the separated and came in with about a 30 second spacing.  One of the jets had some squadron colors which is always welcome these days.  Not a dynamic approach but still a nice surprise.

National A330 Drops Off The Troops

National Airlines has a single A330 and, with their livery being far from dull, it is a neat looking aircraft.  It was coming to Boeing Field to drop off a bunch of troops.  Why it didn’t go to McChord, I don’t know and I don’t care.  I was able to get it on approach and then move down the field to see it parked up on Modern’s ramp.  A bunch of coaches arrived to collect the troops and you could see them lining up to grab their kit from the hold.

With everyone on their way, the A330 headed off to its next destination.  They had to cross the runway to get to the taxiway on the southwest side of he field since it is the only one able to accommodate widebodies.  Then they were heading my way for departure.  I stuck with the long lens to get a better rotation shot and then went for a close up of the gear retracting and the National logo on the underside of the plane.  Shame the conditions were a bit dull for such a nicely painted plane but still a nice catch.

Alaska’s New Special

The arrival of this Alaska 737 on the flight line at Renton got a lot of attention from the locals.  A special livery is always going to be of interest but this one is better than the average.  The dark blue combined with the orcas is a really cool look.  I first saw the jet while it was on the flight line at Renton ahead of a first flight.  I wasn’t able to get it as it left Renton but I was able to catch its arrival at BFI.  After a few test flights, it has now been delivered to Alaska so now I just have to hope I can catch it in better conditions.

Canadian Dauphin Eludes Me

I don’t often see civilian Dauphins in service.  The Coast Guard operates the type but the US does not have a lot of them in private hands.  I saw a Canadian example showed up in Seattle and was quite a surprise.  It had a large winch mount on the fuselage which is unusual for a civilian operator.  It was quite a coincidence since Airbus Helicopters has just delivered the final Dauphin to a customer.  It has been superseded in their line by the H160.  I was hoping it would depart my way but it was cleared to the north on a downwind departure which they turned on to promptly after getting airborne.  I got shots but they were distant ones.

Hurricane Hunters Back In Town

I was heading back from south of Seattle when I was surprised to find out that the NOAA WP-3D Orion, Kermit, was at Boeing Field.  It had come in the day before but I hadn’t heard about it.  I was planning to stop for lunch so why not go to BFI?  Just after I got there, I saw a prop start turning on the number one engine.  However, after running it up, they shut down again.  I was dreading that they were going to go tech and the plane wouldn’t move.

Fortunately, whatever they were concerned about wasn’t too much of an issue.  A little while later, while I was still eating my lunch, I looked up to see two engines running.  This looked more promising.  Sure enough they taxied shortly afterwards.  The nice news was that they crossed the runway to taxiway bravo so we got a good look at them.  A while later it was their turn for departure and they came my way.  The nice thing about a four engined prop is that they didn’t climb too rapidly so a good angle on them.  It was pretty overcast so not ideal light but the dark colors show up better without too contrasty light.