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Directionally Challenged Maule With Delusions Of Grandeur

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!

Catching An Italian Floatplane Going To And From Oshkosh

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.

A Trip Is Worth It For The Rare Hawker 4000

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.

What Did This R66 Do Wrong?

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.

Southwest Max7s Are on The Move

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.

Challenger 604 That Boeing Has Used For Other Things?

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?

Dark Gulfstream Day

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.

First Encounter With The Falcon 6X

One weekend I was casually looking at FlightRadar24 and saw a French registered aircraft on the ramp at Boeing Field.  It didn’t show what it was but a quick search showed it was a Falcon 6X.  This got me rather excited.  Dassault had developed a large cabin twin jet called the Falcon 5X which used an engine called the Silvercrest from Safran.  This engine had a lot of development issues and delayed the Falcon 5X a few times.  Eventually, Dassault’s patience ran out and they cancelled the jet.  They then commenced a new design based on the 5X with a new engine and the associated changes this required.  This became the Falcon 6X.

The jet is in test at the moment.  I am not sure how long it is before they expect it to be certificated but it shouldn’t be too long.  My online search showed that they were running a world tour with the jet at a time which appeared to conclude around the time of the Farnborough show so it would, no doubt, provide some good publicity.  The jet had come to Seattle from Van Nuys and it was to there where it was headed next.

I had no idea how long they were hanging around for but figured it was definitely worth a shot. I drove over to the field and, sure enough, there was the jet on the ramp at Signature near the main terminal.  I wasn’t sure how long it would be before they headed off so, after getting some shots, I headed to the other side of the field assuming a departure would come.  Sure enough, they taxied out.  Unfortunately, they didn’t use the full length and went for an intersection take off.  I decided that, since it was hot and the haze was not great, I would go with video instead.  The result is below.  They spooled up the engines for quite a while before releasing the brakes.  I guess that is what you do when you have a development jet.

LongRanger That Is Shy

This Bell LongRanger came in to Boeing Field and I got a few shots of it as it made its approach.  It was painted gray which made it look a little out of the ordinary.  Once I got home, I decided to check out who owned it.  However, trying to find the registration proved to be a little tricky.  Registration markings are supposed to be clearly visible with rules governing how they are applied.  I think the idea is to mean your registration can quickly be read if needed.  The choice of color and the placement made this one very hard to detect.  I assume someone doesn’t want you to know.

An MU-2 Again But With Sun This Time

I have posted some Mitsubishi MU-2 encounters on this blog before and they have usually involved me complaining about the conditions never being very good for shooting them.  Would you believe it but I have finally managed to come across one on a day when the sun was out.  Sadly no puffy clouds in the background to make it look even better but, given how long I have waited to catch one in the sun, this counts as a result!  Hurrah!