Tag Archives: maritime patrol

Some P-8s But Not Many Markings

A trip to Whidbey Island at the end of last year resulted in some encounters with the local P-8 Poseidons.  The disappointment was that they weren’t exactly showing off loads of unit markings.  With one exception, they were rather anonymous.  I’m not sure whether they had been recently received and were later to get squadron emblems or not.  I hope so.  Fortunately, the light was nice at that time of year so I got some images I was pleased with.

Not Many P-3s Left So This Was a Treat

When my friend Paul first told me he was going to be in Seattle over the holidays, I thought we wouldn’t be able to get together.  However, circumstances changed, and it turned out we could go out and check out the local aviation scene.  We had been getting some stuff locally but a check on ADSB showed a P-3 and an EP-3 out at Whidbey Island and we debated whether to make the run north.  In the end, we went for it.  The EP-3 had been out a while already and it did return before we got there but we were not going to come up short.  A P-3 made its return with some lovely December sun on it.  It flew a bunch of patterns which meant the chance to try different spots to get some images, so we were rather pleased with the outcome.

Old and the New in the Pattern Over Whidbey

I was down at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island one sunny afternoon.  I had been to Ault Field first thing in the morning and some of the shots from then will make it on here at some point.  I was down near Coupeville awaiting some FCLP training but, since I had time on my hands, I was wandering down near the shore.  The wind must have changed because some planes from Ault Field were coming down our way as part of their patterns.  One was a P-8 – the latest that the Navy has for maritime patrol – while the other was a P-3 – the type that the P-8 has almost completely replaced in service.  It seemed quite appropriate to have both of them working overhead at the same time.

First RNZAF P-8 Off The Line

I recently posted about the flights of the first Korean P-8.  Next customer down the line is New Zealand.  The P-8s are built at Renton but fitted out at Boeing Field so their first flight is to move across and then they go in to the hangar for a while to have the mission equipment installed.  The first New Zealand jet has emerged from the paint shop at Renton and I saw it one weekend as it sat on the flight line awaiting completion for its first flight.  I doubt I shall see that happen but I will try and catch it once it is undertaking test flights.  I also have the second at Renton for good measure.

The First Korean P-8

The US Navy continues to take deliveries of the P-8 Poseidon jets but they are getting close to the end of their production run.  Meanwhile, export customers continue to be receiving their jets.  The latest customer to have an aircraft show up on the flight line is the Republic of Korea’s navy.  Their first jet flew from Renton to Boeing Field a while back and then went in to the fit out process for a while.  It is now out on the flight line and undergoing test.

I have managed to get a few shots of it so far.  It is marked up quite colorfully so it looks better than the average jet coming off the line.  We shall see how long it stays around here before it gets delivered to Korea.  There will be others following it down the line too.  New Zealand is the next customer to get its first jet so we shall see how long it is before that jet makes to move to BFI and then is fitted out.

A Pair of P-8s Testing Together

P-8 production is really moving along at the moment.  Aside from the US Navy aircraft, there are planes destined for the Royal Air Force, the Indian Navy and the Royal Norwegian Air Force in production and on test.  One afternoon I got both an Indian and an RAF jet arriving in close succession.  The nice thing about arrivals from the south when they are military jets is that they then taxi back past you as they head to the military ramp.

P-8 Departs Over My Head

I was actually out looking for a work project which (I promise this is legit) was right next to Boeing Field.  While I was waiting for my project – which ended up being scrubbed due to a serviceability issue – a P-8 took off from Boeing Field.  I was basically aligned with the end of the runway so I could see it climbing out and it came right over my location.  It turned out to be a good thing since I wouldn’t normally get this angle on a shot so I am glad to have something different.  This view really emphasizes the different wing planform of the P-8 compared to the base 737.  No winglets and the raked tips really changes the appearance of the jet from below.

P-8 On a Sunny Day

I stopped for lunch and to take some calls at Boeing Field.  While I was eating my sandwich, a US Navy P-8 rolled out of the Boeing military ramp to head off on test.  With Seattle on a southerly flow, the P-8 needed to taxi the length of the field for departure.  It came past me so the sandwich had to take a pause while I got a couple of shots.

Prior to take off, they carried out a rejected takeoff and backtracked for the real departure.  One a sunny day like this, the heat haze looking that far up the field is pretty bad so not real chance to get a good shot.  The departure itself was a lot better.  By the time it rotated, it was close enough to mean the haze, while still present, was a lot less troublesome.  As soon as it climbed out, the problem went away.  Its interesting that the low light angles of the winter are already being replaced with a transition to the harsher high sun but it is still worth being out.

Royal Air Force P-8

The RAF has been taking delivery of its new maritime patrol aircraft.  The retirement of the Nimrods left the RAF without a maritime aircraft for about a decade which is a strange choice to make.  Finally, the P-8 Poseidon was ordered to reinstate that capability.  They started coming off the line here in Seattle a while back.  The fourth aircraft has been undergoing testing ahead of its delivery.  It was returning from a test flight and was coming straight for our house.  It is not unusual for planes heading to Boeing Field to come our way so I grabbed the camera and got a couple of shots as it flew by.  It even turned slightly giving a slightly wing down view in one shot.

Military Surprises at Boeing Field

I was sitting at Boeing Field awaiting the return of a couple of jets.  Apps like FlightRadar24 allow you to keep an eye on where things are and when they are due in.  What they don’t usually cover is military flights.  Fortunately, I had the radio scanner sitting on the dash so, while I was busy doing something else while waiting, the sound of someone calling up on approach caught me by surprise.  I finished what I was doing and then got the camera just as a KC-135 hove in to view.  What a nice surprise.

A while later, something similar happened.  Another plane called up with what sounded like a Navy callsign.  This time I had a bit more time to get out and look up the approach to see what it might be.  A P-8 was coming in.  They got bounced around on short final by the gusty conditions which were combining with the airport buildings to make things pretty interesting for the crew.  I had an easier time taking the pictures I think.