Tag Archives: Mitsubishi

Intelsat’s CRJ Thwarts Me with Weather

Testbed aircraft are the sort of thing I like to see and, when Intelsat brought their CRJ to Seattle, I was hoping to catch it.  Sadly, its arrival and some initial flying were not at good times, so I didn’t get to shoot it.  Then it was due out when I was heading to SEA for a trip of my own.  However, the conditions were awful, and I could barely make it out in the gloom as it got airborne.  Cameras – even with really modern tech – struggle to focus on something that is barely visible in the mist.  I did have one last chance when it was taking off, but I was at the terminal at the time and could barely get some shots of it as it taxied and took off. After that, it left.  I was frustrated throughout its time here.  Will it return?

Sun on the MU-2

Regular readers of the blog will know that there are certain types that I seem destined to struggle to shoot in decent light.  It might be the nicest of days, but the sun will go behind a cloud just before the intended subject appears.  I thought the Mitsubishi MU-2 was one of those types but, a few months back, I finally got lucky.  One came into Boeing Field on a day with good sun.  Not the perfect conditions but it was still a relief to finally get some shots when it wasn’t overcast!

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!

One of Two MU-2s

One of the rarer small turboprops is the Mitsubishi MU-2.  It is a high performance aircraft that developed a bit of a reputation for crashing.  What really was the issue was that it was an higher performance plane than many pilots were used to and, once a specific training program was implemented, it was back in the same level of safety as other turboprops.  My late friend, Mike, took part in a round the world trip in an MU-2 which he blogged about and is well worth searching out.

While the MU-2 is a bit of a rarity, for some reason, two of them were up our way recently at the same time.  I don’t know whether this was a coincidence or not.  One was operating out of Paine Field and the other was at Boeing Field.  The weather wasn’t great but it was an MU-2 so, early Sunday morning, I headed down to watch it come in.  We had an Air Canada Max arrive shortly beforehand to allow me to check on my exposures in the conditions and then the MU-2 showed up.  A quick few shots and then back in the car and head home.

An MRJ Comes This Side of the Cascades

A lunchtime jaunt up to Everett was the result of ATS carrying out a test flight of a Janet 737.  I got to the field with a little time in hand and was looking on FlightRadar24 for the position of the inbound jet when I saw something orbiting north of me up near Concrete.  It turned out to be one of the Mitsubishi MRJ90 test aircraft.  It was flying a series of patterns up there.  Since they carry out the test flying from Moses Lake, I wasn’t so surprised.  More importantly, I figured that they would head back to base when they were done.

Imagine my surprise when the radio burst to life with their callsign setting up on the approach.  A Janet was worth the trip but the MRJ was truly a bonus.  I have only seen one before and that was a delivery flight from Japan to Moses Lake that staged through San Jose and was in the blog here.  I hoped it was a different jet, but wasn’t going to gripe if it wasn’t (and I was pretty sure it wasn’t based on recollection of the registration).

The jet hummed its way down the approach and landed in front of me (and a few others that either knew or had got similarly lucky).  It them taxied back and held in front of FHCAM.  There was a departing Embraer in front of it so I figured it was waiting for them.  However, they departed and it didn’t move for a while.  I needed to head back so was desperately hoping it would go soon.  Just as I was about to give up, they released the brakes and taxied to the hold.  The departure was pretty quiet with the Pratt GTFs not making much noise at all.

The original colors of the jet appear to have been overtaken by test markings.  There were some details around the engine inlets and the upper rear fuselage had been painted black.  I suspected this might be for testing of water ingestion to help visualize the water flow but if anyone knows better what the purpose is, please do let me know.

A Loaded Black Hawk

The UH-60 Black Hawk is a pretty neat helicopter but in the standard fit, it is not terribly exciting.  However, I do like it when they are kitted up with a lot more stuff.  The external stores support system makes them look very purposeful and a flight refueling probe is another good addition.  The UH-60JA at Hyakuri had both with tanks fitted to the pylons.  It was at the far end of the ramp so, when it took off, I couldn’t get anything worthwhile.

It returned later in the day and came almost directly overhead.  Shooting a dark blue/gray helicopter looking straight up on a cloudy day is not a great combination but you aren’t going to ignore it.  I wish it had flown a few patterns or even taxied by, but I guess it was not to be.  Still, it was good to see it up close.