The Avantis that had been operating at Paine Field have relocated their base to Arlington instead. I think they are getting maintained there and so it is the new base of operations. One of them arrived while I was up that way and it parked up on the main ramp. I wandered out and chatted to the owner as he put the plane away for the evening and then, once he had gone, I continued to get some shots. The airframe is a selection of interesting shapes so I was trying to find good ways to shoot it.
The fuselage shape tapers aggressively, there is the front wing, the main wing and the tailplane and then there are the engines and their props. Lots to try and work with. The engines are interesting in that the exhaust from the PT-6s blows right on to the roots of the props. This heat must be a form of deicing but it also must require something of the blade construction to manage the heat. There is some sign of the particles in the exhaust in the dirt patterns that form across the blade roots.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Avanti is an amazing looking aircraft. The combination of cabin size and performance is unmatched by turboprops (and a lot of jets too). I wish it was more successful. Lots of people focus on its noise but that doesn’t bother me. However, having looked at those props in more detail, I can’t help but wonder how much of that noise is from the exhaust interacting with the blades rather than just the blades themselves.
You know the score with me and Avantis. One of the new additions to Paine Field for Lynk Air was due back in. I was off work as mum was visiting. Surely she would want to go and see an Avanti land? How could I refuse that. If I got a few shots of it in the process, we both win.
Arlington is home to a FW149 piston engined trainer. I have seen a few over the years but they aren’t too common. This one is painted up in German colors too. I have only seen it flying from a distance but it has taxied close to me a couple of times while up there. Theses are the shots I have got of it so far. At some point I will get to see it flying in decent conditions. The original design is actually by Piaggio but it was license produced in Germany.
Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again. After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset. The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached. The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap. About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out. Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.
It couldn’t last, though. The clouds took over again and then things got worse. The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north. I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone. Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated. At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.
I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well. At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light. Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too. The light was even worse but it was still worth a go. Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.
I posted about a trip to Paine Field one evening to photograph an Avanti which was unsuccessful because the plane diverted back to Sacramento. A little while later, I got a notification that it was due in again. The arrival time was about 6:40. With sunset just after 7 at that time, it had the potential to be very nice. Of course, any delay could make it a bust. I figured it was worth a shot and Nancy was fine with waiting from me to get back before having dinner!
The evening light was looking really good. I practiced panning with some of the local traffic while watching for the progress of the Avanti. It was on its way but arrival time was slipping a little. It should still be okay. Meanwhile, I noticed the progress of the shadows of some of the trees where I was as they crept closer to the runway. It was going to be tight. We would make sunset without a problem and there was no low cloud to cause concern but it was a risk that the tree shadows would be on the plane.
Nothing I could do about any of this and, with the plane still airborne as it was due to pass me (assuming that they didn’t land near the threshold), the chances are things would be okay. I kept my eyes peeled for the sight of the Avanti lining up on approach. Eventually it came in to view and zipped down the glide slope. By now the light was low and the shadows were creeping on to the runway but it made the silver of the airframe positively glow. I clicked away as it came by and then I was done. Back home for dinner!
Anyone who has been reading the blog for a long time will know that I like the Piaggio Avanti. I think it is a massively underrated airframe which should be more popular with bizjet owners than some of the tiny and slower jets that sell well. Oh well, that ship has sailed. They show up occasionally and it is a good day if I get to see one.
This example was at Boeing Field. It was heading out so I saw it taxi out and take off. They usually have quite a long take off run so it was a fair distance away when it got airborne. Another example has been around recently but I have not been able to see it. Maybe the chance will present itself again before too long so I can get something a bit more exciting that just taxiing nearby.
When I heard an Avanti had showed up at RIAT while I wasn’t there, I was a touch annoyed. I am such a fan of the type that I thought missing it would be very frustrating. Fortunately, it was still at Fairford at the end of the show so the departure day was going to be the time for me to get a shot. It took off in plenty of time before I had to go so I was treated to the sight and sounds that accompany a pair of pusher props.
I am a big fan of a certain Piaggio aircraft this this post is not about the Avanti. This is an older generation of Piaggio aircraft and a piston powered one at that. However, it still goes with the theme of interesting configurations and it is a pusher. The P.166 is an interesting looking plane and this one appeared at RIAT. Apparently, it is a regular for the show but a first for me.
I didn’t see it arrive so my first look was in the static display. It was parked up at the end of the field but this was the end where I was parking so I got to see it each time I arrived. It was fenced off on the Friday but was easier to see after that. I was hoping to get a good look at it on departures day but it only backtracked a short way and then took off away from the FRIAT stand. That was a touch disappointing but there were a lot of planes to get out that day, so I guess there was no point making it use all of one of the UK’s longest runways!
Having made the effort one lunchtime to go and see an Avanti, I was quite surprised to see another one taxi out at Paine Field during Skyfair. It was a different airframe and it looked rather special. A bit of the distinctive Avanti whine and it was on its way.
Paine Field is about fifteen minutes from the office. I wouldn’t normally nip out at lunchtime to photograph something but, when I saw that an Avanti was coming in, I figured that was worth my time. They are not too common around here so grabbing my lunch and heading up was worth it. At least I knew exactly how far out it was and when it was due so I could be there just in time and get the shots before heading back to the office. It beats eating your lunch at the desk!