Erickson took their B-17, Ye Olde Pub, to the show at Klamath Falls. However, we first got to get a look at her when we stopped at Madras where she was out on the ramp being prepared for the trip south to the show. When she did make the transfer, we were ready for her arrival and then got a few chances to shoot her undertaking the display routine from a variety of locations both outside and inside the airfield.
She is a good looking B-17. I like the painted aircraft more than the bare metal versions (although there is not a huge amount in it). That makes her appeal to me a lot. (I do get a little annoyed by cutesy words with an added “e” but will let that go for now.)
Erickson has a B-17 as part of its collection. However, while Ye Olde Pub was sitting outside during my visit, there was a second B-17 on site. This is Thunderbird and it is undergoing some major airframe work. The fuselage was sitting on stands directly in front of you when you entered the hangar. The wings and empennage were in racks around it.
I don’t know what the schedule is for sorting out this aircraft but people seemed to be busy working on it so I assume it will be back in the air before too long. I did enjoy sneaking around trying to find good views of all of the parts that were stored awaiting their return to their rightful place on the airframe. Madras is quite a hike for me but it might be good to go back when they get the plane back in the air. It sounds like the sort of thing that Matt Booty might get down to photograph. Maybe I can be his assistant!
We were standing out to the east of the runway at Klamath Falls when the Erickson team was practicing their display ahead of the show at Sentry Eagle. I was looking in the wrong direction when someone called out that the Bearcat was diving in on us. I swung around and pulled the camera up at the last minute. Needless to say, I did not get the greatest shots of the plane but it was coming right at me so I will go with the best I could get. It was pretty cool having a Bearcat buzz right over my head!
Erickson currently flies a bunch of MD-87s are firefighting jets. However, these are a relatively recent addition to the service and they have replaced Douglas DC-7s. The DC-7s were still in service when I first made a visit to Madras in 2015 but they have now been retired. However, three of the airframes are stored on the ramp at Madras and we took a look around to see how they were fairing.
They looked in great condition. The dry atmosphere at Madras is good for storing aircraft. Some engines have been removed but the three jets are in the most recent paint finish and parked in a line. They make for an interesting subject. I have no idea how far from airworthy they are should anyone want to get any of them flying again (aside from the engines that have been removed) but they look like they have been taken care of. I would have loved to have seen one airborne but sadly, that time has passed.
The opening fly day at Skagit County included a bonus in the form of a visiting Yak 3. It arrived early in the day and then started up to be part of the flybys. On one of the passes, the gear did not look fully up and then, at some point while it was off to the east, the gear door came off the plane. Fortunately, it didn’t cause any serious issues and the pilot was able to land safely.
When he taxied in, it was easy to see that the door was missing on one of the legs. I wondered how long the plane would be down for but I understand it ferried home later in the day to allow them to sort out the repair. Plenty of planes have lost gear doors over the years. As long as they come away cleanly and don’t damage any systems as they depart, things will probably be okay.
A little while back, I posted about some local herons. One of my friends (who shall remain unnamed) made a comment expressing disappointment that it wasn’t the de Havilland version of a heron. Imagine my surprise when, only a few weeks later, Mark and I were driving through Oregon en route to Klamath Falls when we passed through a small town called Chiloquin and, right by the highway, was a de Havilland Heron. This was a Royal Navy example that had found its way to the grounds outside a motel.
It wasn’t in the best of shape. One wing was completely gone and it was sitting on the ground rather than its gear. However, the paint finish was still pretty reasonable. No engines, of course. They will have been salvaged at some point when it became clear the airframe was not going to be a flier again. The grass had grown up quite a bit around it. Late June probably means it grows well and someone hadn’t cut it for a while. I wandered around to try and get different angles on it. The light was rather shady and I was using my phone rather than the main cameras but it was fine. There was even a large rock that could be used to gain some elevation. This trip was proving to be a lucky one for getting unplanned things and this added to that in a way we hadn’t anticipated.
I made a trip to the Heritage Flight Museum last year for one of their fly days. I only shot from outside and that was quite good fun. This year, I made the effort to get up there earlier to take a look around inside before the flying started. Once I got inside, I decided that the location was worth staying inside for given that I could watch the planes start up and shut down and also get the best of the low passes.
Sadly, the Skyraider was not signed off to fly but everything else put on a good show. We had flying from the T-6, an O-1, a pair of T-34s and a P-51. They all flew more than once (except the O-1) and the location on the ramp provided a great place to watch the start JP, taxi out, flybys and the recovery process. I was even able to be in the shade for a lot of the time which made for a very relaxing day.
They flew some formation flybys including a missing man formation. Then the individual planes would do a series of passes. Having shot a similar day from outside before, being inside did provide a good opportunity to try different things. Outside has angles to offer but inside gives some shots that can’t be matched including the lower passes. Besides, watching them taxi by at such close range is really cool. I hope to get back up for another of their fly days this year. I also need to explore the museum in more detail.
I have posted some photos of the arrival of Doc previously on the blog. However, at the weekend, it did a series of flights and I went down one morning to get some shots of it before heading off to Skagit for the fly day up there. Shooting at BFI in the morning is not ideal so I decided to head up the hill to look down on the airport. I headed up there and met my friend Mark. We went in to the clearing to get ready and realized we had timed it well. It wasn’t long before several other people had arrived and things were getting rather crowded. Early arrival meant the choice of spots.
You are shooting from quite a distance at that location but you are elevated so the heat haze is not such a problem. Even so, not the simplest of shots to get. The crew kept Doc really low on departure, much as they had done on the first flight I saw. They were flying right by the Boeing ramp so you had a combination of modern Boeing planes and 1940s products!
Once they had headed out, we moved down to the approach end. Originally, I set myself up next to the fence. However, a Beech came in to land and I realized that the proximity to the fence, even with ladders, was not ideal. I relocated to the other side of the road and awaited the return of Doc. They made a pretty sporty turn from downwind. I got shots of it but none that were a combination of sharp and as dramatic as I would have liked. Then they were rapidly on to short final and swooping across the threshold.
It was all pretty good fun. I was okay with the results I got, even if they weren’t amazing. I could have hung around for more but had another place to be. It would have been good to go back over the weekend but timing wasn’t good with the other things I had on. I didn’t get the visit the plane itself which was a disappointment. I do hope they come back at some time and I can have a tour of the aircraft.
I heard that a DC-3 had arrived at Arlington. It was a plane that had been with Air Atlantique in the UK for many years and was familiar to a friend of mine that had worked there a while back. I am not sure if I had seen it in the UK or not but had definitely seen shots of it. It came in during the week and was parked on the ramp at Arlington over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the weather was not great. However, with nothing much else to do, I figured I would head up and see it.
The rain was pouring down as I left home but it was actually drier and even with a hint of light up in Arlington when I arrived. Even so, the conditions were not great. However, the clouds, while plentiful, did seem to provide some interest to the sky. Consequently, I went with HDR to try and make the best of the conditions.
I am not sure what the plans are for the plane and whether it will remain in its old RAF colors as a Dakota rather than a DC-3 or C-47. We shall see. Hopefully it stays in the area and I’ll get to see it flying.
Quite a while back, I saw a shot that someone had composited of a Typhoon display over an airfield where they had the jet throughout its routine to show its route through the sky. I liked the idea and, while it was totally different, it got me thinking when I was up at Heritage Flight Museum. They had the Skyraider on the ramp but not flying. It was ready to go but hadn’t yet been signed off.
However, they did do an engine run for the visitors and unfolded and folded the wings a few times. Having got some basic shots, the idea of the Typhoon display popped in to my head so I shot a sequence of shots of the wings as they folded and unfolded. I took way more than actually was a good idea. I imported them all in to Photoshop as layers and then hid all of them except one and then progressively added some back to get the wings in different positions. If I had used them all it would have just been a blur of wings.
With the ones I wanted selected, I changed the blend mode for all but the base layer to Darken and that meant the dark wing elements overlaid anything brighter behind them. The result was a composite with multiple wing positions all showing at once. I think it came out quite well. I thought I might have issues with hiding things I didn’t want to or having to much movement between shots but that wasn’t a problem in the end.