Tag Archives: t-38

Two T-38s In Close Succession

I stopped at Boeing Field to make a couple of calls and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a Boeing T-38 chase jet was not far out.  I was able to get the camera out in good time for it to arrive and, even better, while there was plenty of cloud around, the sun popped out to allow me to get a reasonable shot.  I then went back to dealing with my calls.  I had noticed a USAF T-38 further east in the state but had assumed it was not coming my way.  However, I was wrong.  A short while later, it called up on approach.  The sun was less cooperative which was a shame for a gloom black painted jet but it was still good to shoot.  From expecting nothing to getting two T-38s in short order was a nice surprise.

T-38 Up Close

After a very lean start, I have done a lot better in recent times with getting shots of the Boeing chase T-38s at Boeing Field.  I have shot them airborne and in good light so nothing to be unhappy about.  However, the one thing that I haven’t had in the past is a good close up shot of them while on the ground.  They have either been landing when on a northerly flow or coming from the other direction and so they haven’t taxied close to me.

Finally managed to break that one not long ago.  Some tankers were heading out – one appeared to be a production test flight for an Air Force example while the other was one of the Boeing development airframes.  The T-38 followed it out – presumably their flights were connected but I don’t know for sure.  It taxied right passed me so I got a good look at it on the ground for a change.  It took off, of course, so a little extra chance to get some shots with a cluttered background!

One of Boeing’s T-38s Again

Stopping by Boeing Field en route to somewhere else and finding that a Boeing T-38 chase jet is about to arrive is a lucky coincidence.  Turned out even better as I saw a car parked in my normal spot and realized it was my friend David.  A chance to chat and catch up while the T-38 made its approach was a lot of fun.  Good to see both him and the T-38!

Aspen Sounds Familiar

There was a call sign of an inbound flight at Boeing Field that caught my attention.  It was Aspen.  This is a call sign that the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB has used since the days of the SR-71.  I have seen their T-38s show up at Boeing Field before so thought there was a good chance it could be another one.  Sure enough, when they called up on approach, I could see a T-38 inbound.  However, it was coming in at the same time as something else and it was actually aligned with the short runway.

They put the power on when crossing the airfield boundary and pulled up into the downwind for a second approach.  The first approach had made the jet look pretty small in the viewfinder – I hadn’t realized that they were further away than the main runway – so I went with the 500mm when they came back.  This made for a tighter shot than expected.  However, I managed to get a few shots of the jet as it turned final – a long way away – and then as it was on short final.  A nice treat.

What Aviation Can I Shoot From Home?

The answer to that question is clearly “not much” but it isn’t zero.  We do get things flying overhead here on a regular basis.  We are on the approach to SeaTac for some arrivals and we do sometimes get Boeing Field traffic too.  It’s a rarity when there is something interesting and I am ready, though, so that doesn’t provide a lot.  However, I did recently have a T-38 from Boeing’s chase fleet come over the house.  It was a bit high but it was enough to get me out in the driveway!

We have also had helicopters fly over on occasion.  An Army Chinook came past one time while and Navy Seahawk was another transient.  In each case, I only heard them shortly before they arrived so grabbed the camera while at my desk and shot through the window.  That is not a good plan but it was all I had available at the time.  These can count as my lockdown at home aviation projects!

Finally the Boeing T-38s Are In the Sun

I mentioned the arrival of some USAF T-38s in this post.  They weren’t alone, though.  Boeing had both of their T-38 chase jets out on missions and they had to come back at some point.  The day had lovely weather so I was going to wait around and get on with some work to see when they showed up.  The jets have similar paint schemes but are slightly different in detail.  I had shot one of them in nice conditions once so was keen to do better.  I got both of them as they returned so finally felt like I had some success.

I wonder how long they will last.  Since Boeing has won the contest to replace the T-38 in USAF service, I wonder whether the early T-7 jets they built will find their way to Boeing Field at some point to support flight test activities.  They will probably not be a match for production jets so would be of less use for in service test activities.  We shall see.  The T-33s are still around so the T-38s may have years ahead of them.

A Day of T-38s

This is part one of a two-parter.  I was at Boeing Field sitting taking calls and doing emails and keeping an eye out for anything interesting.  That included the Boeing chase T-38s but they are going to have their own post.  They weren’t the only T-38s though.  Three jets from Beale AFB also showed up.  I missed the first and got the second as it landed.  The third followed a while later.  Strangely for Boeing Field (which sits under the SeaTac approach path) it did an overhead join and then broke into the pattern before landing.

The three jets were on the ground for a while and didn’t leave to late in the day.  I heard them call up that they were taxiing and decided to try and get down to the other end of the field for the departure.  As I drove down, I could hear them on the radio getting ready to go.  I knew it was going to be close but sadly, it wasn’t close enough.  As I pulled in to the parking area, they took off in formation.  They kept it low and the light was gorgeous.  It looked great but no photos to prove it.  The third jet had taxied out but must have had an issue because it returned to the ramp.  Oh well…

Boeing’s T-38 Finally Comes Out in the Sun

I have struggled to get shots of the Boeing chase aircraft in decent light.  Whether it is the T-33s or the T-38s, my encounters have generally been on overcast days.  Finally my luck changed and one of the T-38s came in to Paine Field for a couple of approaches on a sunny day.  It was the middle of the day so the light angles weren’t great but it was certainly a step up.  A couple of passes and then they headed to Boeing Field.

Nice T-38 Surprise

A Beale AFB T-38 was parked over at the FBO when I was at Boeing Field.  The canopies were up which gave me optimism but you never know whether they are just doing something to the jet or maybe haven’t long arrived.  When the crew walked out to the jet, I realized it was good news.  They taxied to the other end of the field and I waited.  A nice low departure kept them below the skyline of the hill beyond the field and I was happy with a slightly unusual visitor being photographed.

T-38s Only Fly on Cloudy Days

The Boeing T-38 chase jets are something I have not had much success in hunting down.  I have got some shots but they were not in great conditions.  I did have another chance recently when at Boeing Field but, guess what, the clouds rolled in at just the wrong time.  The T-38 flew nicely down the approach and provided a great opportunity but the light was not really playing ball.  Still, at least I got some shots, even if the colors are hardly popping.