With the firefighting helicopters gathering at Snohomish to cover the local fire activity, I was able to chat to the crews a little while they waited to see what was to come. Northwest Helicopters had brought in a Black Hawk to support the fire if needed. It was a 1984 build airframe and had been painted in a blue scheme. The guys were complaining about the paint, though. It was a matte finish and the soot from the exhausts was discoloring the surface and was, apparently, impossible to clean up. The rest of the airframe looked fine for something that is nearly 40 years old.
They had a Bambi bucket with them for the firefighting side of things and were quite happy for me to check out the interior of the cockpit. Having shot their arrival, it was a shame that the visibility was so bad that they could not do what they had come to do and were stuck on the ground while I was there. A nice pair of guys to chat with, though, and I appreciate the time and access that they gave.
I was hoping for an approach and landing when I saw this Black Hawk heading downwind but, sadly, it was just passing by, presumably on its way back to JBLM. It was a bit distant but I still decided to get some shots. The crewman was looking out of the side of the cabin as they flew by and a few of the shots seem to have them looking directly at me. The helmet and mask combination that they use is very intimidating. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, honestly.
I posted some shots of the Black Hawks that were delivering personnel to Paine Field for their onward flight in a USAF C-32. There were only a few shots in that post, but I took a lot of photos of the Black Hawks as they made there approach. Since there is a limit to what I get to shoot these days, I felt a post could certainly be made of some of the other shots from that day. Nice evening light really helps a Black Hawk look good.
A work trip recently took me through Chicago Midway. I wasn’t there long before getting on my next flight. We were taxiing out to depart and were coming past the National Guard air unit based on the field. They operate a bunch of Black Hawks. A couple of them were parked up on the apron and one was on approach. My plane conveniently had to hold for a while so I got to see the Black Hawk fly its approach and land. I only had my phone with me but here is some footage of the arrival.
The attendance of the Russian contingent at Farnborough in 1992 was pretty impressive but they weren’t the only game in town. There were plenty of other aircraft on display. The Rafale prototype was there to follow up from the demonstrator a few years before. The first A340 was also part of the flying display.
Plenty of smaller types were on show including the Optica and the Pillan. Harriers and Hawks flew and the Gripen development program was represented by one of their jets. The Tucano for the RAF was taking part and the US military had a Black Hawk in the static display. Quite a variety of stuff to enjoy and interesting to see what is still in production today and what has disappeared from service.
Quite a few years ago, I was on a visit to NAS Fallon with my friend Richard. (You can check out his work at http://www.aviationimaging.com/ and I recommend you do.) Another buddy, Paul, was also along and the day after we were at Fallon, Paul had arranged a visit to the National Guard facility at Stead Field, north of Reno. (Paul’s work can be found at http://skippyscage.com/) This base operated a variety of helicopters including Chinooks, Black Hawks and Kiowas. It was also once the home of CH-54 Tarhes. It was in looking for pictures of the CH-54 that is preserved there that I came across the rest of the shots from that day.
I took one Chinook shot that morning that I have used a number of times but the rest of them had kind of been forgotten. We had a great time wandering through the hangars seeing what was ready for use or undergoing maintenance. The high point of the day was that a Chinook was launching and we were allowed out onto the ramp outside the fence to be in place when the Chinook taxied out and took off.
As it happened, the Chinook pulled up into the hover and stayed there for quite some time. Since I had time, I progressively lowered my shutter speed to try and get more rotor blur on the famously slow turning Chinook rotor. I had just got as low as I could go when he suddenly transitioned to forward flight. I was at totally the wrong shutter speed and ended up with some parallax issues as he flew by but it was all good.
The Chinook obviously features here a bit but I wanted to share some of the other helicopters that were there that day. It was fun to see some shots that I had forgotten about long ago.
The California National Guard has a selection of Black Hawks that are based at Mather. Paul and I drove around to see them parked up. They seem to have varying configurations of the type on the ramp so I assume they have multiple roles that are assigned to the unit and the different configs to suit the roles. The fencing by the ramp was a little tricky for photography purposed and it was easier to get the Huey on display using the phone to get the pictures since it has such a small aperture, it isn’t affected by fencing. It looks like an interesting unit and possibly one that might be worth covering in the future.