Tag Archives: USAF

Two C-37s With One Being a Bit Shy

The US military operates a bunch of Gulfstream jets for transportation of key individuals.  One afternoon, I was at BFI and there was a C-37 from the USAF sitting on the ramp.  It had the powder blue livery common across the USAF VIP fleet.  I was hoping to see it takeoff, but it was not moving while I was there.  A little while later, it was joined by a second example.  This one was a lot less conspicuous.  It had no livery and no obvious markings at all.  The USAF has been toning down its planes recently and this was definitely in that style.  The lack of a registration might have told you that it wasn’t a civilian Gulfstream but the bigger giveaway would be the array of antennae that were on the fuselage.  This clearly could communicate with more than the average bizjet.

The Return of the F-35As on Veterans’ Day

Quite some time ago, I posted a piece about the take off of some F-35As that were doing a flyover for Veteran’s Day.  What I didn’t cover in that post was that they had to come back!  They actually spent a fair bit of time out around the area as well as doing the flyover so there was some time between departure and arrival.  Originally, I had intended to get some pretty standard side on shots of their return.  However, earlier in the year, I had done the same thing for some other F-35s, and, at the last minute, I had a change of heart.

I rapidly grabbed my stuff and drove around to the approach end of the airfield near Ruby Chow Park.  I decided a head on shot followed by an underside shot would be a better bet.  Conveniently, they decided to do a run in and break rather than a straight in approach, so I was able to get some shot of them in formation as they passed overhead.  Then the approach shots worked out pretty much as I had hoped.  I was glad that I had done something different to my usual.  If there had been more opportunities, I hope I would have tried other ideas too.

F-35A Snorting it Up at Abbotsford

I saw the USAF F-35A demo at SeaFair in 2022 and it was impressive but, unfortunately, a bit distant over the lake.  Abbotsford in 2023 was my first chance to see the performance closer in and that combined with the evening show to give good lighting conditions.  I was not disappointed.  The demo was a great routine, and it really tore up the skies as the pilot wrung the jet out for our entertainment.  The honking great engine means it is never quiet and, while it might not be as agile as an F-16, there is plenty of control authority for some rapid changes of direction.  The evening light made the airframe look even better.  These are some of my favorite shots from the display.

USAF Moose Low Over Canada

The air show at Abbotsford has the conspicuous backdrop of Mt Baker.  For the evening show, the light was really nice on the mountain and I think I have already posted about that.  Some of the display aircraft would make turns in front of the mountain.  Most are too small to be obvious in a shot but something the size of a C-17 Globemaster is going to show up.  The USAF Moose was one of the display and here it is as it reverses course back towards the airfield.

F-35As Departing for Their Veterans’ Day Flyover

The UW Huskies had a home game during the weekend of during the weekend of Veterans’ Day.  The USAF provided a flyover for the start of the game with a couple of F-35As from Luke AFB making the trip up to Seattle to do the honors.  The sun was a bit erratic on the day of the game, but it wasn’t too bad and the trees around Boeing Field still had a little fall color in them.  Both jets launched for the flyover.

I watched them taxi out from the Modern ramp and head to the departure end.  I knew that they would be airborne well before they got to me, but I was hoping that they would keep it low.  The first of the jets obliged keeping nice and low at least for a while allowing me to get a shot with the ground in the background.  The second jet was a little more eager to climb and it was well skylines by the time it got close to my spot.  They were planning on some time in the local area before the flyover so now it was time to wait.

All Star Flyover Jets But Only Just

The All-Star baseball game was in Seattle this year.  Baseball is not my thing so I wasn’t paying too much attention although I did have a meeting near the stadium and discovered just how much a parking garage will charge on the day of the All-Star game!  However, they did have some USAF F-35As in town for the flyover proceedings.  I was south of the city later in the day and started to head north close to the time when the game was due to start.  I had been hoping that I might get up to Boeing Field for their launch but, as I drove north, I could see the jets pulling off their run over the stadium.

I figured they would recover quickly but headed for the approach end of Boeing Field just in case.  Fortunately, they had taken the scenic route and had been touring around Puget Sound.  I was there in plenty of time for their landings.  One thing that I had not really noticed before about the F-35A is the approach angle of attack that the jet adopts.  The planes seem to have quite a nose high attitude when on approach.  The radome is short so the field of view is probably not a problem, but I was surprised I had not spotted this previously.

I got the jets all landing but they were really a series of repetitive shots of similar looking jets.  Nothing too special but still nice to have a different jet here for a while.

Re-Editing a B-2 Shot

Periodically, when I am looking through my image catalog for a specific subject for one project or another, I come across some images from a while back that look okay but might benefit from some of the more recent approaches to processing that I have adopted.  This doesn’t always help but it can be fun to start from scratch on a raw file and then see whether the final version is any better than the previous attempt.  I created a new virtual copy in Lightroom and zero out all of the sliders, upgrade to the latest processing version and give it a go.

I did this a little while ago on a shot of a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.  I shot this jet at Palmdale many years ago on a visit with my friend, Paul.  The shots were okay, and I was happy with them at the time.  Here I shall show you the current version first and then the next one down is the previous result of my processing from when it was shot.  Do you think it is a significant change?

C-17 Comes to Tidy Up

The visit of the VP has resulted in two posts so far but there is a third!  Once everyone had headed off, there were still a bunch of vehicles to be dealt with.  As everyone was tidying up, a C-17 showed up on the approach to Boeing Field.  It touched down and headed to Modern Aviation.  I assume all of the vehicles will have been loaded up in it for transport to wherever they were needed next.  I have to admit that I didn’t hang around to watch the loading or see the departure.  It was time for me to head off so I will trust that is what they did.

Century Circle

I got to the gate for Antelope Valley Air Show 2022 early in the morning.  We were lined up outside the security gate for Edwards AFB waiting for the time things opened up.  I was on the phone so was happy to sit in the car for a while chatting.  When I finished my call, I could see that I was a short distance away from Century Circle – a display of various aircraft associated with Edwards.  Nothing was moving so I figured I would walk up and have a look around.  I had got most of the way there when it looked like cars were starting to move. I rapidly retraced my steps to the car and we drove on to the base.

At the end of the show, I was coming back out the same gate so decided to see if it was possible to pull in and see the aircraft on display.  Indeed, there were no barriers and Iw as able to park up and have a walk around the various exhibits.  The name, Century Circle, is a reference to how many of the jets are Century Series fighters.  There is going to be a museum for the Air Force flight test center and the base for the building was not far from the aircraft.  I will be interesting to see what the museum is like when it is finished and how many of the other interesting aircraft that are currently on base will be included.

Of the jets on display, my favorites are the F-106, the F-105 and the F-104.  Nicely sequential now I think about it.  There is an F-102 which I have never been so keen on and this one is a two seater which takes a place that didn’t look that great and makes it worse.  Still, vintage jets on display is a good thing and I shouldn’t be critical of what is on offer.

The one plane that is a bit of an oddball is the McDonnell Douglas YC-15.  This was a program the USAF ran for a new jet transport to replace the C-130.  Boeing and McDonnell Douglas both built demonstrators for the program but neither was taken to production.  However, there are a lot of features from the YC-15 that will be familiar to observers of the C-17.  Having a transport jet alongside the sleek fighters is a little unusual but it is a rare beast and worthy of preservation.  Thankfully, the dry desert atmosphere is a place that will allow the airframe to survive for many years.

C-40 Follows Out The C-32

A while back I posted about the visit of a C-32 to Boeing Field in support of the visit of the Vice President.  It wasn’t the only aircraft to be there, though.  The USAF also had a C-40 that was providing support.  The motorcade delivered everyone to the aircraft but the C-32 departed swiftly while the C-40 was in less of a hurry.  I imagine that they were sweeping up the stragglers before heading off.  Needless to say, I waited around for them to go.  They didn’t get quite the same priority as the C-32 but taxied back and took off – presumably heading back to the east coast.