Tag Archives: vintage

The A-26 Makes a Long Trip in the Rain

During the holidays and just before New Year, my friend Paul was in town for a day, so we did some exploring.  The weather started out being less than ideal.  We had swung by Renton to see if there was anything of interest and the A-26, Sexy Sue, was out on the ramp looking ready to head off.  We debated which direction they would depart and which would be most suitable for shots.  In the end, we stayed where we were figuring it would be too high at the lake end of the field.  (That proved not to be the case with a very low departure!)

Our chosen location did give us a good view of start up and taxi out of the plane.  They were flight planned to Oakland CA which struck me as quite a long trip to take in an A-26.  Sure, in combat people would have done that and when they were corporate transports it would have been normal but there are more comfortable ways to travel these days.  Anyway, before long, they were lined up and powered off.  There was plenty of vortex action from the props in such a damp atmosphere but it probably looked better from other angles.  With them gone, we jumped back in the car and decided to continue our adventures elsewhere.

The KF Centre of Excellence

Usually, when I go somewhere new, I have done some research on what aviation related things might be in the area should there happen to be any spare time to squeeze something in.  I had actually been checking out the layout of the airport at Kelowna before our trip since I knew that Kelowna Flightcraft had their operations and there was an Alaska Airlines paint facility.  I figured it would be worth a drive by if time allowed.

As it turned out, our planned hike got scrubbed because the snow made access to the trail, we intended to try impossible for our not off-road optimized car.  We were looking for something else to do and I asked Nancy is a quick drive by at the airport would be possible.  With nothing else in mind, so generously acquiesced.  We drove up the west side of the airport and passed a pair of Convairs up a side road with a sign saying Open to the Public.

I had no idea what this could be but, when we came back, we drove up to take a look.  Much to my surprise (and Nancy’s bemusement that I didn’t already know), we were at the KF Centre of Excellence.  This is a new museum that the owner(?) of Kelowna Flightcraft has established.  The building itself is a lovely structure.  It is loosely designed to resemble the layout of a plane with a central fuselage element and two wings which are hangars.  The external styling is very nice, and the interior is tastefully finished with lots of wood.  We paid to have a look around with the front desk being a converted nacelle.  (Much of the furnishing is aviation components that have been repurposed.  An office desk from a tailplane, nacelles that have been modified and the café seating is all old business class seats.

The center section of the museum has a lot of exhibits about flying including engines, fuselage components and even an old simulator.  It is quite informative and educational.  We enjoyed looking around.  Then it was to the hangars.  One has a Second World War vintage to it.  The largest item was a DC-3 but it was probably the least exciting.  Alongside it was a Mosquito that had only recently been flown in.  Beside that is a Hawker Tempest which is in an advanced state of restoration to flightworthy condition.  It may well be the only Tempest I have seen.  I’m not sure if I have ever seen one before.

Across to the other side and things are still quite empty.  Clearly there are plans to add more aircraft in due course.  A Staggerwing and a few floatplanes are in place but the two-seat F-104 Starfighter is definitely the most exotic.  It was airworthy until relatively recently.  Sadly, it is rather tight to the wall which made getting shots from different angles tricky.  Still cool to see it though.

I had no idea about the museum.  I had heard something about the Mosquito flying out of Vancouver to a new owner but hadn’t really pieced together what was going on so didn’t realize it was Kelowna.  The whole thing was quite a surprise.  Finding such a collection and in such a lovely building was a shock.  Oh yes, parked out front were two Convairs.  One was the old Honeywell testbed that I have shot prior to its retirement and the other is a retired water bomber.  How cool.  (As an aside, the Honeywell 757 testbed was just down the road undergoing some maintenance work.)

Lockheed 12 Heading East

Airport roads can sometimes throw up interesting surprises.  I was driving around Paine Field one weekend and came upon this fuselage sitting on a trailer.  I had a chat with the guys loading it up.  It is a Lockheed 12 and was heading to Minnesota for restoration to flight.  They suggested a lot of work was needed and it would be a while before it was flying again.  However, I was just taken to see it sitting beside the road as I happened to pass by.

My P-59 Encounters

The P-59 was the first jet fighter that the US had.  It was not a big success and was swiftly overtaken by more capable types.  However, such was the progress in those days, aircraft had a short operational life.  I have seen a couple of them that I am sure of.  One was at Planes of Fame at Chino and the other is on a pole at Edwards.  Here are the shots that I know I have of the type.  The question is, do I have more that I haven’t keyworded?

Dock Railway in Bristol

The Bristol Harbour Railway is a heritage railway in Bristol (what a shock!) that runs along the south side of the docks.  I understand it operates short tourist runs at various times up towards the SS Great Britain.  It wasn’t operating while we were there although one of the locomotives had been fired up for some purpose.  It was nice and warm to stand next to it on what was a bit of a cool and damp day.

There was a selection of locomotives and wagons both near the museum building and parked along the docks.  I don’t know whether they were all usable or some were exhibits.  There was one locomotive that was clearly undergoing a major refurbishment.  I imagine it is a popular attraction on weekends and busy summer days.

Hunter Surprise

The number of times I have just missed something or didn’t even know it was close by I cannot count.  However, sometimes I can get lucky, and I had one day when things just clicked.  The result will be several posts.  I was at Boeing Field to catch a test jet from Gulfstream (which I did and will appear here soon).  I was waiting for it to show up on approach and was scanning FlightRadar24 when I saw an odd registration appear turning in to the approach.  I tapped on it, and it showed as a Hawker Hunter.

Needless to say, this was quite a surprise.  Then, another one appeared.  The two came down the approach in trail.  I got shots of both of them being a little brave/reckless with my shutter speed.  Even as this was happening, a third and a fourth popped on screen and it was not long before the second pair had made it into my viewfinder.

They taxied to the ramp at Modern and shut down.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to be there when they made the next leg of their trip to Alaska.  One was delayed by engine issues and my friend was able to get some shots of it testing.  I was hoping to catch them during their return but that took place while I was up in the Islands.  However, I had got them once and that was a lucky break I am grateful for.

Is a Bugatti 57 Valuable?

Only my second visit of the year to Exotics@RTC and it was another special day.  This time it was Classics which seems to be a rather generic term but does provide for a bunch of older cars or all sorts of origins to be included – particularly stuff that wouldn’t normally have its own day!  A star of the show was this Bugatti 57.  I had got there early to try and get some shots before the crowds built up and it arrived while I was walking around.  I got some shots of it driving up and then once it was parked.

It rapidly got a lot of attention.  Later on, when I was trying to get some shots of it from above, I realized that there was always such a throng of people in the vicinity that my usual technique of blending multiple shots would not work.  I was glad to have been there early!  I don’t know how these cars get valued.  I looked up sale prices for these vehicles and there were some that went in the millions and others that were in the hundreds of thousands.  Where this one sits in relation to all of those, I have no idea.  I do know the owner was very happy to let people sit in it and have their picture taken which is the great thing about events like this.

CAF Reliant Getting Time In

Word reached me from my friend, Bob, that the CAF squadron at Arlington was planning to get some training done with their Reliant one Saturday.  I thought this would be worth a trip as I had previously left one of their events thinking that they weren’t going to fly and they did.  When everyone else got good shots of this plane, I was a touch annoyed.  Time to rectify this.

They were putting a few pilots through sorties to get time in the plane.  In the early part of the day, the weather was a little overcast so not great for shots but okay.  Of course, as the day drifted on and the sun moved around to the other side, things brightened up.  Just in time to be backlit.  At this point, I decided to call it a day and head home.  I did also have some good time near the plane while it was being refueled so I am quite happy with the results, even if they are nothing special.

Heritage Flight Museum May Fly Day

I was planning to head up to Skagit for the May Fly Day at the Heritage Flight Museum anyway.  As it turned out, I had been talking with Rich at COAP about the trip he was leading and, when he asked if I would like to tag along with their group, I said yes.  They had been working with the Museum and arranged some opportunities to shoot from locations that normal ticket access wouldn’t allow.

The team at COAP and the team at the museum were super helpful and friendly.  Add to that, the weather was great and the combination of aircraft they were able to put up was excellent so, the day was set to be a bunch of fun.  It did not disappoint.  I have shot at the museum fly days before but, sometimes, the planes I was after didn’t fly and sometimes the conditions weren’t ideal.  On this occasion, everything came together.  I did play around with my shots trying to get more dynamic images.  The high vantage point we had available helped with that too.

I took a ton of shots and culled them heavily.  The result was a few shots I was particularly happy with and it was nice that the museum shared a few of them on their social media platforms too.  Seeing the Skyraider fly is always cool but the day was a trainer day and they put up some great trainer formations.  The conditions were a little bumpy but they made a good job of it and there were shots to be had.  I look forward to the next time I am up there.

Different Angles on Sentimental Journey

A jump back to the visit of Sentimental Journey last year.  Because she was here for a while, I was able to shoot from a variety of locations to try and get some different shots of her.  The weather played ball while she was in Seattle unlike the conditions at Arlington the following week.  It was fun to try some different angles on the same plane since I had got the initial shots I wanted.