Alaska: Seattle Boeing Field and More
At the start of August I headed out to Alaska to see if i could photograph some of the amazing wildlife in the vast expanse of wilderness. The trip was going to be over 18 days with a stop over for 3 days in Seattle.
The stop in Seattle was another opportunity to go to the airfields that Boeing use to build and flight test their new aircraft and hopefully see some of the yet to be delivered KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft at all the airfields. An added bonus was that Seafair 2018 was being held over the weekend where the United States Navy demonstration team the Blue Angels would be displaying along with demonstration team displaying the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
After a relaxing 8.5hr flight aboard our Virgin Atlantic 787-9 we landed at Seattle-Tacoma International airport and headed to the collect the hire car that would be taking us around a small part of Washington State. SatNav programmed and it was time to go and try to catch the Blue Angels at Kings County Airfield. Driving through the streets of Seattle it felt good to be back here in this heavily forested city knowing that there are multiple airports that could have some really interesting airlines at them.
Rounding the southern end of the runway of Kings County airfield and onto Airport Way South there were cars parked all the way down either side of the road. I noted a space close to the railway line and skidded to a halt on the loose gravel. As i looked across the road to the airfield i could see the distinctive blur of heat haze behind the Blue Angels and threw the door open of the car and grabbed my camera. I impatiently waited to cross four lanes of traffic hoping that they would not start taxiing until i reached the other side.
Once across i set up my camera and waited for the Blue Angels to head out to depart.
It was a great sight to have the US Navy's pristine blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornets so close a they all lined up behind each other waiting for the set departure time. Blue 5 was first to depart turning onto the runway after a wave to the crowds on the roadside, lit the afterburners and powered into the grey skies above Seattle. The rest of the Blue Angels then lined up in number order taxiing extremely close together and departed the airfield, with number 6 staying low and pulling up hard.
I crossed back across the road and waited for their return and wasn't ready when all six aircraft banked overhead running in for their display over Lake Washington. They came over a number of times re-positioning for each part of their display. As this was going on I heard the distinct sound of an older C-130 Hercules engines running, Fat Albert was readying for departure.
As i followed Fat Alberts departure down the runway, from the opposite direction, the Blue Angels switched their smoke on to run into break for landing, passing over the top of Fat Albert. After that I could not wait for Saturday to watch their full display and with the weather turning for the better it was going to be a good day.
After a quick stop at Renton airfield, it was time to head to our hotel after a great start to this trip.