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June 22, 2009

What Just Flew By My Office Window

Filed under: digital.forest,life — chuck goolsbee @ 1:09 pm

One of the cool side-benefits of working where I do is our proximity to Seattle’s Boeing Field. Interesting aircraft seem to fly by fairly often. My office window faces NNW and Boeing Field’s main runway’s southern end is literally smack dab in the middle of my window, a bit over a mile away. My office is on a hillside, and I’m on the 6th (top) floor, and the runway in the Duwamish valley below:

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I was at my desk a bit ago and heard the unique sound of four big radial engines roaring by. I look up just in time to see a distinctive boom tail go off the edge of my window. I grab my camera and run out onto the deck outside the kitchen and sure enough there is a B-24 Liberator. Unfortunately it is in a steep bank left turn, flying away from me. By the time it turns and is heading north with a side profile it is over Lake Washington and far away. I snap off a photo though:

B-24 Liberator over Seattle
B-24 Liberator over Seattle

I walk back inside and sit at my desk, only to hear ANOTHER roaring warbird. I scurry back to the deck just in time to see a P-51 Mustang roll left, then away following the B-24. It was too small and too fast to get a photo of, but I was able to watch it with my binoculars when back at my desk.

One old plane is an anomaly. Two in quick succession is a pattern. So instead of getting back to work I sit and watch the runway. Sure enough a few minutes later an unmistakable shape arose from behind a massive hangar that houses the Boeing Military AWACs planes at the SW corner of the field. It slowly and gracefully lifts away from terra firma at a pace leisurely enough for me to get outside and shoot this sequence of photos:

It is of course a Boeing B-17. One of this city’s most significant contributions to the war effort in WW2.

Just thought I’d share.

Update A little while later the B-24 took off again and I managed to shoot it:

I’ve got to run up to Ballard this evening, so I’ll stop by the airport and see if I can catch them on the ground.


  1. VERY, very cool! Small detail, though: they’re *radial* engines, not rotaries. rotaries are what was in Sopwith Camels and Fokker Triplanes!

    And the sound of a round engine *will* bring me sprintin’ to WHEREVER I hear them!

    Homer noise…..’round engines…mmmmmmmmm.’


    Comment by vrooomie — June 22, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  2. Here…you can buy a ride!

    Comment by vrooomie — June 22, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  3. (Corrected) Thanks Paul. I knew that, I just PEBCAK’ed it obviously.

    Comment by chuck goolsbee — June 22, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  4. Cool pictures. Now we have to get audio from both the big radials and the big liquid cooled V-12 Merlins… 🙂

    Comment by Dan O'Donnell — June 22, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  5. Sorry Dan, I’m not equipped for audio at the moment. =(

    Comment by chuck goolsbee — June 22, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  6. must be nice to see those in the air Chuck – we have a lot of flying warbirds in NZ considering our size but nothing large – biggest is a Catalina – the sound must be something…

    as a kid I can still remember a Lancaster that flew into Whenuapai airbase in Auckland (my family was living on the nearby flying boat airbase – Hobsonville) and my Dad was involved with taking the Lanc apart enough to get the aircraft to the Auckland museum – still need to go back there to see it again one day.


    Comment by gondwana — June 23, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  7. I LOVE what EAA named their B-17: “Aluminum Overcast.”

    Gotta love that!

    Comment by vrooomie — June 23, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

  8. Hey my Dad (RIP) was a Lieutenant and flew a B-24 in the big one WWII! Whenever I see those old girls flying I have to wonder what it was like back then when those planes were state of the art. It’s hard to believe they could generate enough HP to get those heavy things loaded with bombs off the ground, and then how could they ever hold enough fuel to go more than a few miles ? Cool pictures Chuck, thanks for sharing !

    Comment by Guitarstar — June 24, 2009 @ 7:40 am

  9. […] office is very close to Boeing Field, and my window is host to all manner of interesting aircraft, as you have seen occasionally. The flight path of Sea-Tac is also behind our building, so there is always something […]

    Pingback by 787 First Flight « — December 15, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

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