Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Surprise Visitor

As I was at my desk today, I heard a plane flying over the office.  The engine sounded different from the normal sounds of the Cessnas that fly over from the Ann Arbor Airport.  It was a propeller aircraft of some sort.
So I went outside with my camera and looked to the sky.  As I was about to go back, I heard the sound of a jet engine, so I looked in that direction.  I was greeted by the sight of an F/A-18 Super Hornet flying fairly high.  Sadly, a grainy picture was the best I could do but since I don't normally see military aircraft flying over.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make out the markings to see what squadron but it is definitely a Super Hornet.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Detroit Fire Engine

As I was leaving, I saw the Fire Engine pull out.
What I thought was going to be a day where I would get some pictures of the Wolverine and that's it turned out to be pretty good.  I got some pictures of some things that I didn't think I would get pictures of.  I guess a fire truck is one of those things.

The Candace Elise Makes an Appearance

The next vessel is a rare visitor to the Detroit area.
 The Candace Elise is normally homeported in Muskegon, Michigan.  I've seen her there at least one of the times that I've visited there.  I think she normally stays around the western part of Michigan.
 The Candace Elise was built by Modern Marine Power in Houma, LA in 1981 as the Perserverance.  She is currently owned by Ashton Marine.
One more shot of her.

The Huron Maid in Action

Another benefit to Riverside Park is that I can see the J.W. Westcott in action.
 Sadly, the Westcott was having issues, so I wouldn't be seeing it in action.  Instead I got to see the Huron Maid in action.
 The Huron Maid is normally used as a pilot boat but occasionally it can be used to make deliveries.
 The Huron Maid approaches the Defiance.
 Offloading some packages to the barge.
 She returns to her dock.
 I was given a pretty good shot by the folks who were driving the Huron Maid.
And one more shot.

The Curtis Randolph Appears

I ended up getting a bit of surprise.  As I was parking, I was told that I needed to move my car because there was a fire truck that might want to get out.  Apparently they were out on the fireboat training.
 I was not expecting to see the fireboat return while I was there but then again I wasn't expecting to be there as long as I was.
 It's pretty cool to see the fireboat out and about.  I've only seen it a couple of times.
 In front of the Renaissance Center.
 Probably my favorite angle for boat pictures.
 I think I really like this shot.
 The almost head shot.
One more quarter shot.

The Defiance/Ashtabula Passes By

As I looked to the other side of the River, I saw another pair of vessels coming down.
 First of those was the Defiance/Ashtabula. 
 She was on her way to Buffalo but I'm not sure where she was heading from.
 A shot of the bridge.
She is approached by the Huron Maid.

The H. Lee White Heads to the Rouge River

As I was taking pictures of the other ships, I saw that the H. Lee White was heading up the Detroit River.  She was another ship that I thought I would be able to catch pictures of as she passed.
As it turned up, she ended up making a turn towards the Rouge River.  I think she ended up going to one of the stone docks right at the mouth of the river.

A Shot of Downtown Detroit

Riverside Park gives a pretty decent view of the Detroit skyline.

The Federal Champlain Docked at Nicholson

An occasional benefit of going down to Riverside Park is that you can see ships unloading at Nicholson Docks.  These are usually foreign vessels unloading steel coils.
It turns out that this is a vessel that hasn't appeared on this blog before.  The Federal Champlain is a new visitor to the Great Lakes because she is a new vessel.  She was built by Oshima Shipbuilding in Japan.  She is basically similar to the other Federal Navigation vessels.

The John D. Leitch Pulls Into Mistersky

There was another ship that I was hoping to see pass Detroit.
 The John D. Leitch is one of those ships that you either love or hate.  Many people consider her a bit of a ugly duckling.  I think she is different looking but not particularly ugly.  I believe she was on her way to Escanaba and I was hoping that I would catch her as she passed.
 Like the Mississagi, she apparently needed some gas.  Since the Sterling Fuel dock was occupied, she pulled over to Mistersky.
I wonder if the check her oil and wash windows while she is getting gas.  Is there a convenience store as well?  Anyway, another ship that I couldn't catch passing but the dock is close enough that I still get decent pictures.

The Mississagi Heading Into the Sterling Fuel Docks

As I was looking at planes, I decided to take a look at AIS to see what was passing Detroit.  I figured that Detroit wasn't that much further than the airport.  Again, I saw a couple of ships that interested me, so I headed down to Riverside Park.
 The first of those ships was the Mississagi.  I thought that she would pass by as she headed up to Drummond Island from Marblehead, Ohio.
 As it turns out, she needed to get gas, so she headed to the Sterling Fuel Docks.
Oh well, it still makes for decent pictures.

An Airport Kind of Day

After I had lunch yesterday, I took a look at Flight Aware to see what was coming into Detroit Metro Airport.  If there was anything interesting, I would head over there.  As it turned out, there were a few interesting flights coming in.  Well interesting planes anyway.
 First up was a Delta Airlines 767-400 coming in from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.  Amsterdam serves as the main hub for one of Northwest Airline's former partners KLM, as a result it serves as a European hub for Delta Airlines.
 The airport itself has a pretty interesting history.  The name is derived from Fort Schiphol which was part of Amsterdam's defense works.  Before 1852, the Haarlemmereer polder in which the airport lies was a large lake with some shallow areas.  The English translation of Schiphol is literally "Ship Grave".  It was believed that there were many ships that sank in the lake.  It turns out that wasn't true.  Another close phrase refers to the low lying lands where wood for shipbuilding was obtained.
The airport itself opened in September 1916 as a military base.  Fokker Aircraft Company opened a factory nearby in 1919.   Civilian aircraft started using the airport in 1920.
By 1940, the airport had 4 asphalt runways at 45 degree angles to each other.  They were all 1,020 meters or less.  Later that year, it was captured by the Germany military and by the end of World War II, it was completely destroyed by either sabotage by the Germans or Allied bombers.  The airport was restored quickly at the end of the war and the first plane landed there in July of 1945.  The new terminal building was completed in 1949 and it was decided that Schiphol would be the main airport of the Netherlands.  Over the years, the airport has been improved.
 One of the main aircraft that brought me out was seeing that there was at least one 757 landing.  This particular one has the tail number of N555NW which I guess makes it the Triple Nickel plane.
 This particular plane was arriving from Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta.
 I love this plane from all angles.
 I'm not sure where this plane was coming from, but I love the Frontier livery.
 This Airbus A330 was coming in from Chubu Airport in Nagoya, Japan.
 This United Airbus A319 was coming in from Denver.
 A Southwest 737 coming from Chicago Midway Airport.  Chicago Midway started in 1923 as the Chicago Air Park.  It was a 320 acre plot with one cinder runway.  In 1926, it was leased by the city and renamed Chicago Municipal Airport.  By 1928, it was expanded to 4 runways.  In 1949, it was renamed after the Battle of Midway.  Because of it's location, it was running out of space and many airlines started to use the nearby O'Hare Airport instead.  In 1967, the airport was completely reconstructed which allowed jets to use it, although it is a very interesting airport to land at.
 And this United 737 came in from Chicago's other airport.
 This Delta 717 was coming in from Palm Beach.
 I think this 757-300 was coming in from Minneapolis.  I don't get to see this version of the 757 that often.
 It was a beautiful day for planewatching.
 I love the stretched look.
I was about to leave after the last 757 until I saw that the Air France A340 was coming in.  I would have to say this is probably my favorite Airbus.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Wolverine Sort of Day

I was thinking about going down to Fostoria today but wasn't feeling particularly motivated.  I did want to catch pictures of trains, so  I decided to head down to Depot Town to catch both the east and west bound mid-day Woverines.
 As I've said in previous posts, they are doing quite a bit of work on the Amtrak line.  I would like to think they are gearing up to add the commuter trains but I think they are more or less upgrading it so that the train can go 120 mph to Detroit.  Anyway, since I don't often get to post pictures of Maintenance of Way equipment, here goes.
 I believe this is the dynamic track stabilizer that I posted before.  This particular vehicle is basically used to shift some of the ballast so the track is more level.
 I think this machine may be a tie remover.  If I remember correctly, it will kick a tie out and then replace it.  A vast improvement over the old days.
 Just a regular crane.
 This particular vehicle is carrying extra ballast.

 Another angle of the ballast vehicle.
 First I caught the Wolverine that was heading westbound.  It starts in Pontiac and then heads south to Detroit.  After Detroit, it heads west towards Chicago.
 The train as it comes closer.
 After getting some groceries, I then caught the eastbound Wolverine.
 This one starts in Chicago and then heads towards Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Detroit and then Pontiac.  there are a few other stops between those.
 A closeup of that one.  I kind of liked the lighting for this shot.
And the train heads off to Dearborn.

Anyway, a Wolverine day is when I don't really feel like doing much but I still want some pictures of something.