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P3 orion. Finally got a picture

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Every so often on the drive home from work, I see a U.S. Navy P3 Orion taking off from the Boca Raton (KBCT) airport.

But as I am driving on the interstate I can't do much but grab a quick glance out of the window.

Well, yesterday as I am driving in bumper to bumper traffic, about a mile north of the airport, I see the P3 approaching from the South so I grabbed my camera. Since it's not safe to take pictures as I am driving, I just held it out of the window and started snapping away without looking at it, hoping to get a shot.

A few minutes later, much to my surprise, I see the P3 coming around on the downwind leg again so I managed to get myself over to the exit lane. He turned base and then I saw him do a low pass over the runway and keep on going. At first I thought it was a missed approach. So at this point I am hoping that he'll come around again and maybe land this time. So I got off the highway and as I'm driving down the side street to the airport he came around one more time and made another low pass over the airport. I parked the car by the runway just in time to see him fly off in the distance.

I waited about a half an hour but he never came back again. I really wanted to get some video as he landed, taxied and took off, but it was not be. I wonder why he makes those low passes over the airport. I also wonder if actually lands there. I assume since the B-17 can land and takeoff there that the P3 actually lands there as well. But why does he make those low passes without landing? John, Kieran, Joe. Any ideas?

Here are the pictures that I managed to get.

P3_Orion_03.jpg

P3_Orion_02.jpg

P3_Orion_01.jpg

P3_Orion_04.jpg

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Rich,

That's sort of frustrating, but well done for getting those shots.

It looks as though this is not such a rare event at KBCT though I found this video of the same thing going on!

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When I was out in NZ we got visits from a P-3 and a C-130 to Hamilton International (NZHN). Always an impressive sight and sound!

The reason they used to visit was that the airfield at their home base (which the name of escapes me right now, it was just north of Auckland) was undergoing a runway re-surface, so they used to let them all out first thing, they would come and buzz us, and then go home later.

It wasn’t uncommon for the P-3 to spend time in the circuit too doing touch and go's...which made it interesting for us in the Cessna's and Katana's! I think it was also to do with their IFR training, and using Hamilton's VOR/DME and NDB.

It makes sense that they wanted to use an airport that had the relevant navaids, and a large enough runway to land on/touch and go but was not as busy as somewhere like Auckland. It’s also interesting to go somewhere else. 'Beacon Bashing' over your local gets quite boring, and it becomes quite easy to miss the plate differences between your local and another airfield.

We also had a visit from a RAAF 757, which went around from MDA, which was very impressive, because the climb rate was something else. The 757's pencil shape made it look like a rocket!

Sorry that’s not massively useful :th_blush:

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Joe, That's exactly what he was doing yesterday. That video was taken from the hotel airport.

Mulletman, what you wrote I found very interesting. Maybe they are practicing. I'll have to find out their home base.

I wish I could find out if he does this on a regular basis. I want to watch them.

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I suspect he was just making practice instrument approaches to the missed approach point. If you're practicing approaches there's no need for a T&G, much less a full stop landing. If you make it to DH in a real approach you can either see "...the runway environment..." or you can't, and it's a visual from there or the published Missed Approach Procedure (or vectors, if the controllers are cooperative).

 

We see various military AC here at Ocala shooting approaches, most commonly USCG C-130s, probably out of Clearwater. From an instrument proficiency point of view, there's limited value flying the same three or four published approaches at your home field. Going somewhere else provides a much more diverse training environment and I suspect that's what they are doing there. It's even possible to practice approaches on a runway too short to use, as long as you always go missed.

 

By the way, I think all the remaining East Coast P3s are out of Jax NAS, so it's just a walk in the park to get down your way.

 

John

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