Year of the B-52 – Day 1

When I was a child, I was fascinated with airplanes. When I heard an airplane, I looked up. When I dreamt, it was about flying. And when I lay in my bed and stared at the ceiling, it was up at a mighty B-52 Stratofortress with a black belly and lizard camo. It was a beast of an airplane. 8 engines, 10 wheels, and a crew of up to 10 that could command 70,000 pounds of nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance. A whole lot of awesome and all in one devastating airplane. And now, I was standing face to this classic aircraft, about to take off carrying live bombs.

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America’s Cup 2012 – San Francisco

Flying through the waters of San Francisco bay at over 30kts, the America’s Cup was in town for some racing. It was a cold and overcast day, but these athletes endured the Bay’s cold water and pushed the boats to their limits in the first of four races in the AC World Series Regatta. Here’s a few pictures from Race 6 of the Semi-Finals with the AC45 boats on Saturday, August 25th. ORACLE TEAM USA’s Jimmy Spithill won the race to make it an all ORACLE TEAM USA final.

 

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Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark Airshow 2012

Some of the coolest things are right in your back yard. One such example is the annual Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark’s airshow. Held every year in July, members of the SCCMAS share their passion of radio controlled aircraft with kids of all ages. From helicopters to jets to submarines, they had something for everyone. People even had the chance to fly a plane or helicopter with an experienced pilot using a buddy box. Here’s a few pics from the day that I went. There are two real aircraft, one helicopter and one airplane, that landed at the airshow. Can you tell which ones they are?

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Vertical Challenge 2012

Each year at the Hiller Aviation Museum at San Carlos Airport holds it’s annual Vertical Challenge Airshow. The two day event started on Friday with the arrival of military helicopters from southern California. Participants included a US Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from HSC-3 “Merlins” based in North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, two US Marine Corp CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from HMH-462 “Heavy Haulers” based at Miramar Air Station, San Diego, and a US Marine Corp CH-46 Sea Knight from HMMT-146 “Knight Riders” which flew in from Camp Pendleton, CA. That night Hiller put on the only twilight airshow in the country featuring famed helicopter act, Otto the Clown Helicopter, a S.A.R. Demo by the California Highway Patrol with their A-Star helicopter, a helicopter lesson and concluded with the unique Go Fast Jet Pack.

Saturday along with the heavy military hardware, the civilian presence was added to with appearances from Stanford Life Flight medical helicopter, USCG HH-65C Dolphin, a Vietnam era Huey, several Bell 47’s, and other unique helicopters.

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Pride, Passion, Planes – A Day With The Patriots

 

If you hear a plane overhead, and you look up to see what kind it is, then it’s safe to say you love aviation. And most of us can trace back to the when that love first started. And for me, like millions of others of children, it was at an airshow. A few weekends ago, I got to spend the day with 20 of these folks who live and breathe aviation at the March Field Airfest. They are an all volunteer team who maintain and fly the six sleek all black L-39’s that make up The Patriots Jet Demonstration Team.

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Air & Space magazine cover from The Smithsonian Museum

Better late then never. On last month’s magazine shelves, you can find my image of a lone U-2 Dragon Lady banking over Northern California gracing the cover of Air & Space Magazine. If the name sounds familiar, but you can’t quite place it, it is the magazine of The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.  This was the first ever aviation magazine that I was given as a child, so I was extremely excited to have one of my images on the cover 30 years later. Click more to see pics from this air to air.

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Lost Coast SAR – USCG AS Humboldt Bay

Jagged rocks, rough seas, and thick clouds are just some of the hazards in this part of the world. With over 250 miles of rugged coastline from the Mendocino-Sonoma County line north to the California-Oregon border, the men and women of US Coast Guard Group/Air Station Humboldt Bay provide a vigilant 24×7, 365 watch over the residents and mariners of these waters.

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Air Force One comes to town

How does the most powerful man travel around the world? Any way he wants. And in the case of the President of the United States (POTUS), he travels aboard one of two specially modified Boeing 747-200 affectionately known as “Air Force One.” Operated by the 89th Airlift Wing out of Andrews Air Force base, these fortified aircraft are tasked to transport President Obama and the White House staff all over the globe and allow him to execute the full powers of the Office of the President of the United States.

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Life’s the Pitts

Timing, timing, timing, and a whole lot of luck! That’s exactly what goes into a successful photo flight. Ok, well, maybe little bit more then that. 🙂 Last month, I had a chance to shoot two beautiful Pitts Models 12’s and a Pitts S-2C over the skies of San Francisco flown by some amazing pilots. The Red / Sliver Model 12 was flown by Cory Lovell, the Green Model 12 was flown by Barry Woods, and the Red / White S-2C flown by Gary Evans. Together with photo pilot Collin Callahan, we set out on a late Saturday afternoon to chase that ever elusive perfect shot. What do you think? Did we get it?

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The City

Very few places around the world can simply be called ‘The City” and those for hundred of miles around know exactly where you are talking about. But around my parts, there is only one place that lives up to the name and the mystique. And here is the first of many in my new series called “The City.”

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Aerial Video and Photos of Moffett Field Hangar One De-skinning

With the speed of the demise of historic Hangar One at Moffett Field increasing, I decided to get some aerial images and video of the current state of the storied hangar. With permission from Moffett Field Tower, we orbited the 198 foot tall hangar and captured various angles of the US Navy Contractors removing the panels of the massive hangar. The panels are contaminated in PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and need to be removed. But while the US Navy is tasked with their removal, it’s NASA’s responsibility to restore the historic landmark. But with the federal funds not allocated for the restoration, it’s unclear if we will be stuck with the world’s largest birdcage or not.  And while the pictures don’t do the Hangar’s size justice, know that it is 1140 feet in , 308 feet in width and 198 feet in height. In the video below you can see the how tiny the workers are compared to the hangar.

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San Francisco Giants – Play Ball

This past weekend I had a chance to challenge myself and try something I’ve never done before; shoot a baseball game. And for my regular readers, as you already know, when I do something, I go big! So for my first attempt at shooting America’s favorite pastime, I didn’t go to the local park or high school, I went straight to the Majors and didn’t stop there. I didn’t shoot just any MLB team, but got a chance to shoot the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants!

 

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AMC Rodeo 2011 – Cowboy Up Day 7

And just like that it was over for AMC Rodeo 2011. With severe weather delays in the beginning of the week, the schedulers had their hands full getting all of the crews in the air and the competitions closed out. But they did it in fine fashion and when it was all over and done, the 97th Air Mobility Wing from Altus Air Force Base, Okla earned the “Best Air Mobility Wing” title. Here are a selection of pictures from the days events.

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AMC Rodeo 2011 – Cowboy Up Day 6b

In the middle of 87,000 acres there was a small clearing about the size of two football fields. And in that small clearing, there was a small orange triangle that marked the center of the Rawhide Drop Zone for the Air Drop competition for the AMC Rodeo 2011. Aircrews were scored on their time over the DZ and how accurate their drop landed from the orange marker. There is nothing like seeing a massive C-17 1,000 feet over a tall treeline with its’ cargo ramp open and line up on you. Just another day in the Air Force!

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AMC Rodeo 2011 – Cowboy Up Day 6a

One of the hardest competitions at the AMC Rodeo 2011 is the Maintenance Skills Competition. the Four man teams enter the 30 minute timed competition in the blind without knowing what they need to fix. With a wide varying range of issues that can go wrong in an aircraft, the Teams have to be prepared for anything. Team March stepped up to the challenge on Day 6 and with a throng of supporters knocked it out of the park!

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AMC Rodeo 2011 – Cowboy Up Day 5

Day 5 had us spending it at McChord Field for Rodeo 2011. After a much needed morning of sleeping in, we stolled over to Rainier Ranch and did some shooting of the arrivals and departures. One of the coolest parts of Rodeo is how each of the Teams cheer on their aircraft when they head out on a sortie. One of my favorite shots is of the 89th Airlift Wing cheering one of their C-37’s as it taxis past the Ranch.

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AMC Rodeo 2011 – Cowboy Up Day 4

Day 4 of the AMC Rodeo brought with it over cast skies and the threat of showers all morning long. But with the numerous weather delays earlier in the week, the crews were eager to get back it the skies. I spent the morning freezing on Heritage Hill just on the back side of Rainier Ranch to finally shoot some aircraft flying around. Dark and gloomy, but a day at the airport is sill better then being stuck in a hangar.

 

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