NASA’s SOFIA Visits Moffett Field

What would bring out 3,500 NASA AMES employees and their family and friends? Well, the world’s largest airborne observatory that they helped design and build. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne observatory is the worlds most heavily modified Boeing 747SP. And it came this past Monday to NASA AMES on a test flight and to be shown to the folks that helped give it life.

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My first Airliners.net posting

Well, I finally broke down and did it. I joined Airliners.net and uploaded my first two pictures. Happily, both got accepted. For those that don’t know, Airliners.net is the worlds largest aviation photograph database. They have impeccably high standards and accept only quality photographs. Well, here are the two shots that got accepted.

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Help my click count and click on the link below to see the large version. You wont be disappointed. 🙂

http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1310774/L/ Continue reading “My first Airliners.net posting”

Santa Clara County Sheriff STAR1 Video

My friend Mike took some amazing shots of the SJPD Helo last week that I just had never seen before. He was hanging out the side of the helicopter, with the door open and shooting backwards! Somehow in all my flights, I had never thought about doing this before. Probably because it involves sticking my camera out into a 90-120kt wind and possibly having it fly off and hit the tail rotar; which would end very, very badly for everyone. But I had to have this shot and spoke to Bill and Rob from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Aerial Support Unit to see if this was doable. Well, with an expert pilot like Rob, and a lot of safety straps, I was cleared to do it. 🙂

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But that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about the video I took! Continue reading “Santa Clara County Sheriff STAR1 Video”

USS Shoup (DDG 86) Tour

The best part of Fleetweek in San Francisco is when the US Navy comes into town. This year, I was able to organize a private tour of the USS Shoup, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer for the Moffett Field Museum and some of it’s members. Yup, a guided missile destroyer! 9,200 tons, 509 ft 6 in, 276 officers and enlisted personal whose sole purpose is to counter air, surface and submarine threats, and make their day really, really bad.

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NAS Lemoore

400 miles from Los Angeles to Sunnyvale. Nothing but cows, trucks, and fields. Well, that and the US Navy’s newest and largest master jet base. Home to 21 squadrons, flying the F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, NAS Lemoore is the largest concentration of Hornets and Rhinos anywhere; and a perfect stop on a long drive.

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NAS Pt. Mugu

What vacation trip would be complete without a trip to a military base? Definitely not one of mine!!! So on Aug 9th I met up with a fellow Fencecheck’er, LAX9DME, and he showed me around NAS Pt. Mugu. NAS Pt. Mugu is apart of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWPNS), where they provide R&D for air warfare, missiles, airborne electronic warfare systems, and weapons integration. NAS Pt. Mugu is also the home to numerous E-2C squadrons (VAW-112, VAW-113, VAW-116, VAW-117), VX-9 Bloodhounds, and the California Air National Guard 146th Airlift Wing. While I had hoped to capture some E-2C’s or some of VX-9’s NP-3D Orions & Herk’s they didn’t fly. But our first aircraft were a pair of CC-130J’s from the 146th CANG.

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AVP Manhattan Beach Open…Beach, Bikinis, and Balls

What more could you ask for? The thirteenth stop of the AVP Professional Volleyball tour brought some of the worlds finest players to Manhattan Beach, CA. A few friends invited me to come along with them and watch the matches on Saturday. Having been an avid player years ago, I jumped at the offer. And, well, it’s the beach. How could I resist? 🙂

 

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You want me to do what on that bike?

Ok, let me get this straight? You want me to hit 40 mph, swerve through all those cones, slam on my brakes without locking them up, then go through a hairpin turn at less then 2 mph? Oh, ok. No problem officer! Some sort of sobriety test? Nope, it’s an exercise that police motorcycle officers train on before they can go out can ride on the streets.

Last Wednesday I had a chance to spend a 10 hour shift with The Academy’s Police Motorcycle riding course. It’s where officers from various police departments come to learn how to ride a motorcycle. And not just ride, but really, really learn how to handle a motorcycle. High speed braking, evasive maneuvers, slow speed handling, and formation riding. So this is no average riding course. Each of these students is carrying a gun. 🙂

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, what the heck??? It’s Sagar?!?!?

Well, wow. What a weekend. Two air shows in two weekends, hundreds of miles of driving, 17.3 gigs of pictures, and 3,145 pictures! But this past Saturday, for the first time ever, I went from taking pictures to having my picture taken! I became a part of the show. 🙂 And it was cool.

A few days ago, my friend Willie, the VP of Marketing at the Hiller Museum, who puts on the annual Vertical Challenge Helicopter Air Show, approached me and asked if I wanted a unique opportunity to get some interesting shots. And of course, I said yes! Being the ‘Official Photographer” for the event, I wanted to have the best images possible. So he asks if I’m afraid of heights, and I say no of course. “So how’d you like to hang from the bottom of a helicopter?”

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