Been offline for over a month now, but not because I’ve been sitting idle. I have been very fortunate to be able to have gone flying nearly every weekend and when I wasn’t, it was an Airport-Funday. Because you know what they say, any day at an airport is a good day! And when you add to the fact that your roommate is an amazing formation qualified pilot who flies for the famous Patriots Jet Team. Well, a you get a chance to do some phenomenal air to airs! In those 5 weeks, I logged over 11 hours of flight time in a Cessna 182 (5.6 hours), North American Aviation P-51 Mustang (0.2 hours), and McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender (5.2 hours).
On the weekend of April 20th, Cory and I had a chance to get some air to air with the B-17G (N3703G, Serial No 44-83546) “Memphis Bell The Movie” when the Liberty Foundation was in town. We met the crew of the B-17 at Hayward airport for a safety brief and then chased the B-17 around the SF Bay Area as it flew over Alcatraz and the East Bay.
The following weekend (April 27-28th) was the historic Dream Machines fly-in at Half Moon Bay Airport. A local favorite for many a GA pilots, this Sunday was a rare blend of blue skies and unique aircraft. Cory and I once again got a chance to do not only 1, but 4 air to airs with some amazing airplanes. We shoot a 1948 Grumman G-73 Mallard (N2945) and a 1944 Grumman G44 Widgeon (N81062) as they flew on to San Carlos for Hiller Aviation Museum’s Seaplane Adventure.
We then followed that up with a quick air to air of Eddie Andreini’s newest toy, P-51D “Primo Branco” and it’s one of a kind smoke generators!!
Then we finished the Airport-Sunday-Funday with a Douglas DC-4 (N460WA) along the California coastline.
So that would have been enough aviation for anyone, but the following weekend (May 4th), Cory flew us down to the famous Chino Airshow where we saw an amazing amount of warbirds flying in the skies; including 5 P-38 Lightnings! Up and down to SoCal and all those warbirds made for an amazing Saturday.
May 11th was the Hayward Airport Day. While we didn’t get to fly, I was still surrounded by a bunch of cool airplanes and even saw a high speed pass by the Goodyear Blimp!
May 18th took us back to Half Moon Bay for a rare treat. I got a special invitation by Eddie Andreini to go up for a flight in his P-51D Mustang that I had shot a few weeks before. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity. This was my first ever time in the storied WWII airplane. It was cramped, loud and I wouldn’t have traded that ride in the world for anything! 20 minutes of non-stop aerobatics was so much fun! Eddie flies that plane to it’s limits and has been doing airshows for over 30 years! 5 G’s and 300 kts! Priceless!
And to round out week five, I had a chance to fly with the USAF’s 60th & 349th AMW out of Travis AFB, CA on a very special mission. Two Fini Flights and a 10,000th Hour Flight for a CMSgt Boomer all on one plane. I got the chance to fly aboard the AFRC KC-10 who was working in collaboration with the Active duty KC-10 on this historic mission. We flew out of Travis AFB due east for some “10 on 10” refueling, hit the Nellis Ranges to refuel some 422nd TES F-16s and snap some shots of the F-35 Lightning II. Then back home to Travis with some more “10 on 10”.
Not a bad way to round off 5 weeks of flying! A HUGE thanks to Cory! Without him, all of this wouldn’t have been possible.