Sky High in Chile – Day 7

After a quite evening and recuperating from my 9 hour KC-10 flight, it was back to FIDAE early in the morning. Today was my first real day of shooting the air display acts. The line up was sparse at best since it was a practice day and half of the teams weren’t even preset yet. Not that it mattered much since the layout of the Santiago airport has you starring into the sun till about 2am. And thus really bad for photography. So I ended up wandering around a bit and visiting the various air crews. Such as Ritz, pilot of the F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team, speaking to some Santiago engineering students from a local university.

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Sky High in Chile – Day 6

As I mentioned in my last blog, day 6 started out really, really early. But it was well worth it. I was going to fly on a KC-10. And even though it was my first time on the -10, I was more excited to be flying with the Gucci Boys from Travis AFB. For the past 3 years, I’ve been trying to coordinate with the Travis PAO to go up in one of their -10’s. And I had to fly 6,000 miles from Travis to make it happen. But it was well worth the effort. The Gucci Boy’s from the 349th AMW gave us one hell of a ride.

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Sky High in Chile – Day 5

Ok, first off let me apologize for not keeping this updated. For those of you who are reading this blog daily, you’ll notice that I’m a couple of days late. It’s been quite a busy couple of days, so I’ll keep the writing short and let the pictures do all of the talking. But I do want to say, that I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy hanging out with Americans. I know, it’s an odd statement to make, but let me put it in some context.

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Sky High in Chile – Day 4

Hola! Como estas? I hope that things are well where every you guys are. I’m rocking day 4 here in Santiago. Or should I say that it’s starting to rock me. The adrenaline is starting to wear off, and as should be expected, I’m starting to slow down a bit.

Yesterday was a pretty awesome day, so it’s going to be hard to top that. The kids that we met were so awesome and it was hard to come back to the show site and resume “business as usual.” The air expo is the main priority, but I’m so glad that the US Air Force is doing humanitarian missions while they are down here. I was speaking to some of the crews that went with me yesterday and they were just raving at how much fun it was and how much they got from it. Some are even planning on volunteering to go to other orphanages during their days off. 🙂

But today, it was back to interviews and photography. When I got to FIDAE this morning, I was hitting the ground running. No sooner then I had gotten out to the ramp, Captain Nathan Broshear (the uber cool PA for the 12th AF), had lined up a one on one interview with Mr. Bruce Lemkin. If you recall from yesterday’s post, he’s the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force (International Affairs) and is one of the top civillians in the Air Force. I was very lucky to have some of his time.

After that I had a chance to meet and photograph Mr. Paul Simons, the US Ambassador to Chile.

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Sky High in Chile – Day 3

Buenos Noches everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying reading my entries. While I’m sure many of you are looking forward to reading about my adventures at FIDAE and all the aircraft being showcased here, but today’s entry is geared to another aspect of this trip; the humanitarian mission. While the 12th Air Force is here to participate in the air expo and military exercises, it is also here to give back to the community. And one realities of Chile is the vast difference between the booming business society and the poor. And today we had a chance to visit an orphanage and hang out with the children there.

But before all that was attending the opening ceremonies at FIDAE 2008. Here are the top brass of the Chilean Air Force officially starting the air expo.

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Sky High in Chile – Day 2

Good evening from a beautiful Santiago. Let me just say that it was 80 degrees today and simply beautiful. Everyone here is super nice and very friendly. That and my Spanish is not so bueno. 🙂

Today was a low key day and so I had a chance to catch up on my sleep. That an we gained an hour last night. Apperently, yesterday was the day that we “Fall Back” with daylight saving time down here. Huh. Who knew? But I still woke up around 9am and found my self well rested. So I got ready and decided to go for a short walk around my neighborhood of Providencia, or the business district of Santiago. My Best Western hotel is located next to the river that runs through the city, so I decided to walk along it for a bit and explore. But quickly I realized that it was Sunday and everything was closed. 🙁

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Sky High in Chile – Day 1

Well, I’m finally here in Chile! 🙂 And let me say, it’s been one hell of a day. For those of you who have worked with the military, then you know first hand what I’m about to say. All the best plans go out the window. So let me give you a quick rundown of my day.

After we finally got the which bags go in which aircraft dilemma solved, it was off to billeting and get processed to get on our 161st ARW KC-135 flight courtesy of the Arizona Air National Guard! With over 60 Maintainers, pilots, public affairs, and two media guys on 2 planes, it was fun separating who goes on what plane and where their luggage goes. And when a freak thunderstorm threatened to cancel our flights, we just waited for it to pass. Eventually it did and we made it out to the aircraft. And once again there was confusion as to which aircraft was ours. Fun.

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Acrobatics, Tucker Style!!!

What’s it like to pull 5 G’s with two planes just 15 feet off your nose and take pictures at the same time??? Well, yesterday I had a chance to find out. I went down to King City, CA; home of The Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety and training grounds for world famous acrobats Sean D. Tucker, Eric Tucker, Bill Stein, and Ben Freelove to shoot the cover for In Flight USA. And the images below are the proof off the amazing flying skills that can be honed at Tutima. I even got a chance to test my skills at flying some acrobatic maneuvers. But with a rockstar like Eric Tucker coaching you, it’s all blue skies!!!

 

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Associated Press Image and new cover shots

The month of January has been a good month. I landed three more covers; one for San Mateo Daily News, one for In Flight USA, and one for Airliners. But while that is really good, the highlight was a photo of mine being picked up by Associated Press Images. For those of you who don’t know, AP is the international news wire service that provides hundreds of thousands of newspapers and magazines stories and images. And I’m proud to say that one of my images made it’s way all around the world and published in countless of newspapers. Here it is on Yahoo! France.

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Indoor Skydiving at iFLY SF Bay!

With slight apprehension, the clear doors shut and we entered the fight chamber waiting area at iFLY SF Bay.  A slight rumble filled the chamber, and quickly the four 250 horsepower fans roared to life.  Forty five minutes prior to this we were being briefed by our expert flight instructor Travis.  Chin up, arch our back, keep your arms in front of you, bend your knees, but not too much, and have fun.  With the wind ripping through the waiting area, all those instructions escaped your mind.  But luckily Travis was there to guide you through it.  And any fear was gone in an instant.  Arms against your chest, take a step forward into the main chamber and instantaneously I achieved what man has dreamt of for eons.  Flight. Pure, unadulterated flight.

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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. 🙂

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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”