Out Of VNY This Afternoon

First of all, the Moon & Venus pictures I spoke of at the end of yesterday’s post (which somehow became this morning’s post) aren’t here because by sunset we were socked in solid. You can’t argue with Mother Nature!

Earlier in the day I had a couple of times heard a couple of low, rumbling growls that I recognized. Twice when I heard the “sound of round” I went running out (“Oooh, airplanes! Airplanes!” Some things never change, nor do I want them to) to find “290,” our yellow SNJ flying overhead. That’s a good thing. Both of the CAF SoCal’s SNJ’s were at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) this weekend, along with our P-51, all accompanying “Fifi” on her tour.

When planes based out of VNY are selling rides, they often (but not always) end up over our house at the west end of the San Fernando Valley. If they’re selling 30-minute rides as is common, out of VNY a typical route is a straight-out departure on Runway 16R, a right turn over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Malibu, a turn to the north over the Santa Suzanna Mountains, then back east along the 118 Freeway and the north edge of the Valley to VNY. The northbound leg from Malibu to Santa Suzanna Pass takes them pretty much right over us.

Google Earth San Fernando Valley Annotated

Image: Google Earth

It was great to see “290” flying. It’s always great to see any plane fly, and if it’s a warbird it’s even better, and if it’s one of our warbirds it’s even more better. Plus, not to be crass, but flying in this situation means rides sold and revenue coming into our Wing to keep it operational. That’s a particularly good point for me, since I’m the CAF SoCal Finance Officer.

While I saw “290” twice, I could hear a louder, deeper rumble which indicated “Fifi” was nearby, but we never saw her. Until just before 5:00 PM…

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…there she was, looking as graceful and beautiful as always.

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Even better, The Long-Suffering Wife and The Long-Suffering Second Daughter got a chance to run out into the front yard and see her flying by. Neither one had seen “Fifi” in the air yet, although The Long-Suffering Wife had seen her on the ground when she was at Camarillo two weeks ago.

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Better yet, eighteen seconds later another incredibly distinctive, higher pitched growl (see addendum below) could be heard coming north up from Malibu.

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Hot on “Fifi’s” tail and closing fast was “Man Of War,” our P-51. Where “Fifi” was lumbering along in a stately manner, MOW was ripping along at a good clip and disappearing behind the trees across the street, as all good P-51’s do!

It was almost like 1944 out there! (If you could ignore the Southwest and Alaska Air 737’s going overhead into Burbank.)

[LATE ADDENDUM: Just as I was going to hit “Publish,” the music started up on the “One Six Right” website where I had gone to get the link. Jeez Louise, folks, go and watch this! I’ve seen the film over and over and the film’s opening sequences still get to me every time. Go the the site, watch the free clip (which is the 3:00 opening to the film) — if you’re not choked up and ready to go take flying lessons immediately when the black & white scene changes to color at the 2:02 mark, then maybe we just can’t be friends. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I mention the P-51’s “incredibly distinctive, higher pitched growl,” then wait for the 2:22 and the 2:34 marks – remember to TURN IT UP LOUD!]

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