Category Archives: CAF

Shameless CAF SoCal Plug

Go look here to see some great pictures from our CAF SoCal Wing.

We were out at El Centro, CA last week for the first big airshow of the season. The Blue Angels were there.

The Blue Angels currently fly F-18’s. When they formed after WWII they first flew F8F Bearcats and F6F Hellcats.

We have a F8F Bearcat. We have an F6F Hellcat.

On the evening before the airshow, at sunset we went up with our F8F, our F6F, one of their F18s, and some photographers in our PBJ-1/B-25 as a photo platform. The pictures are pretty stinking spectacular.

Check them out on our website and also on our Instagram or Twitter feeds!

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Filed under CAF, Airshows

Outside The Office

As much as might like my day job, what I see outside my office there can’t hold a candle to what I see outside my office at my weekend gig.

Everything that wasn’t undergoing maintenance was down in El Centro for the first airshow of the season. For the backdrop on an event being held in our museum hangar, our C-46, China Doll, was moved up close and personal.

Inside the maintenance hangar, there was work going on on our F-24 (just out of sight on the right), our new Navion (white, blue, and yellow), the AAF’s B-25 Executive Suite (they lease space from us in our new hangar), and a plane I honestly am not familiar with (the white one with the red stripes) but think might belong to a CAF wing member.

If I can ever get my medical renewed and get my ass back into the cockpit for some refresher training, flying the Navion is a very real possibility by the time it’s ready to fly again in a couple of months.

That would be great!



Filed under CAF, Photography

PBJ Video – Really, Really!

I wish I could upload the full HD version of this. The current generations of iPhones are just freaking awesome in the quality they have. They run rings around what the network studios were using just fifteen years ago – and cost a couple hundred bucks and you carry them in your pocket instead of costing a couple hundred thousand bucks and needing to have them mounted on wheels with two people to move them.

But I digress.

The full video is 1.634 GB, which is about 20% of the disk space I have available on WordPress. I know that I’ll eventually have to expand my disk space, and expand the expense, but by that time it will be a toss-up on whether to stay on the site or to get my own in-house server and install a WordPress system. Either way, I was sort of betting on that happening in five or six years, not five or six months – which is what will happen if I make a habit of uploading full nine-minute HD videos.

I guess if anyone wants to see it badly enough, let me know and we can figure out a way for you to send a memory stick for me to use to send it back to you by snail mail. Or something.

In the meantime, QuickTime is very good about taking 1.634 GB, full resolution, HD videos and converting them to slightly less spectacular quality videos. It defaults to spitting out three versions, the first of which is for a “cell phone”. I don’t know what kind of cell phone they’re talking about but while it’s only a 5.6 MB file it’s also a teeny-tiny image that looks truly shitty on an iPhone, let alone an iPad or a desktop. QuickTime will also automatically generate an “iPhone” version which is moderately compressed, so it gets cut down to 62 MB. That’s way better than 1,633 MB!

The third version is a “desktop” version, weighing in at 94 MB, which I can live with. It’s not half bad, I hope you enjoy it.

A couple of things to note:

  1. Yes, it really is that freaking loud. That’s why the ground crew uses hand signals to communicate with the pilots.
  2. At about the 2:35 mark you’ll hear the engines “sputter” or “miss” for a half second. This isn’t a problem, it’s a routine test of the redundant magnetos that provide the ignition spark. As the pilot switches from “both” to “left,”, then to “right,” there’s a miss but it’s normal. Before flight, you want to make sure that both of them work independently if one fails.
  3. No, the propellers aren’t stopping or going really slow or running backwards. It’s just the “wagon wheel effect” where the rate of the RPM on the engine gets near, at, or a bit over some multiple of the frame rate of the camera.
  4. At the 4:30 mark you’ll see a Ventura County fire & rescue helicopter coming in on the left. Their hangar is the one you can just see on the far right, off in the distance. It’s really quite impressive to see that big Huey variant take off and land.
  5. A lot of the time we spend after the get the engines started is waiting for our turn to get on the taxiway. It was a nice day and there were a lot of other small planes tooling around. This also adds a delay once we get to the runway and have to wait our turn behind all of the planes landing and taking off in front of us. At about the 8:40 mark you can see, as Dan said, there are better than a half-dozen other plaens out there waiting their turn.

Enjoy! And if you’re interested and want to take a ride with us – I know a bunch of guys who can make that happen!


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Filed under CAF, Flying, Video

PBJ Video – To Come

I shot a nice piece of video today on my cellphone as our PBJ was starting its engines, warming up, and taxiing out for some training flights today.

But it’s about ten minutes long and uncompressed it’s huge and would take hours to upload and I got home from the hangar at least two hours later than I expected to and then got to watching the “M*A*S*H” marathon on cable so I didn’t have time to edit or compress it… All of which is to say, here’s a still and I’ll try to get it done for tomorrow.


In other news of absolutely no note, my big blue mom-mobile of a family van hit another minor milestone today and is now closing in on a major one.


That’s a lot of miles! 200,000 – here we come!


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Filed under CAF, Flying

One Down, One To Go

The “small” audit is done, with the CAF auditors from Dallas on their way back to Texas.

I understand that it’s a part of the business, but I really hate audits. It’s the same thing with any kind of huge test, such as college finals, solo auditions when I played an instrument in high school, or my flight test for my private pilot’s license. It’s not that I don’t pass – typically I do very well. In fact, I can’t remember outright failing one in forever.

But audits in particular are procedures that put you on the spot, under a microscope, like an oral dissertation defense but one that can last days or weeks.

It’s the Spanish Inquisition, with fewer physical tortures and more mental ones.

So the two days defending (pretty well) my CAF accounting work are done, and tomorrow I dive right back into the “day job” year-end close and audit. With luck, they’ll be done by April 15th without needing an extension.

It might be a long eight weeks.

Good thing I’m stubborn, mule-headed, and too stupid to know when to quit!

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Filed under CAF, Habitat For Humanity

Convective Activity

After a morning of low clouds and a bit of drizzle, it cleared out nicely at Camarillo Airport. To the north of in a band from Santa Barbara east across Ohai, Santa Paula, Santa Clarita, and down into the San Fernando Valley, the unstable air got heated, rose, started condensing into clouds, which in turn released energy, which in turn caused more condensation and clouds, which…


Nice flying at CMA – but don’t fly to the north or east in that little plane!


Santa Paula Airport (KSPZ) was over under this thunderstorm, which pretty much just parked there for several hours. NOT a good day to be flying in to or out of KSPZ!


Just before sunset, with the sun at our back setting in a clear blue sky while it was still raining over Santa Paula, physics and the optical properties of water droplets in the atmosphere took their natural course.


Someone was nice enough to leave our F6F-5 Hellcat sitting out there to look gorgeous in the sunset light along with that colorful optical illusion.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography, Weather

SpaceX Launch

SpaceX (flawlessly) performed their return-to-flight launch today out of Vandenberg AFB, a couple hours drive up the California coast. As much as I might have wanted to be there, that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I had an alarm or two set on my phone and a few minutes before launch I broke away from my chores at the CAF and went out to the edge of the runway.

It’s 108 miles as the crow flies to Vandenberg from Camarillo. Given that, I was amazed at how easy it was to see the launch and follow it for about two minutes. (You probably have to click on the pictures to see them full sized – it wasn’t THAT huge.)










Starting to pick up a bit of contrail behind it.




Heading due south toward Antarctica and a polar orbit.


Cropped to show just the rocket and tail of flame.

One of these days I’m going to have to make the 3-hour drive up to catch one from much, much closer!

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Space