Category Archives: CAF

The Fires Continue

We’re fine – still nothing that close to us, although another new fire has apparently started up over to the east by Monrovia.

Being Saturday, I was out at the hangar in Camarillo. The first big fire in this current sequence of six or seven fires started not too far from there and is still burning.

Map from Google.

For reference to assist those not familiar with Southern California, this is Ventura County, just to the north of Los Angeles. We live at the far west end of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County – on the right-hand border you can just see the edge of the dot that indicates where. The Camarillo Airport is just under the “101” icon between the words “Oxnard” and “Camarillo.”

For scale, from my house to the airport is about 35 miles on the freeway, almost exactly 25 miles as the crow flies. From my house to Carpenteria, on the far left edge of the map and just south of Santa Barbara, is about 50 miles directly.

This is not a small area. It’s “local” by Southern California standards, but it could cover the better portion of several states in New England.

Here’s what’s burned in this fire (which is in turn, as I said, one of about six going on right now):

Map from Google and CalFire. Scale is similar to the one above.

The fire started near Santa Paula on December 4th, spread toward Ventura, and is now moving up into the mountains and up the coast toward Carpenteria.

What’s that look like from the ground at Camarillo Airport?

On the far left you can see the smoke plume from the main fire up toward Carpenteria. Straight ahead you’re looking up toward the Santa Paula and Fillmore area. When I got there this morning things had started to die down a bit overnight, but the winds were starting to blow again.

By lunch we were looking at 30 mph winds with gusts to 45 mph. In the mountains and canyons where the fire was, it was worse. Naturally, this led to a number of flareups.

Looking toward Carpenteria.

Looking toward Santa Paula

I also learned that two of our CAF SoCal members lost their homes, burned to the ground. One of our members got out with literally just the clothes on his back, managing to get out in his wheel chair in the middle of the night when he woke with the house burning, finding his cars on fire in the driveway, and saved only because a neighbor saw him as they were bugging out and drove him to safety.

The winds are supposed to continue into tomorrow and then start dying down in the next week, but there’s no rain in the foreseeable future and these fires are now pushing up into the mountains where they’ll be very difficult to fight. There’s a lot of brush after a very wet winter last year and most of these areas haven’t burned in decades. These fires may still be burning well into 2018.



Filed under CAF, Disasters, Photography, Weather

At The Hanger On A Friday Evening

As long as you’re stuck out there…

…you might as well watch the sunset.

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Filed under CAF, Photography

Planes In Pea Soup

Yesterday I was working late at the CAF hangars. I went to stretch my legs out around the ramp and found that a bit of pea soup fog had rolled in. It was eerie with the flashing runway lights, the blue taxiway lights, the orange of the sodium vapor security lights, the dampened sounds, and the fog.

So of course, I grabbed my camera.

I didn’t have a tripod for the long exposures (two and a half to five seconds), but in a pinch I was able to make do with an office chair.

The PBJ had been prepped for her mission today (see below).

The SNJ and C-46.

The other plane to the right of the C-46 is the AAF’s B-25, “Executive Sweet.”

What was our PBJ’s mission for today? We did the flyby over the LA Coliseum before the Rams-Saints NFL game!

For video of the flyover from inside one of the T-34 escort aircraft, see this afternoon’s post on our CAF SoCal Facebook page.


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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather


Since the picture yesterday was popular, here are more from one of the P-51’s flights last Saturday. Yanking it around on short final, touchdown, and taxiing up to the crowd to show off.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Coming & Going

That feeling when you didn’t get out of the office until just before 21:00 and by the time you get home and eat dinner and breathe for a few minutes you suddenly finding yourself saying, “Shit, it’s 23:30 already??!!”

This is why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this month!

Here’s another shot from Camarillo this last Saturday. Our P-51 was taxiing in from a ride, while behind it our yellow SNJ was taking off for one.

Both aircraft are a joy to take a ride in – for a very reasonable price, I can arrange that if you’re in the Southern California area. (Seriously! Shameless plug and all of that. We sell rides, I’m the finance officer, and we can always use the revenue. And it really is a great ride.)

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

East & West

The weather in Southern California has once again turned – for the moment. After a week of triple-digit temperatures, we’re headed back down into the 70’s, with the coastal areas even cooler.

This morning this translated to fog along the coast as a heavy marine layer moved in. Driving out to the CAF hangar in Camarillo it was bright and sunny through the San Fernando Valley and the Thousand Oaks area. But going over the edge of the Canejo Grade down into Camarillo it was like being in a plane, descending into an ocean of clouds.

When I left tonight, the difference between the view to the east and to the west was indicating that tonight would be more of the same.

To the east it was still sunny, the airport water tower brightly lit with a quarter moon high above.

To the west, just off the coast and moving in quickly, was the fog bank.

Sort of like life these days. Bright and sunny? Dank and gloomy? Caught between them? If you’re stuck with one, wait it out, the other will come.

Are there fewer monsters in the light than in the fog? Or do we just see them differently? Or ignore them?

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather

Really – Smoky, Cloudy Sun Over Ramp Pano – Plus Video

Yesterday I said it was self-explanatory, only to push the “Publish” button instead of the “Save Draft” button before I could actually upload and insert the aforementioned panoramic photo. Which is:

The picture I had uploaded was very nice, but it wasn’t the one advertised. This is.

Enlarge it for the detail, you’ll see that not only did we have the smoke, the clouds, the sun, and so on, but we had a whole bunch of guests on site. They got to see our P-51 Mustang do a couple of passes. Because you deserve the best, here’s a gorgeous, high-speed pass with a great high-speed break and 180° climbing turn. Listen to her whistle!

Finest kind! Watching this and hearing that Merlin engine purr is one of the reasons I do all of this work for the CAF SoCal Wing.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Panorama, Photography, Video