Category Archives: CAF

High & Puffy & Straight

The deadline’s here. I only got two hours’ sleep last night getting things done, and then was up early to get out to the hangar.

It was a lovely day.

When I got to the hangar and turned on my computer, it went into an update that took almost two hours, so I was trying to work from my iPad for a while.

It was a lovely day.

It was warm-ish with just a little breeze, a wonderful day to fly. We had folks doing training, but I did not go flying. I spent most of the day inside doing auditing and accounting and Spanish Inquisition-ish things.

It was a lovely day.

At one point when we were sending up the PBJ, I went out and noticed this long, thin contrail cutting through the few light, whispy, thinly scattered clouds.

It was a lovely day.

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Filed under CAF, Photography

Again The Similarities

The race is on – tight deadlines, crushing pressure to get things done, the finish line coming into sight, not clear if I’m going to make it or not. Some times I’m feeling pretty good, then something pops up that slows me down and I’m starting to get a little panicked. But I suck it up, put my head down, and keep slogging on. Things get back on track, but the pressure never goes away.

A lot of it is routine, rote, and I’m already exhausted, so the mind wanders. There’s music to keep me going, but when you’re this tired and trying to focus but also just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other, the emotional roller coaster is open for business. One song will get me going, cranked up to an eleven, played on repeat two or three times. Another will remind me of something or someone and suddenly I’m on the verge of tears. Through it all, I have to keep moving.

Finally a milestone is reached. That’s great, even if it’s not necessarily the one that I was hoping to reach tonight. But the battle plan had to shift a bit so as long as we’re still making progress in putting the whole puzzle together, I’ll take it.

Through it all, I’m reminded yet again of the similarities and lessons learned in other activities that might seem to be completely unrelated.

Am I running a marathon? No, but that’s where the lessons and similarity comes from. The work for the past weeks and month have been back and forth between the real, day job and the upcoming audit for the hangar. For the past two weeks the major, monstrously huge hurdle for the immediate time has been cleared at work, so it’s been pedal to the metal on the audit, which starts on Monday morning.

It will be fine – I really can see the finish line. But it’s going to be close.

And I’m glad that I learned so much from running a marathon or three.

Maybe when both of these tasks are behind me I should do that again.

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Filed under CAF, Deep Thoughts

A MIG Divided

A MIG-17 to be precise. It’s owned by one of the CAF SoCal staff members (@highalphaairshows) and is having a little maintenance done.

Who knew that they came apart like that? Not me!

The tail end is largely just a shell to keep it aerodynamic and provide structure for the tail and the horizontal stabilizer.

By the way, these no doubt would have been classified, top-secret photos, costing the lives of dozens of CIA agents and operatives about the time I was born.

Here’s the business end which that tail encloses and covers. That’s a LOT of jet engine!

As sleek, powerful, and FAST as the MIG-17 looks when ready to fly, like this it’s just odd. Sort of like seeing your grandmother naked odd.

It’s a wicked machine for turning gallon after gallon of Jet-A into noise, with a top speed of just under Mach 1 as a side effect.

Not something you see every day!


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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Clear & A Million

There was a winter storm earlier last week (another one moving in tonight) and the snow level dropped down to about 3,000 feet. The mountains north of Camarillo go up well above that, so they got fresh snow. But yesterday was cloudless, “clear and a million” in flying parlance, and our P-51 Mustang was out on the ramp…

It would have been a spectacular day to go flying, but this aircraft is still well above my pay grade.

Something to work toward in 2020, even if they’re just baby steps.

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Filed under CAF, Photography

Maintenance Hangar After Dark

It’s the off season for air shows and most of our ride programs. It’s time for annual inspections and maintenance. After hours tonight the new hangar had a large party going in it (event location rentals are a significant source of our operating revenue), the museum hangar was dark, but the maintenance hangar was still bustling with activity.

The PBJ bomber’s starboard engine has been re-hung and is being prepped for testing. Both props just got checked and are on a holding stand on the left.

Our SNJ-5 “290” was pulled in for some routine maintenance.

Our new PT-19 trainer is being checked out thoroughly before being put into the fleet.

The F6F Hellcat (wings folded) is undergoing her annual, while the little Navion is having her prop worked on. Off in the distance, the party was going strong, with guests walking in getting a chance to see the aircraft inside.

Never a dull moment with sixteen aircraft!

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Filed under CAF, Photography

Not The Greatest Of All Time

Not the GOAT…

…but just a goat.

What? Doesn’t everyone have goats at their Christmas party?

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Filed under CAF, Critters, Photography, Video

Snow To The North

I understand that snow isn’t that big of a deal to most folks – it happens at least every now and then. Even here in La La Land it’s right there in the mountains for several months of every year and you can see the snowy mountains from time to time, and there are ski resorts within a two or three hour drive of downtown LA.

But the snow level doesn’t always get as low as 3,000 feet. When it does, for a couple of days every few years, the lower mountains that surround all of our valleys and coastal areas can get several inches and look picture postcard like for a day or two

Looking north from Camarillo Airport, you can see the mountains north of Ojai, Santa Paula, and Fillmore.

Hines Peak and other smaller mountains in the area go up to about 6,300 feet, more than high enough to pick up some decent snow accumulations.

Beyond them, Mt. Pinos goes up to 8,848′ and can often have snow until late spring.

This morning at the hangar it all looked very scenic. Then an afternoon and evening of soaking rain came and I’m sure the snow will all be gone below about 7,000′ by morning. But for the Sierra and ski resorts up above 10,000′ it will be an excellent start to the ski season!

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather

Things I Learned On My Morning Commute

If I’m fooled by the fact that it was relatively easy to get on the freeway… (Going past several schools and into a TERRIBLE intersection that gridlocks in a heartbeat means that a normal 6-7 minute drive to the freeway normally takes 12-15 on a good day and has taken as much as 25 minutes.)

And then I’m disappointed by the fact that the freeway was clogged and jammed and slow… (Once I get ON the freeway in the morning, it’s almost always been wide open, “maximum freeway speed” all the way to the office.)

And my head is distracted by a dozen different things… (There’s a lot going on!)

And the route to the new office is the same one as to the CAF hangars… (The old job was to the east, where the new job is to the west out on the 101 Freeway, just about half as far as Camarillo is.)

If I’m not paying attention it’s very easy to be sitting in the #1 lane, cruising along at 75 mph (“maximum freeway speed”, as opposed to the 65 mph speed limit) as I suddenly realize that the overpass I just went under was my exit to the office.


Fortunately, there are exits every mile and I know the area well, having run it all repeatedly when training for the 2011 LA Marathon with a Road Runners group. Take the next exit, double back, five minutes wasted, a lesson learned.

That should have been the biggest problem I had today!!

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Filed under ALSA Golden West, CAF, Distracted Driving, Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles

Planets After Sunset

Once again, serendipity rears its ugly head!

A long day at the hangar meant that I was leaving just after sunset with a crystal clear (windy, dry, high fire danger) sky and a gorgeous sunset.

Not only was the gradient stunning, but so were those two bright planets!

That’s Jupiter on top (leaving the evening sky) and Venus on the bottom (entering it). I knew that Mercury might be seen under the right conditions, but was pretty sure that it had either set by this time or was really close to the horizon in the glare and probably not a naked-eye object.

So I checked.

(Image from StarWalkHD for the iPad)

Yeah, Mercury is last week’s news, already on the other side of the Sun, setting before it does. But…

Saturn’s up? I must have forgotten that.

I don’t see it in the photos above, but then, those photos had had the exposure shortened so they would closely resemble what I saw my eye was seeing. I had started by taking a couple of photos and letting the iPhone expose them, which meant they looked way too bright and the colors were all off. But with a longer exposure, maybe…

Click on the image, blow it up to full sized, then look to the upper left, just like in the StarWalk image.

See it?

How about now?

I would note for the record that, according to that image, Pluto is out there just above and to the left of Saturn. But given that I can’t see it even in a dark sky location with my 8″ telescope, I don’t think the iPhone 8 is pulling that one in.

Maybe I need an iPhone 11 Pro?


Filed under Astronomy, CAF, Photography, Space

Sky Crane

While the fires near us (never got closer than about 10-12 miles, but had over 100,000 people evacuated and major freeways closed for days, several dozen homes destroyed and damaged) are not out, the winds have died down, the onshore flow has resumed and raised the humidity back out of single digits, and the fires are contained enough so that the evacuations orders have been lifted and the freeways re-opened.

That having been said, the fires are still a long way from out. With the calmer winds and better humidity, the fire fighters are hitting the fires hard, particularly with “aerial assets,” that is, planes and helicopters.

One of the big helicopters (I think it’s an Erickson Sky Crane, but not 100% positive) was being based out of Camarillo (CMA) right near our hangars. It was fun to watch it come and go.

Warning – I would recommend against starting this video with the sound too loud or while wearing headphones! This sucker is really, REALLY loud.

The strobing effect of the video capture mechanism in the iPhone is also interesting – that tail rotor looks like it’s barely moving, but in fact it was going at hundreds if not thousands of RPM!

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Filed under CAF, Disasters, Flying, Photography, Video