Category Archives: Flying

Larger Flying Things Overhead

Being under the flight path out of LAX to locations on the other side of the world has its advantages if you’re a plane nut (like me!).

There it goes!

An A380 is a LOT bigger than a junco, finch, wren, or even a hawk!

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Texans!

Unusual for a Friday, but the Condors were out doing maneuvers and formation flying practice near our house this afternoon.

As is usual when they’re near, the blaaaaaaaaaaaaat of four big, old, radial engines makes a very loud and distinctive sound, so I yell, “TEXANS!” and run outside to watch. (The planes that the Condors fly are Texans, also known as SNJ’s, or Harvards if they were of British manufacture – all the same type of plane, a WWII trainer.)

Today I didn’t have time to grab the good camera, but I always have my phone, so…


One note about last night’s post – the uncommon bird that was hanging out was a White Crowned Sparrow. It was pointed out that someone (i.e, ME) somehow forgot to include that key fact.

Oops! Story of my life…

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Downwind Leg

Another nice thing about being at the Giltinis game at the LA Coliseum yesterday was that the Coliseum is just a couple miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, next to the USC campus. And for plane watchers in SoCal, downtown LA is where the big jets coming into LAX from Asia, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest all are finishing up their downwind legs (from west to east) and turning base (toward the south) in the landing pattern. See that green line?

(image from FlightRadar24.com)

So sitting in the stands at the Coliseum (the green square just south of USC on the map) it’s easy to watch a string of jets, many of them the big trans-Pacific jumbos, descending through 3,500 feet and making that big right turn overhead.

What a nice afternoon! The only thing better for plane spotting is to go down to LAX and watch them land!

Which sounds like another great idea for some sunny day soon!

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Filed under Flying, Los Angeles, Photography

F6F Hellcat

Back at the hangar for another long day.

I was looking for a quiet spot for a Zoom call at my real job. The museum’s closed for COVID still and was fairly quiet. At least, by airport standards.

Of course, just as I was getting ready to present in the meeting, the Ventura County Fire Department helicopter next door fired up and took off. Nothing like a jet turbine 100 yards away to make the “Mute” button your best friend!

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A Flock Of Condors

Out at the CAF SoCal hangar today. It was rainy and gray, but the cloud base lifted a little bit around noon, and we got visitors.

The Condor Squadron flys out of Van Nuys Airport and is a common site in SoCal airshows, event flyovers, and other aviation events.

They perform formation flying in their AT-6 “Texans” on their missions. The “Advanced Trainer” was used in the US, but the same design in England during WWII was known as the “Harvard.”

With those old round engines, the “Texan” has a very distinctive “blaaaaaaaaaaat” sound as the prop tips break the sound barrier.

That sound carries well and the Condors’ practice routines often carry them over our house, so you’ll often see me running around the house yelling, “TEXANS!” and grabbing a camera to run out and catch them flying by.

With the rain and fog it had been quiet, but the arrival of the four Condor aircraft at full throttle over the runway took care of that. It was great to see them!

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Random Old Photos – January 13th

When it’s been a long day in the middle of a long week in the middle of a long month after several long months…¬†Throw a dart at the photo directory!

Big surprise! I was someplace taking pictures of airplanes!

2006. McCarren Airport, Las Vegas.

Give me an airport, a camera, and a couple hours to kill before our flight, I’ll be predictable.

To be honest, 2006 must have been a weird year. I actually had to look through about a half dozen directories before I found something that didn’t give me PTSD.

Work related, a couple of jobs ago, but time and selective amnesia had erased some of those memories. Nothing too nasty – an awards ceremony, folks I hadn’t thought of in probably fifteen years, an office move.

Damn! Good things there were planes too!

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Smoke On

Following each pass by the Condor Squadron yesterday, there would be a trail of smoke.

It was fascinating watching it drift and curl, an active, visible display of the wake turbulence that follows high performance or large aircraft. (Okay, technically all aircraft have wake turbulence, but a 747 isn’t going to worry about the consequences of following a Cessna 172, while if the situation is reversed, a 172 following a 747 can get flipped right out of the sky in an instant.)

It drifted downwind, away from us, curling and twisting, descending toward the ground. And everyone else ignored it, looking in back of us for the planes that had just laid down the smoke, coming around for another pass.

And before anyone gets upset by the “pollution,” this isn’t exhaust from the engine or massive amounts of toxic waste being dumped. To make smoke for a demo or air show, planes have a separate reservoir of “smoke oil,” which is a biodegradable, non-toxic mineral oil that’s injected into the exhaust manifold. No chemtrails necessary!

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Missing Man Today

Today’s “missing man” flyover pass.

First pass is our CAF SoCal Wing PBJ (B-25), F6 Hellcat, and an F8 Bearcat. (The Bearcat isn’t ours, I believe it’s from the Palm Springs Air Museum, but I could very well be wrong. Ours is in mid overhaul.) It’s the F8 that pulls out of formation overhead.

Second pass are T-6 Texans / SNJs from the Condor Squadron out of Van Nuys.

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Throttle Quadrant

They don’t make them like this any more.

Literally.

That’s part of the problem.

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It Would Be Nice To See Her Fly Again

It’s been a few years since she’s flown, although her engines get fired up every now and then to move fluids around. She’s got a bit of “ramp rash” and would need a thorough going over and a bit more than routine maintenance.

It wouldn’t be easy, or quick, or inexpensive. But there are other C-46 Commandos still flying cargo and it’s not at all ridiculous to think of China Doll flying again. But the time? The dedication? The manpower? The money? Those are all in short supply.

Still, one can dream. I’ve never gotten to fly in her and it would sure be nice.

Dreams are important. Gotta hold on to them…

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