Category Archives: Flying

The Same Way Bricks Don’t

It’s truly astonishing how big these jets are.

Coming out of LAX, even at over 10,000 feet and almost 300 knots, it looks freakishly large. Yet it just seems to float there, as Douglas Adams said, the same way bricks don’t.

Airbus 380. Impressive.

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Skyscapes – June 19th

Looking for clouds?

Null return – clear and a million conditions observed.

Except for that one teeny, tiny, almost microscopic-looking glint of sunlight off of aluminum that’s Alaska Sky West flight #3474 from LAX to Fresno, passing by at 328 knots and 11,835 feet.

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Another Thin White Line

Another thin white line across the sky. Another tube full of people going somewhere I’m not.

Can you see it there, 40,000 feet up, from San Diego behind us to the south, headed toward Sacramento far beyond the horizon up that way?

And here we are. One day at a time.

Beats the alternative. But it would be nice to have options.

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Filed under Flying, Paul, Photography

Up One Side Of The Sky, Back Down The Other

Taking a breather to watch the clouds and feel the breezes, here comes Hawaiian Airlines Flight #5 from Las Vegas to Honolulu, climbing up from the horizon like a bat out of Hell at 40,000 feet and 437 knots.

Then it’s back over the top, past the moon, off toward the Western horizon.

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Filed under Flying, Photography, Weather

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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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

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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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

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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