Category Archives: Flying

Raptor

Seen soaring above our house a couple days ago. Obviously a raptor or hawk of some sort, but doesn’t appear to be a red-tailed hawk. We get a ton of red-tails riding the thermals on the edge of the San Fernando Valley (i.e., the “hills” in “West Hills”) and they’re pretty distinctive. This guy had a different cry, different body shape, and a much different tail shape.

Poking around on the web I think it might be a Cooper’s hawk, but someone with more experience and knowledge than I will have to confirm that.

I did see that he ended up landing up near the top of one of the tall trees just down the hill from us, so with luck I’ll get more chances to see him, perhaps even getting some better pictures for ID later on.

 

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Filed under Castle Willett, Critters, Flying, Photography

Vapor In The Cabin

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in the hot & humid South, but it hasn’t been that rare for me to be getting onto a plane in the hot & humid South. Yet I’ve never seen this before:

  1. It wasn’t black or grey smoke
  2. It didn’t smell like anything dangerous
  3. It was cold as hell
  4. No one else seemed to be paying it any attention…

…so I just ignored it and didn’t start screaming. (This, by the way, is the reason so many horror movies don’t end after five minutes of set up. No one wants to be embarrassed or exposed as the simpleton who sees anything odd about a guy in a hockey mask, carrying a machete, covered in blood. So we all just ignore it and “go along,” which is fine until teenagers start to get hacked to death at an isolated cabin.)

Given the weather, people’s reactions, and the fact that I saw it again on the connecting flight in Charlotte, I’m guessing it’s some new kind of super fast, super powerful cooling system which the planes hook up to while on the ground to keep them at a slightly bearable temperature inside. The white mist isn’t smoke, but water condensation of some sort. Very similar to the “fog” you see coming off of a horizontal fridge at Baskin-Robbins during the summer.

Just so long as they’re not putting me under a tombstone that says, “He saw the smoke but figured it was normal.”

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Titanium Tube, 500 Knots, West To East

Getting up before sunrise sucks.

As travel goes, I’ve had a lot worse. Being old and white means I get TSA Pre status a lot (let’s get real, it’s not because of either my charm or my good looks) which helps a lot in the early hours.

Climbing out of LAX into the June gloom (coastal marine layer) means it’s very pretty on top, watching that wave of clouds break upon the mountains inland.

Around the Colorado/Arizona line there are a couple of these long, dirty, brown clouds stretching out downwind from what appear to be coal-fired power plants that are still running, despite the fact that they’re probably costing more per kilowatt hour to run than a large solar farm. Thanks corrupt and evil government officials!

On the other hand, over Telluride there was still snow on the peaks.

We crossed the Mississippi just north of Quincy, IL.

We stopped in Philadelphia just long enough to get from the far end of Terminal A to the far end of Terminal F and grab a quick lunch along the way.

At Terminal F we got on a much smaller aircraft and scooted down the coast to Norfolk.

Let the family festivities begin!!

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Inbound To CMA

A thousand thanks to the fellow CAF SoCal Staff member who took me up for a bit of flying today!!! (I generally don’t ID people without their permission if they’re not public figures, so we’ll leave him unnamed for now out of respect for his privacy.)

It had been a while since I had been up in a small plane and the day was just about perfect for a trip around Ventura County.

In this brief clip we’re inbound to CMA (Camarillo Airport) runway 26, over Thousand Oaks and just coming over the Canejo Grade on the 101 Freeway (lower left). You can see the coast off in the distance, with a number of the Channel Islands offshore in the haze. Most of the bright patches out in the distance aren’t lakes or other bodies of water – they’re fields covered in plastic.

The wavering black band in the middle is the propeller. This is a common effect seen in cell phone videos and propeller aircraft, the “bending” effect of the prop coming from the image on the cell phone’s camera CCD being recorded as a series of horizontal scans while the propeller is moving at high speed, being in a slightly different position as each line is scanned.

The runway is there in the haze almost directly in the center of the picture, to the left of the freeway winding through Camarillo, just beyond that somewhat “L-shaped” silver patch of strawberry fields.

After a long, hard week (one of way too many) it was wonderful to get out of the office and up in the air!

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Someplace Special – March 22nd

National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, OH

 

(Another one of those places that I got to spend four or five hours at, would love to spend four or five weeks at. There’s a growing list of those, not to mention the long, long list of places I’ve never gotten to at all. Meanwhile, things I don’t want to do ever again get done over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over every single day.

What’s wrong with this picture?0

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Noisy Visitor (Video)

Yesterday we had a Navy/Marine T-45 visiting. I mentioned it was noisy. Mind you, some of our WWII planes can get a bit loud, but this is a whole new level.

I set my phone on the ground about twenty feet behind the jet. Note the spray of debris at the 0:30 mark.

Five minutes or so later the jet was waiting for clearance to take off. While they were waiting, someone in a Cessna 172 pulled up behind them to wait their turn next, a position that I thought might be ill advised. You’ll see after the cut, about four minutes later in real time (there were a lot of other planes landing), someone in the tower must have suggested a different course of action.

I love the sound of Jet-A being turned into noise!

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A Study In Blue & Gold

Playing with the new iPhone camera with our PT-19 trainer as a subject.

She’s a tail-dragger, something I haven’t flown yet (although I have flown in her).

The open cockpit is a hoot to ride in. The tube & fabric body is quite a change for those accustomed to aluminum and titanium.

The cockpit is simple and you can see just how basic the tubular structure of the body is.

The prop is wooden, but it gets the job done.

The brightly colored tail is rakish – the color combo is spectacular. (It also makes you easy to spot after an “off-field” landing, a good thing if you’re a training aircraft!)

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