Category Archives: Flying

Fifi’s Final Day In SoCal

At least for this year.

We had a sendoff dinner for the crew.

Tomorrow morning she’s off to Bullhead City and parts beyond!

Thanks, big girl! It was great seeing you again. Until next time!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

The Next Two Weeks

If you’re local and you’re interested in some interesting and unique aircraft, you’ll have some great opportunities to see some gems in the next two weeks.

If you’re me and you’re still trying to get your annual audit and corporate tax returns done on top of having two major events going on at Camarillo Airport (CMA), you’ll have some great opportunities to have a nervous breakdown in the next two weeks. Consider this a heads up that there may be multiple days when a couple of pictures might be all I’ve got time or energy for. The good news is that they could be really good pictures!

Fifi is the CAF’s B-29. She visited us for a week two years ago and she’ll be back for a week starting tomorrow (weather permitting, of course).

Two years ago I spent every day of that week out in Camarillo, not just to see Fifi but to help out with all of the activity that will be surrounding her visit. With a (great!) day job now (and that audit etc) that won’t be an option. Which probably means that something like every other day I’ll be going out to the hangar after work in the evening.

The following weekend, April 28-29, there’s an AOPA Fly-in at CMA. Again, I won’t be able to be out there on Friday, but the rest of the weekend will be spent out there.

Oh, and did I mention that this weekend I’ll be running a 5K and going to the Angels’ game in Anaheim, as well as seeing my daughter and sister(s) and family?

“No pressure – no diamonds”

Yeah, that’s it. If I make it to May with the audit done, my blood pressure under control, and my sanity intact (or at least not any worse off than it is now) it will be time for a vacation. Which I won’t get until August.

It’s gonna be a slice!

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Filed under Paul, Flying, CAF, Airshows

Big Round Engines As Art

At air shows & around warbirds you’ll hear references to “the sound of round.”

Consider them as “industrial art” as well.

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Filed under Flying, Photography

Eight Years

The “Four-Four” mnemonic (as in April 4th) has a special meaning for me for the past eight years.

I have no idea who took the picture – some random stranger who happened to be in the right place at the right time. There was no one else around and I really, really needed the picture to be taken. I remember seeing someone walking by and I shoved my point-&-shoot camera at him and asked if he would take the picture. He did and walked away.

I was a bit discombobulated and excited – I had just passed my FAA Private Pilot practical exam (otherwise known as a “checkride”) and was now a full-fledged private pilot, single-engine, land. That’s my certificate that I’m holding.

I had been certain that I had failed the test. There were a couple of things that I didn’t do too well, and one particular thing I thought that I had bungled. (He cut the engine on me and asked where I would land. I started off on whether or not I could make it back to Whiteman, Van Nuys was too far away, there were multiple freeways around to choose from, a number of golf courses up in Santa Clarita… He pointed out, politely, that we were almost directly over Agua Dulce Airport and I should probably be aware of that sort of thing.)

We landed, I taxied in and shut down the engine. He got out and started to do paperwork while I pushed the plane back into its parking space and tied it down. He came back over to me and I asked what was next, expecting to be told I needed to work on A, B, C, etc and then I could take the test again. Instead, he said he was going to start filling out my private pilot paperwork inside, when I was done locking up the plane I needed to come in and sign it.

April 4, 2009. It was a very good day.

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Filed under Flying, Paul

Sunset + Airport + Moon + Contrail

That about sums it up!



Filed under Astronomy, Flying, Photography

Off At A Con

I’ll have to tell you more about it tomorrow or Sunday. I flew up to San Jose this evening and saw the most AMAZING sunset between two layers of clouds.


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Filed under Flying, Photography, Travel, Weather

PBJ Video – Really, Really!

I wish I could upload the full HD version of this. The current generations of iPhones are just freaking awesome in the quality they have. They run rings around what the network studios were using just fifteen years ago – and cost a couple hundred bucks and you carry them in your pocket instead of costing a couple hundred thousand bucks and needing to have them mounted on wheels with two people to move them.

But I digress.

The full video is 1.634 GB, which is about 20% of the disk space I have available on WordPress. I know that I’ll eventually have to expand my disk space, and expand the expense, but by that time it will be a toss-up on whether to stay on the site or to get my own in-house server and install a WordPress system. Either way, I was sort of betting on that happening in five or six years, not five or six months – which is what will happen if I make a habit of uploading full nine-minute HD videos.

I guess if anyone wants to see it badly enough, let me know and we can figure out a way for you to send a memory stick for me to use to send it back to you by snail mail. Or something.

In the meantime, QuickTime is very good about taking 1.634 GB, full resolution, HD videos and converting them to slightly less spectacular quality videos. It defaults to spitting out three versions, the first of which is for a “cell phone”. I don’t know what kind of cell phone they’re talking about but while it’s only a 5.6 MB file it’s also a teeny-tiny image that looks truly shitty on an iPhone, let alone an iPad or a desktop. QuickTime will also automatically generate an “iPhone” version which is moderately compressed, so it gets cut down to 62 MB. That’s way better than 1,633 MB!

The third version is a “desktop” version, weighing in at 94 MB, which I can live with. It’s not half bad, I hope you enjoy it.

A couple of things to note:

  1. Yes, it really is that freaking loud. That’s why the ground crew uses hand signals to communicate with the pilots.
  2. At about the 2:35 mark you’ll hear the engines “sputter” or “miss” for a half second. This isn’t a problem, it’s a routine test of the redundant magnetos that provide the ignition spark. As the pilot switches from “both” to “left,”, then to “right,” there’s a miss but it’s normal. Before flight, you want to make sure that both of them work independently if one fails.
  3. No, the propellers aren’t stopping or going really slow or running backwards. It’s just the “wagon wheel effect” where the rate of the RPM on the engine gets near, at, or a bit over some multiple of the frame rate of the camera.
  4. At the 4:30 mark you’ll see a Ventura County fire & rescue helicopter coming in on the left. Their hangar is the one you can just see on the far right, off in the distance. It’s really quite impressive to see that big Huey variant take off and land.
  5. A lot of the time we spend after the get the engines started is waiting for our turn to get on the taxiway. It was a nice day and there were a lot of other small planes tooling around. This also adds a delay once we get to the runway and have to wait our turn behind all of the planes landing and taking off in front of us. At about the 8:40 mark you can see, as Dan said, there are better than a half-dozen other plaens out there waiting their turn.

Enjoy! And if you’re interested and want to take a ride with us – I know a bunch of guys who can make that happen!


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Filed under CAF, Flying, Video