Category Archives: Flying

No Context For You – July 18th

Well, maybe a tiny little bit of context.

This isn’t exactly “Find That Lizard” quality “no context” material (that makes sense in my head – you’re on your own) but what I wanted to show you is that mask. I found them early in the pandemic and lockdown. They’re custom printed with an FAA VFR map for the area of your choice. Mine are for Camarillo Airport.

These days the folks who do these are also doing shirts, hats, pajamas, all sorts of things with your choice of maps on them. That’s clever. That’s ingenuity at work. I hope these guys are making a fortune.

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Filed under Flying, Photography

Calm Alternative

So, having utilized and enjoyed the Calm app yesterday, tonight I used it again for a while. And found that I need a bit more variety than rain on the strawberries or babbling brooks.

Not in a music mood (which is…odd) either, so what’s a good alternative?

Thanks, brain! That’s a good suggestion!

The app fit the bill just fine, the LAX Tower (North/South) feed to be specific.

Whoever said that air traffic is picking back up hit the nail on the head – it’s almost midnight and the incoming and outgoing traffic is constant.

It’s a comforting noise for a pilot who hasn’t been in the left seat in far too long. Sort of like listening to a baseball game, wonderful, calm, happy background noise.

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Filed under Flying, Health

Big Clouds, Mid-Sized Jets, Tiny Hummingbirds

Big clouds. Broken. Puffy. Probably VFR conditions breaking through that deck, but I don’t know if I would push my luck and go through on a check ride.

More clouds to the north but a different pattern. Can you see the tiny hummingbird?

Now can you find the tiny hummingbird? How about the mid-sized jet? A Southwest 747 to be exact, going straight in to Burbank Runway 8. Small compared to the clouds, huge compared to the hummingbird, mid-sized compared to a 747.

It’s all perspective.

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Filed under Birds, Flying, Photography, Weather


I’ve mentioned just how much I enjoy hearing the big 747 jumbo jets (usually cargo runs to Asia) coming out of LAX and flying right over our house several times a day. The other interesting thing to me is just how attuned I am to hearing that really deep, bass rumble as they go overhead.

(Image: Flightradar24 app)

On this day, the one I heard was shown in red, with its flight path indicated. But when I saw that, I saw another one following it (circled, over Santa Monica Bay). So I grabbed the camera. (DUH!)

I spotted it coming up from the south, probably just off of the Malibu coast, about fourteen miles away.

Closing fast and climbing.

From the first picture to the last, less than two minutes passed.

As with the Vogon Destructor Fleet, jumbo jets float there the same way that bricks don’t. (In this case it has a lot to do with thrust and lift…)

Right overhead.

Almost into the Sun. I can see the headlines now…

“Local man goes blind looking at Sun through telescopic lens while taking pictures of ordinary cargo jet out of LAX – stupidity expected to be involved.”

Off it goes to the north.

Finally vanishing from view off to north, again, probably fifteen to twenty miles to the north, right about…

(Image: Flightradar 24 app)

…here! Off to Inchon in South Korea. Hopefully a boring thirteen hours!



Filed under Flying, Photography

Not An Aircraft You See Every Day

Out at the CAF hangar today we were taking delivery of an unusual aircraft.

It’s a Fieseler FI-156D Storch, a German designed WWII aircraft.

This one was partially disassembled for transport to us from San Bernardino County, with the fuselage on one truck, the wings on another, and the propeller, horizontal stabilizer and other parts coming in separately.

It’s a fixer-upper (as many CAF aircraft are) but that’s what we do, and this aircraft will probably be flying again in 2-5 years, depending on our volunteer manpower, workload, and of course, funding.

To be honest , this aircraft is in MUCH better shape than some we’ve gotten. Some are 15-20 year projects, if we’re lucky. Here we at least have an engine and all of the major parts.

A peak inside the floor of the cockpit, showing the foot controls for rudder and brakes.

And the big picture at the firewall, engine mounted to the left, controls and cockpit on the right.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Random Old Photos – March 23rd

Mr. Peabody, set the WayBack Machine to April, 2006, a bit less than fifteen years ago. I was in my MBA program at Pepperdine and I remember being out in the Riverside area for something. It just so happened that there was an airshow at March ARB out there that weekend, so I stayed the extra day and went to see the Thunderbirds and all of the other planes.

My photography skills weren’t quite up to snuff at the time (I think I had just gotten the telephoto lens and was deep into the learning curve of how to use it) but if you take 1100+ pictures in a day, a few of them probably won’t suck.

It’s odd to see some of our current CAF SoCal aircraft there, although it’s before the name change, and I don’t recognize the pilots. (It was about seven years before I got involved with the local Wing, but I might have been a member by that time.)

It’s also odd in today’s world to see tens of thousands of people packed together in the shade under a B-52 or up against the flight line fence when the jets are flying, and not a single face mask in sight.

The face masks may linger in the future, and it’s not impossible that they’ll become the norm in crowds just because the world has changed, but I am looking forward to at least getting together with 100,000 of my closest friends to watch aircraft fly for the day. Maybe later this year, more likely next year – most of the local airshows are either canceling or on the brink for 2021.

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Filed under Airshows, Flying, Photography

Hiker Down, Choppers Up

Just to our west about three-quarters of a mile you get into some park and wilderness areas, with Castle Peak the most prominent feature. I’ve shown it to you many times since we moved in here almost two years ago.

Folks go hiking here (which is good) and occasionally have an accident (which is bad).

Much like my experience with the cargo 747’s going overhead and rumbling the house, our first indication of a hiker in distress is usually the sound of multiple loud LA City or County Fire Department helicopters orbiting repeatedly past our house.

The green line will show their path over the last hour or so… This guy was the eyes, followed by the actual rescue crew.

And if we need confirmation,

What did we do before we had these supercomputing telecommunication devices in our pockets? Just stand out in the yard and wonder what the helicopter was doing?

More importantly, what did the hikers do before they had them, or had rescue helicopters? I mean, besides bleed and pray to be found by someone friendly before the coyotes found you first?

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Filed under Castle Willett, Flying

C-47 Dakota

Not something we see every day, at least, not with the engines running!

The American Aeronautical Foundation has a couple of planes out at Camarillo and rents space in our hangar and on our ramp. (Their B-25, “Executive Sweet,” is excellent!) This is their C-47 Dakota, which hasn’t flown in a while.

But they’ve been putting a ton of work into it recently and today was the first day that I’ve seen where the engines have been running and it was moving around the airport under her own power.

Here you see it alongside our C-46 Commando, “China Doll.” The C-47 didn’t fly today, at least not that I saw, just taxied around the airport and ran up the engines. But they’ve got to be getting close!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography


Maybe I’ve been to too many airshows (like there could ever be such a thing!) or maybe I’m just attuned to the noises that planes make, but I’ve recently noticed something and tested out my theory yesterday.

Sometimes when I’m working in my home office I will hear a deep rumbling that will last for several minutes. It’s plenty loud enough to get my attention, almost like a large semi idling while parked outside – but we’re on a narrow side street at the top of a freakin’ huge hill, so we get very, very few big trucks up here. They can come up here – the trash trucks are weekly visitors, and every now and then we’ll get a big moving truck or something, but they’re rare. So when I start noticing these sounds several times a week, I got curious.

Yesterday it was cloudy and cool, and that might have helped with the acoustics. But when I heard the sound and it had been going on for a minute or two, long enough to register, I went outside to look. The sound was quite distinct, but fading off to the north. A quick check of my FlightRadar24 app confirmed my suspicion:

We may be on a very narrow, steep hill which discourages trucks, but we’re also directly under the flight path for jumbo jets heading from LAX to Asia. While a great many of the newer big jets have much quieter engines, the older jets are noisy, and many of them have been converted for cargo. That rumbling I had just heard was a KAL cargo 747 headed to Seoul.

Is it repeatable?

Two hours early I heard it again and didn’t wait, immediately went outside. Too cloudy to see anything, but the app showed that it was another cargo 747 headed to Seoul, this time from Atlas Air.

I love the sound of jet engines in the morning! Or, in this case, the late afternoon and evening. Or whenever.


Filed under Flying, Los Angeles

CMA’s Neighbors To The South

The CAF Southern California Wing’s hangars are at Camarillo Airport (CMA) and we have a neighboring airport just a few miles to our south, the Naval Air Station Point Mugu. It’s a great place for an airshow every couple of years (if we can ever get this COVID-19 bullshit behind us) and they fly some out of there, but there’s not a ton of air traffic in and out of there. It’s not like living next to MCAS Miramar or NAS Oceana where you can see a pretty steady stream of fighters, cargo aircraft, and reconnaissance missions.

But as I was leaving yesterday, this big guy was lumbering in from the north, hanging there exactly the same way that bricks don’t.

He was a ways off, turning to final approach, but I’m pretty sure that’s a C-5 Galaxy. Usually the cargo planes going into Point Mugu are the smaller C-130 Hercules (back when I was flying I had a couple of them on long finals that I gave a wide berth, because the wake turbulence can be a bitch and a half if you’re in a tiny Cessna!) but today we had something large being moved.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography