Category Archives: Flying

Wings Over Camarillo Preview

The air show is tomorrow and Sunday. I was out at the hangar tonight getting my financial ducks in a row (I am the Finance Officer for the CAF SoCal Wing, need to get cash boxes and paperwork ready for our various revenue points such as our PX booth [T-shirts, hats, toys, etc], our Beer Garden [margaritas, sodas, water, and snacks as well], our membership booth, and our ride sales) and took the time (I could I not!) to watch a few of the planes coming in and doing their practice routines.

Allow me to share!

(Click on image to enlarge to full size)

Our ramp has some sweet aircraft on it! Not only are our warbirds there, but there’s a P-38 Lightning, a Corsair, and a Warthog!!

Then the F-18’s started coming in and practicing. (Having two F-18s taking off in formation on full afterburners is an ASTONISHING thing to experience, even if it does leave you saying “What??!!” a lot for the next couple of hours!)

That sunset!! And then our Zero taxied in.

It would have been sweet to have the good camera (I didn’t, I went to the hangar straight from work) but this doesn’t suck!

I hope to see some of you this weekend out in Camarillo. For the rest of you, watch for pictures here and on my other social media.

For the really, really good photos (to be taken by pros who aren’t simultaneously running around like lunatics trying to be the finance guy) you can follow the CAF SoCal feeds on FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Panorama, Photography, Video

Wings Over Camarillo This Weekend

So last night I got sort of unexpectedly dark and pissy about missing Worldcon this year (AGAIN!!!) and while I feel fully justified in being pissed off about that, the reason we’re missing it is not without a bit of upside.

I’ve written and shown lots of pictures about previous yearsWings Over Camarillo airshow – it’s a nice, mid-sized show with lots of neat stuff to see, including all of the CAF SoCal planes we can get into the air. (For those of you who might just be joining me here, in addition to my day job I’m in my fifth (?) year as the Finance Officer of the CAF SoCal Wing.)

So if you’re in the greater Southern California area this weekend and you’re looking for something to do, swing on by! Aside from all of the other things there are to do at the show, when you swing by the CAF hangers (we’re at the far western end of the part of the ramp that’s open to visitors, four huge hangers and all the warbirds you can eat) and say hello. Ask just about anyone in a CAF shirt where I am and they can track me down. I’ll be running around like a lunatic all weekend doing Finance Officer shit, but there’s always time to say hello, both for old friends who might come out to the show and for new friends who I just haven’t met yet.

Oh, yeah, there might be pictures this weekend. Plane pictures.

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Filed under CAF, Flying

Bearcat Closeups

When you get up close and personal with an F8-F Bearcat, it’s all nut, bolts, wires, metal, grease, and rivets – designed to tear through the sky like a bat out of Hell! It’s a beautiful thing.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Smoky Sunset

As you might have heard, California is burning. On the other hand, California’s a pretty big place, so there’s nothing burning particularly close to us, at least not right at this second.

The closest fire here is the Holy Fire, down on the Orange County / Riverside County border, fifty or sixty miles away. But we still got a bunch of that smoke drifting over tonight and I was hoping it might at least make for a spectacular sunset.


I’m not saying that the view from the heat soaked front porch wasn’t nice, but it wasn’t a 10/10 sort of day, let alone “an eleven.”

I do love me some sunset silhouettes, though!

You can see the bands of smoke that had drifted to the west from the Holy Fire.

As the sun set you could see (click on the picture to blow it up to full size) little bright spots in the palm tree fronds as certain fronds caught the sunlight just right and reflected it in my direction.

Admittedly, a much better sunset than some of the completely cloudless, boring ones we’ve been having, but not an award winner.

There were some nice ripples in the cloud layer showing up as the sun got further over the horizon.

And that little dot out there just to the left of center (click to enlarge) is a 747 on its way into LAX from Singapore –> Hong Kong –> Anchorage. We see them out there like beads on a string, coming in from over the pole, down the coast until they’re off Malibu, then turning downwind over West LA, turning base over Dodger Stadium and Downtown LA, and then turning final into LAX.

This particular one was Singapore Airlines Flight #7972, at about 13,000 feet when I caught it, slowing down to 342 knots. How do I know?

There’s an app for that.

(Image from Flight Aware)

As I said, like beads on a string, another big jet off of Santa Monica about five minutes ahead of it, another just coming into Ventura County north of Santa Paula and Fillmore about five minutes behind it.

I hope the people on the starboard side of those flights had a nice view of the sunset!


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Filed under Flying, Photography, Weather

A Spooked Hawk

Yesterday when the Condors flew over, there was another creature in the skies nearby that wasn’t at all pleased with the company.

He was squawking pretty good!

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Filed under Critters, Flying, Photography


Yesterday the house was buzzed by a squadron of warbirds – the Condor Squadron out of Van Nuys Airport. Today I ran into one of their pilots at the CAF hangar and commented on how great it was to see them so close overhead. I was given the heads up that yesterday was a practice run for a memorial service near our house – tonight was the real thing. So I was ready.

In preparing this post, I’m struck by how much this view resembles the pictures of storks that I posted yesterday.

While three are painted in German markings, they’re all American AT-6 Texans – also known as SNJs when the Navy flew them, or Harvards when the British and Australians flew them.

They circled the hill I live on, giving a number of different views. They made three passes.

What struck me was the number of people on the street and in neighboring yards who seemed totally oblivious. I understand that no everyone’s going to be an “OOOHH, and AIRPLANE!!!” ga-ga sort of guy like me who’s going to grab a camera and run out into the yard, but for crying out loud! If you’re already out in the yard and you see these guys circling around just seven or eight hundred feet up, don’t you at least look up?

On the second pass, one plane popped smoke and went into the “missing man” formation over the memorial site a few blocks from us.

After that, it was time to form up, pass behind Castle Peak, and head off to the west toward Camarillo, where there was a retirement party tonight at our CAF hangars for one of the Condor pilots.

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Filed under Flying, Photography

Life Lessons From Flying

Many lessons learned while learning to be a pilot can translate well to “normal” every day life.¬†For example, fuel management.

It’s pretty important to not run out of fuel when flying. Ask the crew of the Gimli Glider if you don’t believe me.

Ditto with yourself in the slightly more metamorphic sense.

When flying, if something unexpected is happening and you’re about to run out of fuel, there are probably some warning signs. It might be natural to brush them off as a sensor error or some other minor flaw, but at some point you need to pay attention, possibly declare an emergency, and find a place to land **NOW**.

Ditto with yourself. Hopefully without the emergency part, but I guess there could be times when that comes into play.

Sometimes when flying you might foolishly know that you’re really pushing your luck on fuel capacity, but you really, really need to get there and get through, so you try to push it that teeny, tiny little bit more rather than landing for refueling… These pilots are generally known by the more common term, “statistics.”

Ditto with yourself. Again, perhaps not quite as drastic and life threatening, but a good life lesson nonetheless.

So tonight, when I had goals to reach and knew that I was tired and “running on fumes” but pushing it to get things done…

Let’s say that it’s a good night to recognize the signs, realize that none of those things is truly life and death, and to shut down **NOW**. Which is what I’m going to do.

Good night!

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Flying