Category Archives: Panorama

So Many Buttons & Levers

So many buttons & levers & instruments (and they’re all in different places!) and struts and new things!

(click to enbiggenate)

A small panorama from the back seat of the SNJ.

A lever and at least one gauge that I’ve never used before, since I’ve never flown a plane with a constant speed prop.

On the left side of the seat (you can’t see it in this view) is a big lever with a yellow knob, and at the bottom center of the panel are two green lights. The green lights are good because we were on the ground and the landing gear was down. Another new thing for me.

Also the first time with a stick instead of a “control yoke” – known to you and I as a steering wheel.

I have my pilot’s license. We need pilots at the CAF, particularly on the lower end aircraft like this one. (Everyone wants to fly the fighters or the bombers, the trainers are the poor sisters of the group.) If I could ever catch a break on my time demands (or make one) and could get current again in a “normal” aircraft (a Cessna 172 or 150 usually) then I could start training in the PT-19 and in a year or two…

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NFL Kickoff 2018

I do have a fondness for many different sports and my pro sports loyalties tend to vary. My NFL passions stretch all the way back to my childhood in Kansas City – I’m a huge Chiefs fan.

It turns out that this year in Week One of the NFL season my beloved Chiefs are playing the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers, so it’s not that hard to get tickets. So we did.

The Chargers’ current home field and situation is odd. It’s their second year in Los Angeles after abandoning leaving San Diego and their new stadium in Los Angeles (which is actually the Rams’ stadium but the Chargers will be sharing it) won’t be built until 2020 – maybe. So while the Rams abandoned St. Louis and are playing in the LA Coliseum for a few years (a historic site which has hosted two Olympics, countless USC football games, and seats 93,607) the Chargers are in a much newer and much smaller stadium (only seats 27,000 max, but has a half dozen sections tarped off with ad banners because they weren’t even close to selling out the place) designed for LA Galaxy soccer matches.

It was a nice day for a game – upper 80’s but with a breeze and we were in the shade for most of the game (stupid spinning planet!).

You notice several things at a live game, first of which is that when television is in a commercial break everyone stands around for about three minutes and fans who are unused to going to live games are wondering why nothing’s happening.

You also miss all of those graphics that you see on television, like the yellow line that’s superimposed on the image to show where the first down marker is. You have to do it old school and actually look at the yard markers that the sideline officials move around! How…archaic!!

The simple fact is that the Chargers aren’t drawing many Chargers fans. This shouldn’t be shocking, seeing as how a great many of the San Diego fans (who had been loyal for decades) are neither happy nor forgiving  about the team’s departure, and LA fans don’t consider the Chargers to be their team at all. Football fans in LA are starting to re-attach themselves to the Rams (who moved from here to St. Louis in 1995 before moving back in 2016) except for those who are still Raiders fans (a very non-trivial number of fans BTW).

Despite all of the pissing and moaning about how the great city of Los Angeles should have two NFL teams after going decades without having any, the Chargers are not that second team right now. They might never be. Looking at the end zone during the game you can see almost half of the fans wearing Chiefs’ red, not Chargers’ blue.

That got much worse late in the game when a couple of Chargers turnovers gave the Chiefs a big lead. The Chargers fans for the most part bailed early, leaving the remaining crowd about 90% or more dressed in red and cheering for the Chiefs.

Listening to some of the Chargers fans and season seat holders seated around us (our immediate area was at least 50% dressed in red) it sounds like this is normal for EVERY Chargers home game. In two weeks when they play the 49ers, all of the seats occupied today by Chiefs fans will be filled with 49ers fans. Then Raiders fans. Then Titans fans. Then Cardinals fans…

Again my “MBA brain” went to looking at this as a case study in marketing. It’s one of those “what NOT to do” scenarios.

But we had fun and we’re off to a 1-0 start! We have tickets to a game much later in the season on the road (a story for later) – I suspect I’ll be looking back fondly on the weather today. It won’t be anywhere that warm (or dry, most likely) for that game.


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Filed under KC Chiefs, Panorama, Photography, Sports

A Visual Representation Of Reality As It Currently Exists

Pretty much like this:

In other news, NaNoWriMo starts in 62 days. (If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, type that into the Search box in the upper right corner and wade through some of the dreck that I’ve spewed out in the past.) With the world still spinning chaotically in at least five dimensions, what could be more insane that tackling it again this year?

Oh, yeah, doing that and starting to train for a marathon again at the same time.

For when good, old fashioned, “have you been smoking those mushrooms again?!” crazy won’t do!

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Filed under Panorama, Paul, Photography

TOTALITY!! One Year Later

Yeah, it’s been a year. Damn.

We were right…THERE!

(Map courtesy of Xavier M. Jubier at

(Map courtesy of Xavier M. Jubier at

We had clouds and didn’t get a perfect view, but did we ever get a spectacular one, with storms all around us.

(Click for full-sized image – it’s worth it!!)

The two minutes and 38.4 seconds of totality were one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Even through the clouds.

The next total solar eclipse in the United States is on April 8, 2024. (Really, check out Xavier Jubier’s website and maps, they’re spectacular!!) I’m looking at southern Texas for the best chance of clear skies and the maximum totality in the US (over 4:20), eastern Indiana or western Ohio to be with the most fannish friends (3:57 north of Dayton) – but there’s a good chunk of northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine that’s in the path of totality where I’ll tons of family and friends from high school (but only 3:33 of totality north of Burlington).

Decisions, decisions!

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Filed under Astronomy, Panorama, Photography, Travel

Wings Over Camarillo Saturday 2018

It’s been a long, long day. A pretty good day, a good airshow – but a long day, with another to start early tomorrow.

Here are a few quick pictures from today.

(click to get the full sized image that you can scan through in detail to your heart’s content)

Right outside my “office” there was a Warthog and a Hornet – and a bunch of our planes – and a P-38 Lightning and a P-40 and a Corsair (yes, it was in “Black Sheep Squadron”) and…

When I’m busy doing the work, it’s important to stop for a minute every now and then and remember, ‘WOW!!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Panorama, Photography

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

A Packed Ramp Pano

With three hangers in use for parties today (it’s one of our key revenue sources, a GREAT place for a wedding, birthday party, bar/bat mitzvah, quinceanera, retirement party, movie shoot – seriously, it’s the biggest venue in Ventura County) a lot of the planes were parked out on the ramp. It was a good time to go stand out among them and take a nice, wide panoramic view:

(Click to blow it up to full size)

Most are CAF aircraft, some are owned by CAF SoCal members, some are AAF aircraft.

From left to right (more or less):

  • T-34 Mentor (orange, black, and white)
  • PT-19 Stearman (blue, yellow, red & white rudder, over by the corner of the hangar)
  • PBJ (grey, the big bomber)
  • A-2 Alon (white & red, in the foreground)
  • L-29C (silver jet)
  • A6M3 Zero (dark green with red dot, way off behind the L-29C)
  • Spitfire (dark brown, behind the tail of the L-29C)
  • C-46 Commando (Silver, huge cargo plane in the background)
  • P-51 Mustang (silver, red nose)
  • F-6F Hellcat (dark blue, big white star, in between the C-46 and P-51)
  • UH-1 Iroquois (dark green helicopter with a red cross on the side)
  • B-25 (dark green bomber facing away from us, a cousin to our PBJ)
  • L-17 Navion (silver, in foreground)
  • T-6 Texan (yellow, behind the Navion)
  • C-47 Dakota (brown & khaki camouflage, behind the SNJ)

The majority of these aircraft are flying. The C-47 is being restored by the AAF, our C-46 hasn’t flown in a few years and would need some work to be airworthy again, and the UH-1 helicopter has actually been converted into to a fancy & stylish promotional beer wagon. The other twelve? All have flown recently, and at least four of these aircraft were flying today.

If you’re in the Southern California area, you should come out and visit us some time. Visit on a Saturday and I’ll probably be there, I would be glad to show you around.

Better yet, come out in three weeks for the Wings Over Camarillo airshow. Not only can you see all of these aircraft, you’ll see a ton more, with many of them (including just about anything we can put into the air) flying and performing aerobatics. Bring sunscreen, we’ll sell you the beer, soda, margaritas, other folks will sell you the food, it will be a great time!

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Filed under CAF, Panorama, Photography