Category Archives: Video

Spectacular SpaceX Launch

Tonight SpaceX launched a large weather satellite out of Vandenberg just after sunset. We know from experience that this can lead to some truly spectacular views in the Los Angeles area.

Since we’re now in a home at the top of a hill with a decent view to the west (Vandenberg is to our northwest and they’re launching to the south, so the rocket goes directly to the west of us) instead of one at the bottom of a hill (this hill, in fact) with the hill blocking the horizon to the west, I was hoping we would get some decent views. I was not disappointed.

With advance warning of the launch, I decided to try my first FaceBook Live streaming video of the launch. There were lessons learned and things to do better next time, but I think that it turned out pretty well all in all. You can watch it:

HERE

It starts as we’re about a minute or so before launch and in the background you can hear the audio from the SpaceX webcast. You’ll also hear the dulcet tones of me and my gravelly, nasal voice trying to give some sort of running commentary, and occasionally going a bit ape. Did I say that we had “decent” views? Try “spectacular” views!

You can fast forward to about 3:45 to when I first see the rocket coming up over the hill. At 5:05 the first stage shuts down, the stages separate, the second stage lights off and heads south to deliver the satellite to orbit, and the first stage starts puffing clouds of gas from the cold gas control thrusters as it maneuvers. (This whole thing is utterly amazing and colorful and freaked out more than a few people in LA who didn’t know what was going on.)

At 08:20 the first stage re-entry burn starts as the first stage slows and aims for landing back at Vandenberg. (It fell below the hill again after the burn ended so I couldn’t see the landing, but it did occur and was perfect.) From there on I follow the second stage and satellite, which was visible all the way to second stage engine cutoff!

That’s freaking amazing, just astonishing.

Enjoy the video, and if you’re in the LA area, keep an eye on the SpaceX feed (or on my FaceBook and/or Twitter feed) for the next dusk launch.

In ten years I would love to see these things be weekly events. In twenty I would love to see them daily.

We’re spreading off of this planet and becoming a multi-planetary species!

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Filed under Space, Video

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

No Context For You – July 08th (Video)

Sometimes the pocket supercomputer/library/entertainment/communication/ubertools just get a mind of their own. There are some odd things found on there some times.

As someone who earned a check writing computer programs for many years back in the day, I have a general belief that the machines do what we tell them to – we just often don’t understand what we’re telling them to do, so we act baffled when they do it.

I haven’t checked this frame by frame, but it doesn’t seem that there’s anything nasty or indecent in it. The likelihood of that being true is helped considerably by the fact that my life is pretty boring and mundane.

This may or may not be a good thing.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Video

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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Filed under Flying, Travel, Video

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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Filed under CAF, Flying, Video

No Context For You – March 10th

No – it’s not the number of traffic accidents tomorrow which are caused as a side effect of Daylight Saving Time going into effect over most of the United States.

But that’s a good guess!

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Filed under Paul, Photography, Video

Cloud Activity

I absolutely love the time lapse photography functions built into the iPhone. Add it to a rare day in LA where there’s a bit of weather moving through…

Now if I could just figure out how to get ride of the reflections off the inside of the windows. (There’s a “bar” across the top of the image about a fifth of the way down – that’s the top of the file cabinet the camera was tilted up against.)

Still, nice clouds. Next maybe some lightning? Please?

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Filed under Video, Weather