October 02, 2012

The 2012 Grand Junction Airshow

This post is part 1 of a 2 part article… This initial post will focus on the Airshow in Grand Junction Colorado… Part 2, will focus more on the “Cattle Baron’s BBQ and Tailhook Gathering.

The weekend of September 21-23 I found myself on the western side of the Rocky Mountains to attend the Grand Junction Airshow.  I had received a “Media Pass” to the event due to my affiliation with The Tailhook Association as the Editor of “The Tailhook Daily Briefing”, the association’s online blog presence.  Now, ‘Media Passes’ sound all glamorous and preferential and all… but in reality all they do is allow for access to the field on the Practice Day and then grant me early access to the field on the Show days with preferred parking.  (hmm maybe that is preferential…)


As a certified “Aviation Geek”, I look forward to this event every 3 to 4 years, it is really too bad this is not an annual event because the venue is fantastic!  Grand Junction Airport is nestled up against the “Bookcliffs” Mesa, with Mt Garfield providing an appropriate bookend to the range.  These cliffs provide for an excellent backdrop to photos taken at the show.

Also, Grand Junction’s Airshow is still small enough to have that wonderful ‘Down Home’ feel to it. It is reminiscent of the older style of airshows, much more intimate with attendance measured in the thousands instead of the 100’s of thousands like Miramar.  Never the less, it was still quite beneficial for an aviation photographer like me to have access to the flight line the day before the crowds align the rails.

Friday morning, Ginger, Ken Schoeni (who had flown in the day before from his home in Seattle) and I all piled into the GMC and began our roughly 4 hour trek west along I-70 over the Rockies.  The drive was splendid… Vail Pass was decked out in all of its Autumn Glory, the aspens presenting explosions of gold among a sea of evergreens.  We arrived at the Hotel in Grand Junction right on time, checked in and headed to the room to deposit our bags.  Ginger had some work to follow up on so she took the opportunity to hole up in the room and catch up.  Ken and I headed over to the Airport.  Actually, since we were close enough, we walked the mile from the hotel to the West Star Aviation Terminal where I had been told my Media Pass would await.

Inside the terminal lounge, a variety of people were milling about.  Many were West Star employees trying to finish preparations for the show, coordinating everything from fuel for the birds to beer for the spectators.  But also loitering were the various airshow performers including a couple of the ‘civilian’ acts, the Navy Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration guys of VFA-106 outta Oceana, and the V-22 Osprey folks from VMM-166 “The Sea Elks” from Miramar.  I took a few minutes to introduce myself to the crews, toss about some casual conversation and then proceeded to the counter to inquire about my media credentials.

The young lady (fresh outta high school by my estimates) behind the counter greeted me politely, but then her look rapidly turned to one of confusion.  Apparently not an uncommon look these past few days.  They seemed to embrace their disorganization more as the status quo than the exception.

“Um… What Media list?” was the response I received from young blonde…

Rather than try to explain what should have been there behind the counter, and apparently wasn’t (…I’ve tried that pointless action before only to end up right back where I started, shorter on patience and 5 minutes closer to my death than I had been…), I simply excused myself for a brief moment to make a phone call.  To the Director of Marketing for the show.  Within five minutes, the media list was delivered to the girls behind the counter, with my name clearly in attendance.  “Sorry for the mix up Mr. Carmichael, please go right ahead…”  And off to the flight line, camera gear slung over my shoulder I went.  I had Airplanes to photograph!

There is something very surreal about walking onto a flight line that is fully decked out in preparation for the masses to attend, yet few people are about.  A photographer’s dream, not having to muscle your way to the front, fighting for a vantage point without obstacles, like speaker stands, trash cans, umbrellas, kids!  Nirvana I’m tell’n you! 

V-22On the apron static displays abound.  Dominating the landscape is one of VMM-166’s V-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Aircraft.  In its shadow, a WWII vintage TBM, looking very well preserved considering her age, a great testament to the love and care provided by her owner.  I crawled all through that TBM and with the exception of an oil leak from the cowling… which in these aircraft simply means, “She ain’t Empty!” it was immaculate!

TBM Cockpit HDR

Further down the line were many more aircraft and helicopters, like this CH-53E pictured below. DSC_0304a

But alas, I was here for the flying!

The first to go for the Friday practice sessions was VFA-106’s US Navy’s Super Hornet Flight Demonstration crewed by, LT Tony “Neon” Rizio and LT Jacob “Rooney” Lerner.  And I had front row seats!  --- of course, in hindsight, that might have been poor planning on my part!

Neon and Rooney

Ya see… their crew chief directed them out for what was to be a "Right Turn Out"... Which, woulda been fine with me...

What none of us expected was the 170 degree right turn! As I was filming, I realized in a classic "Ahhhhh Craaaap" moment that the Blowers were about to point right at me, just as the "Need for Speed" - (Taxi Speed anyway) came upon the crew. Lemme tell ya, that zephyr is hot! And quite gusty!

F-18 cans

I maintained my stance amazingly enough (well, I took a knee actually!), but the VIP folding chairs behind me got blasted all over the Grand Junction Apron! Oh and so did the rest of my camera gear including 2 lenses that happened to be sitting on one of the now "Gone With the Wind" chairs!

Yard Sale Yard sale 2

I captured and assembled a little video (amateur as it is...) that shows the initial taxi, the turn , and then some stills of the after... The video concludes with stills from the debrief where 'Neon' and 'Rooney' are told of the carnage.  [Link]

Ah well, the hazards of Naval Aviation!

The only real casualty of having that big blow dryer pointing at me is that my big lens, the 70-300mm, took a tumble and pretty much has given up the ghost.  I know what is now on my Christmas list!

DSC_8675The crew chiefs of VFA-106 were really cool however, and after “Neon” and “Rooney” were well on their way down the taxiway, they came over to help reset the chairs and pick up my yard sale of lenses and other photographer paraphernalia.  Also, when the second crew taxied out for their practice hop, the Crew Chief had already briefed them of “Hurricane Neon” and recommended they keep the right turn to 90 degrees… “Grippy” and “Trig” obliged. 

VFA -106 Grippy and Trig taxib

The rest of the day was uneventful… well except for the Sound of Freedom from the Super Hornets, the V-22 Osprey, and oh yeah… the Blue Angels!

VFA -106 Grippy and Trig low transition touch n go

VFA -106 Grippy and Trig low transition touch n go 4

VMM-166 Sea Elks V-22 Taxi-a V-22 Forward Flight

Fat Albert

Fat Albert Landing  Fat Albert Banana Pass

Blue Angel #1 Greg Mcwherter 2

Blue Angel #1 Crew Chief  Blue Angel #1 Greg Mcwherter Smoke Check


Blue Angel Diamond Practice 1

Blue Angel Fortus

Blues #5 Sneak Pass

Blue Angel #5 Min Rad Turn

Blue Angel #5 high speed

Blues Crossing

More images from the show can be found on my Smugmug pages here: [Link]

Part 2 Soon to come… The Party!

October 2, 2012 in Aviation, Navy, Photo, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


April 29, 2012

Shuttle Enterprise fly-by and Pneumonia

Just two highlights of an interesting week in New York.

I was in NYC for the past week taking care of my client obligations… Y’know the usual work gig.  This week however had a couple of added twists.  I already wrote about my trials in simply getting to the Big Apple… It only got more challenging from there.  On day two, I started to notice the onset of what I initially thought was a sinus infection… Upon my return to Denver and subsequent doctor’s visit I learned that nope… I have pneumonia.

One of the real highlights however of the past week, outside of some genuinely successful and rewarding client visits was that I had the opportunity to witness the last flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.  Although using the adjective “Space” in her naming is a bit of a stretch considering “Enterprise” never experienced space travel.  “Enterprise” was the designated test article of the shuttle program, specifically built to test the glide and landing characteristics of the new vehicle.  But still a cool piece of hardware associated with a now bygone era in America’s declining dominance in Space exploration.

Originally Enterprise was scheduled to fly from Dulles where she had previously resided as a major attraction at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Part of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Complex) on Monday of this past week, however due to the same storm front that forced my unexpected stop in Philadelphia the transport was delayed until Friday.  Enterprise was being flown to New York as the first step in transferring her from the Smithsonian to her new home onboard the USS Intrepid Museum.  The Smithsonian had received the Shuttle Discovery the week before and was swapping exhibits.

So on Friday morning I identified the flight route the Shuttle and Shuttle Transporter (a modified Boeing 747) were to fly and realized that she would be coming right up the Hudson River doing a U-turn around the Tappan-Zee bridge, about 4 miles from our office.  So there was a good chance I would be able to see this historic flight for myself if I was able to attain a good vantage point.

As the time approached, I stepped into my Boss’s office (the CEO of our company) and said, “Hey, y’wanna go see the shuttle fly by?”  To which, my slightly confused boss said “Sure!”

Out the door we went, looking for a good vantage to a westerly view.  The top level of the Parking garage at the White Plains Train Station was the perfect spot, if we couldn’t see her from there, we wouldn’t see her from anywhere in the town. We hustled on over and got to the top level right on time, we were up there only a couple of minutes when from the south approached the mated pair, Shuttle and 747.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my Big 300mm lens attached, but I did the best I could with the 200mm I had.  This first image gives you an idea about our general view…

shuttle fly-by4

Then with the zoom capabilities I did have I captured these…

shuttle fly-by2

shuttle fly-by

And then as she began her final turn back to the south and her eventual home in Manhattan…

shuttle fly-by3

I was glad I had the opportunity to witness this first hand, yet saddened by the fact that the United States appears resigned to no longer leading the way in Space and Science exploration…

At the arrival of the Shuttle Discovery at Dulles last week, a young child asked a current NASA astronaut what he should study in school in bettering his chances of one day becoming an astronaut… the Current Astronaut simply replied “Study Russian”.

Ouch… Truth hurts…

April 29, 2012 in Aviation, Current Affairs, Just Plain Cool | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


April 23, 2012

Case III Recovery to a LaGuardia Wave-off

Yesterday I flew from Denver to New York for a scheduled week of presentations and client visits.

All was going quite well initially.  My Frontier airlines flight departed on time amazingly enough (despite two similarly routed United flights posting a 2 hour delay).  I sat, mostly comfortable (as comfortable as a economy airline seat can be) traversing the countryside at 500 miles per hour, enjoying the distraction of the 4 inch TV broadcasting from the seatback in front of me.

I can’t say I was surprised when about 3/4 of the way through the planned duration of the trip, somewhere over western Pennsylvania, I noticed we took a significant left turn.  Followed shortly by another left turn… and alas another followed by another.  Yep your typical holding pattern.  I changed channels on my video, first to the moving map display to confirm my suspicion, yep… we had apparently joined NASCAR… then I changed to the Weather Channel to see the onus of our penalty laps. 

Gleefully explained by some tight skirted blonde with a pair of “Store-Boughts”, the New York Metro area was getting pummeled by 40 knot winds and torrential rain!  About that time the Captain came on the PA to explain what I had already deduced… we’re gunna be delayed.

We continued in marshal for the better part of an hour, finally released to our approach into LaGuardia through still angry skies.  The airbus? She was a’buck’n.  But alas our Cowgirl of a pilot pressed on!  We continued the approach bouncing off airborne moguls with all the dexterity of a drunk hippopotamus riding a pogo-stick!  Our bus driver ever determined pressed on though the murk… “down” appeared an easier direction to maintain.  No comfort in that by the way…

As we proceeded through the soup, altitude, attitude, and bearing all appeared to be mere suggestions… and even that a stretch!  We broke through the clouds at a mere 600-800ft, and the runway?  It was Dutch rolling!  Out MY WINDOW!  (remember, I look out the side of the plane…).

I’m pretty sure our Captain made a Bovine Scatology reference and then pressed the throttles forward!  Really forward!  We climbed… and there was much rejoicing!  We eventually poked our nose through the top of the turbulent cloud deck, and heard the voice of our frustrated Captain inform us that we were running out of “Go Juice” and would be modifying our itinerary to include a stop in Philadelphia!  Yep, we made yet another left turn and headed south.  About 30 minutes later we arrived in the city of brotherly love… or at least their airport.  It was 1:25am.

Oddly enough our plane did not taxi to the terminal in Philly.  In a heavy rain, we taxied out to the far east section of the airport and set the parking break in front of the Signature Air terminal.  Engines secured, the airstairs drove up, door opened, and in walked 4 soaked, reflective vest clad ground crew.  One I swear was holding a credit card swipee thing… No, no need to fill-er-up, we’re just going a few blocks!  The gas truck pulled up, and added needed ballast to our wings.

We hung out, there on the apron, passengers awaiting their turn for the head (toilet) and others continued watching the Food Network programing droning on in front of each of us.  Many also texted our plight to friends and family in an effort to reswizzel completely FUBAR’d logistics.

Me, I pinged Ginger and gave her the promise I’d let her know whatever happened, as it happened.  What the hell else was I gunna do? 

After another hour bored on… and amazingly enough the same chick who had won on “Chopped” earlier in the night won again!  It might have been a repeat of the same show… We were cleared to try again at LGA.  Yippie!  Load her up in the shoot again!  Let’s see if we can stay on the whole 8 seconds this time!

We got airborne quite expeditiously and turned north, toward the city that never sleeps… wondering when I would.

We broke through the cloud deck at an uncomfortable 400 feet, and proceeded to land after a somewhat less dramatic approach, reverse thrust kicking up the two and a half inches of rain that had fallen on the runway that day.  Taxied… and eventually parked.  That is the emptiest I have EVER seen LaGuardia!!! 

The one smart thing I had done is checked the Metro North Railway schedule to learn that the trains did not… train… between 2:30am and 6:00am… it was now a few ticks past 3:00am.  So taking a cab to Grand Central Station would be pointless… borderline stupid.  Yep, was gunna have to pay the fare to White Plains.  Assuming there was a cab to be found!  You see, cabbies in New York have learned over the years that hanging out past midnight at an airport where the last scheduled arrival is 11:30pm, is only good if you want to nap.  There were no cabs… there, I said it… IN NEW YORK!  I COULD’T FIND A CAB!  I or 130 other passengers of our flight… So I walked to the middle roadway and hailed a car service!  White Plains please… Ok. 

Fastest I’ve ever got to my hotel from LaGuardia actually.  I walked in my room at 4:15am… Have to be at the office in 4 hours… easy peasy! 

And that’s just day one of the trip!  Looking forward to my Earth Day Celebration with the GSA tomorrow.

Me? Tonight?  I have a date with my eyelids and my pillow!  G’night!

April 23, 2012 in Aviation, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


April 01, 2012

Shot of the Night!

Spent my day relaxing on the veranda here at Casa de Carmichael…  It was a balmy 80+ degrees here in the Denver area, and I didn’t have a tee time. So I resigned myself to being a lazy bum under the blue skies. 

I did, as I often do, have my Nikon sitting next to me incase the world passing by presented opportunity.  Actually I was presented with a few this afternoon, mostly shots of the cats, an occasional bird or two and one pissed off squirrel that Scrunch (my cat) had tree’d.

But much of my attention was drawn to the blisteringly clear blue today, I watched as countless airliners flew over on their approach to Denver International Airport (KDEN… or DIA to the locals).  As the half moon climbed overhead I noticed once again that the approach path followed by the aircraft was nearing an intercept course with the moon, which would present another opportunity for one of my usual moon crossing images. I’ve taken a few of these in my history as a photographer, but they are always a fun challenge.

I must have waited and shot dozens of planes as they came close but never quite crossed the moon.  Day moved into dusk and I was hoping to get a good image of a plane, highlighted by the sun crossing the moon’s path, but alas it was not to be… (A number came close… but just not there).

It was getting dark now, and my chances for my desired shot were rapidly decreasing with each minute after the sun had bid its farewell.  I was about to pack it in for the evening when I saw a behemoth of a bird (a Boeing 767) approaching from the southwest.  I thought, well I’ll give one more try. 

I altered my settings on my camera to be able to take the shot handheld, and expose properly for the moon’s brightness against a darkening sky.  I advanced the ISO to 1600 to allow for a 1/200 second of a shot to reduce as much motion (my motion that is) blur in the resulting shot.  I focused on the approaching plane noticing that indeed it was looking promising for passing across the moon’s face.  But damn that plane was dark… I heard the voice of the wingman in Star Wars ringing in my ears… “Stay on target…” I continued to pan with the plane… and as I saw the glow of the moon enter my view I squeezed the shutter in multi-shot high frame rate mode… all 6 shots per second of it! 

And sho-nuff!  Bagged me the image I was seeking!  Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Plane Crossing the Moon

I know it’s a little dark, but again I was exposing for the moon, not the plane so the details of the 1/2 moon are prevalent.  Besides, it was more night than dusk by this time!  Below are the sequenced shots leading up to and following this one… (each has been lightened a bit so you can more clearly see the plane as it approached).  I really liked shots 5, 6 and 7.


And there you have it.  Love that Nikon by the way!  9 shots in rapid succession, low light an all!

April 1, 2012 in Aviation, Just Plain Cool, Photo | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


March 21, 2012

Moving on…

I wanted to give Lex’s dedication a proper life here on my pages as the post you land on when visiting Carmichael’s Position.  It is hard to believe we were all struck with the news of our friend’s passing two weeks ago now.

In that two weeks, the rest of my world blurred a bit.  Not because of accumulated tears, though there were those… but more because life’s obligations did not let up in his passing for the rest of us.

Me, after hoisting numerous Guinness's – for strength – I had to get my act together, get all my shit in one sock and then “Move On”. 

Moving on for me involved my work obligations, which required my presence back in New York City, the “Center of the Universe” (their opinion… not necessarily mine!).  Work was good.  Fifteen meetings in 4 days is not an effort to be made by the weak or meek… Although being 10 pounds lighter and possibly five laps less around the sun might not have hurt none… I was beat by the end of the week.  It’s good to be exhausted once in awhile.  All of the meetings went well and were productive.  I like our clients, they are good, hard working people.

In the course of my daily rounds I occasionally have opportunity to work on my passion of photography.   Unfortunately, I was mostly disappointed in my efforts this time around… be it poor subject matter choice, poor composition or the occasional poor technical settings, I was not excelling at my hobby.  I did however, manage to capture a couple of images I rather like, and after posting these on my Facebook pages, others have liked them as well… I am flattered and humbled by their appreciation.

The first one I took while waiting for my train’s departure from Grand Central Station.  I had to have a long exposure due to the low light conditions in GST.  What I captured was all of the motion of the busy transportation hub, all better exemplified by the still, motionless photographer in the middle of the bustle, trying to secure a photo of his own…

GST Photographer

And the second image from the trip, was taken on the way home after the long week.  From seat 7F of a Frontier Airlines Airbus 319, meandering along at 34,000 feet and 486kts, I looked out my window and was captivated by my view.  Through an arch created by two spent thunderheads, in the setting sunlight, a cumulus cloud was highlighted in all its grandeur.  It was fascinating and I had to take a crack at capturing it through the double plated window. Here’s my result.

Sunset 34000ft 

This week following has been busy as well, always is after a trip back to NY.  Plenty of life’s daily’s to keep me busy and focused.  That’s a good thing… sure beats the alternative.

March 21, 2012 in Aviation, Photo, Travel, Weather | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


March 07, 2012

Talk Among Yourselves

LexIt is with heavy heart and tear filled reddened eyes that I write this post this evening.  I am not sure exactly when I will press the “publish” confirm on this as the news has not yet been made public.  Of course, by the time you read this the news will have been.  But right now, I need to write…

This evening I learned of the death of a fellow Blog Buddy and writer extraordinaire Neptunus Lex (Captain, Carroll LaFon USN(Ret.)).

Article [Link]

My words this evening I’m sure will not come easy, which is somewhat ironic considering that for Lex the opposite always appeared to be the case.   I first started reading Neptunus Lex some nine years ago now, back in the early days of the Blogosphere… There were fewer of us then and his prose stood out as something to take note.  He used polysyllabic words in proper context and could offer up a Latin phrase without consulting wikipedia!

Truly a renaissance man, his blog became a regular daily read for me and… as the years advanced, for literally thousands of others.  I first found myself drawn to his Blog due to his fantastic yarns of Naval Aviation daring do known as Rhythms.  It wasn’t so much the plot, as I have heard many a similar tale over the years, but more in the way he spun the words.  Rather than bringing the story to you, he brought you to the story.  It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, yet Lex could create a picture in far fewer.

Lex died this morning doing what he loved to do, fly!  We knew this as his love was so skillfully rendered in his years of digital pages, and we were captivated by his love affair.  We all anxiously awaited his next post telling us how his flying day went.  There will be no more posts…

Lex’s writings were not solely dedicated to Naval Aviation, no… as I said Lex was truly a renaissance man, he shared with us philosophic insight few scholars can match.  He had a way about him to boil down what many of us were thinking about an issue but we lacked the vocabulary or literary dexterity to convey properly in prose.  Lex nailed it time and time again! 

One of my favorite posts of his was on “Belief” and exactly what he believed in… http://www.neptunuslex.com/2003/10/22/beliefs/.  I walked away from that post concurring with… well hell… All of it!  Wishing I could learn to write well and assemble my thoughts a little more productively.

Another perhaps a proper legacy is Lex’s account of Ulysses… the hyperlinks are important.

I will miss him.  I know I will catch myself looking wantonly at my links in the left pane here of Carmichael’s Position looking for Lex’s next post… knowing grudgingly it will never come.  I will resign myself to reading his archives once again, enjoying his legacy, his advice, and his turn of a phrase. 

A few days ago, Lex himself expressed concern and prayers be shared for the victims and their families of a tragic helicopter accident in the training grounds of Yuma Arizona.  Little did he realize just how prophetic his words would be…

“It’s a dangerous business even in peacetime training, but you never quite grow used to this sort of thing…Prayers for their families, if you’re the praying sort.”

My prayers are surely with, The Hobbit, Son Number One, The Biscuit, and Kat.  His family… and thanks to his words… ours too!  We have always been here for Lex, now we are here for you!

God Bless… And thank you for sharing him with us all these years, you are not alone in your grief!

On days when Lex did not have the time to publish profound works of art, he was always kind enough inform us that his posting would be sparse for the time being.  He often would throw us a bone in the form of a controversial news link and then allow us all to voice our commentary in his comments section.  His final words would be “Talk Amongst Yourselves” as he proceeded to carry on with his life.  Now we are left to only… talk amongst ourselves, but you know he’ll be following the threads.

Thank you Lex… Here’s to you, and those like you… damn few left!

For more tributes to the man… (recommend having a hanky handy) might I suggest:

March 7, 2012 in Aviation, Current Affairs, Navy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


September 21, 2011

Interview Help

No I’m not looking for a new job…

I am starting a project, of both a personal self-interest as well as an historical interest.  As most of my readership is aware, I am the son of a fairly successful Naval Aviator.  Recently dad was approached by a friend of his who was interested in his “History”… he,  having been there done that and owning the tee-shirt.  Dad has never been one to share too much about his Naval Aviation history, it was simply a job after all… However, this particular query got dad to thinking that he is indeed willing now to regale us with a few of his tales and share some of his hard earned knowledge of how things were, how things should have been, and what we may learn from the experience.

To wit, he has asked his #1 son for my help.  As you know, him being a proud father and all, has some misguided thought that I am a proficient writer who despite never having worn the wings of gold, nor trapped upon a 98 thousand ton aircraft carrier is still a slightly knowledgeable Naval Aviation Historian who can assist in this pursuit.  Helping him remember critical dates and event in which he was personally involved will help jog the memories of long past exploits, will be my charge.

Obviously, I am going to leap at this opportunity.  In the ides of October we(Ginger and I) are heading back to Jacksonville for a few days to assist Mom and Dad in Mom’s requirement to return yet again to Tampa for her quarterly CT scan and ongoing cancer treatment follow-up.  I plan to use this time to begin in earnest to capture and document pieces of the Hoagy Carmichael and Carmichael family historical record.

Where I need your help faithful readers, is asking what should I ask? 

Dad flying VA-35 1969 lgWhat is most interesting in understanding the personal insight of a Man who was always there in the thick of historical events that even today continue to shape our nation’s decisions.  Events like the Iranian Hostage Crisis, where as Commanding Officer, his ship USS Midway was first on Gonzo Station, the Mayaguez Incident in May of ‘75 where his Airwing (CVW-15) was called upon to strike Kompong Som on the Cambodian Mainland, or numerous critical airstrikes in and around Hanoi in 1971.

I lived though this history, yet was not personally involved.  He lived, making this history, and I think it will be an interesting opportunity to see and hear though his recollections what it was really like, in a more human and personal way.  Not just hardware, tactics and timelines, but from a human perspective of friends, family, squadron mates, ship mates and the ever present politicians. 

What do we want to know?


September 21, 2011 in Aviation, Biographical, Military, Navy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 17, 2011

Now that’s a Week of Variety

Finally back at home after  10 days of serious “Jet Setting”. 

Started last Thursday with a trip to Reno for the annual Tailhook Symposium and Reunion.  That whirlwind trip included a trip up to Lake Tahoe, a Winery Tour, a 4 hour Mixer with 3,000 of my closest flight suit clad friends, an awards luncheon where two very close friends of mine – Hans and Kathy Schmoldt- won “Honorary Tailhookers of the Year”, various symposiums, a couple of trips to In and Out Burger, more than a couple of trips to the “At your leisure Beer Taps”, and finally a banquet with 1,800 in attendance where Senator John McCain was the Keynote.  All in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation!  Trust me… a great time was had by all!

Lake Tahoe Sunset 2

Lake Tahoe Sunset

John McCain and Rabbit at Tailhook 2011

John and Ginger at Tahoe DSC_0883

Then, back home to unpack and re-pack for my trip to New York for work… 

Monday I was up with the dawn patrol, wheels in the well at 0700 for my monthly visits with clients and co-workers.  Non-stop from the moment I touched down until I was once again wheels in the wells headed back to the Mile High City.

In New York I visited Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, White Plains and then in New Jersey I saw the lovely towns of Phillipsburg, Elizabeth and Newark (tongue firmly in cheek for those last two… those two towns couldn’t find lovely if it bit them!)


Verazano at Sunset

One break from the usual fare of client visits came in the form of a company outing to Citi-Field to take in a Mets Game!  Despite being a bit of an on-again off-again rainy day we had a blast! I had not been to Citi-Field and was pleasantly impressed.  Still can’t get over the air traffic passing in close proximity as they shoot the Expressway 34 approach into LaGuardia.





werth at the plate




It was all fun and productive, but lemme tell you, I’m glad to be home…

September 17, 2011 in Aviation, Just Plain Cool, Navy, Photo, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


August 28, 2011

Rocky Mountain Airshow 2011

Went to the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (formerly Jeffco) open house and airshow today.  It afforded me the opportunity to exercise the new Nikon D7000 for a few 100 rounds.

Still plowing through the images to identify the best of the litter but here’s a taste:



And then, so far my only HDR to turn out well (again no tripod and holding the camera perfectly aligned for three exposures is a bit of a booger)… I give you the Surreal Super Hornet!


More to come…

August 28, 2011 in Aviation, Navy, Photo | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


December 14, 2010

No Meteors for Me

Last night was supposedly one of the best nights to witness the Geminid Meteor Shower.  I headed out in the chill of the evening to see what I might be able to capture with the camera.  Answer:  Squat! 

I did see a couple of meteors shoot past, but of course my camera was pointed in a different part of the sky.  Plus I was having fits with all of the light pollution in my neighborhood, and with it being a “school night” and all (having a 7:00am conference call wasn’t enticing either) I didn’t want to go out and locate a good dark area into the wee hours.

I took a few long exposures and honestly wasn’t real happy with any of my results save one… this one was a long exposure of a plane (at cruise altitude) plowing west toward a setting crescent moon.  I thought I’d give it a try.  What was captured was… the reflected contrail (left part of the trail) and his strobes as he neared the moon.  The moon is entirely blown out due to the long exposure, but I thought it was kinda cool anyway.

plane and moon

Now, back to work!

December 14, 2010 in Aviation, Photo, Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack