018 – All Red Star Begins

After flying out to Los Angeles from Charlotte on April 25, I flew from Santa Monica to Porterville on the 26th with Gil Lipaz. It was a very good flight up accompanied by three very interesting aircraft. Gil flew Lead, and his father Michael Li-paz was ship #2 in his rare Yak 18T. #3 an 4 were a pair of atrractive single-seat Yak 50s piloted by Todd Robinson and Bill Von Helmolt.

The light was far from ideal for photography, being that a) we departed close to noon, and b) the sun was pretty much directly on our Six for the entire trip. However, Gil made one concession to photography when we approached some mountain tops covered with poppies, and he led our flight between two peaks covered in the red flowers. After about an hour in the air, we arrived at Porterville (KPTV), which will be our home for the next couple of days, as All Red Star begins in earnest on the 27th.

Michael Li-Paz owns one of only a handful of Yak-18Ts left flying in the United States.


Bill Von Helmolt bought this Yak 50 from an owner in Germany, which explains the German markings. The Yak has just come out of overhaul in Russia where it was practically rebuilt to zero-time


Todd Robinson also owns an eye-catching Yak 50. It is seen here in formation with Bill Von Helmolt Yak 50 as we weave our way between mountain tops covered in red poppies.


Michael  Li-Paz’s Yak 18T was better positioned for lighting as we flew past the poppies.


How often do you get a chance to photograph a pair of Yak 50s in formation?

On final approach to KPTV, Gil Lipaz put the formation in echelon right as we prepared for our break to land.

More to come from All Red Star in entries to follow

3 thoughts on “018 – All Red Star Begins

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