2018 – The Year in Review – Part 4

A week after I got home from my Florida trip, I was headed back out to the West Coast again, this time for All Red Star. This is one of the premier flying events on the West Coast and I was thrilled to be a part of it. I began by flying into LAX and meeting up with Gil Lipaz. We flew out of Santa Monica and led an interesting 4-ship formation to Porterville CA. This formation included Gil, his father Michael, flying his Yak 18T, and a pair of Yak 50s owned by Bill Von Helmolt and Todd Robinson

I flew from Santa Monica to Porterville on the 26th with Gil Lipaz in his handsome CJ-6

 

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

 

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

 

Bill Von Helmolt bought this Yak 50 from an owner in Germany, which explains the German markings.

 

While officially billed as an RPA event, All Red Star attracted warbirds of different feathers, including T-34s, T-6s, and several additional aircraft types.

 

One of the best-looking planes at All Red Star was Todd McCutchan’s handsome T-34.

 

Todd Shellenbarger flew the tan March T-34

 

Kurt Howerton, a veteran of All Red Star, recently replaced his CJ-6 with a Navion and, for him, it was like learning formation flying all over again

 

Dan Mintz was a ht with his “Mentor disguised as a Spitfire.”

 

My photo of Mike Reirdon’s T-34 graced the cover of the Winter Mentor Monitor.

 

Kurt Kohler came to All Red Star in this Commemorative Air Force T-6

 

Here is John “Flipper” Flippen in his yellow T-34

 

 

Flipper lines up for his “flour-bombing” run

My shot of Ryder Adams giving the “thumbs up” in his CJ-6 made the cover of Red Alert magazine.

Until this weekend, I’d had yet to photograph a P-51 air-to-air. Mark Peterson kindly helped me to end that drought by kindly posing his beautiful Mustang, “Diamond Back” alongside Dan Kirkland’s T-6, in which I was flying. Thank you, Mark!

 

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Fremont, MI for “Crimson Hole”, a formation clinic organized by Dan “Hole” Booker, the North Central Regional Director of the RPA. It was a relatively small event, but those in attendance made the most of the weekend.

 

More to follow

2018 – The Year in Review – Part 2

On Wednesday, February 21, I received an email from Ron Alldredge, telling me that he was going to fly his T-34 from his home airport in Tehachapi to Bermuda Dunes to treat Bruce to a flight in the Mentor. This was going to happen on Saturday, February 24. At this point, there was no way I was NOT going to be there! I called John Warwick in San Diego, thinking he might be free to fly me alongside Ron and Bruce to take some special pictures. John already had plans for the weekend. but he sent out an email to the Southern California warbird community, explaining what we were doing and asking if anyone would be willing to help. Sure enough, another Mentor driver, Tyler Trickey offered to fly down from March AFB to help. He said, “I planned to go flying anyway, so this gives me a chance to do something useful, different, and fun!”

L-R: Ron Alldredge, Paula Alldredge, Judy Walker, Bruce Walker, Tyler Trickey, Me

You can read the entire story in the first installment of my blog. Let it suffice to say that the stars lined up and it wound up being a simply amazing afternoon. Bruce went flying with Ron and I had the pleasure of flying with Tyler while taking pictures. It was an afternoon that am pretty sure none of us will forget. The warbird community is a lot more than simply boys playing with toys.

 

In 2017, Scott “Munchie” Andrews invited me to a formation flying clinic that he organized in Mesa, AZ. That was my first formation flying clinic and it opened the door to much of what followed that year. So, returning to Mesa on March 1, 2008, was a bit like coming home for me. Instead of being a total stranger, I found that I was familiar with most of the pilots involved, and also familiar with how the clinics worked. Many thanks to Munchie for helping me to get started.

 

On March 16, I drove the 5 miles to Concord Airport to meet with Dwane Ferguson, organizer of the “Cherokee to Oshkosh” formation clinics. “Ferg” picked me up at Concord in his Cherokee 6 and took me on to Ocean Isle Beach Airport. There, he met with half a dozen Piper Cherokees and pilots to conduct formation training. At first glance, it may not seem as sexy as photographing warbirds. However, I flew with a great group of guys who appreciated having a professional photographer along.

Dwane Ferguson’s Cherokee with a smoke system!

During the last week of March, I tossed two and a half weeks’ worth of clothing, camera equipment, and other supplies into my car and headed south to Punta Gorda, FL, by way of my parents’ home in Atlanta. Punta Gorda was the home spring formation flying clinic of the North American Trainer Association (NATA). T-6s and T 28s from around the country gathered there for a last-minute formation clinic just prior to Sun ‘n Fun.

One person at Punta Gorda single-handedly helped to make my attendance there a success…Walt Fricke, Chairman, CEO, and Founder of the Veterans Airlift Command. Walt owns both a T-34 and an AirCam, And he was very generous with his time in both aircraft for me. Flying in formation is a lot of fun and can yield some very good pictures. However, flying alongside a formation but not definitely in it, permits much more flexibility and creativity in framing my shots. Walt took me up on a couple of sorties in the T 34 and, damn, we got some great pictures. (Note to photographers: finding a pilot knows how to fly a photo ship is our equivalent to striking gold!)

We also did a great little two-ship ship formation flight with another T 34

Walt also took me up for a spin around the block in his AirCam

 

Along with a bunch of nice formation photos, I got plenty of single ship portraits at Punta Gorda as well

 

Then, it was on to Sun ‘n Fun. That will be covered in the next blog installment

 

2018 – The Year in Review – Part 1

As you probably know, 2019 is going to start out very slowly for me as I recover from a pretty major rotator cuff surgery. It’s going to be several months before I can even hold a camera, let along crawl in and out of the cockpits of most of the warbirds I fly in and with.  So while I am chomping at the bit waiting to start taking photos again, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at 2018 in review.

If 2017 was the year I discovered the warbird community, 2018 was the year that I really began with the purpose of making my mark in that community. In the winter of 2017 – 2018 was highlighted by a grand slam of magazine cover photos. My photos were featured on the covers of “Red Alert”, “Skylines”, “Mentor Monitor” and “Twin & Turbine”.

Typically, wintertime equates to hibernation for warbirds. Not in the Southwest, however. My first fly-in of 2018 began on January 26 in Palm Springs, California. 16 Beech T-34 Mentors descended upon Palm Springs, CA (KPSP) for the 18th annual “Meeting of Mentors”.  They came from as far away as Palmdale, San Diego and Phoenix to support the Palm Springs Air Museum, which sponsors a weekly aviation-related event for its visitors. This weekend gave the Museum’s visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the T-34s and their pilots, and it gave the pilots a chance to do some formation flying. The weekend also gave me an opportunity to fly with some of the T 34 pilots based in the Southwest United States. I was able to get photos of planes flown by:

Tom Mitchell

 

Chas Robertson

 

and Michael “Donut” Hohls

However, the real story of the day centered around the pilot I was flying with, Ron Alldredge, and it happened on the ground. To make a very long story short, Ron got to chatting with one of the spectators, a gentleman named Bruce Walker, who had learned to fly in the T 34 some 60 years earlier. Before long, Ron invited Bruce to make himself at home up in the cockpit and from there, a news story was born, one that would be played out later.

 

The following weekend, I was back out West to Yuma AZ to attend the Mooney Caravan Gunfighters Formation Clinic. In order to participate in a mass formation arrival into Oshkosh, pilots must undergo training to advance their formation skills. A total of 33 aircraft participated, which included 23 Mooneys, 4 Cirrus, 2 CJ’s, 2 T-6’s, and one each PA-28 and PA-24. All in all, the Mooney pilots flew some pretty tight formations.

The Mooney’s arrived with some interesting color schemes, and the Yuma area offers some exotic scenery

 

Scott “Gabby” Wallace showed up with his Nanchang CJ-6

 

Mike Pfleger owned, at the time, one of the best looking SNJs around. He has since sold it.

February 15 marked the beginning of Swamp ThunderSwamp Thunder, which takes place at Waycross, GA. Jon “Saber” Blake is the regional director of the Southeast region Red Star Pilots Association, and he believes in organizing two formal formation flying clinics each year. He explains, “I have encouraged the members in our area to organize their own get-together locally. We had a couple in 2018 but nothing like the year before. In some ways, Swamp Thunder is a good dress rehearsal for Sun ‘n Fun. For most of us, is the first opportunity to knock off the rest. This year, we had some weather challenges which several of our members away.”

One of the interesting visitors to Swamp thunder was Barry Ford and his Gyro plane. While he was unable to fly formation with anyone, that Gyro plane made for a pretty neat photo platform.

Here I am getting ready for a flight.

 

This is an interesting view of Jimmy Burke’s Yak 52 TW.

 

Larry Lee taxis in in his L – 39.

 

Despite some weather problems, Swamp Thunder still had pretty good attendance.

 

Here’s a shot of Wayne Altman’s CJ – 6.

 

Val “VD” Diers flew Hank Gibsons CJ – 6.

 

Mike “Pod” Foster is one of the Southeast Region’s check pilots.

 

Pod leads VD and Wayne Altman in a good-looking formation.

 

This formation was planned to show the primary RPA aircraft that showed up at Swamp Thunder

More to follow…

Wichita Bizjets

In December 2015 and July 2016, I visited Wichita KS for the purpose of writing an article about “Doc”, the B-29 that underwent an impressive restoration at McConnell AFB. While I was there, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wichita (ICT) is also quite an interesting airport, and photo access was mighty good. ICT is a bit off the beaten path, but, in my opinion, well worth the effort.

The only thing better than traveling with a terrific friend is traveling with a terrific friend who is easy to travel with! Phil Rose, I’m happy to travel anywhere with you!

 

N401XR;BEECHJET 400A; MSN RK-300; TEXTRON AVIATION INC

 

N302K; BOMBARDIER BD-100-1A10; MSN 20267; CORPORATE JET LEASING CO LLC

 

N7000C; BOMBARDIER BD-100-1A10; MSN 20225; CARGILL INC;

 

N968AG;CITATION 680A; CITATION LATITUDE; MSN 680A0018; TVPX ARS INC TRUSTEE;

 

N895QS;HAWKER 800XP; MSN 258606; NetJets Sales Inc

 

N7567T;HAWKER 4000; MSN RC-10;LIMA DELTA CO TRUSTEE

 

Victor White, Airport Manager at ICT, is a genuinely nice guy, as well as a fellow enthusiast. What a pleasure it was to meet him!

 

N245CM;LEARJET 45; MSN 403;CARGILL INC

 

 

N313BW;LEARJET 45; MSN 45-108;AND Inc

 

 

N345K; LEARJET 45; MSN 45-310; CORPORATE JET LEASING CO LLC;

 

N407BS;LEARJET 31; MSN 033;JETONE LLC

 

N601CN;LEARJET 60; MSN 087;CHICKASAW NATION

 

 

N740KD;LEARJET 45; MSN 2083;BANK OF UTAH TRUSTEE

 

 

N753A;LEARJET 45; MSN 528;N753A LLC

 

N849BA;LEARJET 45; MSN 454;LEARJET INC

 

N72GW; LOCKHEED 1329-25 JETSTAR II; MSN 5205; FIRST GUARANTY BANK

 

 

 

Wichita Airliners

In December 2015 and July 2016, I visited Wichita KS for the purpose of writing an article about “Doc”, the B-29 that underwent an impressive restoration at McConnell AFB. While I was there, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wichita (ICT) is also quite an interesting airport, and photo access was mighty good. ICT is a bit off the beaten path, but, in my opinion, well worth the effort. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Bombardier used Wichita as a test facility for its then-new C-Series.

After staking out a spot near the runway for photography when I first visited Wichita in December 2015, this was the first plane that landed! Imagine my surprise!

C-GWXJ;MSN 50003;AIRBUS 220-100;BOMBARDIER

 

C-GWYD;MSN 50002;AIRBUS 220-100;BOMBARDIER

C-GWXZ;MSN 50005;AIRBUS 220-100;SWISS

N866GA;DC‑9‑83;MSN 49910;Allegiant Air

N414NV;MD‑88;MSN 49766;Allegiant Air

N417SW;CRJ 200LR;MSN 7400; AMERICAN EAGLE

N864AS;CRJ-200ER;MSN 7502;AMERICAN EAGLE

N667GB;ERJ‑145LR;MSN 145784;AMERICAN EAGLE

N952LR;CRJ 900LR;MSN 15373;AMERICAN EAGLE

N995AT;B.717‑2BD;MSN 55139;DELTA AIR LINES

N601XJ;CRJ-200;MSN 8044;DELTA CONNECTION

N8965E;CRJ-440LR;MSN 7965;DELTA CONNECTION

N805FX;ATR‑72‑212(F);MSN 372;FEDEX FEEDER

N794FD;B.757‑222(F);MSN 26701;FEDEX EXPRESS

 

N248WN; .737‑7H4 (w); MSN 32509; SOUTHWEST;2000th 737NG

N35260;B.737‑824 (w);MSN 30855;UNITED AIR LINES

N124SY;ERJ‑175LR(ERJ‑170‑200LR);MSN 17000439;UNITED EXPRESS

N13913;ERJ‑145LR;MSN 145438;UNITED EXPRESS

N12122;ERJ‑145XR;MSN 145684;UNITED EXPRESS

N12201;ERJ‑145XR;14500959;UNITED EXPRESS

N917XA;B.737‑86J (w);MSN 32917;XTRA AIRWAYS

Wichita Citations

In December 2015 and July 2016, I visited Wichita KS for the purpose of writing an article about “Doc”, the B-29 that underwent an impressive restoration at McConnell AFB. While I was there, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wichita (ICT) is also quite an interesting airport. Several manufacturers of corporate aircraft are located either on the airport, or nearby. There were Citations aplenty, and photo access was mighty good. ICT is a bit off the beaten path, but, in my opinion, well worth the effort. This blog entry features Citations but stay tuned…much more to come.

 

Citation 510 Mustangs

N27369; MSN 510-712; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

N422TG; MSN 510-0429; 422 TG LLC;

 

N66D; MSN 510-0454; Aircraft Guaranty Corporation;

 

 

Citationjet 1

N326JK; 525-0511; Triangle Transportation LLC;

 

B-9629; 525-0645; Jet Asia Ltd;

 

PR-EXP; MSN 525-0482; Armazens Gerais Agricolas Ltda;

 

Citationjet 2+

N917SL; MSN 525A-0059; SLFH Air LLC;

 

N525AP; MSN 525A-0460; JetSeven LLC;

 

N715DL; MSN 525A-0481; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

N64LW; MSN 525A-0464; Textron Aviation Inc;

 

Citationjet III

N431CS; MSN 525B-0228; A & M Citation LLC

 

Citationjet IV

N217CJ; MSN 525C-0217; Textron Aviation Inc;

 

N318SB; MSN 525C0225; ETA PARTNERS LLC;

 

N166TX; MSN 525C-0166; T-Roy Aero Inc;

 

N34LA; MSN 525C0104; TCRG CJ4 LLC;

Citation Encore

N552CN; MSN 560-0674; Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma;

 

Citation Sovereign

N683SV; MSN 680-0003; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

XA-GME; MSN 680-0522; Mexico Transportes Aéreos;

 

N121LS; MSN 680-0076; Marlis Aviation Inc;

 

N637SV; MSN 680-0037; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

N247TA; MSN 680-0131; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

PP-UTC; MSN 680-0237; U T C Engenharia Ltda;

 

N681GF; MSN N681GF; Cessna Aircraft Company;

 

Citation Latitude

N613CL; MSN 680A-0013; Textron Aviation Inc;

 

N5262Z; MSN 680A-0017; CCC Isle of Man Ltd;

 

Citation X

N299CX; MSN 750-0299; TVPX ARS INC TRUSTEE;

 

N510CX; MSN 750-0510; TEXTRON AVIATION INC;

 

N902VP; MSN 750-0002; CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO;

 

N729VP; MSN 750-0510; TEXTRON AVIATION INC;

 

N50612; MSN 750-0117; VMD Aviation LLC;