023 – MIAMI, 1976

After being stationed in England between 1973 and 1975, my next (and last) permanent duty station while on active duty with the Air Force was in Homestead FL, a stone’s throw from Miami International Airport. Miami, a veritable Mecca for airline enthusiasts. What a time to be at Miami! The air was still filled with the smell of Avgas, and the sound of big round engines. As airplane photographers went, I was still a bit wet behind the ears. I’d started out shooting in 1969 using black and white print film, and later graduated to color print film on 1972, just in time to enter the US Air Force. My first permanent duty station was RAF Bentwaters in England. I discovered the world of airplane spotting but unfortunately, most of my negatives became collateral damage during the divorce of two friends.

Meanwhile, in mid-1975, thanks to the influence of two friends, Bill Hollis and Bruce Drum, I switched to color slide film. I still wasn’t completely in the Kodachrome camp, but I was improving. I’ve said many thousands of times that I would give just about anything to be able to go back to those glory days with today’s digital camera and lens equipment that is now available to us!

Here is a great example of “Corrosion Corner”, the northwest corner of the airport, where the UPS facility now stands. CC-CCB, C‑46A‑CK, MSN 45. LASA

__________

BWIA has long been a fixture at MIA. One of its brand-new DC-9-51s is seen touching down on Runway 27L. 9Y-TFF, DC‑9‑51, MSN 47737. BWIA West Indies Airways

__________

In the mid-70s, Miami Airport was ripe with Canadian traffic

C-GCPW, B.737‑275, MSN 20959, Pacific Western Airlines

__________

C-GQBG, B.707‑123B, MSN 17647, Quebecair

__________

CF-CPF, DC-8-43, MSN 45620, CP Air

__________

CF-TJC, DC‑8‑43, MSN 45444, Air Canada

__________

CF-TIH, DC-8-53, MSN 45933, Air Canada

__________

The most exotic airliners came from Central and South America, as well as other points throughout the Caribbean.

HC-AZQ, B.720‑023B, MSN 18037, Ecuatoriana

__________

 

HI-212, B.727‑1J1. MSN 20426, Dominicana de Aviación

__________

HI-427, DC‑8F‑54, MSN 45684, Aeromar Int’l Airlines

__________

HK-1802, B.707‑123B, MSN 17638, Aerocondor

__________

HK-724, B.720‑059B, MSN 18086, Avianca Colombia

__________

HK-774, L.188A, 1083, Aerocondor

__________

TG-AZA, BAC 111‑516FP, MSN 231, Aviateca Guatemala

__________

YS-01C, BAC 111‑409AY, MSN 108, TACA International

__________

And while we considered the foreign airline movements exotic, we can now look back fondly at the domestic traffic, as well.

N1335U, DC‑9‑31, MSN 47393, Southern Airways. Less than a year after this photo was taken, N1335U crashed near New Hope GA after both engines flamed out in a thunderstorm.

__________

N152US, DC‑10‑40, MSN 46761, Northwest Orient

__________

N1635, B.727‑95, MSN 19251, Delta Airlines

__________

 

N1807, DC‑8‑62CF, MSN 45904, Braniff

__________

N1816U, DC‑10‑10, MSN 46615, United Airlines

__________

N32PB, C‑53B‑DO. MSN 4827, Naples Airlines/Provincetown Boston Airlines

__________

 

N37573, DC‑6B, MSN 44897, Mackey International Airlines

__________

N68055, DC‑10‑10CF, MSN 47809, Continental Airlines

__________

N813BN, DC‑8‑51, MSN 45642, Braniff

__________

Yes, it was a great time to be in Miami.

022 – All Red Star Photographed from the Ground

While it’s always special to take air-to-air photos at these events, it’s impossible to catch every plane. Still, there were plenty of interesting and colorful airplanes at All Red Star. Of course, Mark Peterson’s P-51 was the de facto star of the show.

__________

There was one non-warbird transient helicopter worth photographing

__________

Speaking of helicopters, Mike Quataker had a rare Bell-47J at KPTV

__________

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

__________

There were a good number of T-34s at ARS, including John “Flipper” Flippen’s yellow Mentor.

At the beginning of the bombing contest, Flipper found a way to get everyone’s attention!

__________

Mike “Donut” Hohls brought one of the two orange-and-white T-34s at ARS.

 

__________

Mike Reirdon brought the other orange-and-white Mentor.

__________

All Red Star attracted quite a variety of colorful Nanchangs.

__________

There were several Yak 50s at ARS, including these two

__________

There was only one Yak 52 at All Red Star, but it was a beauty!

__________

 

General aviation aircraft were also welcome and encouraged to participte.

__________

The winner of the bombing contest was close enough to NAFOD that a) I understood how he got his call sign, and b) he darn near spilled his beer!

 

 

 

021 – The Journey Home Begins

After two and a half fun-filled days at All Red Star, it was time to head home. The first leg was the most fun…another formation flight from Porterville back to Santa Monica. Once again, I flew in Gil’s backseat. We accomplished an element takeoff with Michael’s Yak 18T on our right and  Ryder Adams in his CJ-6 trailing us. However, since the Yak 18T was my primary photo subject on the way up, we moved Ryder over to our right side after takeoff to take advantage of the morning sun as we winged our way south.

 

We made an element takeoff with Michael on our right wing.

 

Early on, we encountered some cloud layers that made for some interesting photography

After takeoff, we crossed Ryder to our right. He has obviously flown in front of a camera before…

 

While Ryder was certainly not camera-shy, it also helped that Gil had an eye for what was going to look good through the camera’s lens. He positioned us perfectly for me to capture Ryder’s Nanchang against some spectacular scenery.

 

That brings me to what I felt was the best shot of the day

 

Gil wanted me to get a good shot of his wing flying formation with Ryder

 

Ryder never took his eyes off of Gil, who was flying Lead

 

His hands, however, were another thing…

 

All it all, it was like pulling teeth to get Ryder to smile. NOT…

 

As we approached the Los Angeles metro area, Ryder detached and headed to Hawthorne Airport. At that point, we moved Michael over to the photo side, since he was feeling a little neglected.

 

As we neared Santa Monica, the scenery changed drastically.

 

And on final approach to Santa Monica, we passed by some high-value real estate

 

Thanks to Gil, Michael, and Ryder for a great flight home and some terrific photography

 

020 – ARS Second Full Day

Some days, you’re the big dog and some days, you’re the fire hydrant. Saturday morning was the Mass Formation, the idea being to put 26 warbirds in the sky and create one big formation to fly over Porterville Airport and the town. We’d done a lot of talking about the best way to photograph the Mass Formation. Robert “Speedo” Genat, editor of Red Alert magazine, planned to photograph it from a helicopter. The plan for me remained a moving target. Plan A was to go up in a T-6, but when a second Texan showed up, it was decided to put both of them in the air at the tail end of the formation. At that point, I was limited to a non-warbird type to be flown by a pilot who was not terribly worried about flying in the Mass Formation.

Someone suggested the Lancair, since it had a nice big canopy, although it could not be opened in flight. It wasn’t ideal, but it sounded like it would work…until I tried to squeeze into it. There was barely enough for my big butt, and no room to maneuver my camera. At that point, we decided to try Dan Mairani’s Marchetti SF260 which, to my untrained eye, looked like a bigger version of the Lancair. I was able to get inside AND have room for my camera, as well.

After an extended briefing for the Mass Formation, we had a separate briefing for us and also Mark Peterson, who was going to perform a fly-by in his Mustang. Our plan was to take off early and wait for the 26 warbirds to form up and prepare for the “Money Run” over the airport and town. We would orbit about 500 feet above the formation and fly alongside, snapping away.

It was a good plan, and Dan and I headed off into the Wild Blue, enjoying good conversation and some great flying weather. We also kept in touch with Mark in the Mustang, since we were the two planes not an integral part of the formation. We finally began picking up various elements of the formation, and began to fall in above and alongside. We kept a respectful distance for safety, but unfortunately, photographing through a plexiglass canopy just didn’t work well. Still, we closed in as the formation approached the proverbial initial point, where the planes would wheel around to the left and form up for the run over the airport.

And that’s when it happened. We were positioned ahead of the formation, so Dan flew a 360 to get a better position on the formation…and we lost them! Don’t ask me how, but we lost a 26-airplane formation. Our eyes were straining as we searched the friendly skies for 26 warbirds. We heard the formation Lead call for smoke on and we figured that would be our ticket to catching up with the formation.

Oh, never mind. The rest is to painful to recall. The bottom line is that I was the fire hydrant on that flight. I was relieved when I set off on my next flight. This was a real dissimilar formation. I flew with Ryder Adams in the Lead plane, a CJ-6.

Craig McCully was #2 in his CJ-6.

__________

Kurt Howerton flew #3 in his Navion.

___________

Dan Mintz was in the #4 position in his T-34.

__________

The final official formation flight of All Red Star was on Saturday afternoon, as I went up in back seat of the Lead T-34 with Don Ramm at the controls.

 

Kurt Kohler was #2 in the Commerative Air Force T-6

__________

Mike Reirdon flew in the #3 position. My photo of Mike’s T-34 graced the cover of the Winter Mentor Monitor.

__________

And, once again, Dan Mintz flew in the #4 spot.

__________

This formation brought to a close my flying for All Red Star 2018

 

019 – All Red Star – The first full day

After spending Thursday afternoon getting organized, flying began in earnest on Friday morning. I was fortunate to get up in four separate flights during the day. The first flight of the day was a training flight for Bill “Dozer’ Von Helmolt, who flew Gil “NAFOD’” Lipaz’s CJ-6.

I flew with Chuck “Cowboy” Crinnian, and was able to capture some video from an interesting perspective, a camera mount on the canopy of Cowboy’s CJ-6

 

 

__________

 

The second flight was another two-ship. 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, He says, “The Navion is a fun plane to fly, but it is not an aerobatic plane, and I just can’t be as aggressive with it as I could with the Nanchang. Nevertheless, there is value in this sort of training. On this flight, I flew in NAFOD’s back seat. The Navion is a graceful plane, and Kurt’s plane sports an attractive color scheme.

I also got some interesting video of this training flight

 

 

__________

 

After lunch, I went up in a four-ship formation of Mentors, flying as #3 with Steve Geary. Lead was flown by John “Flipper” Flippen in his yellow T-34, and Dan Mintz was in the #2 position in his “Mentor disguised as a Spitfire.” Tedd Shellenbarger flew #4 in the tan March T-34

__________

 

By the time we got back on the ground, it was just about Miller Time. But not quite. I was pleasantly surprised when Dan Kirkland came up to me and asked if I wanted to take some air-to-air shots of Mark Peterson’s P-51. “When?” “Now, grab your stuff and let’s go!” Now, since I began my love affair with warbirds, I had not had an air-to-air session with the elusive “Pony”, and I jumped at this chance. Dan was actually going up on a training flight with the yellow T-6 flown by Kurt Kohler, and Mark was going to take one of the event organizers for a joy ride, so they decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to take photos of the Mustang. My arm needed no twisting!

 

And here was the Catch of the Weekend….

It was the perfect ending to a great day.

 

 

 

 

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

017 – Other good stuff at Sun ‘n Fun Part 2

Here are some more photos taken from the warbird parking ramp, a.k.a. Runway 5/23

N19TN, NANCHANG CJ-6A, MIKE “POD” FOSTER

__________

N134JC, BEECH A45, T-34, JULIE CLARK

__________

NL7227C, BOEING B-17G, AMERICAN AIRPOWER HERITAGE FLYING MUSEUM

__________

N67496, BT-13A, MIKE REISCHMANN

__________

N1004N, SCOTTISH AVIATION SERIES 100 MDL 101, BULLDOG, STOKES DAVID

__________

JON BLAKE’S CJ-6, N40369, TAXIES IN WEARING ITS BRAND NEW SHARK’S MOUTH

__________

N214CR, BEECH AT-11, HESS FRANCES

__________

N502DD, BEECH G-18S, BALLISTIC AIR

__________

N380, BA-42, BEECH E-18S, TESSOS AIR SERVICE

__________

N63947, BOEING A-75N1, PT-17, STEARMAN INC, STEARMAN

__________

N147MV, GRUMMAN G-73T, SPITFIRE VENTURES

__________

N40369 & N53CJ, CJ-6, JON BLAKE & AHMED RAGHEB

_________

N63151, NANCHANG CJ-6A, KELLEY RICHARD

__________

BA-764, BEECH H-18, DAKOTA EXPRESS

__________

2318, HC-144A, US Coast Guard

__________

1704, HC-130H7, US Coast Guard

____________

NX711LC, L-39C, AIR FORCE ONE LLC

__________

N30U, AERO COMMANDER 560-A, MAIN SCOTT

__________

N80HQ, CITATION 510 MUSTANG, WHITESTONE EQUIPMENT LEASING

__________

N772S, DH-104 DOVE 6A. MARCRUM DON

__________

N411VV, AERO COMMANDER 520, JENS PLANE LLC