Smoking the Nosewheel of the A380

Touchdown of an airliner almost always results in a big cloud of smoke as the rubber burns off the tires when they spin up to speed after first contacting the runway.  Lots of tires can mean even more smoke and the 20 main tires on an A380 should mean a lot of smoke.  Less often noticed is that the same thing happens when the nose gear touches down.  As I shot this A380 landing at LAX, I happened to catch the smoke from the nose gear as it hit the ground.

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Clouds Over the Valley

My trip to Rainbow Canyon gave me plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as the jets only showed up infrequently.  It was a cool and clear day on the whole but there were some times when clouds moved in.  This caused me some concern since I didn’t want to wait for a long time and then have jets show up when the valley was socked in!

Fortunately, the clouds did not get in the way of the main focus of the trip.  We did get some clouds drifting over the valley far below us.  We also got little puffs of cloud working their way up the canyon.  One bank of cloud rose out of the canyon and across the ridge on the opposite side from me.  I watched it drift across the surface gradually obscuring areas that had been clear a moment before.

Another small cloud formation drifted up the canyon towards me.  It was an isolated little cloud and it drifted in my direction and floated up over the edge of the ridge and to one side of where I was standing before it dissipated.  Then it was all clear again and I could go back to waiting for the jets.

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El Al 777 Overwing Vortex on Takeoff

Engine nacelles are optimized for cruise performance.  At high angles of attack, their shape results in some rather awkward flow properties which can influence the wing performance above and behind them.  In order to control things, you will see small vanes attached to one or both sides of the nacelle that generate a vortex that stabilizes the flow somewhat.  As an aircraft rotates at takeoff, the strength of this vortex increases and it will often become visible as moisture in the air condenses within in.  This vortex will stream back up and over the leading edge of the wing.

When you are inside the aircraft, this is pretty easy to see provided the conditions are right.  From head on or aft they are also quite conspicuous.  It isn’t often that you get a good view from above.  When I was flying over LAX in the helicopter, the aircraft departing from the north complex had better light on them.  However, the runways are offset so the rotation point is further west and beyond the area in which we are allowed to fly.  However, you can get a view from above and behind as the jets get airborne.  An El Al 777 took off while I was up and I managed to get some shots of it as it rotated and climbed away and the vortices were clear to see as the angle of attack increased.

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Manhattan Sunset

My departure from New York was out of Newark Airport.  The day was coming to a close as we taxied out for departure and the turn after take off gave me a view back across towards Manhattan.  The sun was getting low in the sky so, while the sky behind the city wasn’t glowing, the light on the city was really nice.  Not a bad view as you start the long trip home.  Fortunately the winds were favorable and the trip back took an hour less than expected!

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Gulfstream from Above

Getting the airliners coming in to LAX was what I was aiming for but I was pleased to get a bizjet bonus.  A Gulfstream made an approach to the northerly runway complex.  This was a surprise to me as the facilities for corporate aviation are on the south side of the airport so an approach over there would seem to have made more sense.  As with some other arrivals, I wasn’t complaining.  An aerial shot of a Gulfstream was very welcome.

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Going Mirrorless

Being late to the party is something that I make a habit of.  You could also be more optimistic and say that I am not an early adopter.  A number of friends and colleagues have added a mirrorless body to their collection of gear and I have followed suit.  I am perfectly happy with the performance of my SLRs.  This was to add something rather than replace something.  The primary interest was in size and convenience.  There are times when lugging the heavy bodies around is just inconvenient.

I went with an EOS M6.  I did consider going with a different manufacturer but using other equipment I already have was one factor.  Another was that this camera gave me an option I was quite keen on.  It has a screen for use while shooting but it also has an optional viewfinder to slot into the hot shoe.  This was discounted to only $11 when I bought the camera.  I like a viewfinder hit am okay with a screen.  Nancy, on the other hand, does not like screens so the viewfinder can be brought along if required and will make her happier to use the camera.

So far my experience with it has been very good.  Image quality has been fine, the controls are good and let me make adjustments without needing to enter menus.  The flippy screen is really handy and the kit lens fits plenty of needs.  The app that works with it is also pretty handy which gives a few options I wish the SLR could match!  The time lapse functionality is good too.  I have not tested it fully with my range of lenses and will do so at some point.  However, for what I bought it for, it is doing the trick nicely.

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NASA’s DC-8 Is Watching Me

While hanging out at Rainbow Canyon awaiting the next jet, someone was flying high above.  They were pulling a contrail at their altitude so you had a really good idea of their flightpath.  They were flying regular extended orbits above us.  The racetracks they left in the sky made it all pretty simple.  A look at an ADS-B tracker told me that this wasn’t a tanker waiting for trade.  It was NASA’s DC-8.  This is a rare beast indeed and, while still a long way off, I was glad to get a shot of some sort of it.

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Flatiron Building for Real

When I worked in Oakland, I got some images of the building on Broadway and Telegraph that slots into the narrow wedge shaped plot of land.  In my post on that building which you can read here, I talked about the Flatiron Building in New York.  Finally, on a work visit, I got to see the original (assuming it was built first).  It happened to be right next to the place I was meeting a colleague for dinner.  Couldn’t resist taking the camera along for that.

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Bounce It Down and Do It Again

Since the Growler crews were training as if they were on the deck at sea, they don’t flare their landings at all.  They hit the runway hard and the tire smoke that results is substantial.  Normal landing procedure on a carrier is to go to full throttle as soon as they hit the deck.  There isn’t time to react if you miss the wire so hit the gas and, if the wire doesn’t stop you, you fly right off the other end of the deck and climb away.  Since there is no wire at Coupeville, that means every touchdown is followed by a rapid rotation and climb away.  The climb is pretty steep initially which keeps the speed under control until the power is backed off.

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Putting Your Boat in the Water

While walking along the shore in Edmonds, we passed the marina and the loading area for the boats.  They had a boat lift for the smaller boats to be taken off trailers and put in the water.  A guy brought his boat along just as we got there so I had to watch the process.  The two guys running the lifts clearly knew what they were doing but the guy insisted on explaining it all to them.  They handled it with good grace.

The lift had a track system that turned through ninety degrees.  There were two lifts in parallel if the demand was there.  The trailer was driven into position and the lifting straps were brought around.  They were then passed under the boat and it was lifted up.  Once it was clear of everything, the whole assembly motored along the rails, around the corner and out over the dock.  It was then a simple process to lower it down into the water and then move it away.

This was fine for boats of a certain size.  If you wanted to put anything larger into the water, a far larger rig was required but that wasn’t needed while we were there so I didn’t get to watch it.  In my younger days living in Cowes, I got to see those lifts at work a lot.

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