This Harpoon is Not the One We Flew In!

B11I7318.jpgOne of our party on the trip to Eagle Field commented on whether it was a rule that all airfields have a derelict Harpoon parked on them.  While we had traveled down in a pristine example, parked a short distance away from us was a Harpoon that was not in the greatest of shape.  Most of it seemed to be there but some bits had gone.  The effect was to expose the aircraft and make it look more like a skeleton of a plane.  When the light angles were nice and low, the texture on the plane was really nicely picked out too.  I have no idea what the future holds for this plane but I doubt it is going anywhere in a hurry.

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New Zoomify Trial

I previously added a Zoomify image to a blog post.  It was pointed out that, as a Flash based format, it didn’t work on some mobile devices.  That was using the default Photoshop installation.  I have now found a way of generating an HTML5 version of the Zoomify output.  This is a trial to see whether it works.  Let me know in the comments.  Click here to see the file.

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Lunge Feeding Humpbacks

B11I8352.jpgThis seems to be a really good year for sea life.  Having had a really successful trip out watching whales from Monterey Bay, the whales have decided to come closer.  There have been sightings of humpbacks inside San Francisco Bay this year.  More recently, my friend Roger has seen them feeding on the coast just south of the city.  I joined him for a while.  We could see a number of the humpbacks lunge feeding just off the beach.  They were a little far from us but we still had a good view.

B11I8389.jpgThe whales start below the surface and surge upwards with their mouths open grabbing a mouth full of water and fish.  They then spot out the water and eat the remnants.  We found that the seagulls were the guide to where the whales would be next.  They would mill around, awaiting the next feeding, hoping to get a spare fish in the process.  As they spotted the whale coming to the surface, they would all converge and this would be the guide to where the whale would be next.  Sometimes, the whale was just coming up for breath so you never knew which it would be.  When there is only one whale, it tends to alternate although not always.  With more than one, it is a guess.

AE7I0750.jpgA few days later, I was out with Nancy and we decided to see if there was any activity.  The previous spot was not showing any sign of whales inshore.   A couple of spouts further out but nothing feeding in the shallows.  Instead we tried Pacifica where they sometimes come in near the pier.  Again, nothing.  We were just starting to drive off when I saw what appeared to be a spout inshore.  I parked up and wandered over to see if there was anything.  Nancy stayed in the car but knew something was up when she saw me turn and run back to the car.  A whale was in the surf feeding.

AE7I0588.jpgWe moved along the beach watching the whale burst to the surface and grab mouthfuls of water and fish.  A lot of people quickly gathered to watch the feeding.  The birds were still the clue but now we were down on the level of the waves so sometimes things got obscured by the water.  Even so, we were right there to see what was going on.  Soon the whale appeared to be full and moved offshore.  It was still swimming around near the pier when we headed off.  I don’t know whether this was a regular feature or we got lucky but it was very cool to watch.

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Hawgsmoke on the Ramp

B11I4043.jpgEvery two years the A-10 community gets together for the Hawgsmoke competition.  I covered it again for GAR and you can see the piece I wrote here.  The first day we were there was the arrival day.  The plan had been to watch some landings and then to move to the parking ramp area.  As it happened, we couldn’t get too close to the runway and some of the arrivals were delayed so we headed to the ramp instead which proved to be a good choice.  The A-10s were coming in from the various units.

AE7I5421.jpgInitially he team were a little concerned about how we could access the area while the jets were on the move but we gradually got more access as they got more confident in us staying in the right places.  The jets were taxiing along the outsides and then parking facing inwards.  Consequently, we could be in between the rows and out of the way of the aircraft on the move.  As more jets were parked up, we could move further out towards to the taxiway and closer to the arriving aircraft.  It all worked pretty well.

B11I3922.jpgOnce the jets were on the ground the ground crews were straight into action taking off he baggage pods and starting to load up with practice bombs ready for the range slots that were to come as the exercise got underway.  Most of the jets were parked outside the sun shelters so the crews were getting pretty hot as they worked.  Plenty of coolers of water were on hand to keep them in good shape.  This was a good start to the coverage of the exercise from my perspective.

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An Exotic Collection of Cars

B11I7246.jpgThe dinner at Eagle Field was held in the large hangar.  Not only does this accommodate planes but it also seems to be the home to a lot of cars.  Jaguars of a variety of vintages were kept there in various states of repair.  Out the back were even more cars.  These were not usually looking too healthy but there were some things I have not seen before.  Whether it was an old Renault or and Armstrong Siddeley, they were there gathering valley dust and withering slowly under the harsh sunlight that this area has a lot of!

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Eagle Field Fly-In

AE7I7531.jpgMy trip in the Harpoon was to get to the fly-in at Eagle Field.  This is an event that I previously didn’t know anything about so I went with few preconceptions.  As it turned out, this year was not the most well attended that they have had.  A selection of aircraft showed up for the event but not as many as hoped for.  A few T-6s were there along with a C-54, some Navions, an Interstate Kadet and us.  Some less exotic types were also there such as Pipers and Cessnas.  There was also quite a gathering of military vehicles.  These are not something that I know a lot about.  During the day some reenactors also carried out some firefight demonstrations.

B11I7095.jpgThe following morning, the visitors headed back out.  We were one of the last to go so got to watch the other aircraft start up, taxi out and take off.  Most put in at least one pass before they headed home.

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My Time With Seth Myers

AE7I8620.jpgI decided to hang out with Seth Myers for a while.  Admittedly, I did this at the same time as a few thousand other people.  He was the commencement speaker at Northwestern University for 2016 and my niece, Sara, was graduating.  While it might appear that there was no connection between Seth and me, I assure you that we were just playing it low key.  Consequently, I took these pictures from a reasonable distance across the stadium.  Maybe I have some more personal shots taken at another time?  Maybe?

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Flying in the Harpoon

B11I6923.jpgI had a really fun experience recently.  I was given the chance to head down to a fly-in in one of the participating aircraft.  The aircraft was a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon.  Beautifully restored, this aircraft was piloted by Taigh Raimey.  Taigh works with a variety of aircraft including a lot of Beech 18s but the Harpoon is a great aircraft to fly in.  Inside it is extensively restored so a lot of the original equipment is included.  Consequently, it is a little cramped in there and you have to be careful as you move through the airframe.

B11I6952.jpgThere are two places inside that are worth spending some time.  In the middle of the fuselage is an astrodome.  This is certainly a great place to watch what is going on.  You can look freely in any direction.  I was up there when we arrived at Eagle Field and got a good view of our flyby.  However, my favorite spot was the rear of the fuselage.  It is extensively glazed and you can lie on your stomach and watch the world pass behind and below you.  That will get a post of its own.

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Eagle Falls

AE7I4229.jpgThe great thing about snow covered mountains (well, one them) is that all of that snow has to go somewhere when the temperature warms up.  The melt waters result in powerful river flows and, since we are talking about mountainous areas, there are chances for big waterfalls.  On the southwest side of Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay and above the bay are Eagle Falls.  These are some pretty substantial falls when the water is running off and we got them at a great time of year.

AE7I4295.jpgThe top of the falls is up near the highway.  They crash down the hillside and run in to the lake near Vikingsholme.  Since we hiked down to the lakeside at this place, we were able to see the falls both from below and from above.  They are spread out over a reasonably wide front and make for a dramatic view.  Whether you are close in (and you can get ride to the edge of the falls at the top), looking at them from a distance or staring up from the bottom, they look impressive.  I don’t know how long they run for at strength but I imagine they diminish quite soon.  We did well to be there at the right time.

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Incomplete JetStar

AE7I0382.jpgRegular readers will know I am partial to the Lockheed JetStar.  I have previously posted about shooting one at Hayward when it was taking off and another that was at the airport as a source of spare parts.  This spare aircraft has moved from the location I previously saw it and is now out on the ramp near the taxiway.  While out working with the HueyVets guys, I ended up by the airframe waiting to shoot the Huey.

AE7I0378.jpgUp to this point, the airframe looked in good shape.  However, recently, one of the engines was removed so I guess it will progressively become more obvious that this jet is not going to be flying again.  For the time being, though, you can choose an angle to make the missing items no longer apparent.  Then the jet still looks like a great airframe.  I hope it lasts a bit longer and that its sacrifices are enough to keep the other jet airworthy.


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