The walk around the block was one of the things were were allowed to do when shelter in place took effect. This started at a good time for the local flora. As we walked up the hill near the house, we could see across to the grounds of a large plot near the street. They had a row of bushes that were all in flower providing a beautiful burst of color. I was carrying the small M6 but took a sequence of shots to stitch together. I also include a few other shots of the flowering we saw walking around.
I write these posts as I think of them based on what has been going on. They tend to get scheduled out ahead of time so I might write something weeks before it shows up on the blog. As I write this, I am sitting in my local pub with a beer in front of me and a safe distance from everyone else. COVID-19 is causing everything to be shut down (I hope this place stays open!) and the chances of going out and doing stuff are pretty limited. I wonder what the near future will hold. I anticipate that, in due course, the virus will run its course and things will return to normal for many people. For some it won’t. For others, the economic impact will change their lives significantly. We don’t know what will occur. I just hope it works out okay for as many people as possible. Maybe by the time this posts, it will all be cool. I hope so…
UPDATE: Well, that was the last day the pub was open. Things are definitely not cool right now. We’ve been at home ever since and things have been pretty awful for a lot of people either medically, emotionally, financially or combinations thereof. Another month of restrictions in our area so who knows what will come along. All posts for quite a while will have a throw back element to them since, even when this ends, it will be a while before we have done much that is new. Hang in there everyone!
In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken. When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time. Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important. However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest. It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains. Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest. Others may just like them because they like trains. My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!
The IPMS has a gathering of their members for a display of their models each year at the Museum of Flight. I went along to say hello to my friend Jim and to see what creations were on display. While it is held at the Museum of Flight, it is not restricted to planes although there are plenty of those. I was interested to see quite a number of rocket models including a great Atlas/Mercury launch pad diorama.
Not far from where we live in Woodinville, there is a skate park. It is always popular with people hanging out be there skaters, scooter users, BMX riders or just people enjoying the park. I have been meaning to walk down and watch some of the skaters but have not got around to it before. However, last weekend, as we drove home, there was clearly something going on at the park so I decided to walk down and see what was going on.
I got there just in time for the beginning of the 15th annual Woodinville skate competition. Loads of skaters had turned up to compete and they were warming up when I got there. Indeed, the competition started shortly after I arrived. They had a bunch of age categories. The first to go was the 10 and unders. They grouped skaters into pairs or threes and they had two runs of two minutes each in which to put together their based performance making use of as much of the park as possible and varying the tricks.
We had a brief downpour so, once the group had finished, they had a prize giving for the winners while we waited for the weather to improve. This wasn’t the only weather interruption but, on the whole, conditions held out and the team did a good job of drying the park out when the rain stopped so that the competition could carry on.
Next came the 11-15 category. The same format of competition with two runs each and there were a lot of competitors to get through. The skill levels varied a bit but the nice thing about skating is that everyone is very friendly and supportive so they were all willing to not only do what they knew they could land but also to push themselves to try and get better tricks in.
There was a single group for the female contestants that came next. Again, a mix of skills on show but again an enthusiastic approach to the competition and, with the conditions looking better, the weather was heating up as much as the competition.
Last to go where the 16 and over group. Here you had adults in against the older kids (and one kid who was clearly not sixteen but was skating at a very high level. The advantage that size brings in carrying speed and in athleticism showed itself with the competitors really making some impressive runs.
The finale was the best trick competition. First the rail was used and everyone took it in turns to have a go at pulling of something cool on the rail without causing themselves unfortunate damage (although a couple came close to straddling the metalwork!) Then it was over the car for the second phase. By now the weather was beginning to turn so it was a race against time to get everything in. When all was done it was time for prize giving. Scoring for the runs was for the main prizes along with side prizes for best tricks during the runs and then the best trick competition itself.
It looked like a great time for everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed watching and shooting the event. For those that were there, I have a larger gallery of shots taken throughout the day which can be found at the link below. At the bottom of the page are pictures of the winners after receiving their prizes.
Today’s post is the 2,000th post that I have put on the blog. It is a bit of a cheat that the 2,000th post is a post about being the 2,000th post rather than some genuine content but, as I was looking at the list of posts, I saw that this was coming up and was quite surprised that I had put so many together. We shall see how long it continues. While I am grateful to those that read the posts (including those of you that ignore the aviation posts and read the others), it is really something I set myself as a challenge so it is a bit self-indulgent. However, while I sometimes stress when the prepared post list is getting a bit short, I have enjoyed putting this together.
I have heard about the Cotton Bowl a lot over the years. There are so many Bowl games these days that I kind of forgot that some of them are actually the names of stadiums. I didn’t even know where it was. Turns out it is Dallas and it is right by the approach to Love Field. I happened to have the camera in hand as we came down final approach and got a few shots of the stadium and the surrounding facilities. It looked a bit quieter on this day than is sometimes the case.
There has been a string of losses in recent years of aviation individuals. When you see that there is an accident and someone has died, you wonder whether it is someone you have known. I wasn’t expecting it to be Vlado Lenoch. Vlado always seemed to be on top of whatever he was flying. A lot of my friends knew him a lot better than me but my time with him was always fun. He always put on a great performance when he was displaying but, when he wasn’t flying, he was a fun guy to be with.
I remember chatting with him up at East Troy where he was undertaking the first flights post restoration of Baby Duck, the P-51 in which he was flying when he crashed. The accident sadly claimed the life of his passenger too. We were sitting in the hangar and he was handing around fries that he had bought from a local McDonalds. He didn’t know me at that time but he was as friendly as someone I had known for ages.
On that day I was photographing the first two flights and he brought the P-51 down on a low pass giving me some great head on shots. Afterwards I thanked him for missing me to which he raised his eyebrows and asked “Where you out there?”. He always flew the plane with élan. His takeoffs were always impressive and he was always offering a spare seat to someone he could share the fun of flying with. Plenty who were closer to him will miss him more than me but I am very sad at his loss and that of his passenger. Others will express thoughts about him more eloquently. For me, it is just goodbye…
Things are about to get different for us. We moved to California in 2013 as a result of work changes for me. Some of the things we had planned worked out well but a few others did not go as expected. Nothing unusual in that. However, we started to consider some other options for what to do. I have now been given a new opportunity which involves a move to Seattle. Consequently, we are making another move. We are heading to the Pacific Northwest.
I have no idea what this is going to bring. Certainly there will be plenty of new things for us to explore. We have visited the area before but living there will be a while new thing. The area is full of aviation activities, many of which have been the subject of previous blog posts. Consequently, I expect a lot of things will be fun to check out. We will leave behind friends and hopefully make new ones. The blog will show off a lot of those things as they happen. Strap in for the ride!
The Mitsubishi MRJ program is the first major civil aviation program to come out of Japan in a few decades. There have been military jets but this is the first civilian airliner since the YS-11. The program has not been trouble free and there have been a number of delays. Meanwhile, recognizing the need to have US customers for the aircraft, Mitsubishi has collaborated with a US company to undertake the testing and certification program.
A result of this is that the prototypes have been sent to the US. Moses Lake in Washington is the flight test center for the program. The generally good weather and unrestricted airspace makes it a far better location than Japan for the testing program. Also, it is more convenient for the American flight test team. The prototypes have been ferried from japan to Moses Lake to allow testing.
The early jets came across a northern route via Russia to get to the US. However, later jets took a southerly route via Hawaii to get to the US. I missed previous jets despite them coming via San Jose. The last of the jets was significantly delayed. It finally headed across the Pacific but got to Hawaii and suffered a technical issue which delayed it. I wondered whether it would ferry when I was nowhere convenient to see it arrive. However, luck was on my side and it made the trip when I was free.
Getting it arriving at San Jose was easy enough. With a departure time from Honolulu, it was straightforward to predict when it would arrive. Getting the departure was a different story. Flight test aircraft do not run to airline schedules. The crew needed a break and the jet had to be refueled. Even then, getting it up and running and to the departure runway was a slow process and I waited a long time for it to happen. The upside to this was that the midday light was gone and things were a lot nicer by the time it rolled. I was rather late though!