There are many vintage aircraft that I have had the chance to photograph over the years. However, I have not had many opportunities to photograph a genuine First World War era aircraft. That was something that I was recently able to address. Sonoma Valley in Schellville has a variety of interesting aircraft as I have mentioned in the past. One of these is Frank’s beautiful Jenny. It is in pristine condition. I had previously been around when it was due to fly but a fuel leak in a line had curtailed activities that day.
This time the plan was to fly a couple of people in the aircraft. Eric Presten was the pilot for these flights and he needed to run a quick air test before taking anyone up so three flights appeared to be on the cards. I arrived at Schellville in the morning to be ready. Unfortunately, the weather was not looking too cooperative. There was a little mist and the cloud base was pretty low with the surrounding hills having their tops obscured. We got the aircraft ready as we waited for the cloud to lift which it progressively did.
Eric was soon able to get up for the air test. While the conditions were better for flying, they still weren’t great for photography. However, while he was up, the cloud was burning off more and more. The result was, by the time the two flights for the guest took place, conditions were ideal. For the second ride, Eric put in an overflight of the field allowing me to get something other than ground running shots, tail end departures or head on landings. The latter two were subject to a lot of heat haze so it was great to get something a little closer in.
She truly is a lovely looking aircraft and an example of something very rare to see. I will enjoy seeing her flying again. What will be even better is getting a chance to shoot her air to air. If the opportunity for that should come up, I will be a very happy boy. In the mean time, I am very grateful to Frank and Eric for including me in this. Great guys and a great plane!