Every other year, the A-10 community in the US Air Force holds a competition called Hawgsmoke. This year it was being held in Arizona. The aircraft were based at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson and the Goldwater range complex was where most of the exercise was taking place. With the possibility that the A-10 might be taken out of service hanging over things, I was keen to get down there in case this was the last time the event would take place.
I covered the event for Global Aviation Resource so you can see the article I produced here. Rather than repeat that, I shall provide a little of the back-story. Arizona in July is not the coolest place in the world. Head out into the desert and it is even warmer. Get taken there in an Air Force bus which has air conditioning that doesn’t work properly and you will be pretty toasty. If the young guy driving the bus appears to be falling asleep all of the time, you are feeling a bit more alert than might otherwise be the case in that heat.
Our time on the range was a bit short. One of the TV crews from a local station obviously decided he had seen enough and told the organizers that he would miss his deadline if we didn’t leave. He had been given the same schedule as the rest of us so I suspect he was talking crap. However, while we were on the range for less time than expected, we still got a great experience of the A-10s running in to shoot the targets. The close proximity as they fired was something else as was their break over the top of us after each pass.
It was a good bunch of guys on the trip and we all headed out to shoot around Davis Monthan when we got back. This gave me a chance to get some more shots of the A-10s that would fill out the article a little. By the end of the day, I was shattered. I had been drinking liquid all day but I think I was just keeping out of trouble rather than being properly hydrated. Still, it was really worth it. A little longer and the benefit of the sun coming around would have been nice but it was still cool (but hot!). Below is some video that I shot for GAR while I was there too.
This is a plug for the magazine. For those averse to gratuitous advertising, look away now. Global Aviation Resource’s digital magazine was running a feature on the Air Force Reserve. Paul Dunn was leading the article but wanted some help on the piece so I joined him at Travis AFB located between the Bay Area and Sacramento in California. This is an area I am spending a lot of time in at the moment but it was fun to do something a little different!
Since the magazine will be the outlet for a lot of the work from the day, I can’t put too much in here at the moment. The Reserve article is live in the current issue but there will be some follow up material in later issues. However, here are a couple of shots from the day. The team at Travis were as helpful as you could possibly want and many thanks to everyone there for taking such good care of us. My only complaint is that Paul broke the sim but that is another story…
The development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been a protracted story filled with technical and programmatic challenges which have led to financial challenges as well. However, while the program is not yet out of the woods, production aircraft are now making their way to service with customers and Boeing is undertaking a promotional tour for those who have been involved in the program or are potential customer.
One of those events was at Rockford, not far from me. I covered the event for Global Aviation Resource and you can see the full piece at this link.
Again you are going to receive an abbreviated post that is directing you to another location for the fuller story. In this case, it is a piece I have put together for Global Aviation Resource. The topic is the Zeppelin NT airship operated by Airship Ventures, a company based just outside San Francisco in California.
It seems that lighter than air vehicles have suddenly become a big thing for me. I blogged not long ago about a blimp that was circling my home (not that it was aware that I was there of course – I think it was doing other things). Then I saw the Zeppelin of Airship Ventures floating over the Chicago lakefront while I was watching fireworks on the 4th of July. They were at Oshkosh and got a lot of coverage while there and now have passed back through Chicagoland.
I had the chance to go out and watch the team at work recently and that is the focus of the article that can be found at this link.