The Britten Norman Islander recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of the first flight. A group, based in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight – the home of the Islander – were involved in celebrating this event. BNAPS is the group and they have been restoring the first production aircraft. My mum is a part of this group so this one is close to home.
GAR covererd this topic via two articles produced by Bob Wealthy who is a key player in BNAPS. It was good working with Bob on these pieces and you can find them at the links below.
After a period of relative inactivity, I have been a bit busier recently on getting material together for GAR. After a piece on the tenth anniversary of the first flight of the A380 and a review of Dream Machines at Half Moon Bay, I had my first real show of the year. I took a trip down to Chino for the Planes of Fame show. This was the first time I had been to this show, despite the fact it is one of the highlights of the airshow calendar.
The piece went live on GAR recently and can be found at this link. http://www.globalaviationresource.com/v2/2015/05/12/airshow-review…e-airshow-2015/. Meanwhile, here are a few shots that I liked from the event. I will say how much I enjoyed the access you had at this place and it was a very pleasant change not to be herded out as soon as the flying stopped. It was also a lot of fun to hang with Mark, Kev and Jim. Their company made a good weekend great and also meant I didn’t miss the sunset show! Cheers guys.
The piece focuses more on the aviation side of things than the cars since it is an aviation site. However, the cars were really cool. Here are a couple of cars along with a plane to give you a hint. I might add some more at a later stage!
One great advantage of social media is that you find out about something before it happens rather than after – well, at least some of the time. I saw a Facebook post about a talk being given by Brian Shul at the Hiller Aviation Museum. Brian is a retired Air Force pilot who flew a variety of aircraft types culminating in the SR-71 Blackbird. He has published a number of books and talks to various groups about aspects of his life and career.
After Brian had finished his talk, I managed to grab some time with him to conduct an interview. The piece that resulted is now live on the Global Aviation Resource website at the following link. http://www.globalaviationresource.com/v2/2015/01/23/aviation-profile-brian-shul-sr-71-blackbird-pilot/
Brian’s life has had many interesting turns. I will leave the story to the feature and you can always buy his books if you have saved some pennies. I do want to point out that Brian is a very engaging person. I sat with him for a long time while he dealt with so many people that wanted to talk to him that day and he never once shied away from taking as much time as any of them wanted, young or old. He was even given directions to visitors looking for the museum’s restrooms without batting an eye. When we managed to get some time to talk, he freely and frankly talked about anything I asked and provided plenty of material for the article. Meeting interesting people is a great part of writing for GAR.
The Red Bull Air Race series was restarted for 2014 after a three year break. I have to admit I thought it wouldn’t come back when they stopped previously but I was wrong and this year seems to have been a successful one for them. The neutralized engine approach has certainly made the competition a lot closer. I was covering the event for Global Aviation Resource and the link below will take you to the article I wrote.
The Red Bull team provided a great facility for the media. We had three rooms with power and internet connectivity and food was provided throughout the day. Needless to say, if you wanted something to drink, there was plenty of Red Bull available! It had been a while since I had drunk it (and previously it might have been close to some vodka) but it was actually pretty good stuff. Doubt it shall be a regular feature for me though. These shots are some of the racers combined with a few of the other parts of the event that didn’t get so much attention in the feature.
After a bit of a dry patch for GAR, I have been able to put together a number of pieces for them. Some are more interesting than others to me. I prefer to be able to tell a story about a person or operation that is not something people will normally see. However, I will have the odd report from an air show if I end up going to one – something that I do less than I used to.
I did enjoy shooting the finale of the show. A USMC V-22 Osprey wrapped up proceedings. It was not a very dynamic display but it did give me a chance to try a lot of shots of the tilt-rotor in flight. The slow turning rotors are a nightmare for photographers since they appear frozen at all but the lowest shutter speeds. I took the chance to see just how low I could go!
Half Moon Bay on the Pacific coast hosts a great little event each year called Dream Machines. It is a combination of an aircraft and car event. I took a trip with my buddy Hayman to see how it was this year. The weather did not start out favorably and it looked like it might be a bit of a dull day. The clouds early certainly stopped a few visitors from making it in. However, the weather got a lot better as the day went on and there were still lots of great things to see.
Dream Machines is not an airshow so there are no displays. However, some aircraft get airborne and might do a few flybys. I covered the event for Global Aviation Resource and you can read my coverage in more detail at http://www.globalaviationresource.com/v2/2014/05/05/aviation-event-review-dream-machines-half-moon-bay/. There are a couple of sad notes associated with this day. The Sanders owned Sea Fury, Dreadnought, was at the event and departed in mid-afternoon. It was closely followed by a Cessna support plane. Unfortunately, en route to their base, they collided over the water and the Cessna was lost along with its pilot. Dreadnought suffered damage but returned to base. Also, as it was his home base, Eddie Andreini was part of the day’s proceedings including flying his Mustang. On the static line was his Stearman and this was the aircraft he was flying at Travis a few weeks later when he crashed on the runway and died. Both losses are very sad and our thoughts are with the friends and families and all involved.
When things go according to plan, the USAF holds their Red Flag exercise three times a year at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas NV. Global Aviation Resource like to provide some coverage so, with the second event of the 2014 program taking place in march, I headed down to cover the event. I spent a couple of days down there. One day was on base as guests of the public affairs people at Nellis. They started out the day with an interview panel with a number of officers from different units and air forces. They were a good bunch and willing to answer our questions – well, most of them since they wisely avoided answering some questions that should never have been asked of them.
With the interviews over, we headed out to the runways. There are two runways at Nellis that are used together. We were able to stand between them and given relatively free range as to how far up and down we wanted to go. There are clear preferences as to which runway you want them to use based on the light. The launch took place around the middle of the day and they launched off to the northeast. In this case he light was best on the aircraft on the left runway. However, you have to do what you can for those on the right as well – often the aircraft you want to focus on. (There is a bunch of aircraft that you are told not to photograph. Often it takes a while to realize that what is coming is something you can’t shoot but most people seemed to play by the rules.)
When the recovery starts, they tend to use the opposite runways. By now the light has come around so you really want them to come in on the left. Sadly, a lot of traffic went to the right. If you had been outside, you would have got a good amount of traffic to shoot. When recoveries had wrapped up, we all got back on the buses and headed out. The second day I spent outside the base. This provides an opportunity to get a different selection of shots for the article. It also is unrestricted in what you can shoot so some of the stuff that was restricted while on base can now be shot for the coverage. Sadly, various things resulted in a lot of the recovering traffic going to the left. This would have been great if I was on base but sadly it meant a lot of interesting stuff was a long way off. Still, plenty of stuff came our way. With the Speedway building up to a NASCAR racing weekend, the crews had been told to keep it tight. Some certainly did that and came a lot closer to us than expected or even turned within us. It made for some interesting angles to shoot.
The finished article is available through the magazine we publish. You can find it here. Please go and download a copy if you haven’t already seen it. Aside from my work, there is a bunch of great stuff to take a look at.
The Wings Over Waukesha air show was recently held in – you guessed it – Waukesha. I covered it for Global Aviation Resource and, rather than duplicate everything here, why not head over to their website to see the original piece. Here is the link.