Tag Archives: madras

Airshow of the Cascades

AU0E3705.jpgThe weekend I was in Madras was the weekend that the Airshow of the Cascades was scheduled. The show was supposed to be a two day affair. An evening show was planned for the Friday evening and the Saturday was supposed to be a day show. Friday went ahead as planned. There was a great crowd attending the flying with the aircraft using pyrotechnics to highlight themselves in the dark.

AU0E3684.jpgAt the end of the evening, they wrapped up with a fireworks display which provided a nice conclusion for the evening. Sadly, Saturday dawned with nice skies but incredibly strong winds. The hope was that the winds would abate in the afternoon but, unfortunately, that did not work out and they canceled the show. These shots were a few that I took when there was something to watch. I am sorry for the organizers that so much effort goes into a show that doesn’t end up happening. I hope the lack of revenue will not have a negative impact on future shows.

Wall of Fire Take Two

AU0E3654.jpgWhile I was walking around the display line of the Airshow of the Cascades during the evening show, the Erickson collection’s P-38 was carrying out its display. I was in amongst a lot of people when the announcer told everyone to be ready for a special pass. My location was not great but I got ready as the P-38 ran in for a topside pass expecting the detonation of some pyrotechnics behind it. Nothing happened. The P-38 flew by and no explosions.

A short while later, the announcer had a second crack at getting us ready for the pass. Obviously the first pass had not worked as planned. This time the P-38 was coming in from the opposite direction. I also had a few moments to try and reposition myself to get a better view. This shot was the result. Some of my friends were further up the display line and got a different angle on the shot which was cool. Even so, I am pretty happy with this.

Erickson Aircraft Collection

C59F7944.jpgI attended a course recently that was held in Madras OR at the home of the Erickson Air Museum. This museum is a fantastic collection of vintage aircraft, some of which were used for the course, more of which will appear on this blog in due course. At various times while we were there, I had the opportunity to wander around the museum and see the collection. This included during the evening when a party was underway but which also meant they had some interesting illumination.

C59F8189.jpgThe majority of the aircraft are warbirds but not all of them. A Bellanca was present which is, to be generous, a most unusual looking aircraft. I would certainly have liked to have seen it outside had the opportunity arisen but that wasn’t to be. There was also a Martin Mauler which is an aircraft I had never heard of previously. It looks like a Skyraider but you could tell it was different. It was just hard to know what it was without checking the information on the display.

C59F8161.jpgMadras is not on the trail for most people so I imagine the museum does not have a lot of people happening upon it. However, it is a nice facility with a great collection and a super bunch of people working there. If you like warbirds and vintage aircraft, it should definitely be visited at some point.

DC-7 Tanker

C59F8125-HDR.jpgI previously posted an item about the DC-7 tanker that was parked up on the Erickson ramp. Over the course of the few days we were there, this aircraft had a few visits from me. It’s positioning was not always ideal for what I wanted. The evening light was often great for photos but, sadly, the aircraft was almost exactly tail on to the setting sun. However, that did provide some silhouette options as well as playing with HDR to see if I could come up with something I liked.

C59F8084.jpgOne morning the sun came up as there was still some rain in the area. There was some good light on the nose for a while but the best option was the rainbow that formed in the background and was well aligned with the aircraft. I tried a variety of things over the days and some of those results are here. Of course, it would have been far more fun to see it in action!


Life in the Old (Mad) Dog Yet

C59F8026.jpgFirefighting aircraft have often been older airframes converted for the task when their primary life is over. This has meant a lot of old piston types -both civil and military – have become tankers. Now there is a generation of jet airliners that are becoming viable candidates for conversion. I previously posted some shots of a BAe146 tanker. Erickson has been active in converting McDonnell Douglas MD-87 airframes to tankers and has a number already in service.

C59F8030.jpgDominating the flight line outside the Erickson hangars was a line of three MD-87s that had been acquired from Spain. They appeared to have come from a couple of operators and we sitting in storage. Most apertures were taped up and some panels/doors had been removed. However, these airframes are not destined to be parts donors. All of them are scheduled for conversion to tankers. Before too long they will be active supporting firefighting efforts across the country. The introduction of modern jet types to service should provide increased performance and the ability to respond faster to situations further away. They should provide a welcome boost to firefighting capability.



C59F7986-Edit.jpgI’m not sure when I first became aware of the PBY Catalina but I am pretty sure it involved a plastic model that a friend of mine had.  (Kev Fry, was it you?)  Flying boats always appealed to me and the blisters on the rear fuselage caught my eye even at that time.  Erickson has a PBY in the collection and it was going to feature in our program.  However, my first encounter with it was as it was parked up on the ramp outside the hangar.

C59F7965.jpgI was walking around in the early evening light and the paint scheme seemed to glow in the low sun.  It is a big beast so there are lots of options as you walk around it.  Whatever shot you want to get, you do want something that emphasizes the hull shape since that is one of the defining characteristics of the plane.  Sometimes, getting in really close can achieve that.

C59F7981.jpgYou do want to check out multiple angles, though.  Whether it is the nose shape, the wheels and wheelwells or the rear blisters, there is something from any direction worthy of a look.  Whether they will all be great shots is a different story.  However, having the chance to shoot one when hardly anyone is around is a chance not to be passed on.

Canyons and Farms

C59F9004.jpgFlying out of Madras on our air to air sorties we had a short time when we were transiting to and from the area where we were with the target aircraft. The area is dotted with farms but also has some dramatic terrain. I took the chance to get some photos of the various canyons, lakes and homes. It looks like a place with lots of great places to have a house. I hope they didn’t mind us flying over!

Is There Any Oil in This Thing?

C59F8061.jpgParked up on the ramp at Erickson’s facility was a DC-7 tanker. It didn’t move while we were there so it became the target of a number of photographers at any one time. I shall show more of it shortly but one thing that caught my attention was the amount of oil on the engine nacelles. Old piston engines are well known for consuming oil at a prodigious rate and this beast was no exception. It seemed to have done a great job of relocating the oil from the internals of the engines to the outside of the nacelles. It made for some great patterns and this was what distracted me for a while as I walked around the aircraft.


DC-3 City of Tillamook

C59F7996.jpgThe Erickson collection did not used to be based in Madras. For many years the aircraft were part of the museum at Tillamook. The old airship hangars at Tillamook were their home. While most of the planes have now moved, one of them still bears a name indicative of its past. This is the Douglas DC-3 named City of Tillamook.

C59F8169.jpgThe aircraft sat on the ramp outside the museum hangar for the duration of my visit. The first evening we were there we had time to stroll around the ramp as the sun set. This resulted in some lovely lighting conditions. It was fun to see the DC-3 in close proximity to some later Douglas products. They shall be the subject of a later post.


Fire in the Hills

AU0E3772.jpgThe reason for the Airtanker activity at Redmond was the fire that was raging in the hills west of Madras. During the day the most obvious sign of the fire was the smoke that was hanging in the air and obscuring the view of the hills in the distance. However, as night fell, thing became quite different. The hillside where the fire was raging was suddenly very obvious. The red glow from the flames was visible even at the distance we were away.

You could see the fire was alive. The intensity and shape of the glow was varying all of the time. The ridges that were between our location and the fire sometimes almost completely obscured things but the glow was soon visible again. I have no idea how intense things were in the ground but I imagine it was very tough for those fighting it. Their bravery was recognized by all of us watching from a distance.