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.
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.
I have recently been working with a stock image agency that focuses in part on military aviation. They may well be expanding to other aviation themes in due course but for now the military equipment is the prime focus. It has been an interesting task going through the archives to find images that are suitable and to the required quality. A few have been knocked back but most have been added to the library.
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.
If you are searching through the TV listings for something to watch, take a look at Strip the City on the Science Channel. There are a number of episodes from different cities but take a look at the episode about Chicago. One part of the show features the bridges across the river and they include the Michigan Avenue bridge getting jammed open when the weather was too hot.
If you are a regular reader of this blog or a subscriber to my YouTube channel, the footage might seem familiar. Have a look here and you will see what I mean. This is one of a couple of projects where my video footage has been used. I guess video is a useful addition to the portfolio!
The team that has been bringing you Global Aviation Resource for over two years has been working on an additional product to bring aviation themed material to a wide audience. The launch of Global Aviation Magazine is the result of their hard work.
The first issue is now available here and I recommend you take a look if aviation is an interest of yours. I might also suggest you take a peek at a piece on helicopter lifting operations written by someone with a familiar name.