A Piper Malibu was launching out of Boeing Field last year. Things were quite busy and the tower asked them to make an early turn downwind once airborne. They clearly took them at their word because they barely seemed to be off the ground before yanking it in to a tight turn to the north. I doubt they even passed the tower! They were only going a short distance and were due back about fifteen minutes later so I guess they know the area well.
These photos are not too sharp I’m afraid. However, they are important to me. The summer of 1986 had me just outside Chichester learning to fly at the historic Goodwood Aerodrome. Along with a bunch of similarly aged lads, we were being taught the basics of aviation courtesy of HMG. It was an amazing summer and, since we were flying once or twice a day, we were learning very quickly. I soloed on the Friday of my first week there having never even been inside a light aircraft prior to the Monday.
At some point during the summer, I borrowed my Mum’s camera and took a few pictures of the PA-38 Tomahawks that the flying school operated. These are those planes. In the line up of the planes can be seen G-BGRL. This was the very first plane I flew and will always be a plane that I am fond of. The fence behind them had a hole for a while when one student got to close with his wingtip. It was redefined as a gate named after his student number. The club had a PA-28 which is I the background in which I was self loading cargo for a flight for a student needing some weight and a couple of Gazelles lived next door. That was an outstanding summer.
A holiday visit to Paine Field saw that something interesting was heading for departure. It was unlikely I would get across the field in time to catch it and I didn’t. However, since I was there, I thought I might as well hang around for a bit and shoot some departures. There were a few piston types heading out as well as a PC-12. Since none of them were too important to me, I decided to play with shutter speeds around 1/100th of a second. With the 500mm, this doesn’t result in a high keeper rate.
It does provide a lot of prop blur which was the point since, with no background, you aren’t getting any sense of speed. It was more a case of seeing what I could get and having some panning practice. When looking at the shots on the computer, some of them are clearly junk without much inspection. Others look okay until you get zoomed in. A few of them are sharp even zoomed right in and they are the ones that don’t get culled.
Tucked inside the fence at Renton was something I don’t think I have seen before. It was a Piper Aztec on amphibious floats. No reason why an Aztec wouldn’t be on floats but it isn’t something I have seen before. I would certainly like to see it on the water at some point. Sadly, because it was tight to the fence, my best option was to use the phone to get the shot!
I keep spoiling Pete with some of his favorites. I hope he appreciates this one. You don’t see a lot of Piper Aerostars about. It is a quite unusual aircraft, apparently designed originally for possible conversion to a jet in future versions. However, the piston version is the only one that was produced. The empennage is quite unlike most similar aircraft. The one I saw was looking like it was very well taken care of. The paint was certainly in great condition. It landed at Paine Field and taxied off to park. I understand it is something of a regular so I will hopefully see it again.
The trip to photograph Eric’s Clipper that I described here included a bonus (as if the flight wasn’t bonus enough). Eric had talked to another Clipper owner, Scott, and he had brought his plane across to Sonoma. Scott is not a formation pilot but Eric landed after the shoot with his plane and jumped in to Scott’s plane with Scott in the second seat. We orbited overhead until they joined up and then we got a bunch of additional shots.
Since it was a bit later in the day, the light had got a bit better. The colors of Scott’s plane were particularly receptive to the evening light and, while it was a totally stock aircraft and therefore not possible to get too vertical with (see the roof mods in Eric’s plane in the other post), we could still get some great shots. Thanks Dave and Eric (and Scott for bringing your plane).
Eric Presten is a guy who spends his career photographing other people’s aircraft. He is not so often the subject of the photo. Dave Leininger was writing an article on Piper Clippers and wanted some shots of Eric’ aircraft to illustrate the piece along with some details of the modifications it has and how Eric uses it. I was up at Sonoma Skypark on the day that Dave was visiting and he kindly allowed me along on the photo flight. A Bonanza was the camera ship so I took the second spot shooting over Dave while he was seated on the floor.
Dave had a publication date for his feature so I embargoed these shots until his piece had gone live which it now has. It was late in the afternoon so the light was getting pretty good. The Clipper is a cool little plane and Eric is used to formation work so makes a great pilot for bringing the plane in close. In addition, his plane has a roof that is modified to include a transparency which means he has good visibility upwards. This makes some shots looking down on the plane possible since he can maintain visibility of the camera ship safely while below us.
Shooting air to air is so much fun. It is impossible to avoid stopping shooting every once in a while and just looking outside to see the other plane so close to you. Of course, you are there for a reason so don’t spend too much time staring out of the door. However, never lose the enjoyment of doing something cool.
This is a short but sad post. I read the sad news of the death of Alan Purwin. Alan was a pilot and entrepreneur who was involved in many fields but was well known for his working in filming movies from helicopters. He was a genuinely friendly and welcoming person and had been involved in many interesting things.
Alan died in a plane crash in Columbia during the making of a film with Tom Cruise. You may have seen the news mentioning a crash but that Tom was not involved. Sadly Alan was, along with another two people, one of whom also died. It is a very sad time for all involved.
My relative Pete is the sort of friend I was destined to have. Pete likes lots of fun things but at the heart of it for him (aside from his family of course) is flying. Pete has been flying all of his life and today he spends his working time at the pointy end of a 747. However, in the mean time, he owns a Piper Arrow which he spends as much time as possible flying.
I have told about our trip in some previous posts. However, I didn’t ever show you the beast itself – I am talking about the Arrow rather than Pete. After we had finished our trip, he had to take it across to Bournemouth for some maintenance so I hung around long enough to catch him departing from Sandown. Here, then, are some shots of Pete and his plane. Thanks for a great time mate.
You can’t cover Oshkosh this year without mentioning the Piper Cub. This year was the 75th anniversary of the Piper Cub and they came to the fly-in en masse. There was a mass arrival the weekend before the show started but I didn’t get there in time to witness that. However, the parking had been set up to give the aircraft prominence. They also made an effort to give those aircraft painted in the original Piper yellow parking together to emphasize the effect.
I wandered down to the Cub parking in the evening. I had been hoping that the late evening light would pop out nicely and illuminate the ranks with a warm glow. Sadly,m the light never really cooperated. It always lurked just behind a cloud. However, the lines of Cubs were certainly something to see. It was tricky finding an angle that really showed just how many there were. Just trust me. There were lots of them!