Tag Archives: trainer

A Little RIAT Reds Editing

Why, when my last visit to RIAT was in 2019, am I still working my way through some shots from that show?  There are many potential reasons but none of them reflect too well on me so we shall move past that topic and on to what I shot at that show.  Specifically, let’s look at the Red Arrows.  When we used to live in the UK, we would see the Reds on a regular basis and would sometimes get a bit blasé about them.  When you live elsewhere, they become a bit more fun to see.

Consequently, I did make the effort to get a few good shots of their displays.  It would have been nice to have some slightly better light to shoot them in, but that show was not the best for weather.  Take off is always nice since you are close to the formations, and they are potentially tightly grouped in the frame.  There are always the crossing shots to go for and then the bigger formation breaks will be a target.  All of these were part of my efforts that year.  When I was young, the rollbacks were a favorite of mine.  They do a variation on this now, but I am not quite so keen.  It is a tough one to shoot anyway since you really want to be on the display axis to get the best effect.  Even so, I was still pretty happy with what I got overall.

The Hawk 115 and I Are Aging Together

Not a great shot, in this case, but one that means something to me.  When I went to the Abbotsford Air Show, there was a Hawk 115 in the static display.  It was in an interesting color scheme but the lighting was a bit tough and it was surrounded be people.  The reason I liked it was that I was involved in the Hawk 115 program when it was first underway.  I left the company before the first jets were completed so I never actually saw one.  This might actually have been my first encounter with one.  Since they have been in service for nearly 25 years, they are probably nearing the end of their time so I did leave it a little late.  It looks in better shape than me!

Kemble Gate Guards

The trip to the UK early this year included a quick trip to Kemble or Cotswolds Airport as it is also known.  Near the tower, they have a couple of preserved airframes that harken back to the time that this was a Royal Air Force base (including it being home of the Red Arrows).  One of the gate guards (okay, they aren’t near the gate, but you get the idea) is a Folland Gnat.  I don’t know whether it is a genuine ex-Red Arrow or just painted to look like one, but it is cool either way.  It is the tiniest of jets.  I wonder what it was like ferrying one across the Atlantic as they did for a tour.

The other airframe is a Hawker Hunter.  This is a classic aircraft and one that continues in use to this day.  It is a trainer version with the side-by-side cockpit arrangement and in a grey paint job that I am not familiar with them having used in service.  Either way, another great looking jet and something cool for any visitors to check out.

A Turbo Mentor Seems Like a Nice Runabout

Beech built the Mentor trainer for the military with a piston engine before coming up with the more powerful turboprop version, the T-34C Turbo Mentor.  This saw extensive service with the US Navy.  Now there are plenty of them on the civil register including this one I saw one day departing from Paine Field.  The dark blue paint enhances the look of the plane and it looks like it has plenty of oomph.  I imagine it is a ton of fun to have.  I think it would be great to shoot air to air as well!

Will Rolla Replace Zwift?

Since I got a smart trainer for cycling, I have been using Zwift as my app for training rides.  I have been very happy with the way it works and find it a great tool for training as I can do some pretty long rides on it without getting bored.  I have done up to two hours which would have been inconceivable on older trainers.  I did see a video recently of a new software tool that could provide similar functionality called Rolla.  It is free for the time being, so I decided to try it out.  Will it be a suitable replacement for Zwift?

One of the things I did like the look of was the graphics output.  Zwift has a slightly cartoonish styling which doesn’t bother me at all – indeed, I quite like the odd things that they throw in like a bear falling out of a tree or a stag by the road – but having more realistic scenery was of interest.  Rolla looked like it would be more like riding in real locations.  As a new app, I knew it wouldn’t have extensive scenery databases yet, but they could be useful to try out.Having used it a few times, now, I have come across a bunch of things I didn’t like.  First, the software doesn’t pick up my cadence from the trainer.  I can come across the top of a climb and start speeding down the other side but my cadence on the trainer doesn’t change.  It isn’t reading the cadence either so the data on screen and my data download has nothing of use.  This is not helpful for training my cadence nor for having a realistic riding experience.  I also had issues uploading to Strava.  It now works but there is no way to get it to recognize rides already completed.  The gradient is not connected so my trainer does not respond to changes in slope like it does on Zwift.  That physical feedback of gradient change is very helpful, particularly as slope changes are not very visually obvious.  The rider symbol looks weird too with an odd rolling motion of the hips.  It’s not as bad as the runners I pass, though.  They look like the T1000 from Terminator!  Lastly, sometimes it just seems to have you riding off the side of the road for no obvious reason.All of this is to say it is a long way from being a replacement for Zwift.  It is not going to be something I use for training for now but, with some time to develop it and implement new functionality (plus clean up some of the buggier elements) might make that change.  I would also prefer to just use it on the iPad rather than having to have the phone app open along with the iPad to control things.  We shall see.  In the meantime, Zwift will remain my go to.


Bulgarian L39

I was doing a favor for a guy I know back from Chicago.  He is researching Bulgarian aircraft that have found their way to the US and one of the planes he was interested in is an L39 Albatros that lives up at not too far from me.  I went up to meet with the owner and get copies of the aircraft documentation.  When I was done, he offered to take me to have a look at the plane in his hangar.  It is a lovely looking jet.  It was in amongst a bunch of other stuff in the hangar which made getting nice shots of it a little tricky, but it was still good to get shots of it.

The T-38 is Back Out Again

It has been a long time since I last saw one of the Boeing T-38 chase jets.  I don’t know whether they hadn’t flown for a long time or whether it is just I didn’t know anything about it.  However, one of them started showing up a while back making a series of flights.  The question was whether I would be able to be around on one of those occasions?  Fortunately, the answer proved to be yes.  I have not always been lucky with the light on the T-38s but, on this occasion, things were pretty good.  When will I catch one or other of them next?

Heritage Flight Museum May Fly Day

I was planning to head up to Skagit for the May Fly Day at the Heritage Flight Museum anyway.  As it turned out, I had been talking with Rich at COAP about the trip he was leading and, when he asked if I would like to tag along with their group, I said yes.  They had been working with the Museum and arranged some opportunities to shoot from locations that normal ticket access wouldn’t allow.

The team at COAP and the team at the museum were super helpful and friendly.  Add to that, the weather was great and the combination of aircraft they were able to put up was excellent so, the day was set to be a bunch of fun.  It did not disappoint.  I have shot at the museum fly days before but, sometimes, the planes I was after didn’t fly and sometimes the conditions weren’t ideal.  On this occasion, everything came together.  I did play around with my shots trying to get more dynamic images.  The high vantage point we had available helped with that too.

I took a ton of shots and culled them heavily.  The result was a few shots I was particularly happy with and it was nice that the museum shared a few of them on their social media platforms too.  Seeing the Skyraider fly is always cool but the day was a trainer day and they put up some great trainer formations.  The conditions were a little bumpy but they made a good job of it and there were shots to be had.  I look forward to the next time I am up there.

One Flying Magister

The selection of Magisters at California City was the subject of a previous post.  The day continued to improve, though, as a bunch of people showed up to take one of the planes flying.  They had come from France and had a crew of people both helping launch and also filming them in the process.  We were allowed to hang out close by to watch them go.  This did mean having to deal with the intense noise from the tiny turbojets that power the plane.

I shot both stills and video and we were able to get out close by the runway.  The video of the launch preparations was fun, but I wanted stills of the jet airborne, so I focused on getting those instead.  The Magister is a great looking little jet and, I imagine it is a bunch of fun to have some that are airworthy.  I imagine that, as warbirds go, it is probably one of the more affordable ones!

Many Magisters

After checking out the graveyard for Gulfstreams at California City, I headed over to the main airport building.  The ramp around the parking area had a bunch of Magisters parked up.  A variety of colors but all of them in great condition.  Some had covers fitted but, as I walked around the corner, I saw more parked out on the main ramp.  The Magister is a neat little jet and one that used to be a regular at air shows when I was a kid.  It was fun seeing so many of them together.  If only one would fly.  Well…