Let me start by apologizing that it has been so long.
A few months ago when I saw that the EAA Ford Trimotor tour was going to be stopping at Aurora and Salem, I contacted my friend Bryan Heim, who has a close connection to the B-17 Alliance. I thought they might be interested in being the site host for the visit. He responded by telling me he had volunteered me to be his co-event coordinator for this visit and asked if that was ok. Knowing this meant that I’d be able to spend a lot of quality time with the Trimotor, of course I said yes.
Turns out the work part was easier than I expected. Bryan and Terry, executive director for the alliance, took care of most of the volunteer coordination activities and the volunteers were so good, that on site everyone worked together like a well oiled machine. I took the job of being the guy signaling the pilot to start the engines, making sure no one was going to approach the props on foot.
The biggest part of the work I did however, was that Bryan and I helped the pilot bring the plane out of the storage hangar every morning and then helped him put it away in the evening. This job usually did involve a few brief moments of stress, moving an aircraft that valuable in and out of a hangar makes one worried about making a mistake that will damage the aircraft. The rest of the job was fun though. We watched the preflights, learning a lot about the aircraft, talked to the cool folks around the hangar, and took pictures.
The EAA tour folks worked very hard to make sure volunteers and others who helped with the event got rides in the plane, and I got a ride in the copilot’s seat. This was incredible fun and the slow, graceful movements the plane made were surreal when compared to my previous flying experience. The turn on to final was my favorite part, it looked like I was watching a slow motion reel. Of course, the turn on to final is a bittersweet moment, as it also reminds you the ride is almost over.
In conclusion, I couldn’t be happier that I took this opportunity. It was fun, I met a lot of good people, and it felt good to do this different sort of work.
The Second Saturday at WAAAM this month was unique and a lot of fun. The theme was vintage glider and a few of the gliders at the museum flew for the first time.
The glider I photographed the most was a 1935 Franklin Glider PS-2. This aircraft was painted in all yellow US Navy colors and looked absolutely amazing against a blue sky. A 1951 GRUNAU BABY IIB also flew while I was photographing and a Waco primary trainer glider flew for the first time before I was able to get to the museum.
Photographing gliders is a little different than photographing other planes. They don’t move fast like jets, but don’t have propellers (well, except for the modern powered ones) that need to be taken into consideration while photographing. This means you can set your f/stop to provide a little separation with the background and use a faster shutter speed. Added benefit, it provides more margin for error in your panning. The best thing though, gliding really is beautiful.
There is some pretty major construction at WAAAM currently; expansions to a couple of their hangars. The museum has done a fantastic job of planning the Second Saturday activities so that they still deliver a similar experience. The back lawn did look interesting, probably will transform into recognizable hangar space fairly quickly. On this day though, it sorta looked like a moonscape with rectangular craters.
Make plans to attend a Second Saturday, whenever you get the chance.
March 12, 2016, was Second Saturday at WAAAM. My expectation was that the weather would be very bad with lots of wind and rain, essentially stranding us inside. I still wanted to go, because one of the main things going on was a speech about the restoration of the Stearman 70, the prototype of the famous line of Stearman trainers of WWII. I have written a Resurrection Report piece for Warbird Digest that should appear in the May/June issue. Thus, I was very interested in going, even if the weather kept anything else from happening.
Most of the drive, the weather was very ominous, and it seemed like the my expectation was accurate. However, the last ten minutes of the drive or so, it seemed quite promising much to my surprise.
As a photographer, most of the interesting stuff happens outside. At this point, I think I pretty much have most of the interesting pics I can get inside, at least without bringing a lighting kit, etc. So I headed outside fairly early and hung around watching volunteers prepare cars for the day. At one point I moved inside for a bit, probably to check my phone and see if anything significant was going on in the outside world. When I stepped back out, the Waco 9 was sitting outside the restoration hangar and it appeared they were preparing for a engine test.
This is when it became apparent that this was going to be a fantastic Second Saturday. The Curtiss OX-5 sprung right to life on the first prop pull. I spent most of the day around the activity around the Waco, only leaving to eat and the speech about the Stearman. I am a Waco addict and this promises to be the oldest Waco when it flies.
The November 2015 Second Saturday was pretty cool. The weather was among the worst it has been for a Second Saturday, but it was a lot of fun.
One of the main things going on was about Rat Rods and Rat bikes, is that what they are called? A newly built rat bike was seen by the public for the first time. There was also a presentation by Gary Fisher of Resurrected Rust, regarding his Rat Rods, two of which have won the Rat Rod Magazine Build Off; Resurrected Rust in 2014 and Resurgence in 2015. His enthusiasm was very apparent in his presentation and it was very entertaining.
You need to check out these really cool cars at WAAAM, and also all their wonderful antiques.
The weekend of September 12 was the annual Hood River Fly-In at WAAAM, which is always a fantastic time. This year the theme was “Year of the Waco,” so I was a bit more excited than usual. What avgeek isn’t fanatical about a good old Waco biplane?
I was very busy around that time, working two different projects which meant early mornings and late evenings. Thus, when Saturday rolled around, the day I devoted to the fly-in, I was very tired. Also, I think I may have been fighting a virus, but I’m not sure. Finally, it was hot that day. This all meant that I had to take frequent water breaks in the shade and rest. So I wasn’t able to take as many photos as I’d have liked.
Still it was a fantastic time. I reconnected with old friends, met some new ones. Plus there were a lot of cool planes to look at. The turnout was huge this year, over 300 airplanes. There were two Waco cabins around, plus an assortment of other Wacos, in addition to the usual assortment of great planes.
Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year, come by and take a look.
A couple of events happened in the days leading up to the 2015 Oregon International Airshow, that were unusual and impacted my experience of the event. Most importantly, my friend Joe Wilson, contacted me and asked if I wanted a free ticket that his wife had won on a radio contest. Being that I wasn’t going to go due to finances, this was obviously a huge event, as it allowed me to experience the Airshow in the first place. THANK YOU JOE!
The other interesting event leading up to the airshow was another friend of mine, Lyle Jansma, posted a video of him riding in the back of a P-51 Mustang piloted by Greg Anders when two F-16s joined up on their right wing. I figured they were on their way to Hillsboro, but was kind of surprised they were bringing Heritage Flight Museum’s P-51. During the airshow it all became clear what was going on there when Greg Anders led the USAF Heritage Flight in Val Halla.
I particularly wanted to go as I hadn’t seen the Blue Angels in many years, and wanted to make a specific image of them ever since I got really serious into photography. In the event of the airshow, the Blue Angels were incredible, but there were many other acts that I also great appreciated. Probably foremost among these, due to the demonstration itself, as well as never seeing anything like it, was the Bremerton Horsemen’s F-86 Saber demonstration. This got altered a great deal due to mechanical difficulties, but was still very impressive.
The downside of the event was dang it was hot. We could take water in, but between everyone in our group, we bought a lot. I drank it about as fast I felt comfortable drinking. I mean, I need to take photos too, not just drink water. Still, by the end of the day, I felt like I was about to pass out due to dehydration and heat stress. I was quite relieved when I made it to the car and even more so when I could make it to Burgerville for a freshly made Marionberry shake.