Hurricane Hunters Visit

Two hurricane-hunting aircraft visited the Quonset State Airport (KOQU; North Kingstown, RI) yesterday:

  • Lockheed WP-3D Orion (N42RC; c/n 285A-5622) of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and
  • Lockheed WC-130J Hercules (97-5304, c/n 382-5474) of 53rd WRS, 403rd Wing, AF Reserve.
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WP-3D Orion

The aircraft were part of NOAA’s “Hurricane Awareness Tour” aiming to “raise awareness of the impacts from tropical cyclones threats and the danger of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.” The Orion is one of two such aircraft operated by NOAA, based in Lakeland, Florida and equipped to do data collection to supplant data from ground-based radars as well as from satellites. Similarly, the Hercules collects weather data from storms and other adverse weather phenomena; this aircraft is based in Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

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Experimenting with Image Blending

ERJ 170 vapor MHTI am generally very much opposed to deceptive image manipulation and consider it “altering history”. On So Many Aircraft, photographs are considered a historical record, thus editing has to be limited to minimal corrections of the original photograph (straightening the horizon, fixing exposure, etc.). See this blog post on more information about the importance of accurate captioning of photographs.

That said, I recently decided to see if I could learn some more advanced editing techniques. Since I use the Adobe Creative Cloud tools, it was time take my skills with Adobe Photoshop CC to the next level. I actually fairly seldom use Photoshop, since I find that the kind of editing I need can all be done with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

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Hawaiian Airlines now flies to Boston

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Together with some other spotters I witnessed the arrival and departure of Hawaiian Airlines’ new Honolulu-Boston-Honolulu route on 2019-04-05. The flight arrived 5:38 am, before sunrise, and pushed back from the gate at 8:09 am. In between, representatives of the airline gave us nice leis and some Hawaiian Airline swag.

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Aircraft in Serengeti

This time we bring you some interesting aircraft photographs taken by my sister, Dr. Pilvi Lassila. She is a veterinarian who frequently travels to exotic locations, and on her recent visit to Tanzania she managed to capture some images of aircraft operating at the Serengeti National Park.

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Regional Air -operated Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (5H-REG, c/n 208B0443) at the Kogatende Airstrip.

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Beach City Baby Flies!

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Low pass past the hangar that will be her new home.

After almost three years of restoration work, “Beach City Baby”, a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (41-20095, c/n 4865) flew for the first time in more than 20 years this past Saturday. Jason Capra, a captain for Republic Airways, and his band of volunteers completed the aircraft to a point where FAA could grant a “ferry permit”. This allowed the aircraft to be flown from Beach City, OH to her new home at Venango Regional Airport (KFKL) in Franklin, PA.

This aircraft was built in 1941 and was accepted by the US Army Air Corps in January 1942. She served with the Air Transportation Command in places like North Africa and Italy as a troop and VIP transport. After the war, the aircraft was sold to Danish Air Lines (later SAS); many European airlines were “jump started” after the war with surplus DC-3s. She returned back to the US, and from 1963 until 1983 served as the official transport of the Governor of Ohio. Eventually, she ended up in Beach City where she sat since 1992.

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What’s going on

I thought I’d write something about the current activities at So Many Aircraft. Summer is just about here and there will be air shows, so some serious photography is in our future. The plan is to visit at least the air shows in the New England area (Quonset and Westover) as well as various fly-ins. Also, visits to NH by the Collings Foundation aircraft as well as some other warbirds (e.g., “Fifi”) will be covered.

If at all possible, we plan to be in Beach City, OH (yep, no beach there and it is not a city) this summer when “Beach City Baby“, a C-53, will finally be flown to Washington, PA. Captain Jason Capra and his crew have done amazing work and the restoration is proceeding well; go visit their Web site to see what’s going on there.

On the publishing side, we are working on a Kindle version of the KMHT book. That should be available soon. Beyond that, the DC-3 book is still being worked on, and a book on Eurocopter Dauphin is being planned (and, we are interested in anyone who could arrange access to photograph these).

On the strictly bureaucratic side, the new EU privacy regulation (“GDPR”) came into effect, so we now have a privacy page. The blog has been updated as well, so if you are reading this within the EU, you should have seen some kind of notice).

Front & Back

Boeing 737-7H4 (N795SW, c/n 30606), Southwest Airlines; KMHT, 2018-04-04

Lately, I have taken more pictures from what could be considered unusual angles. Since my general interest has been aviation history (the preservation thereof) and scale models, I mostly take pictures of aircraft from very “traditional” angles. In this blog post I will discuss and show some images that could be labeled as “front and back”.

Front

Front views of aircraft offer some dramatic visuals, but can also be helpful for scale modelers as they can reveal details that are otherwise hard to get right (dihedral angle, positioning of the landing gear, etc.). Here are some recent pictures (except for one, all pictures in this post were taken this year).

Bombardier CRJ900 (N181PQ, c/n 15181), Delta/ExpressJet; KMHT, 2018-05-03

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Snow and aircraft photography

Bombardier CRJ200 (N248PS, c/n 7925) of American Airlines, operated by PSA Airlines, lands at KMHT on 2017-12-11.

Now that we (finally) have some snow in New England I thought I’d share some of my personal views and observations about the opportunities and challenges that snow presents to the aircraft photographer. Generally speaking, snow on the ground changes the lighting conditions as it reflects sunlight and often creates a wonderful environment of all-around diffuse light. Not only do we avoid sharp shadows (like on overcast days), but also the undersides of aircraft easily receive more light.

Southwest’s Boeing 737-7H4 (N205WN, c/n 34010) at KMHT on 2017-12-11.
Southwest’s Boeing 737-76N (N7846A, c/n 35218) at KMHT on 2017-05-12.

The picture of PSA’s CRJ200, above, is a good example of how the reflected light illuminates the undersides of a landing aircraft. Similarly, the landing Southwest 737s look quite different from one another: One was shot on an overcast spring day (with no snow), the other in bright sunlight but with snow underneath (note the reflection of the aircraft’s shadow in the snow, visible on the fuselage). On a snowy day, even when you have direct sunlight, you can often avoid sharp shadows that otherwise make photography in direct sunlight a challenge. Without snow, the diffuse lighting of the overcast day helps, but even with modest editing there is not as much light to illuminate the underside of the aircraft.

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The KMHT book is done!

book coverAs I recently reported, I have been working on a book titled “Aircraft at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport”. Now I am happy to report that the book is done and available to purchase! More information about the book is available here.

The 150-page book features almost 300 large color photographs (selected from about 7,000) depicting aircraft operating at, or visiting, the KMHT airport.