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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The 31st Bowman Field Fly-in was held on August 26th and 27th, and just like last year I made a brief visit. This time I was there on the 2nd day. For those who don’t know, Bowman Field (B10) is a small grass strip in the town of Livermore Falls, ME. This has now become one of my favorite annual aviation events to visit, one I much prefer over bigger airshows.
Collings Foundation‘s “Wings of Freedom Tour” recently passed through a number of New England airports. The aircraft (B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51) are always worth seeing. This time, their TP-51C “Betty Jane” had been replaced by the recently restored TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts”.
I saw the aircraft several times, at Beverly, MA (KBVY) on 2016-09-18, at Manchester, NH (KMHT) on 2016-09-20 and -21, and at Worcester, MA (KORH) on 2016-09-24. The Worcester stop featured additional aircraft; I was able to photograph their Corsair and Skyraider.
I also received the honor of being the Collings Foundation’s first “fan photographer of the week”. There will be a separate blog post about this.
On Friday I was able to stop at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum‘s “World War II Weekend” event at the Reading Regional Airport in Pennsylvania. This is a huge 3-day event that comprises of an airshow, re-enactments, talks by visiting veterans and other experts, etc. For the past several years I have had conflicting engagements that have prevented me from going to this event, and I had one this time too, but at least I was able to stop in Reading for a couple of hours when “passing through”.