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).
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 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).
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.
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.
As 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.
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.
I have been working on a photo book about the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. No, let me rephrase that, it is a book about the aircraft operating at this airport, whether those are planes based there, just visiting, regular airline flights, etc. I have just ordered a “proof copy”, the first physical copy of the book, so things are definitely getting very real now. The final book has 150 pages and about 300 large color photographs.
Interesting about this project has been figuring out how to actually produce what we used to call the “camera-ready” version of the book; in practice, this is a PDF file from which the physical book is printed. 150 pages with 300 or so photographs is not exactly easy to put together. At first, my thought was to use Adobe InDesign page layout software, but this would have meant a lot of manual labor, making sure all the pages have a uniform look, all pictures placed correctly, etc. And what would I have to do if I in the middle of this process decided that I didn’t like the chosen “look and feel” and wanted to make changes across all the pages? Very quickly I ditched the idea of using InDesign and started looking for more “automated” solutions. As a software engineer, this is in my nature, I suppose…
I have been busy with “other stuff” and have completely neglected blogging lately. The good news is this: The book titled “Aircraft at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport” is nearing completion! Proof-reading is almost done, after that it should not take very long before the book is available.
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.