Marc's Public Blog - Flying


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This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots

Table of Content for flying:

More pages: November 2023 October 2023 April 2023 October 2021 September 2021 August 2021 May 2021 November 2020 August 2020 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 June 2019 March 2019 January 2019 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 June 2018 May 2018 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 April 2017 January 2017 December 2016 August 2016 July 2016 May 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 February 2015 January 2015 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 April 2013 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 January 2012 November 2011 August 2011 July 2011 April 2011 March 2011 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 May 2010 March 2010 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 March 2009 November 2008 August 2008 July 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 December 2004 September 2004 August 2004 May 2004 March 1999





2023/11/20 Private Visit of JPL in Pasadena
π 2023-11-20 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
After being in LA for Dreamstate, I was very lucky to have friends who invited me afterwards and gave me a tour of JPL the next day, which actually was a short bike ride from where I used to live in Altadena, so it was super excited to see it finally:














I joked that I would drive the rover and fly the helicopter, but of course, that's not how it works with a 8mn turnaround time for communications:




Control center:








They also have a rocky area they can do real world tests on:




It was an awesome tour, definitely worth it, thank you :)


See more images for Private Visit of JPL in Pasadena
2023/10/07 Back to SF for another Fleet Week
π 2023-10-07 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
This year's fleet week was ultimately fairly similar to the one I went to 2 years ago. The main bonus was the F35-B demonstration which is rate to see, full hover and 360 degree turn in place.

I remembered how much of a clusterfudge it was to drive there and park last time, so I didn't try too hard to get closeby parking, and after picking up Ralf who was happy to join me for the show, parked fairly far from the waterfront, but with the bikes, it was a quick enough ride, even if I was kind of loaded with the big foldable chairs :)




this time went directly for an advance front row seat
this time went directly for an advance front row seat

cookies help :)
cookies help :)

nice water cops came to chase the jetskis that weren't bothering anyone, yeah to silly laws
nice water cops came to chase the jetskis that weren't bothering anyone, yeah to silly laws

we were in time for the show this time
we were in time for the show this time




good climb power without passengers :)
good climb power without passengers :)



pelicans tried to compete :)
pelicans tried to compete :)





that's some low flying
that's some low flying





the middle plane is facing the wrong way :)
the middle plane is facing the wrong way :)


more competition :)
more competition :)









And finally came time for the F35-B Demo:






slowing down for hover
slowing down for hover






Then it went back into forward flight:


More planes and demos:





Last, but not least, the thunderbirds came back:



















oh noes, two of them are out of order :)
oh noes, two of them are out of order :)

Nice show overall, even if quite similar to the one 2 years ago, weather was perfect (not so much the day after), glad I was able to go despite the crappy SF traffic and parking. Thanks to Ralf for joining me.

See more images for Back to SF for another Fleet Week
2023/04/23 San Carlos' Hiller Aviation Museum
π 2023-04-23 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
It had been a while since I had been to San Carlos' Hiller Aviation Museum, so it was nice to do another visit while I was there after landing from a FOG trip:














































2023/04/23 FOG Tour Of Victorville's Southern California Logistics' Airplane Graveyard
π 2023-04-23 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
I have flown over VCV a few times, always a very cool sight. I went to look for older pictures for history, and finally got lucky enough to get a tour on the ground thanks to San Carlos Flying Club's FOG tour.

2007

Flew to Victorville for the Darpa Urban Challenge (passenger in a 737 ;) ), it was a bit basic back then:


2017

This was my first flight to San Bernardino, and I got some good shots of VCV then







2022/03

My 2nd flight to SBD was still during the 737 Max debacle. Boeing, due to their greed and stupidity, had all their new badly designed planes grounded for close to 1.5 years and lost billions over their terrible decision making. This led to them having so many planes that couldn't fly and be sold, that many were stored at VCV, filling an entire runway and taxiway:





The boneyard was still there of course:




2023/04

This was my 4th time, and the best by far, this time it was with FOG and they SCFC nicely organized a tour of the facilities on the ground, that was very cool. By then, the 737 Max had been removed from runway and taxiway.





First time landing there:



FOG members had a good time in the FBO Million air:



golf, even :)
golf, even :)

obligatory group picture
obligatory group picture

Then it was my group turn's for the van tour of the grounds (it's big). During the tour, I found out that indeed part of the airport is used for scrap, planes that exceeded their safe design limits, and that can be used for spare parts, or recycling of the metal. There are also boeing planes that are being parked there until they can find a new customer (planes that were ordered during covid and then the orders cancelled).




















so long Victorvile, it was a very cool visit, thank you to Million Air for the private tour.






2023/04/22 Socal USAF Airshow at March Air Reserve in Riverside with FOG
π 2023-04-22 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
Flyout Group organized a trip to Socal for the USAF Airshow at March Air Reserve in Riverside, and I was thankfully able to join last minute.
Even though we had a hotel almost next door, traffic was a complete mess. We left 1h30 early and the van I was in got almost nowhere in 3h and ran out of gas before making it to the entrance. Thankfully I made the call to get out and walk, it was a long walk (30-40mn), but I passed all the cars that were stuck in line, and got it before they nicely decided to close that entrance to pedestrians, so the poor people behind me were sent on a 1h30 walk all the way around the base, ridiculous :(

that was more than 20mn into my walk in, at least by then I was in the base and going towards the visitor entrance
that was more than 20mn into my walk in, at least by then I was in the base and going towards the visitor entrance

The flight line and displays were interesting:









first time I see a B1 outside of a museum
first time I see a B1 outside of a museum










cool to still see snow in the background
cool to still see snow in the background

It was definitely warm and sunny, thankfully I found a tent to hide in :)


The airshow was quite good, here are some pictures:









had never seen a B1 fly before
had never seen a B1 fly before

















So happy to see a F35 fly for the first time, both an F35B (vtol) and F35C:


short field takeoff
short field takeoff










Nice to see this performer again with precision flying, including landing on the top of a van:





And the show ended with the thunderbirds:



















All in all, a good show, nice to see some planes I had never seen outside or in flight

2023/04/16 Paso Robles Estrella Warbird Museum
π 2023-04-16 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
It had been almost 10 years since I last went in 2013. My original plan wasn't to go back, but I got stuck at PRB with a low overcast, so that gave me time to go visit it again :)
























2023/04/16 Flight over Carrizo Plain To See Wildflowers
π 2023-04-16 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
We had a superbloom this year, so it was a good time to fly over it to have a look while flying from Paso Robles to Solvang:




that's a *lot* of flowers
that's a *lot* of flowers

and they go far
and they go far






even the hills
even the hills




Once it got to to the hills towards LA Coast, it was over though (and also a nice overcast):


2023/04/14 Flights From Palo Alto to Oceano, then Paso Robles, Santa Ynes (Solvang) and back to Palo Alto
π 2023-04-14 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
It had been a while since I had been to Oceano and its sand dunes, and I also wanted to see Field of Lights at Paso Robles, as well as Solvang, the Danish town, a bit more south, so it was a good excuse for an extended weekend flight.

Pao to Oceano


Moffett hangar is being re-skinned
Moffett hangar is being re-skinned

the quary in the hills is definitely making big holes
the quary in the hills is definitely making big holes



Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz



can go for house shopping
can go for house shopping

hopefully erosion is not a problem :)
hopefully erosion is not a problem :)


whale watching boat going out
whale watching boat going out



Hwy 1 is cool
Hwy 1 is cool







Was able to fly around Hearst Castle:







Then on the way to Oceano:



had not seen diablo nuclear power plant before, cool sight with cooling pool above and hole in the hill for storage
had not seen diablo nuclear power plant before, cool sight with cooling pool above and hole in the hill for storage




Oceano ATVs
Oceano ATVs

san dunes to play on
san dunes to play on

Oceano to Paso Robles



San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo

Paso Robles
Paso Robles


Paso Robles to Santa Ynes/Solvang

Departure from Paso Robles was delayed until the cloud cover lifted, beautiful flight with a small detour by Carrizo Plains for wildflowers









Santa Ynes back to Palo Alto

After a nice day in Solvang, easy flight back to Palo Alto:


able to see the oceano dunes
able to see the oceano dunes


Apple spaceship buildings
Apple spaceship buildings




new google campus and sports field
new google campus and sports field


Very nice flights and fun trip..

2021/10/10 Another Fleet Week in SFO
π 2021-10-10 01:01 in Flying, Nflying
I cannot believe it had been 15 years since last time I went to see fleet week in 2006. Glad I decided to go back, even if this time red bull air races was not happening.
Thanks to Lee for joining me, that made it more fun.

I got a slightly better camera 15 years later, so the shots were a bit better. It was cool to see an airliner flying so close to the ground/water:



yeah for energy management, cool that the flight by wire allowed this
yeah for energy management, cool that the flight by wire allowed this



low enough to buzz the boats
low enough to buzz the boats

coast guard
coast guard





damn, that's a lot of control authority
damn, that's a lot of control authority
































Outside of driving through San Francisco and terrible parking (had to park a long ways away and bike in), it was fun :)

See more images for Another Fleet Week in SFO
2021/09/02 Imperial War Museum in Duxford
π 2021-09-02 01:01 in England2021, Flying, Nflying
Lots of flight museums in the UK, I'm glad I got to see the main ones:
  • London Science Museum's Airplane Section
  • RAF Museum North of London
  • RAF Museum in Cosford (30mn from Birmingham and Stafford)
  • Imperial War Museum in Duxford (this one)
  • Flight Over Cambridge From IWM Duxford (while there, I rented a plane for a short flight)
  • There are multiple Imperial War Museums in the UK, and Duxford is likely the biggest plane museum in the country, 7 hangars and next to an active runway used to demonstrations and flights you can rent/pay for. I was there for opening time (took an uber from cambridge as it's not convenient to go by public transport):

    first impression: it's big
    first impression: it's big

    I had a tour booked to get a private tour of a spitfire and sit in the cockpit. I didn't know that for just 60 times more money, I could have flown in one for 30mn. A bargain :)




    this was the actual aircraft, recovered on the beach in normandy
    this was the actual aircraft, recovered on the beach in normandy


    I then went to sit in it
    I then went to sit in it








    After my tour, I went to visit the hangars:










    auto gyro
    auto gyro









    I went back to hangar #1 to see the concorde that closes earlier:






    They had one of the 6 concorde prototypes in the world. I had seen severals, but prototypes are always special, so it was worth seeing:







    it never had passengers, it was a test airplane for multiple systems including anti-icing and engine management
    it never had passengers, it was a test airplane for multiple systems including anti-icing and engine management

    the seats in the passenger versions, were much smaller
    the seats in the passenger versions, were much smaller


    lots of test equipment
    lots of test equipment

    cockpit was off limits
    cockpit was off limits

    the numbers were references to see how much icing happened
    the numbers were references to see how much icing happened














    harrier engines are awesome
    harrier engines are awesome



    Next, I went to the restoration hangar, lots of planes being worked on:












    Next was a small control room that re-enacted the only real air attack from Germany that was stopped:



    Further down was a very nice hangar filled with US planes. Not as interesting to me since I had seem them all many times in the US, but still worth the walk through:









    Last, but not least, was land warfare, this was a war museum, not just a plane museum:






    And that was it for the visit, I finished just 30mn before closing time.
    Also, while I was there, I got to

  • fly myself to cambridge for some nice pictures
  • and see many other cool planes fly during the day








  • Those planes did inspire me to do my own flight Over Cambridge From IWM Duxford.

    Getting back home was also not easy, no ubers at all, and taxis were a 45mn wait. I got lucky and shared a cab with a woman who had already called a cab herself and was also going to the train station in cambridge.

    See more images for Imperial War Museum in Duxford

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