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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 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




2020/11/19 Tucson's Pima Air and Space Museum
π 2020-11-19 01:01 in Flying
As part of driving across the southern states back to CA, we were in Tucson. The museum is indeed in Pima, next to Tucson, and more an Air Museum than a Space Museum, but the Air Museum bit is quite good. It's a distant second to the national museum of the airforce in Dayton, OH, but it's still worth a good 6-7H. It would be worth more time if all the planes outside had better descriptions, or working QR links (most of them pointed to a non working website, which was a shame).

I have 3 big picture galleries here:

  • Hangars: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jw4X62bi1M8tigdm7
  • Flightline: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KPqTNyfyfNBG295W8
  • Graveyard: https://photos.app.goo.gl/teWebDopAA1TtE8W6
  • While in Tucson, and after vistiing the Tucson Titan Missile Museum the previous afternoon, I was there bright and early, 30mn before they opened at 09:00 :)




    A good portions of the displays are in 5 different hangars:




    Some hangars had a mix of things:














    Interesting pieces were japanese planes and a pilot guided cruise missile trainer:






















    I had never seen this portable helicopter. For some reason, it never became popular, I wonder why :)



    More planes and helis:



    a D21 drone, meant to be launched from the A12, the first version of the SR21
    a D21 drone, meant to be launched from the A12, the first version of the SR21







    interestingly, there were severals warthogs flying outside that day
    interestingly, there were severals warthogs flying outside that day

    Of course, a sizeable portion of the collection is outdoors, which most of the year, is in somewhat unberable heat, but thankfully in november, it was only mid 80's. Normally you can get a narrated tour in a tram, but during covid, they were cancelled, so I just went on foot. Unfortunately a lot of description plaques were missing, or pointed to unreachable web pages :-(














    unconventional propellor bomber that was improved with small jet engines
    unconventional propellor bomber that was improved with small jet engines







    super gumpy
    super gumpy


















    even some french planes
    even some french planes




    english electric
    english electric


    multiple migs
    multiple migs






    There were a few airliners, that felt a bit out of place:





    They did have some really cool plane paintings:







    Normally, the museum also has a tour of the graveyard in a bus, the huge amount of planes that are sitting around the airport, some decomissioned and dismantled, while others are technically ready to be re-used if needed. Unfortunately, again, with covid, that tour has been cancelled, and I heard it might not come back.
    So, I hired an uber to drive me close to some of the fences around the area, and I jumped out in a few places to take some pictures:








    This is a better idea of what it looks like from the sky:











    So that was it. It wasn't a complete visit since I wasn't really able to see the graveyard from inside, or get a good description of the outdoor planes in the museum (they were missing plaques and had non working QR codes), but it was the best that could be done during covid times, and it was still quite enjoyable :) It's definitely a unique collection.

    2020/11/18 Tucson Titan Missile Museum
    π 2020-11-18 01:01 in Flying
    As part of driving across the southern states back to CA, we drove by Tucson, and on my list of things to do, was the Tucson Titan Missile Museum which I found out later is, I believe, the only (former) genuine 9 megaton class ICBM site in the world, that you can visit (the newer ICBMs are much smaller).
    Titan missiles were back when the US ICBM arsenal was only 54 missiles with very high yield (9 megaton). They were, for the times, very precise missiles that were guided at takeoff and then fully ballistic once their takeoff fuel ran out. They have since then been replaced by hundreds of smaller minuteman missiles of 150 kilotons each.
    All the titans sites were destroyed except for this one, and the ICBMs were mostly re-used as rockets to launch other payloads. This makes this site and one remaining display rocket, very unique, and it was very cool that we were able to visit them (they also had just re-opened after a lengthy covid closure).
    To learn more about those weapons, and how things could have gone very wrong with them, watch comand and control

    It was great that we were able to visit after arriving in Tucson:



    this is the actual size of the warhead
    this is the actual size of the warhead




    they also have a very nice short RF antenna
    they also have a very nice short RF antenna

    Outside is unassuming:



    but if you look through the right window, you see the titan missile, impressive view
    but if you look through the right window, you see the titan missile, impressive view

    a few side displays
    a few side displays



    But after a set of stairs, we got down, and it was really cool:



    the whole room is kept completely level
    the whole room is kept completely level



    I won mission commander
    I won mission commander

    the launch key was actually pretty simple
    the launch key was actually pretty simple

    ready to launch
    ready to launch

    missile launched
    missile launched

    we gave the key to Jennifer for a second launch
    we gave the key to Jennifer for a second launch

    From there, we had a look at the missile launch room across the corridor:





    Definitely a special experience, really happy we got to see this.

    See more images for Tucson Titan Missile Museum
    2020/08/23 Wendover Airfield Museum between Nevada and Utah
    π 2020-08-23 01:01 in Flying
    It had been a while since I had done a short refueling stop at Wendover, so it was great that we got to stop with Arturo on our way to Moab. We arrived just 45mn before they were closing at 16:00, but it turned out to be just enough. That airfield in an important part of US history, this is where the B29s were training during WWII and where the crews and planes that went drop the two atomic bombs on Japan, trained. Today, it's mostly a ghost town with the barracks falling apart:












    I didn't know the planes left from Tinian by Guam and there was a plan for them to land at Iwo Jima, and have a 2nd plane take the bomb and try again if the weather didn't allow for the first plane to reach the targets:


    mission #1
    mission #1

    mission #2
    mission #2

    It was so an artillary range:



    We had a look around the rest of the base, not much left:








    2019/10/13 Prague Military Aviation Museum
    π 2019-10-13 01:01 in Flying
    While in Prague, I realized a bit late, but not too late, that there was a good military airplane museum slightly out of town. It was a quick enough cab ride to the collection, and I arrived just around 13:00, which turned out to be barely enough to visit everything (closure time was posted as 18:00, but actually all the hangars closed at 17:30).

    Most of the planes were at the main location, a few were in another location around 1km walk away (not super convenient). The collection had a nice mixture of planes, including the most soviet planes I've seen in a single museum:




















    Most of the planes were in hangars:


    for a change, that was a museum with proper warnings :)
    for a change, that was a museum with proper warnings :)


    very early airliner with only 6 person capacity
    very early airliner with only 6 person capacity

    interesting, this plane had radiator cooling lines on its wing
    interesting, this plane had radiator cooling lines on its wing












    The secondary location looked close on the map, but was actually a fair walk away on city streets:











    And with just a few minutes to spare before they closed he hangars 30mn earlier than then expected closing time, I barely finished the museum. It was well worth the visit.

    See more images for Prague Military Aviation Museum
    2019/09/10 Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage and Fairbanks Pioneer Air Museum
    π 2019-09-10 01:01 in Ak2019, Flying
    Anchorage has a very big seaplane base just next to their international airport. It happens to have a nice aviation museum which is worth a good 2H+ if you read up on the history, including how Alaska was partially invaded by the Japanese during WWII:







    The museum focuses on Alaska related planes, and they have a good collection thereof:










    choose your ski
    choose your ski



    pilot licenses used to have pictures on them
    pilot licenses used to have pictures on them

    The day prior, we went to the smaller air museum in Fairbanks. It's much more compact:







    cool, the japanese designed float planes that would fit inside a submarine
    cool, the japanese designed float planes that would fit inside a submarine





    2019/09/05 Alaska Day 02: Denali Overfly and Glacier Landing from Talkeetna, and Off to Denali NP
    π 2019-09-05 01:01 in Ak2019, Flying, Trips

    We left Anchorage not too late and headed towards Denali. We stopped at Talkeetna for a super scenic flight around Denali with glacier landing. We were super lucky to be first plane to land on the glacier after 3 weeks where it was not possible. Even the flights that came back before we left that day were not able to land due to too much fog. Our pilot did 4 different landings to "pave" the runway on the snow for a few more planes to land behind us:


    this was the same plane than our float plane, but it had skis instead
    this was the same plane than our float plane, but it had skis instead

    got the copilot seat again
    got the copilot seat again

    lots of taildraggers
    lots of taildraggers






    several glaciers
    several glaciers

    which don't always look good when you zoom
    which don't always look good when you zoom






    I wouldn't snowboard down this :)
    I wouldn't snowboard down this :)

    beautiful field
    beautiful field






    Then, it was time for our glacier landing. This is normally the base that people who climb denali, start from. It's still a 3 week climb:





    t is a big plane
    t is a big plane




    Then it was time to get back in the air:




    hard to tell that all that dirt is a glacier, until you see this
    hard to tell that all that dirt is a glacier, until you see this


    back to Talkeetna
    back to Talkeetna

    After the flight, we had a quick tour of downtown Talkeetna:





    cheap gas
    cheap gas

    We got back on the road toward denali, and did a stop at a nice viewpoint:




    Then back on the road, and got to the visitor center by 17:15 before they closed at 18:00


    and after a total of 5.5H most of which Jennifer drove (thanks), we arrived at Denali
    and after a total of 5.5H most of which Jennifer drove (thanks), we arrived at Denali








    It was then time for dinner, some food grocery shopping for our next day, and some sleep in preparation for a 05:45 wakeup. We got to see a bit of wildlife:



    2019/08/25 Flight to Burning Man and Back
    π 2019-08-25 01:01 in Bm, Flying
    This year, it was a beautiful flight to BRC, so I made a small detour by Tahoe and Reno:


    the delta where ephemerisle takes place
    the delta where ephemerisle takes place




    Mt Rose ski resort
    Mt Rose ski resort

    Reno Airport
    Reno Airport



    Pyramid Lake
    Pyramid Lake


    And after just around 2H, we arrived at BRC:



    the man looked small this year
    the man looked small this year

    the city was surprisingly full for a sunday mid-day, especially with the road closed
    the city was surprisingly full for a sunday mid-day, especially with the road closed

    the folly was an interesting multi level structure
    the folly was an interesting multi level structure




    I wondered what this was and would out later it was the art car DMV registration line
    I wondered what this was and would out later it was the art car DMV registration line

    more of the DMV line
    more of the DMV line

    the airport already had some customers
    the airport already had some customers

    barely anyone at the entrance because the road from reno had been closed due to a fatal accident
    barely anyone at the entrance because the road from reno had been closed due to a fatal accident

    the temple, kind of a weird shape for this year
    the temple, kind of a weird shape for this year



    the runway was hard to miss
    the runway was hard to miss

    happily on the ground
    happily on the ground

    taping everything up
    taping everything up


    After a week at burning man, it was time to go back


    definitely more people in the exodus on sunday afternoon
    definitely more people in the exodus on sunday afternoon


    the lucky folks who made it to the road
    the lucky folks who made it to the road




    Then, a few pictures from the flight back:

    pyramid lake
    pyramid lake


    truckee train
    truckee train

    northstar ski resort
    northstar ski resort

    See more images for Flight to Burning Man and Back
    2019/06/20 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget
    π 2019-06-20 01:01 in Flying
    By sheer luck, I was in Paris a few days at the same time that the Bourget Air Show. This also happened in 2005, and I went there for a day then.

    This time, I went during professional days, which meant fewer crowds (good), but a much lesser airshow (not as great, but oh well):


    the line to get in was thankfully fast as everyone was pre-paid
    the line to get in was thankfully fast as everyone was pre-paid

    I then went to see expo halls:



    chinese jet
    chinese jet



    cool aircraft using helium for lift and hydrogen for propulsion
    cool aircraft using helium for lift and hydrogen for propulsion












    NGF concept
    NGF concept


    VTOL aircraft:

    quadplane (multirotor for takeoff and conversion to plane in flight)
    quadplane (multirotor for takeoff and conversion to plane in flight)

    another concept
    another concept



    Drones:

    tethered drone with unlimited runtime
    tethered drone with unlimited runtime


    It was air and space:





    A fair amount of planes outside too:










    next generation fighter
    next generation fighter













    I went back to see the old planes that are there all year:


    747 2nd floor
    747 2nd floor









    So, there was a small airshow, I only watched part of it given limited time and that it was a bit weak. I heard it was better during the weekend when the general public was allowed. I somehow made a few wrong turns and ended up at the Airbus private viewing lounge:












    And that was it for the Bourget expo. I didn't quite have the time to see everything in one day, but saw most of it, worth the visit given that I was already there :)

    See more images for Paris Air Show at Le Bourget
    2019/03/17 Calgary's Hangar Flight Museum
    π 2019-03-17 01:01 in Flying, Museums
    During a very short trip in Calgary, I went to check out the Hangar Flight Museum on the way back to the airport to fly home. It wasn't a huge museum, but it was my first aviation museum in canada, so that was reason enough to go :)
    A very nice volunteer gave me a tour. The whole museum can be done in 1H or so, but I spent a bit longer:




    interesting ripoff of the Wright Flyers
    interesting ripoff of the Wright Flyers


    The Avro Arrow was supposed to be a Mach2+ fighter, but was sadly scrapped, dealing a big blow to Canadian aviation designs
    The Avro Arrow was supposed to be a Mach2+ fighter, but was sadly scrapped, dealing a big blow to Canadian aviation designs



    hard to believe that jet engine fits in the Havilland Vampire
    hard to believe that jet engine fits in the Havilland Vampire


    interesting twin boom design, jet exhaust was pointing down, so you couldn't do a static runup without melting the runway :)
    interesting twin boom design, jet exhaust was pointing down, so you couldn't do a static runup without melting the runway :)

    Havilland Vampire is definitely an interesting early jet
    Havilland Vampire is definitely an interesting early jet








    Also, nearby was the aviation section of the Military Museum:



    Canada used CF104/starfighters are nuclear bombers
    Canada used CF104/starfighters are nuclear bombers














    See more images for Calgary's Hangar Flight Museum
    2019/01/22 Christchurch's Air Force Museum of New Zealand
    π 2019-01-22 01:01 in Flying
    Another country, another flight museum. New Zealand doesn't have an airforce anymore, so they have more planes they can show off now. A nice docent gave me a private tour of their restauration area:

















    More pages: 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

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