A Big, Loud, Russian Helicopter

Since the open house at Luke AFB back in March, not much of anything has happened on this site. However, by no means have I been sitting around and doing nothing all summer. As I write this post, I am ten hours away from flying home from St. Petersburg, Russia, where I have spent the last two months studying the Russian language and immersing myself in Russian culture. Though it had its difficult moments, it turned out to be a fantastic experience, and I am already trying to figure out a way to come back.

Russia’s achievements in spaceflight and aviation are what first got me interested in learning the language. Naturally, then, I was thrilled to get the chance to visit the country and hopefully see Russian airplanes and spaceflight relics in person. Unfortunately, though St. Petersburg is a great city, it has little to offer in those respects. There is a museum of cosmonautics on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress, but it was undergoing renovation at the time of my visit and was not up to its usual standards. There is, however, one attraction in the city for those who love aviation. Specifically, this:

Mil Mi-8

Click the “continue reading” link for further details.

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Luke AFB Open House 2014

The 2014 air show season has officially begun!

Luke AFB in Glendale, AZ (near Phoenix) happened to  host an air show this year, and it turned out that the show was scheduled right at the end of my spring break.

The show at Luke this year was packed with “firsts”. It was my first air show of the year as well as my first air show outside of the Pacific Northwest. It was also the Thunderbirds’ first show after their forced hiatus in 2013. Moreover, this show was (I’m pretty sure) the first ever appearance of an F-35 Lightning II at an air show.

Due to external circumstances (including spending a half hour as a human sandbag to keep the ERAU tent from flying away in a sudden windstorm) and my general unpreparedness for this show, I wasn’t able to take many photos (though it was nice to just be a spectator, something I haven’t done in a while). When I was taking photos, I could definitely sense how rusty I have become. Hopefully I’ll get that worked out over the course of FITS and Seafair and be back on my game in time for Abbotsford.

Acts featured in the lineup but not pictured in my album include (but are not limited to) Rob Holland, Matt Chapman, Greg Colyer in the T-33 “Ace Maker”, and the USAF Thunderbirds. I did, however, get some photos of a pair of F-86s and a USAF heritage flight.


A teaser of my small collection of photos from the 2014 Luke AFB Open House.

Some Air Shows

I have attended and uploaded photos from what may be my last two events of 2013. First up was the Flying Heritage Collection’s Fly Day on July 20th. The theme was “Allied Aces”, and attendees were treated to two Mustangs (“Upupa Epops” from the FHC, and “Impatient Virgin?” from the Historic Flight Foundation, also located at Paine Field), and the FHC’s Spitfire.

Click Here to see my Photos from the FHC

Allied Aces Day 2013

Towards the end of the flying program, I pulled out my video camera and caught the last couple passes. Crank up the volume to really hear the merlins!

Also, a first for me, I headed down to Hillsboro, Oregon to the Oregon International Air Show. When I first started planning to attend the show, the Blue Angels were headlining, and I was looking forward to seeing them at a real air show (as opposed to Seafair, where the flight line is much too far from the crowd line). Unfortunately, the US Government happened, and the Blue Angles had to cancel. In their place, though, the organizers at Hillsboro managed to snag the Patriots Jet Team, the premier civilian jet act on the circuit.

Besides the Patriots, the album also features Kirby Chambliss and the Red Bull Air Force, Greg Colyer in the T-33 “Ace Maker”, Bob Carlton’s jet-powered Super Salto Sailplane, and a surprise flyover from Alaska Airlines.

Click Here to see my Photos from Hillsboro

Oregon International Air Show 2013

I’d like to offer a big “thank you” to people who have stuck with the site. If only the whole “higher education” thing didn’t have to get in the way.

If not sooner, I’ll see you all next year!

WAC Roll Your Own 2013

Finally, a report from a fairly recent launch.

For the first time in my four and a half years of flying with WAC, I finally had a free schedule for a June launch that wasn’t either Tripoli-L2+-only or canceled due to fire danger. Because I head off to college in mid-August, Roll Your Own will likely be my last organized launch of 2013, and will definitely be my last WAC launch until FITS 2014. It’s fitting, then, that I finally finished my biggest, baddest project to date in time for this launch.


WAC Roll Your Own 2013

To read a long-winded verbal history of my greatest achievement in rocketry to date, as well as to see photos and videos of my flights at Roll Your Own, click below (reader beware, it’s a bit wordy).

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Fire in the Sky 2013

Happy 4th of July! What better way is there to celebrate our nation’s independence than to read a very late launch report from the Pacific Northwest’s premier launch event, Fire in the Sky 2013.

Due to how hectic my academic year had become by Memorial Day weekend, I was only in attendance for Saturday and Sunday. My photo albums can be found at the links below.

Saturday: http://simav8rproductions.smugmug.com/Rocketry/2013launches/FITS131/29715661_JW8TDm

Sunday: http://simav8rproductions.smugmug.com/Rocketry/2013launches/FITS132/29891381_9vbvpD

To read about my flights at FITS this year, click below.

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