Images & Observations

Aviation

P-47G Thunderbolt “Spirit of Atlantic City”

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 800 1/20 f/8 Lr4; PsCS6

The P-47 was first introduced in 1942 and saw extensive service in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.  15,678 were manufactured and the last active duty aircraft was retired from the Peruvian Air Force in 1966.  The P-47 was big and heavy, and not as tightly maneuverable as other fighter aircraft at the time, but it could dive faster than other aircraft, could carry bombs and rockets, extended fuel tanks and was equipped with eight .50 caliber machine guns mounted in its wings.  The P-47 flew missions escorting bombers, fighting enemy interceptors and also was successful in air to ground warfare, disabling German armored vehicles including exploiting tank vulnerabilities with armor piercing, armor piercing-incendiary and armor piercing-tracer ammunition.  P-47 pilots also became skillful at skip-bombing train tunnels, sealing both ends of a tunnel and sealing German trains inside the tunnels.

This P-47G Thunderbolt is the last flying Thunderbolt with the “razorback: canopy configuration in existence, the razorback limited rear vision and was replaced in subsequent fighter aircraft with the “bubble” canopy.  The “Spirit of Atlantic City” was manufactured in 1944 by Grand Central Aircraft Company, Glendale, California.  Restored once at Kirtland Air Force Base (New Mexico) in 1958-1963 it was housed at various air museums and used in air shows.  On October 23, 1972 the aircraft crashed during a forced landing at an air show at Point Mugu, California and struck an earth embankment.  The “Spirit of Atlantic City” was then rebuilt in Chino, California and returned to flight in 1976 and remains in the flying collection of the Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, California.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


“Oh, To Fly Again…”

Another salvage jet engine waiting on the tarmac at Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, California for another chance to fly.  I am fascinated by the mechanical contrivances that man can devise from inert matter that then have the ability to move matter through time and space.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


B-25 “Photo Fanny”

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 22mm ISO 800 1/20 f/8 Lr4; PsCS6

“Photo Fanny”, a B-25J, was assembled in 1944 and is part of the collection at the Planes of Fame Air Museum, and flies from their hanger at the Chino, California airport.  Photo Fanny has also been known as “Shangrila” and “Betty Grable” and was flown in the 1992 motion picture “Foreever Young” and the 2001 motion picture “Pearl Harbor”, flying off of the carrier USS Constellation.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


Waiting For A Second Chance

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 200 1/30 f/11 Lr4

A salvaged jet engine on the tarmac at the Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, California.  I am fascinated by images of machinery, I believe there is a real beauty in machined parts assembled for a functional purpose.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


B-25 Mitchell

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 1250 3-bkts f/18 Lr4; PsCS6

This is another angle on “Mitch The Witch II” that was featured in an earlier post.  As described in the earlier post, “Mitch The Witch II” has had a colorful history and is still flying out of the Palm Springs Air Museum.  I’ve started playing with the HDR Pro filter in Photoshop CS6 and used it on this image, I am liking the results I am getting with this, but I have also recently upgraded to HDR Efex Pro 2 and am liking those results also.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


N3N Trainer

Nikon D7000 10–24mm @ 22mm ISO 2500 1/6 f/18 Lr4; PsCS6

A United States Navy N3N Canary training biplane in the collection of the Palm Springs Air Museum.   This aircraft was manufactured by the U.S. Navy, from Wikipedia:

The N.A.F. delivered 997 N3N aircraft beginning in 1935. They included 180 N3N-1s and 816 N3N-3s. Four N3N-3s were delivered to the United States Coast Guard in 1941. Production ended in January 1942 but the type remained in use through the rest of World War II. The N3N was the last biplane in US military service – the last (used by the U.S. Naval Academy for aviation familiarization) were retired in 1961. The N3N was also unique in that it was an aircraft designed and manufactured by an aviation firm wholly owned and operated by the U.S. government (the Navy, in this case) as opposed to private industry. For this, the Navy bought the rights and the tooling for the Wright R-760 series engine and produced their own engines. These Navy built engines were installed on Navy built airframes. A Navy N3N was used as a crop sprayer in Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest though after impact with the fuel tanker the wreckage is seen to be a Boeing Stearman.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


The “Aluminum Falcon”

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 1250 1/2 f/18 Lr4; PsCS6

A Consolidated Vultee PBY-5A Catalina, in the collection of the Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California.  This aircraft was manufactured in 1944 and saw service in the United States Navy.  After the war it was decommissioned by the Navy and was operated by various commercial operators in the greater Pacific area.  On September 30, 1955 the Catalina had to make a forced landing in the Pacific Ocean, 275 miles west of San Francisco.  It was recovered by ship and rebuilt in Long Beach, California in 1956 and later was operated as a fire suppression tanker in Washington state.  It was acquired by the Palm Springs museum in 2007 and is still airworthy.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .


Mitch The Witch II

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 1250 3-bkts f/18 Lr3, HEP1, TpzAdj; PsCS5

Mitch the Witch II’s current home is the Palm Springs Air Museum, where it is a part of the collection that is still flown.  The B-25 manufactured by North American Aviation was a medium bomber developed in 1940 and deployed in 1941; 9,984 B-25’s were eventually built.  The B-25 first gained fame as the bomber used in the 18 April 1942 Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25Bs led by the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle attacked mainland Japan, four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  On Saturday, 28 July 1945, at 0940 (while flying in thick fog), a USAAF B-25D crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, hitting between the 79th and 80th floor. 14 people were killed — 11 in the building, along with Colonel William Smith and the other two occupants of the bomber.[9] Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator attendant, survived the impact and a subsequent uncontrolled descent with the elevator. It was partly because of this incident that Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707 aircraft (though the planes that hit the towers on September 11, 2001 had significantly higher masses and were traveling at substantially higher speeds).  (Source: Wikipedia.)

North American B-25J Mitchell, N8163H Mitch the Witch II was delivered to the Army Air Corps as 44-86747. It is restored as B-25C 42-87293. Its construction number is 108-47501. After the war, it was converted to a TB-25N trainer. The Air Force retired it in 1958 and stored it at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Alton C. Mosley of Fairbanks, Alaska gave it its current registration on May 4, 1959. In July 1959 it was converted to a fire fighting tanker with a 2,000-gallon retardent tank. Merric Inc of Anchorage, Alaska bought it in April 1961 and sold it to RJD Corporation of Fairbanks in February 1965. Aero Retardant of Fairbanks bought it in April 1967 and operated it as tanker #7. Noel M. Wien of Anchorage, Alaska bought it in February 1977 ands sold it to the Planes of Fame Air Museum of Chino, California in 1978. Robert Pond and Planes Of Fame East of Spring Park, Minnesota bought it in March 1986. It has been part of the collection of the Palm Springs Air Museum since 1997. It flew as the Ruptured Duck in the movie Pearl Harbor.  (Source: Air & Space.)

 


The Corsair

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 22mm ISO 2500 3-bkts f/18 Lr3, HEP1, TpzAdj; PsCS5

This is the Vought F4U Corsair that is in the collection of the Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California.  The Corsair was the first United States single engine fighter aircraft to exceed 400 miles per hour.  Between 1940 and 1952 12,571 Corsairs were produced.  During the World War II the Corsair flown by the United States Navy and Marine Corps out flew the Japanese Zero and had a kill ratio of 11:1 against enemy aircraft.  The Corsair was armed with .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, carried bombs and rockets.  Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington and his “Black Sheep” squadron flew the Corsair and Boyington was credited with 22 enemy kills in the Corsair.  This artifact, like others in the Palm Springs Air Museum is airworthy and is still periodically flown.

During post processing I used the Photoshop Content-Aware Fill and Clone tools to remove distracting elements and re-build part of the lower right quadrant of the image.  I also used Topaz Adjust to get more punch out of the colors and to soften out the noticeable grain that resulted from the high ISO.


Sabre Jet Restoration

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 18mm ISO 800 1/20 f/8 (-2.0 0.0 +2.0) Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

Another angle on the F-86-E Sabre jet being restored at the Planes of Fame, Chino Airport, Chino, California.  I gained more appreciation for the courage of the pilots of these aircraft after realizing how thin the skin is when the aircraft mechanic, with just a little upper body effort, was able to cause the aluminum of the top wing surface to vibrate (with that unique waffly twang that sheet metal makes when you hold it at one end and vibrate it). I don’t think pilots are impervious to machine gun bullets in that cockpit, let a lone a missile strike.

I did quite a bit of work adjusting the tones on the deck in the foreground and on the aircraft using the Nik control point tool.


Not Ready For The Shredder

Nikon D-80 10-24nn @ 24mm ISO 200 1/15 f/11 Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

Despite the distressed appearance of the back end of this fuselage, this aircraft is not ready for the metal shredder, it is just waiting for the attention of the aviation restoration team.  On the tarmac at the Planes of Fame museum, Chino Airport, Chino, California.

The torn and twisted metal skin, and the angularity and strength conveyed by the aircraft fasterners, juxtaposed against the delicate spider web  and the symmetry and smoothness of the internal baffle caught my eye.


Fighter & Bomber Restoration

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 22mm ISO 800 1/20 f/8 (-2.0 0.0 +2.0) Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

This is the Friedkin restoration hanger at the Planes of Fame air museum, Chino Airport, Chino, California.  In the foreground a Canadair F-86-E fighter is  being restored, the aircraft behind it seems to be a North American B-25 undergoing restoration.  Canadair was the Canadian licensee for the manufacture of the F-86, which was originally developed by North American Aviation.  As with many of the other aircraft exhibited at the Planes of Fame, the F-86 is being restored to total airworthiness and will be part of the flying collection in the future.

There was quite a difference in contrast between the dark interior of the hanger and its outside walls which I ended up burning in using control points in Nik HDR Efex Pro.


Waiting For Re-unification

Nikon D80 10-24mm @24mm ISO 200 1/8 f/11 (-2.0 0.0 +2.0) Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

Jet engines stored on the tarmac at Planes of Fame, Chino Airport, Chino, California, waiting to be reunited with the airframes they were designed for.  A significant amount of space at Planes of Fame is given over to storage of aircraft airframe and mechanical components collected for ultimate restoration.  I was attracted to the lines, colors and textures of the various metallic elements and the patina that time out in elements has put on them.  It seems almost sacrilegious to allow these instruments of advanced engineering technology from the hands of man to seemingly be discarded and allowed to be broken down by the potentially destructive powers of Mother Nature, but I am sure these particular objects will eventually be rehabilitated and possibly fly another day.


TLC In Blue

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 800 1/180 f/8 (-2.0 0.0 +2.0) Lr3 HDR Efex Pro

This is a Grumman F8F “Bearcat” receiving some tender loving care in the sunshine adjacent to the Fighter Rebuilders hanger at the Planes of Fame museum, Chino Airport, Chino, California.   The Bearcat, one of the still flying aircraft exhibited at the museum, was developed in 1943/44 as a fighter interceptor designed specifically for carrier operations but was not deployed to the fleet by the United States Navy until after the end of the second world war in 1945.  This aircraft is capable of lifting off the deck after a take off run of just 115 feet, and in 1972 a Bearcat broke its own record by achieving an altitude of 18,000 feet 91.9 seconds after take off; in 1989 a Bearcat set the World Speed Record for piston driven aircraft at 528.33 mph.

In post processing this image, I am again reminded of a bad habit I have of getting so excited about an image in my viewfinder, that I lose the benefit of approaching the subject in a slow, deliberative manner, and in the case of this image forgot to adjust the ISO setting down from what I was using inside of a hanger making the previous shots.  The result is a bit of unwanted grainy effect in parts of the aircraft fuselage, elevator and tail.


Peashooter

Nikon D80 10-14mm @ 10mm ISO 800 1/4 f/8 3-Bkts Lr3 HDR Efex Pro Viveza

The aircraft in the foreground is a Boeing P26A “Peashooter”, this is a fully functional (and still flying) former military aircraft in the collection of the Planes of Fame (air) Museum located at the Chino Airport, Chino, California.  The Peashooter was developed in 1932 and was the first all metal, monoplane pursuit fighter placed in to service by the United States Army Air Corps.

The thin red “line” that seems to be bisecting the fuselage at the mid-point in this image is actually an aircraft warning flag attached to the leading edge of the wing (not an aberration in the image file).

I am not actually happy with the sharpness of this image.  I seemed to be having some focus issues while on this shoot, I believe I need to improve my skills with the autofocus function in the camera, insuring that I lock it on the correct focus points.