Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Goodyear Air Show

As you will recall, there was so much going on at the Goodyear Air Show that it required two essays to capture it all. One of the treats (from my point of view) is to see vintage aircraft on display — noting that all these planes still fly — and were flown to Goodyear for the show. The plane at the left is a B-25 bomber that was used in World War II.

There were more than 10,000 B-25s of various models that were eventually built. Most are now scrap or have been recycled. Fortunately, a few have been restored and maintained. The folks who own this one even sell rides on the plane although it was not being flown the day I was there. Now wouldn't that be fun to fly on a B-25? Loud but fun.

This next aircraft is an SNJ-5. It was used for training some 100,000 military pilots during World War II. There are two seats, one for the pilot-in-training and one for the instructor. I thought that perhaps my dad trained in such a plane when he was in the Army Air Corps near the end of the war — but he tells me that his trainer was a different aircraft.

Interesting facts: it consumes 30 gallons of fuel per hour, cruising at about 170 miles per hour. If my calculation is correct, that's only 5.67 miles per gallon. How would you like that fuel bill?

Surprisingly, there are around 350 still flying.

This plane is a P-51 Mustang. It is a single seat fighter that was introduced during the middle of World War II to escort bombers on their missions. Almost 16,000 were built at a cost of $51K per copy (a bit cheaper than current fighters — by way of comparison, the F/A 18 Hornet flown by the Blue Angels is $39.5M to $60M each).
Interesting that they put a hood over the Mustang's eyes, just like ranchers do with real horses. Also note the curious landing gear that look like human feed. (Joking!)

Not to be left out, the Brits contributed this aircraft, a Supermarine Spitfire to the war effort. Some 20,000 of these aircraft were build and used as fighters by the RAF and other Allied countries. It was much loved by pilots and continued in use well into the 1950s.

As you can tell from the preceding two photos, the sun was low in the sky but the entertainment was planned to go into the night. They had a stunt pilot who has rigged his plane to carry fireworks on the wings — more like roman candles than the exploding mortars we associate with the 4th of July.

It was spectacular — but also spectacularly difficult to photograph. So as Neil and Susan taught me, just go with the flow and look for something artistic. So I set the focus to infinity and just left the shutter open.

And finally it was time for the hot air balloons. If you have never seen a night launch, you have missed something that you need to see once in your life. We were allowed out onto the runway where the balloons were being prepared — so you could watch what they were doing from a very close distance. They mounted the burner in the basket then connected the balloon. While handlers held the bottom of the balloon open, a fan blew air into the balloon to inflate it. They then fired up the burner to heat the air trapped in the balloon and the balloon went vertical. Unfortunately, they did not launch the balloons — and there was no explanation why. Perhaps the wind, perhaps it just wasn't planned for Friday. But it was spectacular, none the less.

There is a huge balloon festival held each year in Albuquerque, NM. Perhaps I will have to visit one year but this will do for now.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com