Monday, June 13, 2016

#81 - An old interest

Line of private planes parked at the fly in
When I was a teenager, I spent a fair amount of time learning about aeronautics.  I took an advanced summer course that dealt with airplane ground school topics and model rocketry.  I read about the history of flight and tried to keep up with news from NASA.  Part of this interest came from my Dad's own interest in the subject, part from the fact that my brother-in-law was a professional pilot, and some from watching small planes circle over our farm since it was close to the local airfield. 
T-6 ... these planes were used as trainers for pilots during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War
As my life changed when I went to college, grad school, and started my career, this is an area that sort of fell by the wayside for me.  I was still thrilled any time that I could actually go up in a plane (particularly a small aircraft) ... though I have to say that I don't really enjoy sitting in coach class during a commercial flight ... but I didn't make time for this interest in the same way as I did earlier in my life.  I've recently started thinking about it more though - particularly regarding small planes and historic ones.  So, this weekend, I started small by taking my parents to their local airport's fly-in / drive-in breakfast.
T-6 from the front

This is a small event - nothing like the huge crowds at AirVenture in Oshkosh or some of the military shows - and most of the attendees drive in rather than fly there.  But it raises some money for local groups (particularly the Lions club who does a pancake breakfast that serves hundreds of people) and gives people an opportunity to see aircraft (and classic cars) up close.  This year's feature was 3 T-6 "Texan" training planes.
T-6 formation

I actually got a better in the sky view of the T-6 planes in formation when they came to land earlier in the morning.  They flew in low turning directly over my parents' house as I was outside with their puppy.  Sadly, I didn't have a camera on me at that point, so those photos only exist in my memory.  The puppy - who was cool with all of the other planes coming in and out - was terrified by the formation because they were flying so low.

Another interesting plane at the fly-in was an Albatross. This aircraft was developed for the military for ocean landings - particularly search and rescue missions.  The wingspan is a whopping 96 feet across, and it had very interesting landing gear that folds up into the side of the plane rather than underneath.  The small bubble window in the front has a seat directly behind it.
I'm glad I took some time for this - especially since it could include my Dad and his interest in planes.  Perhaps I'll try to take in a larger event with more of an airshow component in the near future.

I didn't get the fly-by of the T-6 formation on film, but here's a glimpse of them starting the planes up and taking off.  If you watch closely during the second video, you will see that there was a fairly strong crosswind on the runway.

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