Flying

All I Want Is A Ride

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

Pentax K-1000
Cardboard version of Stanley Segalla, the “Flying Farmer”
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
October 1, 2006

A short run of videoclips from my cameraphone spliced together — hence the low-grade capture — taken during the first of two biplane rides on October 7.

More film shots at the Aerodrome on October 1:

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Cole Palen
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome barn

Flanked by Catholics

Our house
Our house
[photo by AviatorDave]



We flew over our neighbourhood today, and I took some photos of our house with David’s camera, which has a 10x zoom and image stabiliser. If you click on the left photo, you’ll see notes of which house is ours — it’s on the right side, just to the left of the church parking lot. The photo on the right is zoomed in; the house is just up from the centre point.

What you see here is that we’re completely surrounded. “Holy Name of Jesus” church is directly beside us, and if we were Catholic, we could attend every mass less than five minutes after brushing our teeth. The church even owns the vacant lot on the other side of us, and the rectory is beside the church.

Every day at 6 o’clock (pm, thankfully), the fake bells ring from the fake belltower, and the melodic sound of electronic bell recordings waft into our house. The neighbourhood genetic make-up is mostly Italian and Irish, so it makes sense to have a Catholic church to anchor it. It’s mighty ironic, though, that we end up living next door… can I have a convenience store instead?

The Fieldings Fly Again!

The Flying Fieldings

Hallelujah! David felt well enough to fly the Tri-Pacer today and the weather was perfect for it — around 68F or 20C, with barely a breeze.

The last time David flew was the weekend before the wedding, the 25th of September, and he went up with Mr. Tibor.

I had to search with my Flickr tags for the last time I went up with David. I knew it had been months, since before I went to Vancouver, and it turns out the last time was May 1. Wow, more than six months!

David pretty much covered the day here:

Dave’s Logbook: Spectacular Saturday


pre-flight check

We Pay a Visit to Zero-Two-Papa

I made him wear a toque

Read More»

High Flight

High Flight

A poem from today’s WWII airshow at Mt. Pocono Municipal Airport — “Red White and Blue” — sponsored by Jeep. (Click the pic to enlarge.) David says it’s the most well-known flying poem there is, and ironically (for this airshow, anyway) it was written not by an American but a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot.

David:

“John Gillespie Magee was one of many Commonwealth pilots flying in the Battle of Britain. The poem, High Flight, was in a letter he sent home to his mother. He was killed in his Spitfire in 1941, not in combat but in a midair collision in the clouds – at age 19.”

Today was the second day of the airshow, we thought we’d catch the end of it and David could say hello to some of his flying buddies and the cadets from CAP Squadron 207.

I took about half a roll of film with David’s old Pentax SLR, and shot the rest in digital with my Canon A80. David took along his Panasonic Lumix, so between us we had three cameras.

I haven’t shot film since probably 2001, and hadn’t picked up an SLR since high school. This was very evident when:

– I pressed the shutter button and discovered I’d forgotten to advance the film after the last frame
– I forgot to check the light meter on a couple of shots
– I forgot to put the lens cap on afterwards.

It’ll be interesting to see how the roll turns out. I’m excited to be shooting with an SLR again, that’s for sure. By forcing myself to dust the cobwebs off my brain and concentrate on framing my shots, it helped to pull my mind away from yesterday’s devastating news and a sleepless night with disturbing thoughts.

Up, Up, Up and Away

window to the sky

I was pleading with the weather gods for the forecast to be correct yesterday so we could go flying. We haven’t been up for a few weeks because we went to Washington, DC, two weekends ago, and last weekend the weather was abysmal. Saturday was looking dark and gloomy, but thankfully the clouds broke as predicted yesterday morning, and we headed directly for the airport.

David took the Tri-Pacer to 11,600 feet, a record altitude for me in the Tri-Pacer, and it matched his record for a solo climb in it. It doesn’t sound very high, unless you consider the Tri-Pacer is a tiny, 51-year old plane. We’ve taken it up to 8,500 a few times this winter, but it’s COLD at that altitude and winter air is thin already. Breathing gets deeper, and I yawn uncontrollably to get more oxygen to my brain. I’m always like this when we pass 8,000 feet — my ears tear up when I yawn, and it looks like I’m crying my eyes out. But, it’s all involuntary. I also start to get sleepy, partly from the thin air and because (any) engine noise makes me drowsy — that’s how I can sleep on virtually any form of transportation.

Tri-Pacer interior shot

I sat in the back for the first time to get a different range of photos, and for a wider range of movement. The clouds were fluffy and the sky a brilliant blue, a bit of an unreal feeling, especially at that altitude when the sound of the engine numbs the ears and my fingers lose warmth. There was this wicked draft coming from the back of the plane, something to investigate later.

tandem skydivers

floating

David asked if I wanted to go check out the skydivers at Hazleton, something we’ve been wanting to do for ages, but we’ve either been short on time or we just missed them. They skydive all year round, but with the short winter days we’re usually nowhere near there by the time they knock off at dusk.

We were lucky yesterday and arrived at the airport in Hazleton in time to catch two loads of skydivers land near the strip. It’s my first time to shoot skydivers, and times like this I wish I had a prosumer camera with a big zoom and proper polarizer/UV filters. But, I still managed to capture some frames I’m happy with, and I shot four videos of landings. I’ve uploaded two of them here and put them together. If I had more time, I’d edit them all, but I thought I’d show a smooth landing and a one that elicited a shriek heard through blustery winds…

 

David’s and my skydiving shots combined here: Skydivers at Hazleton Airport.

David wants to go skydiving, but for now I’m more interested in the photography. That’s where my head is these days — capturing images and processing them. It’s even superseded my desire to learn how to fly; when we’re up in the plane I’m not looking at the controls, I’m looking for my next shot. I’m sure this will change, since I remember a time not so long ago when I would choose skydiving over photography. When I went bungyjumping in Australia, I wished I’d been holding a videocamera to record the whole thing. There’s something rather therapeutic in the desire to document an experience in order to get through it, and I’ve seen this mentioned by other people — it puts you outside of yourself, lets your brain concentrate on something other than what’s happening. In some ways it might dilute the visceral aspect of the experience, but it also might spur the desire to try it again. I don’t particularly wish to have another bungy jump, but I’m happy to let David go skydiving first and I’ll document it before vice versa.

skydiving veteran

After the second round of landings, we were heading back to the Tri-Pacer when the guy in the photo asked us, “You wanna go up?” I don’t remember if we said anything, but he smiled and waved and I took his picture, not knowing who he was.

Turns out this guy is Don Kellner, co-owner of Poconos Skydivers, and the Guinness Book of World Record holder for most sport skydives, now over 35,000! I had no idea until Krisanne pointed this out to me — click on the photo for her comments. From reading about him on the internet, Kellner sounds like a real character — you’d have to be, to jump out of a plane that many times. He got married in 1990 to a fellow instructor, and they took their vows during freefall, using hand signals. Kellner’s been jumping since 1961, and if the news articles are correct, he’s around 68 years old! So, there you go! Keep your heart strong, go skydiving!