Planes of Fame Airshow is here!

If you live in southern California then you’ve probably heard of the Planes of Fame Airshow held at Chino Airport at the end of April/beginning of May. It’s one of the great Warbird airshows on the west coast and it’s one that I’ve gone to numerous over the years. I missed last year’s show because I was in DC for the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover but I remember the P-38’s of 2013 and the P-47’s of 2014. What this yea has in store with the honor of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor I don’t know. But I do know one thing.

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The Texas Flying Legends Museum is making their second west coast debut stop at Planes of Fame this weekend to perform, inspire and honor. They do such a great job with their performance that at LA County Airshow it was the highlight of the afternoon. If you’re in the area I would recommend heading over, it will be a blast!

74 years Later

April 18th marked the 74th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. It was the first raid conducted against Japan by USAAF B-25 bombers launched from the carrier USS Hornet. This one act has gone down in history not only for the bravery of the men but also the determination of the mission. Today there are only a couple members left of that historic mission.

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In 2012 at the seventieth anniversary of the Doolittle raid reunion, 20 B-25 bombers took part in an historic flyover out of Grimes Field Urbana over Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. I’ve been to many events since then but this one is still one of my favorites. There’s nothing quite like seeing 20 B-25’s come taxiing towards you. The Texas Flying Legends Museum’s B-25 Bomber Betty’s Dream was the second plane off in the sequence that morning.

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While the coordination in the sky wasn’t quite perfect it still was unbelievable to see that many planes fly overhead.

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Then of course there were the veterans. Sadly in the four short years since this photo was taken many of these great men have already passed away. For me this is a constant reminder of not only the events in the past but also what we must do in the present so that these people are always remembered.

One of the Headliners

Perhaps one of the quickest growing “attractions” in the aviation world is the fleet of aircraft belonging to the Texas Flying Legends Museum. While this great group of historic warbirds, flown by some of the best pilots, do make appearances at airshows around the country, the word attraction barely begins to describe what this museum is truly about. While they do fly a routine at every event showcasing their unique aircraft, the museum and the people behind the planes are constantly working towards achieving their goal of honoring the past and inspiring the future. As a result of the care and devotion to the planes and their craft, the planes of the Texas Flying Legends Museum were one of the headliners at the Los Angeles County Airshow with every person there standing as they flew their routine and many left once they had finished.

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The Los Angeles County Airshow was the debut event for TFLM on the west coast. This year marks the first time that the fleet has been brought west of the Rocky Monutains and for some of these planes it’s the first time that many of them have ever flown over California. The Sptifire for example has never flown over California skies since it was built in 1944. Despite the challenges that the crew faced with bringing the planes from Ellington Field, Tx to Fox Field Lancaster, CA, everyone held their own and delivered a superb performance to the fans delight.

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Their routine consisted of multiple flyovers starting with a formation Vic flyover with all the aircraft. Included in Sundays Performance was the B25 Bomber, P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, TBM Avenger, FM2P Wildcat, and MkIX Spitfire. After making one lap around the field the Spitfire broke from formation to showcase what made it so iconic. The other aircraft made another lap around before breaking into pairs and then single ship formations all doing laps around the field including bombing runs and straffing runs with pyro. The entire performance lasted 18 minutes but every second was exciting. Not a single person on the ground wanted the performance to end. The next stop for the fleet will be the Planes of Fame Airshow where dozens more warbirds will be seen flying alongside the TFLM Fleet. I can’t wait!

Images Captured with Nikon D4, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

LA County Airshow Starts Tonight!

Today is the first official day of the LA County Airshow. While the gates open to the public on Sat and Sun, tonight there is a special throwback to the night before Pearl Harbor at Fox Field, with a Meet and Greet the performers between 6pm-9pm. Today is also the photo tour day for those that have already bought tickets. Many great performers are attending the show this year including the Blue Angels, Tora! Tora! Tora! and of course the Texas Flying Legends Museum. I can’t wait to start shooting today and of course the rest of the weekend!

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A Glorious New Chapter

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time but it was one of those posts that I had to wait for the right time to write. When I started down the path of photography I knew that it would be a difficult and that it would take lots of time, patience and hard work in order to succeed. Over the last four years I have worked a part time job in order to take care of myself while at the same time pursued my career in photography. It is with great joy and pride that I can say that today is my last day at that part time job, as I am now a full time photographer!

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Everything in life requires paying your dues. There is an order to making great strides in achievement but it comes at a cost. When you are young you don’t really understand that truth to life. It’s only when you grow up that realize how much you have to do in order to follow your passion. Over the years I have had a lot of help from friends and family creating opportunities for me to push my photography forward. I owe a lot to those people.

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The one element that makes a great photographer is not something that can be learned but a discipline that has each person has to create. Every photographer has to have the discipline to keep shooting. While there is always a joy in shooting, when the realities of having to create content for multiple sources every day becomes routine, some of the joy can be lost. It is only after realizing that there is nothing else you’d rather be doing, that you can then push forward. For those of you that still work a regular job then you know that feeling of always wanting to be behind the camera but not always able to.

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I have always been a fortunate person in life and that’s probably why I am now able to be a full time photographer at 27 years of age. I have had the privilege of working with many wonderful people and on many assignments, both hired for and self assigned. But it is my latest project with the Texas Flying Legends Museum that has helped push me over the edge and made it possible for me to carry on full time. My most sincere thanks goes out to them. The goal of the museum has always been to help others. To bring the aviation history and heritage to everyone, and with every stop throughout the country to honor the heroes and inspire the young. I can honestly say they have lived up to that moto by helping me. I now look forward to what the future holds in store as I carry on down my own path.

Happy New Year!!

2015 has officially ended and 2016 is upon us! It’s amazing when you’re a kid you never think about time, except for how fast summer vacation goes by, but when you’re an adult it’s hard not to think about time. 2015 was a great year from the sky above to the ground below, I couldn’t have asked for more. I can’t wait for 2016 because I know that this business rewards those that work hard. I wish everyone a Happy New Year, may it be a blessed one.

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The Year In the Sky

When this year started I had decided to start a new column on my blog featuring one aircraft a week and the history of that plane. It’s been one heck of year and while I was unable to make that happen every week, for seven months history has come alive for just a day. When I started in Aviation Photography I never thought that I would get so involved with the history of these planes or these people behind them. When I look back over this year, I am amazed of the the history that was shared.

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Two of the biggest events this year were the celebrations of VE Day and VJ Day. While VJ Day didn’t have nearly the same amount of attention as VE Day, the 70th anniversary of both were marked in this country. I had the pleasure over the years to witness many special events such as the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid in Dayton, OH, air to air with two Super Corsairs, and the VE Day Flyover of our Nations Capitol this year. While the photography brought me to those events, it was the passion for telling the story through the camera that made them special.

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Every year more and more of our vets pass away and this year was no different. We lost many good men and women, some whose stories were written down and others who were not. While it is impossible to tell them all it should be the goal of all to honor those by writing down their stories.

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Each year is filled with discovering new subjects and coming up with new ways to photograph those subjects. As a photographer your main job is to capture those images so that others can learn and be inspired. While easy to think of images as art it’s even harder to wrap your mind around that fact that you are recording history. What you see every time you put your eye to the viewfinder is something you will never see again. It’s an odd feeling but it can drive you to take better images knowing that it will never be the same. It’s the one truth that I have come to learn through aviation.

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On this last day of 2015 I hope everyone can rejoice in what they have accomplished in their photography. Whether big or small in the end we all were able to capture images that told a story for someone else to read. New subjects were found and more or waiting to be discovered. That’s the best part of being a photographer, there is always something else out there.

The Alaska Siberia Lend Lease Act

Seventy three years ago today marks the anniversary of the completion of the Alaska Highway. The original highway was 1,700 miles long and connects the lower forty eight states, through Canada up to Alaska. Today the highway is 1,387 miles long and is entirely paved. Since the development of the road it has since been rebuilt and straightened numerous times. The highway was originally designed to connect Alaska with the lower forty to promote economic growth and tourism but after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the route was then seen as a way to provide needed military supplies to our Russian Allies.

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The Lend Lease program was designed for Allied nations to use US supplies throughout WWII. Afterward the country could then purchase the supplies or return them. Aircraft were a big part of this program as they went all over the world to different nations. Russia received several different aircraft models including P-40’s. This particular example is a P-40K that was part of the lend lease program and went to Russia along with a sister P-40. While it is not known if this plane went through Alaska or not, it is known that both planes went to Murmansk, Russia. Both planes crashed in a marsh after tangling with four BF 109’s. They were discovered in 1991. Warhawks Inc finished the restoration of this P-40 in 2006. This plane is with the Texas Flying Legends Museum and the sister ship is with Fagen Fighters.

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