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Barnstormers’ Air Festival – Jennings, LA

Air Festival… So we got up early Saturday morning to head to the Jennings, LA Airport (3R7) to fly into the Barnstormers Air Festival.  We intended to be “wheels-up” at around 08:00 with us in “Caddie” and our friends Charlie & Tupper England in their RV-4, but the weather at the destination was 100′ and overcast.   The forecast was for it to clear out to VFR around 10:00 or so, so we decided to wait around until about 09:30 to leave.  After an hour & 15 minute flight down, we found some holes in the clouds to descend into Jennings.  This is a BIG airport covering lots of acreage with two paved runways and one grass strip.  Runway 13/31 was closed by NOTAM and was being used by the car show folks, so we landed on 08 and taxied into parking.  After securing the plane and meeting up with Charlie & Tupper, we headed to show center to see the what there was to see.  There were only a handful of airplanes at this time and most were “spam cans” with a few RV’s and other homebuilts.  There was one food vendor and a lemonade stand next to a stage and that was about it for food.  At noon or so, the band cranked up and they were very good.  Unfortunately, they just did not have much of an audience to listen to what they were playing.

Cars, Cars, Cars… Lots of cars, I actually think there were more cars there than airplanes.  There were a lot of good looking classic and antique cars along with several chopped up rods…  There was plenty to look at and I took a bunch of pictures.  But, after a couple of hours in the spring sun and not a lot of airplanes to look at, we decided to head back home.  Charlie had told us about the Jazz Festival in Ridgeland, MS that was featuring some folks he was interested in hearing, so off we went…

Final Thoughts…  While we were a little disappointed in the turnout at Jennings, it was understandable due to the low IFR conditions that plagued the area up until 10:00 AM.   Most folks just aren’t going to file IFR to go to a casual Saturday event or “Scud Run” at 800 feet to get there.  So, take a look at the car photos (click them for larger view) and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog by entering your e-mail address in the box in the right hand column.  You can also “Like” us on Facebook in the right hand column.

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RC Jets at Raymond, MS Airport

Click for Larger View

RC Jets…  Once a year the Raymond, MS Airport (KJVW) hosts a group of remote control jet enthusiasts from all over the country.  The Mississippi Afterburner Jet Rally is a 3 day event showcasing some of the best examples of remote controlled jets that can be found. This event is a fundraiser to generate scholarships for the Aviation Technology Department at Hinds Community College. Mississippi Jets Radio Control Club established the scholarship fund to enhance and support aviation education in our local community. The Mississippi Afterburner Jet Rally is the sole funding source for these scholarships. These are not your average “weird uncles” remote controlled airplanes… (no offense, i’ve been that guy) – these plane have real jet engines burning kerosene at tens of thousands of RPM’s!  Some of these guys have the same amount of time in building their RC planes as we do in building our full size homebuilt plane and you could buy a really nice Cessna 150 for the dollars they have invested.

I tried my hand at remote control airplanes about 15 years ago… I was much better at building the planes than flying them.  Take it from someone who has done both, it is much easier to fly a real airplane from the left seat than it is to fly an RC plane headed toward you at 100+ MPH and some of these planes are flying at 200 MPH!

Check out the video below…

HDR…  As usual, I had to take a few handheld HDR pics as seen below and to the upper left.  The photo below was so full of color that it really stood out in my eye and the vertical crop on the above photo shows the guts of one of these complicated birds.  Click on the images for a larger view.

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Jump Jet – SNF2012

The Loudest Plane on the Field…  When the Harrier pumps water into the jet engines as it hovers over the runway and the black smoke begins to roll out it truly becomes the loudest plane on the field! This photo was taken at Sun-N-Fun 2012 of a Marine Corps Harrier AV-8B.  The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II is a second-generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) ground-attack aircraft. (Wiki)  This shot was another 3 shot, hand held HDR taken with the D7000 and processed in Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photomatix PRO.  Click on the photo for a larger view and let me know what you think of the processing level…

Beautiful Waco!

OK… time for a little photography, since we can’t afford to fly off somewhere every weekend and no one has offered us a new  pair of waders…(see last post).  This 3 frame (handheld) HDR shot was recently taken at our home airport, John Bell Williams at Raymond (KJVW).  The Waco was being flown by Dan Fordice of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation located at the Tallulah-Vicksburg Airport (KTVR). Dan is a member of our local EAA Chapter and flies one of the museum’s beautiful birds in when he can.  Currently the museum is open by appointment only, but plans are being made to open it to the public later this year.  You can see more about the activities at SHAF at their website.

WACO N66PP @ KJVW

Arkansas, Here We Come! A Week Off, Part 1

Time for a vacation to one of our favorite spots on earth, Cotter, Arkansas on the White River.  This is one of the most beautiful places you can go in the country.  The river spills below the Bull Shoals dam and winds through the Ozark hills with crystal clear 58 degree water year round.  A trout fisherman’s heaven, the river is stocked full of rainbow, cut throat, brook & brown trout.  This would be a week of fishing and exploring the Ozarks, once we got through the major weather event arriving on Sunday.

We arrived at the Marion County Airport (KFLP) in Flippin, AR,  before the weather started moving in on Saturday.  One of the things we like about KFLP is that they usually have nightly hangar space available.  We put Caddie in the big hangar and buttoned her down for the week.  KFLP is a small non-towered airport located right next to the Ranger Bass Boat facility which makes it easy to find from the air.  Overnight hangar rental recently went up from $6 to $10 per night but fuel prices remain reasonable for the area.

"The Battleship"

Blanchard Springs Caverns… So what do you do in the Ozarks when the weather is threatening and you can’t get on the water to fish? With one of the worst days for tornadoes in years forecast for Sunday, we figured the best place in the world to be was 200+ feet underground.  I had researched a few places to go and came up with Blanchard Springs Caverns, which was just an hour or so down the road towards Mountain View.  Since we had been to a few caverns throughout the years and had not been terribly impressed, our expectations were not too high.  WOW, what a beautiful place!  This was not at all like the other places we had been… no tight spaces with small corridors, but a huge underground theatrically lighted  wonder of nature.  They have three different tours, but only offer the easy (1 hour) upper level tour this time of year.  The dim lighting did make photography a little challenging, but I eventually turned the ISO up to 3200 and got some pretty good photos… click on any of the photos for a larger view.

The Exit… After the cavern tour was over, we went down to the outfall of the springs about a mile away.  This area is where all of the water exits the caverns and creates a beautiful waterfall flowing into a small stream. I set up the camera and tripod to experiment with some 3 frame HDR photos that you can see below.  These were all shot at normal exposure and +/- 2 stops.  The lighting was not great, but was enough to make the HDR’s look decent.  Feel free to comment about the level or quantity of processing in the HDR’s.

Further down, the stream feeds into Mirror Lake, a beautiful lake with a large stone dam at the end.  Below the dam, the stream fed an old grist mill that was left on the banks but was not reachable this time of year.  In this photo, I chose a more surreal process for the HDR, it seams to portray the looming weather conditions more appropriately and makes the mirror of the lake surface kick a little.

Mirror Lake

We ended the afternoon with a late picnic lunch next to the creek… luckily, the weather never got too bad in our area like it had the day before just northwest of us.  And, the best news was that the weather looked perfect for the rest of the week for fishing.  We’ll cover that in the next post!  To catch the next post as soon as it is out, click the “follow by email” box in the right hand column and enter your email address for instant notification.

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