It’s a beautiful spring day in Florida. Where getting away from the colder weather a bit farther north breathes a little fresh air into your soul, like a bud just emerging from the frost to bask in the sunlight. That’s me on this wonderfully warm day in Kissimmee, Florida, add a few incredible warbirds to the picture and talk about a warm front moving across your heart.
I walked out to the ramp to begin my preflight on the Champ. I reached up to run my hand along the wing, and it gave under the light touch of my fingers. I sucked in my breath and exclaimed, “It’s fabric!” I admired it and was in awe of the feel of it. My face must have shown my amazement, as my instructor laughed at me with my first encounter with a truly original style fabric covered plane.
It’s an Aeronca Champ built in 1945.
Grabbing my flight bag from the truck; I slung it over my shoulder and closed the door. Turning I stopped and looked at the FBO, took a depth breath and smiled. I’m back; after two years away, I’m finally back to train again.
Getting a chance to do an air to air photography shoot has been something I’ve dreamed about since I began photographing airplanes. The beautiful shots that grace the covers of the aviation magazines with beautiful prop blur at sunset over an incredible location, conjured up images in my mind of photographs I never thought possible for me to do. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it so quickly with my newly acquired photography skills, but it happened and this is the story.
The Atlanta Warbirds Weekend 2016, and I had planned on spending it photographing the wonderful warbirds that would be on display again this year for the Commemorative Air Force, Dixie Wing in Atlanta, Georgia. I had planned this trip for months. I would be doing the aviation photography workshop for the second time. What I didn’t know was that I would be hearing from the FAA the day I was leaving for Atlanta.
I was planning on writing about my experience with Tamoxifen earlier than this, but I was pretty much a poster child for it the first year. I know, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. I knew there were numerous side effects that you could experience while on Tamoxifen, but the only real issue I seemed to have was aching hips from time to time. Diet and exercise seem to help manage that aspect. I do feel like my head is in a fog occasionally, and I have trouble remembering things sometimes. They say that’s normal for menopause any way with lower estrogen in your body. I was just experiencing it a bit earlier with the medication induced side effects.
There’s a place that’s turned the clock back in time, where you can not only see but hear the sounds of an era long past. It’s tucked away, just off the Virginia coast line in a little spot called Pungo. They have a grass strip runway among the trees, and some very well kept hangars with an amazing assortment of WWI and WWII era planes holed up inside. It’s the Military Aviation Museum.
Sun-n-Fun is the biggest airshow I’ve had the pleasure of attending so far, and situated right smack dab in the middle of sunny, beautiful Florida. My home state.
From the moment the helicopter lifted off the pad, my heart was filled with excitement. It’s the same feeling I get when an airplane achieves rotation speed and becomes airborne. You feel it in your stomach, it pushes down through you and almost immediately you can feel your rump lift slightly off the seat, and then you settle back down gently. You can tell you’re airborne just by how it feels, you don’t need your eyes to know it.
There’s something remarkable about a place that transcends time, brings together a passion for timeless beauty with an enduring legacy of pride and resilience. Stallion 51 in Kissimmee, Florida is just that kind of place.