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Ironflight 11-12-2011 10:43 AM

Doing it Right!
Last weekend, Louise and I had a rare opportunity to participate in an Air-to-Air photography clinic. No, we didn’t get a chance to click any fabulous pictures – we were way to busy flying formation on the rear end of a Shorts Skyvan with a bunch of dedicated photo-nuts hanging out the hatchback (with harness of course!). The seminar was conducted by a few friends that we know through our magazine connections – Richard VanderMeulen, Moose Peterson, and our own Doug Rozendaal (he of the Red F-1 Rocket….). They hold these seminars so that aspiring Air-to-air photographers can practice techniques while flying face to face with an interesting assortment of airplanes – on Saturday they got to stare down everything from a B-17 to P-47…and I understand that they could almost feel the heat from the Corsair when that was in trail! Sunday morning they got to play with those of us with lesser horsepower – Louise and I gave them a two-ship of the RV-8 and RV-6, and Bruce Bohannon brought the Flyin’ Tiger (an RV-4/8/rocket hybrid) out of the closet to fly in a three-ship with two RV-4’s. A great time was had by all in the short space of an hour (it costs money to run a Skyvan!), and unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures to show – twenty feet back from a twin is no place to be wielding a camera, and the photogs are no doubt all busy digging through their thousands of pictures from the session – we hope to see them someday!

The reason I wanted to bring this all up however was to point out one of the very best preflight briefings I have ever had, and an important point for anyone doing complex air operations. Doug Rozendaal was the Ops lead for the activity, and he started his briefing this way. “OK everyone, the goal of today’s mission is for everyone to come home safely and in one piece, then to go have breakfast and enjoy talking about what we did! If we get some pictures, that would be nice.” Now, how many of you think about your flying “missions” in those fundamental terms? It really tears things down to their basic elements, doesn’t it? With the possible exception of the Nigerian Air Force, none of us are flying our RV’s or Rockets into war. Even that important business trip isn’t a reason to take extraordinary risk – nothing is really so important that it trumps “…everyone comes back safely”. No matter what your mission for the day – Phase 1 testing, air-to-air, aerobatic practice, local sightseeing, or a vacation trip – nothing should get in the way of coming back in one piece.

Preflight briefings are a necessary part of a group activity, like formation flying. But there is nothing that prohibits you from doing your own, conscious briefing for yourself just going out alone. When I fly by myself, I talk to myself when I do the checklist – vocalizing it makes it real. Before you crank that engine, it isn’t difficult to do the same thing with the “mission goal”. It sets a bit, and makes it real – it challenges your mind set and puts you where you want to be for in-flight decision-making. We're not in the position of a scheduled airline with paying passengers expecting to get to their destination on time (if you absolutely, positively NEED to be there, leave the RV at home, and take the airlines!), and that gives us much greater flexibility to poke around and stay safe by aborting the flight at any time. Staying safe is the mission - not getting the load of passengers to Cincinatti....

I just wanted to thank Doug for making sure that we “did it right”, and for making the flight not only a complete success (we all enjoyed a great breakfast afterwards…), but making it enjoyable as well.


Gary Baker 11-12-2011 07:34 PM

Thanks, Paul!

As I think when I read all of your postings: Where is the "Like" button to hit? This is another excellent post about proper briefings with multiple aircraft in close proximity to each other. Thanks!

RV6_flyer 11-12-2011 08:17 PM

For those that are interested in Moose's Air to Air photo classes, here is where you can find more info.

I looked into it as I would like to get better at Air to Air photography but it was a lot more expensive than I wanted to pay.

Special Delivery 11-12-2011 08:22 PM


Originally Posted by Gary Baker (Post 595209)

As I think when I read all of your postings: Where is the "Like" button to hit? This is another excellent post about proper briefings with multiple aircraft in close proximity to each other. Thanks!

Here ya go, Gary-

I was privileged to audit the three day Air2Air Workshop in Galveston, TX, and I agree with Paul on every point. The Air2Air Workshops conducted by Moose Peterson, Richard VanderMeulen, and Doug Roszendaal are a professional experience at the highest level! Plug--You don't need to be a professional photographer to attend these workshops, and if you need a pro camera they furnish the best of the best in Nikon equipment at no charge. Check out their website for a workshop in your area... you won't be disappointed, and you'll return home with spectacular photos and a grin that lasts for a week!

Photo taken at Galveston workshop - "P-47 on guard WW" by Joe Glyda.
This photo is a tribute to Joe's Dad and all Veterans.

Steve Melton 11-16-2011 03:00 PM

the picture is awesome

Fearless 11-16-2011 04:00 PM


I sent you a PM.

Ironflight 11-16-2011 05:17 PM

A Few Pictures
Here are a few pictures from our little photo ?jaunt? ? which was probably the most intense 25 minute flight I?ve done in quite awhile. The folks in the SkyVan were calling our moves once we got into ?photo mode? ? we weren?t trying for standard formation flight. These photos were supplied to me by one of the workshop participants, and he gets FULL CREDIT for the shots. Kai Hansen ( is a wonderful gentlemen with a passion for aviation, and I thank him for forwarding these to share:

A nice screen background for my PC:

You know what they say, ?The couple that flies together?.?

I thought this was nicely lit, but it is tough flying directly into the sun like that!

Louise tucks in close to ask for 25 gallons of 100LL?.

(I?m guessin? that the B-17 and P-47 burned more in gas than my engine is worth?.)

B25Flyer 11-16-2011 05:34 PM


Thank you for the kind words... it was great to get to fly with you! And I am sure you will see many more wonderful shots of both Louise and your air machine!


Loboflyer 11-16-2011 09:33 PM

Killer photos! I'm guessing from the class cost and the kind of attendees, these photographers weren't just your average curious shutterbug.

pierre smith 11-17-2011 05:19 AM

Maybe I'm just an emotional kinda guy but seeing Louise tucked in near Paul just made me tingle!:) You don't often see husband and wife in this position.

Thanks Paul,

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