I recently went for a 90 minute cruise on Canyon Lake aboard the stern-wheeler Dolly. Canyon Lake is located east of Phoenix on the Salt River, between Saguaro Lake and Apache Lake. The landscape is dominated by eroded volcanic tuff from a giagantic caldera eruption that occurred about twenty-nine million years ago.
Two Goodyear F2G Corsairs that competed in the 1949 Thompson Trophy Race were reunited for the first time in sixty-two years at the Commemorative Air Force ramp at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona on December 27, 2011. F2G-1 N5588N Race 57 and F2G-2 N5577N Race 74 were brought together for an air-to-air photo shoot over the Superstition Mountains. Race 57 has just undergone ten and a half months of restoration.
Christmas season brings a variety of air freighters that are not often seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor. The pictures below were taken on the mornings of December 22 and 23, 2011.
Union Pacific Steam Locomotive 844 pulled the Grand Canyon State Steam Special excursion train from Tucson to Phoenix on Saturday, November 12. Union Pacific 844 was the last steam locomotive delivered to Union Pacific. It is the only steam locomotive in the U.S. that was never retired. After ending freight operations, Union Pacific has kept it operational for excursions.
On Saturday, I caught the train near Recker Road in Gilbert. I waited for it to depart the Gilbert Station at the Guadalupe Road Crossing. I raced ahead of it to photograph it on the bridge across the Salt River.
On Tuesday, I waited for the train at the bridge across the Salt River. I caught it again near Recker Road and at the Florence Avenue crossing in Coolidge. I photographed the crew servicing it in Coolidge, and then headed down to Picacho to catch it crossing Milligan Road. I waited on the Highway 87 overpass for the train to depart from Picacho, then skipped the Casa Grande stop. I drove west on Interstate 8 to Gila Bend and backtracked on Highway 238 to the Maricopa Mountains.
See the locations where I photographed the Grand Canyon State Steam Special in Google Earth.
The sixth Boeing 787-8 prototype N787ZA arrived at Mesa Gateway Airport as Boeing Flight 006 from Great Falls International Airport, Montana at 1:33 PM on Friday, November 11, 2011. It departed for Boeing Field 54 minutes later.
See the locations where I photographed Boeing 787s in Google Earth.
Since its first event in 1973, the Copperstate Fly-In has been bringing together aviation enthusiasts in the southwest United States.
See the location of the Copperstate Fly-in in Google Earth.
The Airship Ventures Zeppelin NT N704LZ Eureka arrived at Marana Regional Airport on Friday, October 14. It spent Saturday moored to its portable mast. It is scheduled to arrive in Long Beach, California in a couple of days. It may fly over Phoenix on its way to Blythe on Sunday.
747-8Z5 International N5020K arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as Boeing Flight 440 at 4:29PM on October 14, 2011 after a 7-hour 12-minute flight that took it as far east as Indiana. It first flew on June 30, 2011. It will be delivered to Abu Dhabi Ameri Flight as A6-PFA. Its construction number is 37500.
I have been touring back roads around Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim seeking landscapes to photograph.
Bob Odegaard has restored Cook Cleland's former racing mount, F2G-1 BuNo 88463 N5577N Race #74 to airworthy condition for Tom Ungurean of Ohio. Odegaard began its restoration for static display at the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio in 2000, but funding dried up and it was purchased by Tom Ungurean. It has been restored in the blue and white colors that it wore at the 1949 Thompson Trophy Race. It was displayed at the EAA show in Oshkosh in July and at the Reno Air Races in September. Following its appearance at the Reno Air Races, Race 74 flew to Falcon Field in Tempe, Arizona and parked on the Commemorative Air Force ramp.
A low pressure zone hovering over southern Utah directed unstable air into northern Arizona from the west, opposite the usual monsoon flow. Cumulus clouds form over the San Francisco peaks, building to the stratosphere, becoming cumulonimbus clouds that drop heavy rain, and spout downbursts. as they drift across the landscape. The speed of the action in this time lapse movie has been increased by a factor of 120.
Cumulonimbus clouds drift across the east valley bringing rain, lightning, and thunder. The speed of the action in this time lapse movie has been increased by a factor of 120 during the day and 150 after sunsset.
This image was assembled from 22 exposures taken between 7:42 PM and 7:54 PM.
Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico brings turbulent air, cumulus clouds and localized showers to the Flagstaff area. Towering Cumulonimbus clouds rise seven miles to the bottom of the Stratosphere and then spread across the sky. The San Francisco Peaks can be seen to produce their own orographic cloudes. This movie was shot from August 24 to August 27. The speed of the action in this time lapse movie has been increased by a factor of 120.
This movie was shot from August 28 to August 31.
Time lapse movie of another Haboob blowing through Phoenix, Arizona on August 18, 2011. This time lapse movie speeds up the action by a factor of 120.
Time lapse movie of monsoon weather over Phoenix, Arizona on July 31, 2011. A large thundercell approaches Phoenix from the southeast. A Haboob blows across the lower frame from left to right. After sunset, lightning flashes illuminate the clouds. Air traffic at Sky Harbor Airport reroutes to avoid the dust and storm clouds. This time lapse movie speeds up the action by a factor of 120.
747-830 International N6067U arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as Boeing Flight 021 at 2:13 PM on July 23, 2011 after a 4-hour 50-minute flight that zig-zagged across the western US. It departed for Boeing Field during a thunderstorm at 4:33 PM on Saturday, July 30.
Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico brings turbulent air, cumulus clouds and localized showers to the Flagstaff area. The San Francisco Peaks can be seen to produce their own orographic cloudes. The speed of the action in this time lapse movie has been increased by a factor of 120.
Time lapse movie of monsoon weather over Phoenix, Arizona on July 18, 2011. The turbulent skies produced a haboob that swept across Phoenix and fumigated the neighborhood with dust. This time lapse movie speeds up the action by a factor of 120.
Honeywell operates Boeing 757-225 N757HW as an engine testbed at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. It made a five hour and fifty-two minute flight to Iowa on July 15, 2011.
Moist air from the gulf of Mexico is bringing cloudy skies and thunderstorms to Arizona. This time lapse movie speeds up the action by a factor of 60.
Most of the air traffic at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is single aisle twinjets of US Airways and Southwest Airlines. The only regularly scheduled 747 service to Phoenix Sky Harbor is British Airways 747-436 Flight 289 from London Heathrow. A few large freighters arrive each afternoon. For a few weeks around the Summer Solstice the afternoon sun shines from the north side of the runways.
Here's a short time lapse movie of the Haboob that blew across the valley this afternoon.
The most recent pictures on this display were taken on June 29, 20119.
The Planes of Fame Museum at Valle-Williams Airport, Arizona hosted a fly-in on Saturday, June 25, 2011. The weather was warm and very windy. Only five airplanes flew, but the flybys were lower and closer to that audience than any other show that I know of, and the sun was behind the audience during the morning. It's a small show. The crowd was just a few hundred people, so there was always a lot of room on the crowd line. The Planes of Fame annex has many rare antique planes, including VC-121A Bataan, the Pacific Air Martin 404 that used to be at Camarillo, and the Western Convair 340 that used to be at Chino. There is also a remarkable collection of vintage automobiles in the Airport terminal building. Many of the attendees bought rides aboard the P-51D Mustangs, P-38J Lightning, and B-25J Mitchell.
Most of the air traffic at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is single aisle twinjets of US Airways and Southwest Airlines. The only regularly scheduled 747 service to Phoenix Sky Harbor is British Airways 747-436 Flight 289 from London Heathrow. The most recent pictures on this display were taken on June 21, 2011, when the sun is as far north as it gets.
On June 13, 2011, I visited Winslow, Arizona. I continued out Highway 87 and visited Little Painted Desert County Park and Homol'ovi State Park ancestral Hopi villages.
In addition to visits by 10 Tanker Air Carrier McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30 N17085 Tanker 911 and plain vanilla Boeing 747-8KZF N6009F, air traffic at Mesa Gateway during the period of June 9 to June 11 included the usual MD-83s flying for Allegiant Air and Falcon Air, Arizona Army National Guard Beechcraft C-12 Hurons, a US Marine Corps Lockheed KC-130J Hercules, and a Fairchild RC-26B Metro.
Winslow-Lindberg Airport is home to an air tanker station. On Monday, June 13, A Lockheed P-3 Orion, a pair of Lochkeed P-2 Neptunes and a Skikorsky S-64 Skycrane visited the airport to support operations against the Wallow Fire.
10 Tanker Air Carrier DC-10-30 N17085 Tanker 911 arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 8:28 AM on June 9, 2011. It made one flight at 11:30 to drop retardant on the Wallow Fire, almost 150 miles to the east. It returned at 12:40. Tanker 911 did not fly on Friday. It resumed flying missions against the Wallow Fire on Saturday Morning.
Plain vanilla 747-8KZF N6009F made a touch-and-go landing at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 11:07 AM on Friday June 10.
I recently toured the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, Arizona on sunny spring day. Many types of Agave were sending up flower spikes that will bloom in the near future. Flower buds are appearing on the Saguaros, but only a few have bloomed.
Flying displays, page 1: Airshow Opens, Silver Wings Wingwalking, Rob Harrison - Tumbling Bear, Navy Flight, Howard Pardue - Bearcat aerobatics, Korea Air War, and Army Air Corps.
Flying displays, page 2: Foreign Fly-bys, N9M Flying Wing, Clay Lacy Learjet Aerobatic Performance, Airpower Flight, USAF F-15 Strike Eagle, Heritage Flight
The Grand Canyon Railway at Williams, Arizona commemorated National Train Day with a series of short Cataract Creek Rambler excursions pulled by their Baldwin Mikado 2-8-2 #4960 steam locomotive on May 7 and 8, 2011. The price of a ticket was just $15. The excursions ran hourly from 10:00 AM.
H.A. Clark Memorial Field at Williams, Arizona hosted a fly-in on Saturday May 7, 2011. It attracted several vintage general aviation airplanes from around the state.
Hans Lauridsen is assembling a collection of vintage airplanes at the Buckeye Municipal Airport in Arizona. There are plans to build a 30,000 square foot hangar to house the collection. The display has been updated with pictures taken on April 29, 2011.
Most of the air traffic at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is single aisle twinjets of US Airways and Southwest Airlines. The only regularly scheduled 747 service to Phoenix Sky Harbor is British Airways 747-436 Flight 289 from London Heathrow. During the winter it arrives after sunset, but with the change in time it is now arriving in the late afternoon. The pictures on this display were taken in April 2011.
The Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour: Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, N93012 Nine-O-Nine, North American TP-51C-10 Mustang NL251MX Betty Jane and Consolidated B-24J Liberator N224J Witchcraft arrived at the Deer Valley Airport on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The warbirds will make a number of revenue generating flights, taking aviation enthusiasts aloft for about a half hour. On Friday,Apri 22, Nine-O-Nine and Witchcraft made revenue flights in the morning before the tour departed for the Scottsdale Municipal Airport in the afternoon.
Three World War II bombers flown by the Commemorative Air Force arrived at Deer Valley Airport on Tuesday, April 12. The public had the opportunity to buy rides aboard North American B-25J Mitchell Maid in the Shade N125AZ, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey N9323Z, and Boeing B-29 Superfortress Fifi N529B. These pictures were taken on Wednesday, April 13.
The Goldwater Ranges, south of Gila Bend, are used for bombing and gunnery training for military aircraft based around Arizona. Frequent visitors include General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons from Luke Air Foirce Base and Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. These pictures were taken on Range 2 on Tuesday, April 12.
On Friday, April 8, 2011, Polet Flight 4765 arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 1:51 PM to pick up a load of three Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters for the Royal Saudi Land Forces.
Falcon Field marked its seventieth anniversary with an open house. A wide variety of aircraft were placed on display for the public to see up close.
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress N5017N Aluminum Overcast is visiting the Deer Valley Airport in northwest Phoenix over the weekend of April 1 - 3. It carried a contingent of media representatives aloft on Thurday afternoon. The public can view Aluminum Overcast close-up by entering through Cutter Aviation. Rides aboard Aluminum Overcast can be purchsed.
Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon N7670C Attu Warrior visited the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force in March 2011.
Luke Air Force Base hosted an airshow over the weekend of March 19-20, 2011. It featured flight demonstrations of Fairchild-Republic A-10A Warthog 80-0238 of the 355th Wing, Curtiss P-40N Warhawk NL85104, Nanchang CJ-6s of the Deer Valley Warbirds, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star N933GC Acemaker, McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18E Rhino BuNo 166972 #210 of VFA-122 Flying Eagles, McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier BuNo 165002 #09 of VMA-311 Tomcats, McDonnell-Douglas QF-4E Phantom II 72-0140 of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor 05-4098 of the 49th Fighter Wing, Twin Beech C-18S N9109R Magic by Moonlight, and General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcons of the US Air Force Thunderbirds.
Most of the air traffic at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is single aisle twinjets of US Airways and Southwest Airlines. The pictures below were taken on the afternoon of March 16, 2011.
The former Williams Air Force Base is now known as Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. In addition to serving as a civil airport, it is frequently visited by military aircraft taking advantage of its limited traffic. Several pilot training schools operate at the airport. Allegiant Air provides passenger service to airports around the country on a fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-83s. This display has been updated with photos taken on March 11 and 12, 2011.
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport hosted Aviation Day on March 12, 2011. A variety of aircraft were displayed to the public.
Mesa Gateway Airport will host an open house on Saturday, March 12, 2011. A variety of aircraft arrived on Friday, March 11 to be put on display at the open house. Many more aircraft are scheduled to arrive on Saturday morning. Gates open at 9:00 AM. The show runs until 2:00 PM.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is home to the Fairchild Republic A-10A Warthogs of the 355th Wing, Lockheed EC-130Hs of the 43rd Electronics Combat Squadron, and aircraft of the US Customs and Border Protection Service. Due to the good flying weather, it often hosts visiting aircraft from around the country. It is also home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the place where US military aircraft go when they are retired. Some of those aircraft are refurbished and used again. Here is a selection of aircraft flying at Davis-Monthan on March 8, 2011.
The Cactus Fly-In kicks off the airshow season with a large collection of Antiques, Classics, Warbirds, Replicas, and Homebuilt aircraft
A popular feature at airshows is the Air Force Heritage Flight, in which modern jets fly in formation with vintage warbirds. Each year the participants in the Heritage Flight practice their formation flying before the airshow season at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The Salt River flows down from Roosevelt Lake through a series of reservoirs to and through the city of Phoenix.
The only airworthy Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver N92879 made an overnight stop at the Arizona Wing of the Commenorative Air Force at Falcon Field, Arizona on February 17, 2011. It continued on its way to Texas the following morning. It was returning to its home base following Tailhook Legacy practice at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California the previous weekend.
Watson Lake is a man-made reservoir nestled among granitic bouolders near Prescott, Arizona. It is a popular recreational destination, offering fishing, bird-watching, boulder climbing, hiking, and boating. Kayaks and canoes can be rented. I visited Watson Lake on January 24.
Luke Air Force Base hosted an aerial and academic exercise on Saturday, January 28, 2011. Locally based General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons were joined by F-16s from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Des Moines Air National Guard Base, Iowa, Northrop T-38 Talons from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma and Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, a Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker from Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and a Lockheed-Martin F/A-22A Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
Barrett Hochaus built a radio-controlled model of Howard Hughes giant Flying Boat, popularly known as the Spruce Goose, with a wing span of nearly ten feet. It is powered by four electric motors. Despite its large size, it wieghs less than seven pounds. It made its maiden flight at the Gilbert Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, January 22, 2011.
In late December, a winter storm dropped a load of snow on Arizona. Snow still remained on the north slopes of Four Peaks two weeks later. On January 13, I drove up the Soldier Camp Trail through Brushy Basin up to the Pigeon Spring Road on the top of the ridge and then descended down the el Oso Road into the Tonto Basin above Roosevelt Lake.
The former Williams Air Force Base is now known as Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. In addition to serving as a civil airport, it is frequently visited by military aircraft taking advantage of its limited traffic.
On Saturday, January 15, 2011, Polet Flight 4712 departed from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 5:11 PM with a load of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters for the Royal Saudi Land Forces.
On Friday, January 14, 2011, Polet Flight 4711 arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 11:38 AM to pick up a load of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack attack helicopters for the Royal Saudi Land Forces.
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