The Skydiving and Aviation Related Photo Thread! (OT)


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Trad climber
La Crescenta, CA
May 9, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Reilly, the thing on the wing of the 182 in my pic is the janky door.

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
May 9, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Does anyone here jump at Lodi? I'm hoping to get a days worth of jumps there new the end of the month....

Does anyone have beta on whether there's transit to the DZ from the town of Lodi. Or like a DZ shuttle to get there.

I'm rolling on the train...

If anyone is willing to share some beta please PM me.

May 9, 2013 - 12:35pm PT

call the dz and get a hold of a local... beta will flowith

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - May 9, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
Ammon jumps there often, he can probably point you towards some good beta. Overall, the jumpers there are pretty cool and you shouldn't have a problem getting rides.

Whatever you do, do NOT PISS OFF BILL. He will toss you off the DZ without a second thought lol. Best just to leave him alone unless he talks to you. He's a bit....cantankerous? Yeah, that works. Blues!

Big Wall climber
Reno, Nevada
May 10, 2013 - 09:57pm PT
I really like Bill and have a lot of respect for him. If I had to manage a bunch of misfit skydivers and BASE jumpers I'd be a bit cantankerous too, ha ha. But, yeah that's good beta. Don't lie to him, or cause any problems. Just say, "Yes Bill", if he asks you to do something. And make sure you get on as many loads as possible, ha ha. And don't forget to have fun!

I have lot of friends that go back and forth in all directions. Message me and I'll try to work something out, for you.

Damn if I didn't forget to switch my camera on the right setting today, after taking a pic of a desert antelope yesterday. But, this is a pic of a friend from yesterday:

Credit: ElCapPirate


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 11, 2013 - 01:34am PT

Many stories emerged on 9/11 outside of what happened in New York and that field in Pennsylvania. This is one of them.
An article from the Washington Post

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, put an F-16 pilot into the sky with orders to bring down United Flight 93
By Steve Hendrix, Friday, September 09,1:20 AM
Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.
“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” says Maj. Heather “Lucky” Penney, remembering the Sept. 11 attacks and the initial U.S. reaction.
The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft.
Except her own plane. So that was the plan.
Because the surprise attacks were unfolding, in that innocent age, faster than they could arm war planes, Penney and her commanding officer went up to fly their jets straight into a Boeing 757.
“We wouldn’t be shooting it down. We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of her charge that day. “I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.”
For years, Penney, one of the first generation of female combat pilots in the country, gave no interviews about her experiences on Sept. 11(which included, eventually, escorting Air Force One back into Washington’s suddenly highly restricted airspace).
But 10 years later, she is reflecting on one of the lesser-told tales of that endlessly examined morning: how the first counterpunch the U.S. military prepared to throw at the attackers was effectively a suicide mission.
“We had to protect the airspace any way we could,” she said last week in her office at Lockheed Martin, where she is a director in the F-35 program.
Penney, now a major but still a petite blonde with a Colgate grin, is no longer a combat flier. She flew two tours in Iraq and she serves as a part-time National Guard pilot, mostly hauling VIPs around in a military Gulfstream. She takes the stick of her own vintage 1941 Taylorcraft tail-dragger whenever she can.
But none of her thousands of hours in the air quite compare with the urgent rush of launching on what was supposed to be a one-way flight to a midair collision.
First of her kind
She was a rookie in the autumn of 2001, the first female F-16 pilot they’d ever had at the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard. She had grown up smelling jet fuel. Her father flew jets in Vietnam and still races them. Penney got her pilot’s license when she was a literature major at Purdue. She planned to be a teacher. But during a graduate program in American studies, Congress opened up combat aviation to women and Penney was nearly first in line.
“I signed up immediately,” she says. “I wanted to be a fighter pilot like my dad.”
On that Tuesday, they had just finished two weeks of air combat training in Nevada. They were sitting around a briefing table when someone looked in to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. When it happened once, they assumed it was some yahoo in a Cessna. When it happened again, they knew it was war.
But the surprise was complete. In the monumental confusion of those first hours, it was impossible to get clear orders. Nothing was ready. The jets were still equipped with dummy bullets from the training mission.
As remarkable as it seems now, there were no armed aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington. Before that morning, all eyes were looking outward, still scanning the old Cold War threat paths for planes and missiles coming over the polar ice cap.
“There was no perceived threat at the time, especially one coming from the homeland like that,” says Col. George Degnon, vice commander of the 113th Wing at Andrews. “It was a little bit of a helpless feeling, but we did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft armed and in the air. It was amazing to see people react.”
Things are different today, ­Degnon says. At least two “hot-cocked” planes are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the cockpit.
A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.
“Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.
They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.
“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.
She replied without hesitating.
“I’ll take the tail.”
It was a plan. And a pact.
‘Let’s go!’
Penney had never scrambled a jet before. Normally the pre-flight is a half-hour or so of methodical checks. She automatically started going down the list.
“Lucky, what are you doing? Get your butt up there and let’s go!” Sasseville shouted.
She climbed in, rushed to power up the engine, screamed for her ground crew to pull the chocks. The crew chief still had his headphones plugged into the fuselage as she nudged the throttle forward. He ran along pulling safety pins from the jet as it moved forward.
She muttered a fighter pilot’s prayer — “God, don’t let me [expletive] up” — and followed Sasse­ville into the sky.
They screamed over the smoldering Pentagon, heading northwest at more than 400 mph, flying low and scanning the clear horizon. Her commander had time to think about the best place to hit the enemy.
“We don’t train to bring down airliners,” said Sasseville, now stationed at the Pentagon. “If you just hit the engine, it could still glide and you could guide it to a target. My thought was the cockpit or the wing.”
He also thought about his ejection seat. Would there be an instant just before impact?
“I was hoping to do both at the same time,” he says. “It probably wasn’t going to work, but that’s what I was hoping.”
Penney worried about missing the target if she tried to bail out.
“If you eject and your jet soars through without impact . . .” she trails off, the thought of failing more dreadful than the thought of dying.
But she didn’t have to die. She didn’t have to knock down an airliner full of kids and salesmen and girlfriends. They did that themselves.
It would be hours before Penney and Sasseville learned that United 93 had already gone down in Pennsylvania, an insurrection by hostages willing to do just what the two Guard pilots had been willing to do: Anything. And everything.
“The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves,” Penney says. “I was just an accidental witness to history.”
She and Sasseville flew the rest of the day, clearing the airspace, escorting the president, looking down onto a city that would soon be sending them to war.
She’s a single mom of two girls now. She still loves to fly. And she still thinks often of that extraordinary ride down the runway a decade ago.
“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” she says. “If we did it right, this would be it.”

Social climber
So Cal
May 14, 2013 - 09:57pm PT
Naval aviation entered a new era today.


Social climber
So Cal
May 17, 2013 - 08:23pm PT
70'th anniversary flight.

Michelle Gill

Redding, CA
May 18, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
Trevor and I in the plane, getting ready to jump and giving a big F-U to cancer!! For my husband and my son's father, Ian.
Credit: Michelle Gill

Social climber
So Cal
May 18, 2013 - 08:35pm PT

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
May 22, 2013 - 01:00pm PT


Social climber
So Cal
May 23, 2013 - 08:32pm PT

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
May 23, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
Mais qui, spot of tea jimmy?
Credit: guido

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 23, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Cool Hank. Start pulling lower. I have a hilarious bounce story about pulling just a tiny bit too low. It was on Half Dome BITD.


May 26, 2013 - 08:05pm PT


Social climber
So Cal
May 27, 2013 - 04:37pm PT

In the spring of 1944, Bill Overstreet of the famous 357th FG was hot on the tail of a German ME109G. The pilot of the 109 flew right over Paris where German anti-aircraft artillery was heavy, probably in hopes they would solve his problem by eliminating Bill and his P51C named the “Berlin Express”. Bill persisted through intense flak closing the gap with the enemy fighter. Already hit in the engine, as a last resort the ME109 pilot aimed his aircraft toward the imposing Eiffel Tower and in a breathtaking maneuver flew right under it. Even this was not enough to shake Bill as he followed right behind scoring several more hits in the process. The German ME109 crashed moments later and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 31, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Vegasclimber alert! Or maybe Licky? ;-)

I suggest you check out the LA Times page for more pics, a map of all the
crash sites, and a cool vid showing the crash site of the first F-111A which
crashed when 20 mm rounds started cooking off in the plane! Happily the
crew ejected safely.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Investigators at the 1967 crash site shortly after a North American Av...
Investigators at the 1967 crash site shortly after a North American Aviation X-15 rocket plane broke up at 62,000 feet while traveling at 4,000 mph. (NASA)
Credit: Reilly

Pair of 'geeks' sifts through history for aviation ruins

Peter Merlin and Tony Moore, self-confessed aviation geeks, find and sort through military crash sites in the Mojave as a hobby. They call these weekend expeditions 'aerospace archaeology.'

By W.J. Hennigan

Photography by Brian van der Brug

Video by Don Kelsen

Reporting from Mojave

May 31, 2013

Peter Merlin trudges through the desert, side-stepping sage brush and creosote until he reaches a spot barren of vegetation. He points out a faint crescent-shaped scar in the earth 100 feet long.

Merlin kneels and scoops up a handful of sand and lets it sift through his fingers, leaving behind three gray pebbles, each no bigger than a quarter.

"See these rocks?" he asks. "They're actually fragments of melted aluminum. This is the impact point where the flying wing crashed, and the crew lost their lives. Right here. This is the incident that gave Edwards Air Force Base its name."

The pebbles were remnants of the YB-49, an experimental bomber that crashed in 1948 carrying Capt. Glen Edwards and a crew of four. His untimely death prompted the military to rename Muroc Air Force Base in his honor.

Finding and sorting through military crash sites in the Mojave is Merlin's hobby and pastime. He and Tony Moore, his partner on these weekend expeditions, call it "aerospace archaeology."

"Living this close to Edwards is like an Egyptologist living in Egypt," Merlin said. "It has been called the 'valley of the kings.'"

The skies above the Mojave Desert are legendary. The first American jet plane flew here. The sound barrier was broken here. Space shuttles returned to Earth here. But less heralded are the failures and crashes, tragic footnotes to these remarkable accomplishments.

Merlin and Moore refer to themselves as "The X-Hunters," a nod to the Air Force's use of "X" in naming experimental planes. Their findings have broadened the military's understanding of Southern California's aerospace history.

"Their value to the office is a great one," said Richard Hallion, a retired official who worked 20 years as an Air Force historian. "In many cases, there was only rough approximation of where the crashes took place."

Peter Merlin, center, and Tony Moore, left, at a memorial to the crew ...
Peter Merlin, center, and Tony Moore, left, at a memorial to the crew of an ill-fated YB-49 test flight near Mojave. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Credit: Reilly

Despite the vastness of the Mojave, there are few crash sites that Merlin and Moore have yet to find. They have compiled a list of more than 600 locations amid the sun-scorched sand and rock, and so far they have examined more than 100.

Merlin and Moore are unlikely confederates. Merlin, 49, the introvert, is prone to extended pauses when talking. He has a thin Errol Flynn-esque mustache and is known to wear a safari hat and leather jacket with "The X-Hunters" emblazoned on the back.

Moore, 55, is a large, affable man who walks with a metal trekking pole because of bad hips. He grew up in Northridge and has long been fascinated with Edwards, and seems to have a story about any aircraft that was ever built.

They both work at Edwards, but in 1991 the self-confessed aviation geeks were employed at the Burbank airport when they had a conversation about the region's aerospace history. Moore told Merlin he had found the wreckage site of the XB-70, an experimental bomber that collided with an F-104 in 1966.

Merlin was intrigued. But aviation buffs are secretive about the information they have — like fishermen who won't tell where the big ones are — so Moore gave Merlin vague directions to the site: about 12 miles north of Barstow.

The following Monday, Merlin came to work, smiling. He had found the site.

"I was shocked," Moore said. "I must have given him a two-mile area to search through. But he found it, to his credit."

After recognizing their shared infatuation, they decided to team up. When the two men started researching airplane wrecks, they mostly relied on files from the Edwards History museum and a 1993 environmental impact study of the base that listed only 15 sites.

On their first expedition, Moore and Merlin turned to a book written by a former test pilot that documented the crash of Maj. Michael Adams, who was killed in 1967 when the North American Aviation X-15 rocket plane he was piloting broke up at 62,000 feet while traveling at 4,000 mph.

According to the book, the wreckage was located several miles northeast of Johannesburg. But once they arrived at the spot, the terrain didn't resemble what was depicted in the book's grainy black and white photographs.

After several hours of fruitless searching, they decided to head home. As they drove toward U.S. 395, Moore noticed a mountain in the distance that looked like one pictured in the book.

They pulled onto a dirt road and rumbled toward the mountain. More landmarks began to line up. There was a ridge with an outcropping of white rocks near its crest.

They got out of their Jeep and began walking toward the mountain, stopping at intervals to consult the book. Merlin then looked at the ground and saw a piece of weather-beaten metal tubing.

"We're here," he shouted, noticing the ground was littered with more metal fragments.

For two years, they combed over the debris field and recovered 125 pounds of parts, including a warning light that likely glowed in the cockpit while Adams fought to save himself and the aircraft. These items are at the flight test museum at Edwards.

A memorial now marks the site. It was erected in 2004. More than 60 people, including Merlin, Moore and members of Adams' family, attended the dedication.

"We often approach these sites from a historical perspective," Merlin said. "But there's a human element that lives on. To see the emotional reaction from the family really showed me how much the sites can mean to people."

Among their other finds was the crash site for another flying wing, an experimental bomber constructed of wood, dubbed the N-9M. The plane went down 12 miles west of Edwards in 1943.

The men also located pieces of the Bell X-2, which in 1956 tumbled out of control, killing test pilot Capt. Milburn Apt on impact in the Kramer Hills off the eastern edge of the base.

Seven miles west of California City, they found the location of the NF-104A crash that would have killed Chuck Yeager in 1963 had he not ejected in time. A more recent non-fatal wreck was the X-31 that crashed less than a half-mile from California 58 in 1995.

When a plane goes down in the desert, the military tries to recover as much of the wreckage as possible. Retrieving hefty, hulking pieces is a priority.

Most of the time, Merlin and Moore are searching for smaller parts such as twisted stainless-steel skin, rusted fasteners and fittings, or crushed cowl flaps.

They scan the horizon for glinting metal when they think they're in the right spot. Once they uncovered a part of a tail fin. But finding such items is rare, and often what they think is an aircraft part shimmering in the distance ends up being a Mylar balloon.

"I've seen enough deflated Mickey Mouse balloons to last me a lifetime," Merlin said.

When they do find something that they think they can identify, they take it home and weigh and measure it. They verify the part's authenticity by chasing down serial numbers, inspection stamps or examining a manufacturer's book on the aircraft. After documenting it, they'll donate it to the flight test museum or other institutions. They have written a book about their exploits titled "X-Plane Crashes."

Critics believe that the significance of the men's findings is slightly exaggerated. Raymond Puffer, retired Edwards historian, said their work is more of a hobby than anything else.

Other explorers, like G. Pat Macha, prefer to leave the crash sites intact.

"That's a big issue in this field: To simply take a picture or take the stuff home with you," said Macha, 67, who has identified and documented crash sites in Southern California for 50 years.

Macha, however, appreciates that rather than holding onto what they have recovered, the two men have given their findings back to the base.

Merlin and Moore take pride helping families who have lost a son or a father in one of these fatal crashes.

While standing at the YB-49 crash site that killed Edwards, Moore saw something glimmering in the dirt. He picked it up: It was a star sapphire, perfect except for a slight chip on one side.

The small stone was a mystery until Moore was talking to an engineer who had been on the base the day the YB-49 crashed.

The engineer mentioned that a member of the crew, Maj. Daniel H. Forbes, had been married just a few weeks before the accident. His wife had given him a sapphire ring. The military had found the setting but not the stone.

Moore was stunned: "We found the stone," he said. "We found it five years ago right in the middle of the site.'"

He mailed a photograph of the sapphire to Air Force personnel, who went to visit Forbes' widow.

A half-century had passed since the tragedy. The widow had remarried and at first didn't seem to remember the ring. Then they showed her the pictures.

Without saying a word, she walked to her bedroom and returned with a matching star-sapphire ring in her hand. The stone was eventually returned to her in a ceremony at the Kansas air base that bears Daniel Forbes' name.

"It's unbelievable how many things needed to happen in order for that ring to be reunited with her," Moore said. "It validated all our work."

Contact the reporter

Follow W.J. Hennigan (@wjhenn) on Twitter

Edwards AFB Crash Geeks
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Maybe the coolest thing was finding the pilot's wedding ring stone and
sending it to his widow?

Social climber
So Cal
May 31, 2013 - 11:10pm PT

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 1, 2013 - 03:18am PT
Thanks for sharing, Reilly.

The "X Hunters" are pretty dedicated guys, for sure. I talk to them every couple months or so - the "serious" wreck chasing community is pretty small. They recently helped me pinpoint the location of an SR-71 crash site. Unfortunately some wise guy got the idea to pull every scrap out of the site several years ago and started selling the pieces online. I found three pieces no bigger then a quarter, and had to call it good.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 1, 2013 - 09:47am PT
Did you ever try to check out the Aurora crash site south of Groom Lake?
IIRC it went down in '93 or '94. I bet the AF used industrial vacuums on
that site. It even got a no-fly zone over it for over a month! The funny
part is the AF claimed it was a chopper crash. Now, who ever heard of a
chopper crash site being cordoned off for over a month and having a prohibited
airspace of 5 miles around it? Musta been some kind of chopper, nyuk nyuk.
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