Cellpic Sunday – 23 June 2019

Mandan, North Dakota.

A couple of Sundays ago, I made the trip to Mandan’s Y19 airport for their annual Planes and Pancakes fly-in. I try to get there every year to help share the Civil Air Patrol story, sometimes bringing along the glider behind me. That was the case on this day, as well as hoping to give some Civil Air Patrol members a sortie or two in the glider after we showed it off to the fly-in attendees. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 9 June 2019

Fargo, North Dakota.

OK, so this isn’t technically a Cellpic. It is, however, captured from a truly mobile device. First, the backstory… One of the newest missions of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) involves the use of small unmanned aerial systems, in CAP parlance, sUAS Missions. In the common vernacular, drones. The sUAS class of device weighs between .5 (266 g) and 55 lbs (25 kg). In a word, “small”. In the last couple of years, I’ve gone through the steps needed to become a Commercial sUAS Pilot. The FAA calls this class of license a Part 107 and CAP requires that all of our members who wish to pilot one of these devices hold a Part 107 UAS license.

There will be more to this story in future posts, but for now, I thought I would share a “dronie” photo, a term equivalent to a “selfie” in Cellphone parlance. I’ve purchased one of these little marvels of flying photo technology and I am learning to fly it. They aren’t that hard to fly in automatic modes, but CAP needs pilots who can fly with precision without depending upon automatic modes often built into these devices.

About the photo: During one of my practice take off and landing sessions, I brought the aircraft to a hover a few feet in front of us and asked my wife, Lynn, to push the camera button to take a snapshot. The photo from the camera in RAW mode is 4056 x 3040 pixels (4K). Though usually prized for their video prowess, drones make very capable still cameras. This image was tweaked with Lightroom and Luminar Flex to bring out definition in the sky and overall detail in the image. The rule for Cellpic Sunday has not been changed… the image must be captured by a mobile device… after all, what’s more mobile than a drone?

John Steiner

Cellpic Sunday – Rainbow Circles

Somewhere over North Dakota.

Yesterday I attended a meeting in Bismarck. This trip, I was a passenger and I left the flying duties to Chad, a flight instructor and head of our flight standards department in North Dakota Civil Air Patrol. The sun was behind us, still low in the sky, when we departed Fargo early in the morning aboard a Cessna 182. Reflected on the clouds ahead of us, we saw a circular rainbow. Over my two decades of flying, I’ve seen a few circular rainbows reflected on clouds below us. We were on an instrument flight plan which allowed us to remain at our altitude and fly through any clouds that happened to rise above our flight level. As we approached one of these higher cloud layers, I saw something I’d never seen before. We could clearly see the shadow of our aircraft on the cloud directly in the center of the circle. Continue reading

New York – My First Visit to the State

Syracuse, New York.

I’ve been to many states, but before March 2018, a trip to Boston brought me to the only state on the east coast I’ve visited north of Washington DC. An opportunity to visit Syracuse New York for volunteer Civil Air Patrol (CAP) duties would be my ticket to visit a new (to me) state. The image above is one of my first views of the city of Syracuse while on landing approach to Syracuse Hancock Airport. In the United States, Aviation research is increasingly turning to unmanned aerial systems for flight assignments. Civil Air Patrol is helping in the transition as many current Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have limited visibility for their pilots on the ground. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 12 August 2018

Syracuse, New York.

This week’s Travel Tuesday post tells of an early spring trip to Syracuse-Hancock Airport in New York. It was my first trip to that state and the purpose for my trip is featured there. Today’s cell pic is a teaser. Both of these planes are Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aircraft. The gray Cessna on the right is a veteran and the reason for the color is described in that post. With that, I’ll leave you guessing. Continue reading

Fargo Airsho – Blue Angels In Flight

Fargo, North Dakota.

As an aviation enthusiast, I’ve always enjoyed the performances of our military flight demonstration teams. For many years, the Blue Angels have flown in Fargo at an event known as the Fargo Airsho (sic). The air show features many more performers than the Blue Angels, though. Between the jet powered biplane, the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team and many other acts, the show starts in the morning, but the Navy’s featured demonstration team doesn’t start until around 3 PM. Continue reading