John & Anne Wiley

2016/08/05

Casitas to Coast

Coming back from a look at the Pine Fire burn area we enjoyed this first look at Lake Casitas in the distance made hazy by the cool coastal humidity.

9961 Cool Coast

9961 Cool Coast

One of the things that made it especially inviting was the much hotter air over the burn area. Another thing I like about this pic is how it shows the relative shoreline size. The full lake outline goes from the bottom-left off the right end. Closer in we could begin to get an idea of how much the vertical lake level has dropped from the drought.

9971 Drain & Plane

9971 Drain & Plane

I also saw again the tiny airstrip just above the dark pond at bottom-left that we’ve seen there on prior flights. Here’s the closer look I’ve been meaning to get for several years now, because we descended just to check it out and snap this.

9976 Plane Truth

9976 Plane Truth

I’d seen the “X” marks at the runway ends before, and thought maybe it was some rancher’s private airport for a “short field” plane. But in fact, it’s home to the Ventura County Comets Radio Control Flying Club, that used to launch “seaplanes” right next to the runway at lake level. For their planes, that airstrip is enormous! We went on for a look at the first of many marina slips next to the concrete boat launch ramp that now ends well above water level.

9966 Low Water

9966 Low Water

I like the different shapes, textures and colors in that pic. Next we came across the hills above Rincon, where I noticed these rows of buildings.

9997 Trees & Buildings

9997 Trees & Buildings

Among the wild trees, geometric orchards and patches of bare earth, the neat rows of long buildings tickled our curiosity. So we snapped this maximum zoom shot, and I’m reminded of a childhood memory.

9989 Little Chicken

9989 Little Chicken

My first look at a chicken ranch years ago makes me think that’s what this is, only this one looks much more humane and smaller.

2016/07/15

Battling Doom

This pic from 6/17 is striking to me. The sky is so overwhelmingly ominous with layers of smoke from the Sherpa Fire! Yet the DC-10 tanker is heading into the mouth of the dragon to drop fire retardant.

7533 Courage Over Fire

7533 Courage Over Fire

2016/06/23

Sherpa Fire Aircraft

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 12:52

Even snapping the fire from high above the fray, some of our pix included aircraft. For those who are curious how aerial fire attack looks from above, or my fellow aviation buffs, here are a few pix. First the biggest and baddest: the DC-10.

7900 Tanker 910 DC-10 N612AX

7900 Tanker 910 DC-10 N612AX

Going by the catchy name “Tanker 910” this flying fire extinguisher can lay a track like this 300′ wide and a mile long. At the other end of the spectrum is this trusty all-purpose helicopter (possibly a Sheriff UH-1N “Huey”) dropping water while a ground crew takes a break to enjoy the show.

7774 Instant Rain

7774 Instant Rain

This bigger helicopter I think is a Sky Crane, and it can deliver a larger load of water.

7890 Flying Fire Hose

7890 Flying Fire Hose

Managing all this were two “spotter” lead planes, mostly taking turns over the fire but while we were there they both made appearances. This King Air N463DF was higher, so we got a better look at it.

7886 "Sky" King Air N463DF

7886 “Sky” King Air N463DF

Down closer to the action during our time over the fire was this Cessna 525 N10R looking really cool.

7844 Cessna 525 N10R

7844 Cessna 525 N10R

This sleek jet we normally see whisking the well to do into SBA greeted by a waiting limo, was instead directing both the DC-10 and this smaller 4-engine jet that I think is one of Neptune Aviation’s BAe 146 tankers very precisely painting a red line of PhosChek fire retardant.

7876 BAe 146 PhosChek Drop

7876 BAe 146 PhosChek Drop

Last, another look at the tanker we saw far in the smoky distance, that I think is a Grumman S-2 Tracker.

7706 Grumman S-2 Tracker?

7706 Grumman S-2 Tracker?

There were more aircraft working the fire, but few were close enough to positively identify. Several times we could see nine or more inside the fire restricted area (red box) at once, using the Avare and HIZ apps on an S4 phone in our living room. Each of the blue dots in this cropped screen capture is an aircraft, the direction of the line shows their heading and the length of the line approximates their speed (so the short lines tend to be helicopters, and the long one approaching the box was the Cessna).

Avare ADSB Capture

Avare ADSB Capture

2016/06/20

More & Bigger Sherpa Pix

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 06:34

Here’s another batch of pix from our 6/19 flight over the Sherpa Fire. These were taken from our approach slowly climbing in the hot thin air over Montecito at 2pm to get above the 7,000′ safety area, until we first reached the NW corner at 2:30. They’re out of sequence with the ones hastily posted here and on Edhat earlier, but I’ll post more tomorrow to complete this set of larger and different views from those. First is this view into the smoke from over Montecito, unedited (except for size) to show how thick the smoke was. Most of the rest have been tweaked to better show detail.

7630 Smoky Distance

7630 Smoky Distance

Next a much closer view into the smoke as we neared the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) area created to safely separate fire attack aircraft from everyone else (including photojournalists, of which we were the only aircraft there that long before TV news time).

7633 Nearing Smoke

7633 Nearing Smoke

Continuing our slow climb across the mountains into Santa Ynez Valley we finally got above the smoke layer for a clear look back SSW across the ridge.

7685 Clear Air

7685 Clear Air

At the left you can see some of the many expensive broadcast towers along that ridge that firefighters worked to protect the night before. Finally well above 7,000′ feet we turned SW back over the ridge and saw our first PhosChek drop of the day.

7707 Small Tanker, Big Red

7707 Small Tanker, Big Red

They were working spot fires at this Northern edge of the burn area, where they’d already painted the hillside to slow and eventually stop the fire’s up-slope advance well below the expensive TV towers. Here’s another angle on that spot, showing how the fire was affected a few minutes later.

7721 Bigger Red, Smaller Fire

7721 Bigger Red, Smaller Fire

Nearing the Northwest corner of the burned area we could see a few more spot fires well within the scratched-bare earth, already-burned, and/or PhosChek-protected areas.

7717 NW Corner

7717 NW Corner

Last up for this post is a view of the whole Northwest corner from more overhead, tweaked to better distinguish the burned areas in the dappled light from broken high clouds.

7736 NW Corner S to Beach

7736 NW Corner S to Beach

Straight up from the left red area and smoke plume is the El Capitan campground jutting out into the Channel. At the top-right is Refugio campground. Check out the layers of bare earth fire breaks, some quite wide, and multiple red lines of PhosCheck “insurance.”

3pm 6/19 Over Sherpa Fire

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 00:38

I’ve just sent this to Edhat, and will try to post more and bigger pix later tonite:

We flew over the Sherpa Fire at 3pm Sunday and got a bunch of aerials. We’re in the middle of Father’s Day events but I wanted to shoot these off to Ed in case they have time to post them. I’ll put them on our blog too in case they’re too busy to post, because they show the whole burn area and though we’re seeing smoke in town the aerial views are very reassuring. In essence there are only half a dozen spot fires big enough to make a small visible smoke plume and they’re all inside the burned perimeter except one at the North edge that’s well-painted with PhosChek. In fact, while passing overhead we saw a small jet and then the DC-10 both do big drops to paint a bright red line above that edge. Lots of other pix including heli drop but I’ll put those on our blog later tonite.

7902787178077799

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 256 other followers

%d bloggers like this: