Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wash Rack

On the wash rack
It's easy to forget that for every hour of flight time there are several hours of maintenance time.  The amount varies per airframe, but is substantial.  Most of the maintenance comes in the form of inspections, preventative maintenance and phase (time driven) maintenance.  The amount of time actually having to fix broken stuff is only a small part of it.  Here a crew chief washes his helicopter, a regular occurrence even here in the desert.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bucket Brief

Briefing for a Bambi Bucket Mission.
The wild fires are still an issue out west, last week we had two birds doing water drops for the bulk of the week.  Here one of the crews brief before heading out for the day.  This fire was close enough that the helicopters came home each day after their mission.  We've also done missions where the crews live in a fire camp for the duration.  The ratty looking orange is water soluble paint used to increase our visibility for other airborne assets. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Southern Visitor

AH-64D Apache
Our first battalion operates Apaches out of Marana, just north of Tuscon.  They've decided to stage one of their gunships at our facility to make life easier on the soldiers who live up Phoenix way.  Unlike most National Guard jobs, aviation requires a considerable amount of time beyond the "one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer" long considered the norm.  I think this is on a trial basis for the moment, but I think it's a good idea.

You've no doubt noticed the above picture is in black and white...  I recently got a nice film camera and have been testing out a process to digitize the images.  I developed the negative normally then scanned it into my Epson V600 photo scanner, which handles negatives and slides as well as prints.  Next I'll be trying color negatives.

Hasselblad 500C/M with the 150mm f4 Sonnar lens set at f22, 1/500 sec using Tri X Professional film (ASA 400). 

Monday, August 05, 2013

Drill Weekend

Chalk 2 poses for us - we tried to give everyone in both birds a chance to get a decent picture
This was a drill weekend, the first one in some time with the full unit.  We had lots going on with some of the new guys getting gunnery practice at Gila Bend (35,000 rounds worth, yee-haw!) and the Med det getting ready for their upcoming deployment.  I was assigned to crew on a pax flight up to Prescott supporting some Air National Guard troops.

More after the break