Archive for September 2014

2014 Cheetah Run at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

Labor Day weekend brings the Cincinnati Zoo cheetah run. My wife did the 5K for the second year, this time with my daughter doing a good chunk of it with her.
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 1

I’m quite impressed with their running. I only run if something is chasing me (or I’m late for the bus).
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 2

After the run, we decided to walk around the zoo. Remember Gladys, the orphaned baby gorilla? She’s getting bigger.
Gladys and Friend

But she’s no longer the baby! Asha was born this year. I’m sure when she gets bigger, she’ll be a great playmate for Gladys.
Baby Asha

We stopped to say “hi” to Renji and Nubo. Renji was wondering what was with all the smelly(-er-than-usual) people.
Renji Wonders What's With All the Sweaty Humans

Nubo just set about making sure his paws were clean.
Cleaning the Toes

Inside, I got some good pictures of the black-footed cats. They were quite active that morning.
Pondering BFC

BFC Watching Me

Lounging BFC

The sand cat took a great leap!
Jumping Sand Cat

The caracal’s enclosure was quite fogged over that morning, creating a cloudy view. However, she just looked so cute, I had to take get the best shot I could of her.
Dreamy Miss Caracal

Dobby the pygmy owl saw us out.
Pygmy Owl

We had a great morning! The Cheetah Run is a wonderful fundraiser for one of the best zoos in the country!
Caitlin and Rebecca Run 3

A Day at Udvar-Hazy   1 comment

The Nation Air and Space Museum on the Mall, as I noted, is a bit landlocked, and too small for many aircraft in the Smithsonian’s collection. To accommodate the larger vehicles in their collection, the Udvar-Hazy center opened in 2003 as an expansion to the center. There collection has expanded into this new space. I got to spend a brief time there once on a business trip; on our family vacation, I got to explore the space more fully.

Perhaps my favorite vesical is an SR-71 Blackbird. It also happens to be my second favorite vehicle made of titanium.
Blackbird (3/4 from the Right)

I’ve loved the Blackbird family since I was a kid. I always appreciate the opportunity to see one, especially a record-setter.
SR-71 (Nose)

SR-71 (Rear-Right)

When I was last here, they Space Shuttle Enterprise was the centerpiece of their collection. Since the retirement of the Shuttle fleet, it has been unfortunately moved to New York. The Enterpirse was used for the Approach and Landing Tests. It never went to space. In its place, the Space Shuttle Discovery was rolled in.
Discovery Nose

The Discovery has is the oldest of the remaining Space Shuttles, and the one with the most missions. It first flew in space in 1984, and completed the last of its thirty-nine missions in 2012.
Over the Wing

I just walked around this vehicle several times, staring at it. I imagined myself at its controls so many times in my life.
Discovery Engines

I was sad to think the Shuttles are no longer flying, with nothing to replace them.
Entering the Space Gallery

The Space Gallery had a number of other artifacts, including another film Nikon body modified as an early digital camera.
Early Nikon Digital Camera

An early plan for the Gemini program was for the capsule to return not by splashing into the ocean (as it did), but under a paraglider.
Gemini Paraglider Test Vehicle with Rogallo Paraglider

A testbed capsule was towed behind a car, much like a kite.
Gemini Paraglider Test Vehicle

A mock-up of the Pathfinder lander was there, along with the Sojourner, one of the first robotic rovers on Mars.

Several warplanes were in the main aircraft gallery. An F4U was hung dramatically by the entrance.

The P-40 was famous for the American Volunteer Group, the “Flying Tigers.”
P-40 Flying Tiger

The P-38 Lightening was designed by Kelly Johnson, who also designed some significant aircraft, including my beloved Blackbird.
P-38 Lightening

The P-61 Black Widow was a World War Two era night fighter. My grandfather worked on the early RADAR carried in this craft.

A B-29, the Enola Gay, loomed large over the World War Two exhibit.
B-29 Nose

One of the first Soviet jet fighters was the MiG-15.

It was no match for the F-86 Saber, which ruled the skies during the Korean War.

The F-4 and MiG-21 were adversaries in the Vietnam War.
MiG-21 and F-4

F-4 and SA-2

The A-6 Intruder served from the Vietnam to the First Gulf War.
A-6 Top View

The iconic UH-1 “Huey” represented rotary-wing aircraft of the Vietnam War.

The collection’s F-14 was involved in combat in the 1989 Gulf of Sidra incident, shooting down a MiG-23.
F-14 MiG Killer

I found the collection of prototypes fascinating. The X-35 developed concepts that became the F-35 Lightening II. It is the first aircraft to take off and land vertically and break the sound barrier.

The XV-15 developed tilt-rotor aircraft to the point it could become a viable platform.
XV-15 (Top View)

The Northrop N9MB demonstrated “flying wings.”
Northrop N9MB

The 707 was the first US jetliner. It’s prototype is at Udvar-Hazy.
707 Prototype

The supersonic Concord jetliner was there.

I had never seen one before. It is a gorgeous aircraft!
Concord (Nose)

This Dassault Falcon 20 was FedEx’s first aircraft.
Dassault Falcon 20

The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer set the record for fastest unrefuled circumnavigation of the planet.
Global Flyer

We spent hours admiring this collection–perhaps second only to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in terms of size, but with much more significant aircraft.

Posted 2014-09-14 by Mr. Guilt in 2014 Summer Vacation, Aircraft

National Air and Space Museum   Leave a comment

SpaceShipOne and the X-1
While in Washington, we wanted to check out the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). The NASM is home to a variety of historically significant aircraft. As air and space geeks, it was heaven.

We wanted to check out both sites, but started with the location on the Mall. Right when you walk in, you can see two spaceplanes. My personal favorite is the X-15.
X-15, right side

This research craft was flown in the Sixties. Three were built. One crashed, and the other is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. They set a number of records, and twice flew beyond the internationally recognized boundary into space (100 KM).
X-15, left side

Across from the X-15 was the most recent spaceplane, SpaceShipOne. This was the first manned, non-government craft to enter space.
SpaceShipOne (Belly)

SpaceShipOne (Top)

It was exciting to see something I followed make history among aircraft I read about in books, such as the X-1 (above), or The Spirit of Saint Louis.
SpaceShipOne and The Spirit of Saint Louis

Speaking of the X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier was neat to see.

Nearby was another early supersonic research craft, the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket. It was the first aircraft to go twice the speed of sound.
Douglas D-558-2

On the floor was Columbia, the command module of Apollo XI.
Apollo XI

The P-59 Airacomet was also in the entry gallery. This was the first American jet fighter. It was, however, an underperformer, and never saw combat.
XP-59 Airacomet

The P-59 was replaced by the P-80 (later F-80) Shooting Star. During the Korean War, an F-80 won the first jet-to-jet engagement. The prototype was at the NASM.

Walking through the galleries, there is an impressive look at naval aviation. A number of aircraft from several years were represented, including an A-4.

I couldn’t get a good shot of the original Wright Flyer, but they did have one of the few remaining Wright bicycles on display.
Wright Bicycle

A bicycle would later be the powerplant for the Gossamer Albatross.
Gossamer Albatross

This F-104 served as a chase plane for NASA, including the X-15 program.
NASA F-104

The space gallery is dominated by a mock-up of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program (ASTP).

They had a reentry module from a Soyuz–the only one I’ve ever seen.
Soyuz Reentry Module

I was amused by the markings on the capsule. “Man Inside! Help!”
Man Inside! Help!

The space gallery actually had an early digital SLR. It was a Nikon film body mated to a Kodak image processor, doubling the size of the camera. Good thing there is no gravity there.
First Digital SLR

A traveling exhibit of the photography of Spirit and Opportunity included a full-scale mockup.
Spirit Mock-Up

It was great to see all the significant aircraft. The only downside of the NASM is that it is a bit landlocked, with no room to grow. As a consequence, there is a limit to the size and quantity of aircraft they can house. However, the next day, we would get to see the solution to that problem.
SpaceShipOne (Side)

Posted 2014-09-07 by Mr. Guilt in 2014 Summer Vacation, Aircraft

Eddy’s Tenth Adopt-a-Versary!   2 comments

Eddy on the Steps
Ten years ago today, a friend talked me into doing a bike ride I twice swore I’d never do again. As it turns out, it was a good thing: it was on that ride I found Eddy! It’s hard to imagine life without that little cat.

Eddy is spending the day lounging, of course.
Lounging on the Landing

Posted 2014-09-06 by Mr. Guilt in cats, Eddy, Family, felis silvestris catus

Washington Mall   1 comment

The Barilleaux at the Mall

After the National Zoo, we went to the National Mall, to see the monuments. It was nearing dusk, what photographers refer to as the “Magic Hour.” We definitely could see it on the brand new Martin Luther King Memorial.
MLK Memorial Side

MLK Memorial (Looking Up)

Across the Potomac, we could see the Jefferson Memorial.
Jefferson Memorial

We then walked to the main area, where we got to see the Washington Monument, and its reflecting pool.
Washington Monument

As a bookend to the Martin Luther King Memorial, we went to the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his most famous speech.
Lincoln Memorial

The last time I was there, I was alone at a training class for work. There was a group of Norwegian soldiers at the monument, whose group I somehow fell into their group. I asked if we were being invaded–just so I would have a head’s up. They assured me they were just tourists like me.

My daughter was inspired by my photography. She borrowed my GorillaPod to take her own pictures.
Setting Up a Picture

I think she did pretty good.
Rusty and Otto

We walked by the Korean War monument on our way back to the car. It was spooky as we walked by.
Korean War Memorial

The next day, we got to see a soccer game in front of the Capital Building.
Soccer by the Capital

It was a fun time walking around the Mall.
The Barilleaux at the Mall (Goofy Caits)

Posted 2014-09-02 by Mr. Guilt in Family, Photography, Summer Vacation 2014

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