Saturday, August 29, 2015

Upcoming Air Show Pictures

I went to the Willow Run Air Show today and I had a blast.  I've got a ton of pictures to sort through and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to arrange them for my blog post.
They had a pretty impressive line up of aircraft today.  For me, it's kind of a toss up of which caught my attention the most.  Given that I've never seen a flying one before, I guess the nod will go to the B-29 Superfortress.  Especially when you consider it is an aircraft with a longer wingspan than the original Wright Brothers Flight.  So for now, enjoy this picture of "Fifi" approaching.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Just Watching the Planes Go By

After hearing various planes from the air show flying over the office today and not really being able to see them, I decided that I needed to go planewatching.  I was hoping that it wasn't going to be like last night where I didn't see anything.
 As I was leaving the office, I saw that there was a plane circling around.  That usually means there is someone doing touch and go landings.
 One of the planes doing it was this Cessna.  However, I think this one landed right after I got there.
 That Cessna was soon followed by this Cessna but I think he only did a couple passes as well.
 It made for a nice picture though.
 Soon they were joined by this Piper Arrow.
 I kind of like the looks of these planes.
 And that was followed fairly closely by this plane.
 Although what caught my eye was this Aeronca Champion.  The Champion first flew in 1944 and entered production in 1945.    This initial production run only lasted until 1950.  As the light aviation market picked up again, production of this aircraft started again in 2007.  It is powered by a 65 horsepower Continental engine.  This gives the plane a maximum speed of 95 miles per hour.  With a stall speed of 38 miles per hour, it can handle low speeds pretty well.
 Another shot of the Cessna.
 I think this is a pretty neat looking aircraft.
 I kind of like the pattern on the tail.
 One of the Pipers approaching again.
 The straight out shot.
 As I was taking pictures of the other planes, I saw this Texan flying by.  This would be one of the aircraft from the Air Show.
 Back to the Champion.
 One more shot of the Champion.
 I got a surprise as I saw the Texan start to make a turn for the runway.  I was not expecting this.
 For a second, I thought that maybe he was just making a flyby, but he actually landed his aircraft.
I think this aircraft is a Dassault Falcon.  Dassault is a French Aircraft Company which is more famous for the Mirage series of fighter jets.  I don't know alot about his particular breed of business jet though.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Brief Stop at Willow Run

The Thunder Over Michigan Air Show is this weekend and I was hearing planes flying over the office as they were heading there.  As a result, I thought I might have a chance to go to Willow Run and see some of the planes.
 The normal spot where I'd try to look in on the airfield was blocked off, so I couldn't even get pictures of the B-52 and Privateer.  I had to settle for pictures of the F-101 Voodoo.  Not that it's a bad plane or anything like that.
 In fact, it's a little better because I can walk around and get different angles.  But it's not the same as getting some early shots of the Blue Angels.
 It was a little overcast and that made for an interesting backdrop.
 Still, I'd rather have pictures of the B-29 or whatever but I guess I'll have to wait.
 Nearby is the RF-84 Thunderstreak.  This is the reconnaissance version of the fighter.  You can see the panels for the cameras.
Again, not the Blue Angels but I wanted to watch some planes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

And We End With the H. Lee White

I ended the day with the next ship.
 The next ship was the H. Lee White.  It was starting to get dark and I was hoping that the light would hold out.
 As I was starting to take pictures, the clouds broke and gave me a little bit of the golden light.
 Sadly, that light didn't last too long.
 A shot of her pilothouse.
 The light broke again but I didn't catch it in time.
 I decided to head down to the little park to catch her for one last time.
And I'm glad I did.

The Blue Water Bridge Under the Clouds

As I was taking pictures of the ships, I took a look at the Blue Water Bridge and I liked the way the clouds looked with it.
As the day was ending for me, it was starting to rain.  At any rate, it made for a really neat picture.

The Gregory J. Busch Makes an Appearance

It seems like when people talk about the oldest vessels on the Lakes, they forget about the tugboats.  There are a couple of tugs on the lakes that were built in the late 1800's and are still functional.  There are a few built in the early 1900's.
The Gregory J. Busch was built in 1919 as the Humaconna in Superior, Wisconsin.  In 1977, she was given her current name.

Next Up...the Elbeborg

I thought I would be introducing a new ship to the blog but it turns out that I caught her in Duluth last year.  However, it seems that I didn't properly introduce her then.
 The Elbeborg is one of several ships owned by Wagenborg out of the Netherlands.
 The Elbeborg was built in 2011 and resembles many of the other Wagenborg ships.
 She is 474 feet long and 52 feet wide which means she is well below the maximums for the Welland Canal.  She can carry 12,000 tons of cargo.
I'm not sure where she is off to though.

The Alpena Makes an Appearance

The next ship is one that I wasn't sure if I would catch or not.
 When I checked AIS on Saturday, she was heading down to Cleveland and I wasn't sure if she would finish unloading cargo in time to catch her on Sunday.  It seems like it takes a while for cement to be unloaded.  I was actually thinking of heading down to Cleveland to catch her as she left.
When I checked AIS on Sunday morning, I saw that she had left Cleveland.  When I plotted her times, I saw that she would be on the St. Clair River sometime in the afternoon which meant that I had a chance to catch her.
 As it was, I caught up to her at a little park just south of Marine City.  It is actually a pretty decent park to catch upbound ships.  It's not so good for downbound ships (there is a bend in the river and you don't see downbound ships until they are right on top of you).
 I caught up to her again at the little park at the southern part of Port Huron.  It is actually a decent spot to catch ships but sometimes you get the chemical plants in the background.
 The Alpena is currently the oldest self powered freighter on the lakes.  She was built in 1943 and she is likely to stick around for a while.  Well, at least I hope she does.
 Mainly because she is a beautiful ship.
 She passes under the Blue Water Bridge as the sun is behind some of the weather clouds.
And she continues on to her destination of her namesake town.

American Integrity on the River

I can never grow tired of watching a thousand footer go by.
 The American Integrity is one of thirteen thousand footers that travel on the Great Lakes.  It is amazing to think that something this large can move, let alone float.
 All of these thousand footers are American owned and they exclusive operate on Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie.  They are too large to go through the Canadian locks.  Even though a few of these vessels are registered in Wilmington, Delaware, they will never see it.
 These large ships carry a variety of cargo, but for the most part they stick to taconite and coal.  The coal is for the many coal fired power plants that line the Great Lakes.  Most of this coal is the low sulfur variety that is moved by train from the Western United States.  The American Integrity can carry almost 81,000 tons of coal.  If you were to send this all the way on a train, it would be the equivalent 8 trains with 100 cars.
 At any rate, they are impressive.
 And even more impressive up close.
One more shot as she continues on her way to Lake Huron.  Roughly two days after this picture, she will be back in Duluth where she will pick up another load and continue the cycle.