Like I said, there was a few reasons I stopped updating this site. Here's the biggest one of them all.
Photographing airplanes has been a long-time interest of mine, especially those of the WW2 era. There is just something about those birds from the late-30s thru mid-40's that just get my pulse racing. It doesn't matter what nation developed them, for many of them that I admire have the same characteristics of old-school style, enduring ruggedness that lasts generations, and raw power that can make your teeth rattle.
As you can imagine, I longed for the possibility to actually fly one, and the pipe dream was to fly one at some sort of an air show. But it seemed such an impossibility - WW2 warbirds are rare, and even if you do run across one, chances are it's not going to be one you can take up as a loaner. Warbird owners are understandably protective of their machines - if you get a chance to fly one, it's almost always under their careful guidance. Short of buying one, it's a safe bet you won't be doing it alone.
Of course, every once in a while, bets are lost.
A local flying club, Max G Aviation, is fairly unique (at least to my knowledge) in that they have a WW2 warbird that a pilot can RENT! No, you did not read that wrong; provided you train up to their standards, you can be signed off to solo in their 1942 Vultee BT-13A Valiant, a basic military trainer used by all US services during the first half of the 1940s. It was eventually phased out by the North American AT-6 Texan (or Harvard for those used by UK and Canada), but it nonetheless cranked out thousands of airman during its service. Today, there are perhaps less than 50 still flying.
Needless to say, Max G's N59842 (bless that plane's owner!!!) is a gem to those of us not fortunate enough to be able to buy a warbird.
Without getting too detailed, the last few months have been spent getting certified in the BT-13A, building experience after getting the sign off, and then participating at the Hangar Sixx Fly-In at Columbia, CA. The culmination of all this was the Pacific Coast Dream Machines at Half Moon Bay, CA last month! Needless to say, it was a delightful experience to share her with the general public, many of whom couldn't quite put their finger on the "T-6" that didn't quite look like the T-6 right behind it (lol). And don't even get me started on the slack-jawed expressions when many a pilot heard the words, "Oh... she's not mine. It's a rental."
Dream Machines was still only a "Fly-In", but considering the sizable crowds, it was close enough to scratch "Air Show" off my bucket list!
So THAT'S what it's like to be on the other side of the lens. :)