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Friday Photo: sunrise through a tilt-rotor

During September of 2018 Bell Helicopter was deep into flight test operations with their advanced military-oriented V-280 tilt-rotor testbed. The latter is a competitor in the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift initiative which is on-going as these words are written. As the aircraft was being towed into position, I saw an opportunity to possibly catch the dawn sun through the open cabin doors as the aircraft moved slowly across the ramp. The result is what you see.

Mustang musings: what it’s like to fly the legendary P-51

Several years ago my close friend Lewis Shaw and I took a trip south from Dallas to Encinal, TX, in his North American P-51D Mustang. We were flying to the remote and little known town to visit with an associate who was a serious collector of warbirds. He was looking to buy a second Mustang to add to his collection and Lewis was looking to sell his—a polished aluminum beauty that was an exquisite example of the legendary WWII fighter in every way.

Friday photo: Airbus X3

The X3 was unusual from many different perspectives, not the least of which being the addition of a pair of stub wings with tractor propellers at their tips. The propellers, though appearing to have their own powerplants, were actually driven by the engines that drove the main rotor.

Friday Photo: tilt-rotor formation

During February of 2015 I was called in by Don Barbour of Leonardo Helicopters to photograph the company’s newly-acquired-from-Agusta-Bell Model 609 prototype in advance of the then-upcoming Heli-Expo event in Orlando, Florida. The aircraft was being repainted in Eastern and Bristow (both prospective buyers at the time) markings in order to provide a fresh perspective for the event.

Friday Photo: P-38 Lightning

This Lockheed P-38L Lightning now is part of the “Flying Bulls” collection under the very wide Salzburg, Austria-based Red Bull corporate umbrella. It has had a long and highly public career that spans some three-quarters of a century. Built in 1944 and given serial number 44-53254, it was purchased surplus for $1,250 from the War Department.

Erasing four decades of regret, and remembering a friend

A short message… “If this is the Jay Miller who was Ray Tenhoff’s friend, would you please call me?” A phone number followed. Thus began – unknowingly for me at that moment – a closure that I had considered unattainable for just over 40 years. Four decades of regret were about to be erased absolutely and unequivocally by the kindness of a person I had never known.