Paul Dunn's 2009 blogGAR Entries

JUN 07 2010
LA Area Miscellanae

June is not really the best month to visit Los Angeles. Moist air from the Pacific Ocean tends to bring mist and low cloud, especially in the early part of the day, resulting in what the locals call the “June Gloom”. Certainly the morning of June 7th dawned with very murky conditions, but with an appointment at Van Nuys Airport, I headed out nonetheless, accompanied by my friend and work colleague Jon.

With little sign that the weather was improving on the route up towards the airport, I considered heading inland a little in search of sunnier climes, but with the cloud appearing to begin to lift, we decided to head to Van Nuys and hope that the sky cleared. We didn’t have long to wait til the sun started to break through, and I was very pleased to see a C-130J Hercules from the California ANG taxi out and depart.

Business at Van Nuys complete, we headed back south towards Orange County, in order to visit the brand new Lyon Air Museum at John Wayne Airport. This recently opened museum really is excellent, and will be the subject of a future report here on GAR. The museum overlooks part of the GA apron at John Wayne airport, and there were several very smart business jets on the ramp.

After a spot of lunch, we elected to head back to LAX; when we landed the day before conditions had been excellent for photography, with the sun breaking through and the moist air creating spectacular vapour on the departing jets. Unfortunately the June Gloom was in full effect, and despite the obviously humid conditions there was a disappointing absence of steam on the departing heavies.

After spending a short time on Imperial Hill, we got bored with the afternoon lull in traffic and dull conditions and left, heading back to Long Beach. A visit there brought a couple of arriving CRJs from US Airways Express (Mesa Air) and Horizon, before we once again got somewhat bored with the lack of traffic and decided to call it a day.

The following day dawned even gloomier than the first, so I wasn’t inclined to head out in a hurry, however a trip to the shopping mall would take me past Long Beach Airport, so I decided to put the camera in the boot of the car, just in case!

I ended up being very glad that I had packed the camera when we spotted an extremely rare beast parked outside the hangar of one of the helicopter operators at the airport. Civilian operators of the Chinook are very rare, so I was very surprised to see such a helicopter at Long Beach!

More accurately referred to as a BV-234, the civilian version of the Chinook was built only in small numbers and has quite a number of differences from the CH-47. These differences in the past caused problems and poor reliability but most of the remaining aircraft are now operated by Columbia Helicopters, who are apparently now the design authority for the aircraft and have mastered the operation of these very capable heavy lift helicopters.

The aircraft at Long Beach carried the registration P2-CHK, seemingly registered in Papua New Guinea! Its original US identity was not clear, but it is possible that the aircraft is one of the batch delivered to British Airways Helicopters (BAH) for use on services to North Sea oil rigs. These aircraft had a short service life with BAH, being withdrawn early after considerable negative publicity following a fatal accident in 1986. It appears the aircraft is at Long Beach to be prepared for shipping by sea to Papua New Guinea.

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2010-06-15 - Mark Shepherd
Hi Paul,great blog,and superb photo of the Chinook. Just for info,I have the history of this as the following:
G-BISP (BAH),N239CH (Columbia Helis),C-GHFP (Helifor),N239CH,C-FHFJ,N239CH,P2-CHK.
Hope thats useful

2010-06-15 - Greg Bishop
Some great shots. I was fortunate to attend the in unveiling of the B-17E Swamp Ghost, next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach on Friday last; she had gone down in New Guinea at the statrt of WW2, and a monumental effort has finally brought her home; a fantastic story that is just beginning a new and exciting episode. I headed North out of this sad-looking SoCal weather to pickup the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom tour in Concord CA at Buchanan Field KCCR, during the June 12-13 weekend. A flight in Witchcraft covered the gorgeous grren open space West of Concord and included a low banking pass over Alcatraz Island and the Fisherman's Wharf section of the city of San Francisco. The TP-51C Betty jane continues to be plagued by mechanical, the latest being a loss of flaps. A very skilled pilot, altitude and standing on the brakes averted 'further damage'.

The SF area is rich in photo-ops, and the big plus of more clear air days makes it worth the drive from SoCal. When the B-17 and B-24 departed 'heavy' with a full load of passengers (sponsors and 'ticket-holders') for the 200 mile flight to the next stop in Arcata/Eureka CA, I was treated to an end-of-the runway escorted view of the low and slow take-off of both of these gems. Keep the SF area in mind, Paul, as the phoro-ops are incredible!

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