Paul Filmer's 2009 blogGAR Entries

DEC 31 2009
Paul's Year In Review

I'd casually discussed the idea of starting a new website with Karl in the past as we both felt the same way about how forum based sites always start to decline, but when Karl sprung on me an actual vision and a desire to start what is now known as GAR, I did of course say, yes count me in. It also helped that I already knew all of the intended active staff, so was confident that we would be more than capable of keeping the quality up. We had a few days of throwing around a name for the site, but everything we came up with seemed to be already taken, or, in one case, a good name but a very bad acronym.

I took on the role of sorting out the back end, or the server side, parts of the site that go undetected but help to streamline and make the site more interactive and easier to update.

Being the sole permanent US member of staff my coverage of events and operators has not changed since the start of the site. It's just meant streaming any interesting content to GAR instead of simply going to my site and the magazines I work for. This has meant more writing for me, which I will be first to admit, is the part I find to be the hardest.

From a GAR perspective most of my work has involved either old props or the many visits made to Nellis AFB for Red Flag - which is not unsurprising to anyone that knows me. Those coupled with some action from the area that I live in (NCAR and AFSOC Skytrucks) and the start of a series of articles from a trip I undertook to Siberia had seen me continue to do a pretty normal amount of travelling for me, but this time also waving the GAR banner.

I have three standout highlights from the year that all come from different spectrums of aviation. First up was the dual Detroit Willow-Run past and present article. After my last trip there I always had the idea to scan my older images from the 80s to compare and contrast with the current cargo operations, but as time is always a factor Id never really gotten the enthusiasm up to do the vast amount work that involves scanning and repairing badly stored images. Having a decent outlet through which to publish it finally pushed me over the edge to crack on and finish that long running project.

My trip to Siberia was undeniably a one-off visit to that region and had been a very long running goal. Id spoken to Karl on numerous occasions about a trip he had taken to Russia that didnt go anywhere near as well as planned, which put me off for a while. Time, however, was against me so I bit the bullet and travelled the long way around to join up with the group at London. The trip had its highs and lows as in most endeavours, but the whole experience was a great eye-opener into not only the aviation aspects, but also the people in this far off region, many of whom had obviously little or no exposure to foreigners. That is one trip that Ill certainly never forget.

Last up was the coverage of the Beaufort County Mosquito Control C-131F sprayers (BCMC) in South Carolina. I stumbled upon the operation by accident when I was invited to work with the JTAC and Barksdale A-10s in Georgia by fellow photographer Kevin Jackson, who has also contributed to the site. As my flight was a red-eye I had a day free, so I did some research, as I always do, to find any propliner activity. The BCMC was unknown to me at the time but I contacted them and they were happy to let me look around. After finding out that this was potentially their last season with this equipment I knew I had to do a complete story on their operation.

My next trip down to SC was to attend the ground school with their pilots pre-season where they would also conduct training flights. I did one air-to-air sortie from an experimental aircraft with a bubble canopy, the type of which escapes me presently. The problem was that the C-131Fs fly and spray at 140 knots, so finding a suitable local photo platform that was fast enough was difficult at times.

I made a third trip to the operation a couple of months later when the spraying season was in full swing. Another air-to-air sortie, this time from a Cessna 310, and I managed to bag some photos of the aircraft doing exactly what they were designed to do, and that wrapped up the project. This was one of the most satisfying and complete projects Ive worked on in a long time.

Competition - Win a copy of PlanesTV.com's Cosford Airshow 2009 DVD.

For your chance to win, simply answer the following question:

To enter, please use the Contact Us form at the top of the page. Use "Cosford DVD Competition" as the subject and put your answer to the question in the "Your message" section.

A winner will be drawn from the correct entries at 1800 on 07/01/2010.

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2010-01-07 - Paul
The winner of the Cosford Airshow 2009 DVD is Trevor Reoch who correctly answered "606 acres".

Thanks to all that entered, and have a successful 2010.

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