Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – More Droning On

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After basically a month of no clouds except blue sky we are finally getting some weather. So if the winds are down I launch my drone from my back yard to catch the clouds.

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Evening is best when you get a little color in the sky.

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This is looking east at the back side of a storm system that came through.

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We had a quick rainstorm pass through Thursday morning. Here’s our back patio afterward. Nice to see all that water!!

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I took my drone to my MIL’s house who lives not too far away and launched it during the middle of the day. I love big old fat clouds against a blue sky.

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Hey somebody in a swimming pool. No, I am not spying somebody. That’s son Logan in MIL’s swimming pool. It’s a great place to hang out on a hot day.

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Here he is when he was four years old. Is there anything sweeter or more rambunctious than a four year old?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come check it out!

Skywatch Friday – Harvey Young Airport

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I was out geocaching in east Tulsa the other day when I noticed a sign for Harvey Young Airport. The name sounded vaguely familiar so I drove down the road until it dead ended into the airport which had no gate or fence but a big No Trespassing sign. I always respect those and so stopped and took a couple of photos. There was not a whole lot to take photos.

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There was this old hangar. I posted this on Forgotten Oklahoma facebook group and somebody responded that it once housed an aircraft mechanic’s facility. The glassed in part was the office and the rest of it was where the work took place.

The airport was started by a guy named Harvey Young who landed in a pasture back in 1940 and ended up buying the land. It became a base for training military pilots during World War II and then reverted back to General Aviation afterward. Somebody bought the airport and announced big plans in 2017 to demolish the buildings and build new and cater to vintage airplanes. It doesn’t look like much has happened since then. The developer still has his web site up.

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This was the only aircraft I saw. A Beechcraft Bonanza. They have been in production since right after World War II. The V tail is its distinctive feature although there are Bonanza’s out there with the conventional tale. I found out that the Bonanza is also known as the Doctor Killer because it is a very expensive, high performance aircraft, and lots of professionals like doctors buy them but don’t have the necessary skills to fly it. Someone who is a pilot and has flown it told me that the V tail model in particular is very hard to control if you get into a spin.

A brand new Bonanza will cost you about one million dollars.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Here and There Skywatch

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I was poking around the backside of the Tulsa International Airport last week. (You know old retired guys, we like poke around stuff.) These are just a few of the dozens of passenger aircraft that are parked on every spare space at the airport. I talked to a guy in the airline industry yesterday who said airline travel is down 85% from a year ago. Tell you what, I’m not getting on airplane until this pandemic has calmed down quite a bit.

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I found this. I thought it was an old fuselage section. I put it on social media asking if anybody knew. One guy said it has been out there for at least twenty years that he knows about. A few people said that it was used for fire training. Another guy said that if was really a fuselage it would not have survived fire training because aluminum would melt. That made a lot of sense to me. He said further that the training fuselages are specially built out of steel.

So whatever it is, I don’t think it has been used for a long time and it might make a great geocache site. Except you know, even though I was not in the security perimeter of the airport I had the heebie geebies, I felt that I was being watched. I hate being stopped by cops or security guards and I would not like to put somebody else in that situation.

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I was going to add this to last week’s post. It is the not quite full Strawberry Moon. That’s me, a day late and a dollar short. But here it is.

As many of you know I retired recently. One of the perks of my job was being able to take photos out the windows. So here is a badly done shot, the last photo from my office building. But don’t worry…

I got a drone, so as long as its not too windy and I am not in a drone no fly zone I can pop up and take photos any time I want. So hey, it all worked out for the good.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Flying Over the River

I felt like flying the other day so I took my drone to the west side of the Aransas River and flew a little bit. The video above looks like kind of hurried but when I was making it, thought I was going very slow. Part of the learning process.

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And I took a photo of the running and bicycle trails.

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A view on the east side of the river looking upstream to the northwest.

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And then almost a 180 turn, looking toward downtown Tulsa.

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And here’s the pilot, a retired slacker. You can tell by the untucked shirt.

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Tulsa’s Reconciliation Park at its opening years ago.

And of course Tulsa, like lots of other communities across the country, and the world, had protests over the George Floyd murder. They are not only of course protesting the murder but protesting how people of color are treated by the police in general. I didn’t attend any of the protests which by all accounts lively and peaceful. The events were marred by vandalism and looting by a small number of people generally after dark.

The protests came at a poignant time for Tulsa. May 31 was the 99th Anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre where a white mob descended on the black area called Greenwood north of downtown and burned it to the ground. Several dozen people were documented killed and suspicion lingers that there were far more. The Tulsa History Center has a web site dedicated to the event. Nobody was ever charged with any of the crimes and there was never any reparations. The survivors just had to suck it up and survive. Here is a link to a post I wrote on the subject.

It’s a scar that still affects life in Tulsa today. Of course many people think we should ignore it but personally I think it needs to see the full light of day, otherwise we will not have learned anything.

Skywatch Friday – Tulsa for Tesla Edition

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Tulsa has been buzzing since word came out that Tesla, the electric car manufacturer is considering either Tulsa or Austin, Texas as the site for its Cybertruck manufacturing plant. Our city fathers have jumped into high gear to try to land the plant, including painting a Tesla logo tshirt on the Golden Driller at the fairgrounds.

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It would be a boon for the city. I’m good with it even though I know that in this day and age its pretty much a shakedown to get the local and state governments to put up as much free infrastructure, deferred taxes, training and other expenses as possible. That’s the world we live in though.

Even if we don’t get it, its been a lot of fun. Above is a short video put together by local Tesla drivers convoying their cars through various Tulsa landmarks.

How is your week going?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – The Skies of May

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Went downtown the other day and brought home personal stuff from the office. The office has been closed since the middle of March and won’t open, at the earliest until the end of June. The only people working there are a cleaning staff and a security guard. Plus our pipeline control people which is staffed 24 hours a day. They have spread those folks all over the building to avoid cross contamination in case Covid-19 gets somebody sick.

I realized that yes, I am going to miss the job and the people, and I am really going to miss downtown. Weather permitting, I walked a mile to 3 miles every day at noon and poked into every square inch. I’ll be checking out from time to time. On weekends, when parking is free, cuz I am cheap.

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Lots of nice evenings as the sun sets in the back yard.

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Watching the weather. I love weather watching. Everybody in Oklahoma stays aware of the weather and watches the skies this time of year. We are all very conversant with terms like hook echos and such as that.

Lots of walks in the neighborhood for our dog Rascal. He kind of walks us is how it works. He routes us by all his friends.

Our tubby little kitten, Lizzy is wondering why everybody is around all the time. It interferes with her napping. She’s appropriated this basket that Heather was going to use as a centerpiece on our coffee table. So I guess that Lizzie is the centerpiece. It is peaceful to me watching a cat in deep sleep.

The greenbelt from our back yard. I fly the drone straight up mainly. I don’t really want to fly over other people’s property. So I send it straight up and use it like a periscope.

So Oklahoma is gradually opening up. Heather and I went to our favorite tap room and had a couple beers in their outside area, maintaining extreme social distancing from everybody else. The gyms Heather teaches are opening up as well and they are communicating protocols for staff and members. Myself, since I am in a high risk group I am holding off going to a gym until July. I’ll be playing it by ear.

What have you been up to?

I am linking up to Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Rainy Weather

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Earlier this week we had some more threatening weather. It was more threat than anything else and I waited until the clouds passed and the wind died down and launched my drone.

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I am still in periscope mode where I send it straight up over the back yard and then rotate it. No fancy flying or maneuvers yet.

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I haven’t crashed it or run into trees or power lines yet. A couple of the blades are a little worn for some reason. You can tell by the pitch of the motors plus I get a warning to land it immediately.

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It got too windy so I landed and took this photo with my phone.

I hope everybody is doing well. I’ve been working from home for two months now. Tomorrow, Friday, is my last day “at work.” I am retiring after 43 years. I’ve enjoyed the energy business and I liked the people that I work with but its now off to new challenges!! I’ll have plenty to do.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday – Another Storm Blows Through

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Looking northwest after the storm

A few days ago we had a fast moving storm with threatened tornado and possible hail come through. (You could say that about any day in May here in Oklahoma it seems.)

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Looking straight west.

So we sheltered in place and watched the TV news and yes we had some very heavy, brief downpours, no hail though, no tornadoes, thank goodness and then we emerged from our houses and the air was a little breezy and cool so I launched my drone. Not too high though, it senses windspeed and alarms if it might get away from me, so I lowered the altitude and and snapped a few photographs and a short video.

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Looking northeast across the green belt.

This is the back side of the storm as it moved on further east in Oklahoma and on into Arkansas.

A short panorama of the western sky.

Anyway, chalk up another spring storm we survived.

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And here is a shot of a near full moon. I amplified the detail on the moon and added a penciling type texture to the space around the moon to provide a sense of depth.

How are things where you are? Oklahoma is loosening up the restrictions a little and it seems that many of us are abandoning the guidelines and engaging in risky behavior. I just hope that we don’t have a second wave of infection.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

Skywatch Friday – Scanning the Skies

Sunset about a week ago

How is everybody doing with their social isolation. Here in Oklahoma the Governor, despite the advice from the medical community, has decided to start opening businesses starting tomorrow (Friday, April 24). So we’ll see what happens. Our family will continue with the social isolation until we deem it safe as we do have extended family members in town that are at risk.

Sunrise that same morning

In the meantime I have my cameras including my new drone to keep me occupied. It turns out that although it is capable of some fancy aerial maneuvers I use it mainly like a periscope. I find myself in the morning and the evening looking at the sky and if I see something interesting I launch it. I still am using what I call the “training wheels” the propeller guards which add quite a bit of weight and lower the performance but I can still get it up to about 125 meters which is I can barely see it when it is up there. So get it up there and turn it this and that to see what is going on with the sky. Nothing to get in the way then.

Evening sky after a Thunderstorm

I am kind of an incrementalist, plus the thing is kind of expensive, so I will gradually let it fly higher and a little bit further as time goes on. I don’t think I’ll ever let it out of my sight.

And I am still experimenting with it. Here is a grain elevator near where we live. So just did an elevator eyes so to speak with the drone. Going from street level up and then back down. I edited the video on my Iphone. Imovie is a great app that is simple to use.

And then, this has nothing to do with skies but I love watching videos of the Irish dancers. How do you get your legs to move that fast is what I want to know.

I wish everybody a great week ahead and I hope everybody and their friends and family are staying safe.

Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Droning On

As I mentioned before, I got a drone for my birthday. It is a Mavic-Mini. A very small drone with with some big features. Mainly a built in GPS that enables it to hold its position and a nice camera. Click the link above, it has some fun videos and to be honest the drone is as easy to fly as it shows in the link.

I have been experimenting with it in various places. I went to a local freeway interchange that featured a very high overpass. The drone flew right up there and stayed in a pretty good wind. If you run the video you can see it bouncing around.

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I took it to a local park and flew it around and it did fine. Got into some conversations about it with people. They thought that I was “very good at flying it.” Not really, its just that it is very easy to fly. This is my third drone, the other two were okay but they had a mind of their mind especially the slightest wind.

I got confident enough to fly it in our back yard where we have lots of trees in a small space.

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This is toward the northeast of our house overlooking the greenbelt

More maneuvering around the back yard.

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To the west toward the setting sun.

Looking down on our back yard. Abby is one of our three dogs. She loved the drone, barking at it and wagging her tail.

This has nothing to do with Skywatching or Drones or anything. This video of some Irish Dancing at a wedding caught my eye. I hope you don’t mind it. I thought it was cool.

That’s about it for this week. We are still trying to flatten the curve. I hope everybody stays healthy and takes precautions. I am linking with Skywatch Friday