Flying Interests Logo North American AT-6 (SNJ) on a fly-by pass along the runway.North American AT-6 (SNJ, "Texan" / "Harvard") in a low level pass at a airshow.
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In Seattle they built planes at the Boeing plant to help win World War II for the Allies, and just up the road they are now building Me-262s that used to shoot down those Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses". This is where they are building the Stormbird, the nickname given to Willy Messerschmitt's ME-262 jet fighter. Two are still left for purchase right off the assembly. A very rare a/c.

Tom Philo at the "valley of speed" fence line, Reno National Air Races 2003.
Tom Philo at the "valley of speed" fence line,
Reno National Air Races 2003. My friend Sue who
works with the "Lickety Split" AT6 race crew took
the picture (camera date set wrong!)

An old float plane site is the Boeing 314 Clipper

The World War Two Boeing B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast" has its own web site at where you can find out the latest tour schedule. I went flying in the B-17 "909" in 2000 when it was in Oregon. 909 is owned by the Collins Foundation.

I belong to the Barnstormers RC Club but there is an Oregon Barnstormers that deals with ultralights and teaching people how to fly.

Very few airports have been custom built in the last 50 years in the USA (Denver is the newest). Most major airports are converted World War II bomber or fighter bases. Most, in fact, have been torn up for shopping centers. My own local shopping center in Beaverton, Cedar Hills Crossing, was one such airport. The only place you can find that out is if you go into McMinnamins Tavern there and see pictures of it on their walls.

Air Racing

The picture of me is at the fence line in the "Valley of Speed" at the 2003 Reno Air races. There are hundreds of planes there of all types and some of the racers have their own web sites.

Pictures from race years:

2006 Reno National Air Races
2003 Reno National Air Races
2002 Reno National Air Races
2001 Reno National Air Races
2000 Reno National Air Races
Reno National Air Races: Miss Ashley crashing in 1999
1996 Reno National Air Races

(Others will be added as I get to them.)\

Racing is definately a team event - lots of people in the background working hard to allow the pilot to fly the plane in a race.


If you go visit the "Spruce Goose" you will be across from an airport. On this one they have glider operations. Cascade Soaring is the name of the firm. 503-472-8805. I flew with them long long ago. They have Schweizer 1-26, 2-33 Blanik L-13 and they give instructions and have tow rates if you own your own glider.

Keeping Time

Aas you fly around the racetrack in a holding pattern you always have to mentally and physically keep track of time. Heavy Iron pilots just punch into their flight data systems and the a/c usually will do it - sometimes they have to manually fly the plane when it is crowded but not too often.

A private pilot though needs to do more hands on (even with GPS) and needs to use a watch.

There are many watches out there - and a few are designed just for pilots.

Full Scale Sites

If you want to purchase a full scale plane here is a short list of online sites.

There are many sites that have extensive links to other aviation sites, no way for me to keep up with, so here are two site that do this full time. Keith Heitmann is hand maintained list of aviation links. His Stalag 13 Aviation Links Page is the best place to go to find hundreds (yes hundreds) of quality aviation related links. Keith is also an avid computer gamer whom I met online back in 1989 on Prodigy before being online was popular and part of the mainstream. We were ahead of everyone else.

With the advent of online sites you can check flight status of commercial aircraft at sites such as Flight Arrivals and if you are not sure where you are at or should be going to visiting Virtually There which is run by Sabre you can punch in your reservation number and find out where you are supposed to be going. Course in order to do that you will need a laptop so you may need to have the correct power converters in various countries to charge it so go to Laptop Travel and get them there.

Most airports have wireless nodes - horrendously expensive at $12.95 (sometimes $19.95 US) and up for 24 hour access and since most people are only there for two to three hours it is a real rip-off - so you can deduct that extra cost of travel expenses now too. Best to go to coffee shops and get wired access there for a lot less. Usually $2.00 and hour.

Now if you want to see where that plane of your distant relative is currently at go to Flight Explorer and see the flight track of it in real time.

And you need maps to fly so you can go and get them locally from your local FAA or Government Printing Office (most GPO are closed now due to the Internet) or use the Jeppensen maps. Now owned by Boeing.

The best place to start is your local airport and FBO. If you get an airplane and there is no local mechanic that maintain it . . . well, you can't fly it then! See what is popular (and appropriate) for your area of the county or world. Different areas require different types of planes and options.

There are now thousands of aviation sites on the web to compliment the paper magazines like Plane and Pilot, AOPA. Sites to visit such as EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association, Patty Wagstaff Air shows are very rewarding like so many others.

A site that explains how lift works is a NASA site. Though designed for K-12 ages it gives the basics of what you need to know; explains the theories and debunks some of the common misconceptions held about lift.

Aerial Photography

Aerial photography is a specialized field whereas people use an aircraft to take pictures that normally cannot be obtained in any other method. World War I photo recon aircraft started the modern trend and since then light aircraft have filled the role for commercial use.

Satellites are nice, but aircraft provide a custom way to get that specific view at a certain time of day that is desired. Since I do not own an aircraft (but have a pilot's license) I do not do any aerial photography. It requires aircraft with removable windows, two people (one to fly and one to take pictures) and other requirements and a sustained quantity of work in order to do it right I do not have the time to obtain.

What I do photograph is airports and other land views when I am in commercial aircraft. This shot of Las Vegas McCarren International Airport Las Vegas McCarren Airport as seen from a passenger window after takeoff. as I was leaving it in September of 2004 in the late afternoon. You can see the Las Vegas skyline in the background. Shot on Kodak Tri-X film.

I have taken lots of pictures over the years, including many times at the Reno National Air Races the last such time being in 2003.

Aerial Photographers

Don Best, Best Impressions drbest @; PO Box 48, Rockaway Beach Oregon, 97136; 503-355-2335

Aerial Photographers of America A directory specific to Aerial Photography. Only three listings in all of Oregon.

Air Photographers Inc. 2115 Kelly Island Road Martinsburg, WV 25401 U.S.A. An East Coast firm for those on that side of the nation.

My Aerial Photographs

The most recent aerial photography that I have done is from the window of a Dash-80 flying back from Dallas, Texas and in a Boeing 737 from Cancun, Mexico. On final into PDX I got this image of Troutdale Airport. I took some also as we flew over the desert and came across one of the many western reservoirs. Not sure which one it is but I think it is one of the upper Snake River ones.

Doing Aerial Photographs right requires GPS gear tied into a digital camera along with a pilot to fly and a good observer to watch out for other traffic and help the photograher while they take the pictures. You can do it by yourself, but it is very risky and not advised! Best to have a pilot who is also a good photographer to understand the needs and the fligt pattern required to get the image; best is to have that pilot and an observer.

Aviation Prints

Now if you want to purchase aviation related items you can attend an air show or jump to Eagle Editions out of Arizona. Another firm I have purchased from over the years is The Stokes Collection out of Carmel California. Douglas Bader Fine Arts is another good place to shop for aviation prints if you are in Alexandria, Virginia. My first aviation print I ever purchased was from them.

There are a few local galleries around Portland.

In Oregon City shopping center is Aero Frame. Address is 1900 McLoughlin Blvd #72, Oregon City, OR 97045 503-557-1333 (at Highway 99E and I-205).

Another gallery is in Cornelius Oregon (between Forest Grove and Hillsboro) is Air Art NW

Of course, you can also purchase and frame any image that you see on this site directly from me.


Local Portland / Vancouver Museums

The Pearson Air Museum located in Vancouver Washington always has good events going on all year long.Pearson Air Museum with Travel Air Bi-Plane in FrontAntique Fly-in At Pearson Air Museum in August 2002. Here is a list of events for Pearson Air Museum.

Going further west you can go to Tillamook and see the largest blimp hanger in the world, which is also the largest free standing wooden structure in the world. They have a good collection of planes inside it. Most are in flying condition. A Spitfire (being restored right now), F4F-2, F4U, HA-1112 (Spanish built version of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G) Guppy, Kingfisher and lots more. They also use part of the hanger to restore railroad cars. This hanger is BIG!

And to house one of the biggest planes ever built the Evergreen museum was created to house the "Spruce Goose" as the showpiece aircraft down in McMinnville. It opened up in the spring of 2001. Of course the URL includes the aircraft nickname (which Howard Hughes did not like and also inaccurate) so it is called They also have a Bf 109G-10 (often referred to as an ME 109), Spit, Mustang B-17 and 24+ other a/c.

A smaller museum which has on display inside the only building the nose section of a B-17G - - the rest of the a/c is on a pedestal right outside on Highway 99E in Milwaukee, Oregon is The Bomber. It was the showpiece of the gas station from the 1940s the late 80. The gas station is no longer there but the restaurant is still there with good food.

Seattle Museum of Flight

This big museum is there due to large population of Seattle / Tacoma and Boeing. Since they have big sponsorships and cash donations they can purchase many aircraft. They purchased 33 aircraft that were in Mesa Arizona at the Champlin Museum in 2002. It closed down so they got 109s, Spits, Nieuport 17 and many others. Now as to where they can put them is another matter. They have no space! They will likely rotate a/c in and out on a long term cycle to force people to constantly come back to see the one or two new a/c they put in. A guess on my part, but that is what most museums do to keep attendance up - - at least in the USA anyway.

Other Museums

You can use the WEB to travel and see aircraft from around the world. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC is just barely okay.

Some of the best museums I have found are in Europe like the Imperial War Museum and American Air Museum based at Duxford England; The Battle of Britain Museum at Hendon outside London and even the smaller ones are generally much better than the ones in the States. I even found a very good one on the Welsh Coast! On the Continent there are a lot of good small ones too like the one I found at Abbeville airfield. What makes these better than most aviation museums? They actually tell you information about the items you see like why it was built, who built it, when, who flew it, significant events that the aircraft was involved in and other items. Most museums in the US just saw the aircraft model and common name and that is it.

There are "working" museums where there is not much information on the a/c but there are people restoring them so you have even a better source of information than a plaque or information board in front of the aircraft.

The WEB has lots of aviation resources and pictures but nothing is quite as good as visiting aviation happenings in person.

Go to a museum today!

Historical Associations

Belong to these are very rewarding. You learn a whole lot more, there are always people who specialize in a topic, and you have fun. One meeting of the 8th Air Force Association meeting here in Portland had the guest speaker being a B-17 pilot who flew "Aphrodite" missions from England from 1943 till the end of the war.

This was the Army unit that flew Azon guided bombing missions: remote controlled B-17 and B-24s (!) to targets over Europe. This pilot was in the control plane on the mission where Lt. Joe Kennedy was blown up in the Navy's attempt to do the same thing. This was dramatized in the movie "Young Joe: The Forgotten Kennedy" a while ago. They felt the shock wave when the 40,000 lbs of explosives blew up and they were 2 and 1/2 miles away! He over flew the site the next day (Kennedy was flying only 1,500 feet up) and the ground was blackened for a 1/8 of a mile around around the point of explosion. They never found a trace of either pilot. Real interesting talk.

The latest meeting held in May of 2003 the speaker talked about the Yamamoto Mission. He interviewed Rex Barber extensively before he died in 2001. He then talked about what he has learned in doing research about this mission in April 1943.

Another group that I belong to is the "Old Bold Pilot's Club" which meets once a month on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at Sweetbriar Inn from 12:30 to 2:00 PM. These are pilots who have flown from the 1930s to the present. We get together and share photos, swap stories and learn about all types of a/c over everyone has flown. Everyone is invited to the meetings.

Flight Simulators

Learning to fly is not that expensive - around $3,000 and at the end you have a private pilot's license. There are some FAA approved flight simulators on the market but they are also rather expensive compared to normal games - $600+.

You could purchase the Microsoft Flight Simulator and though it is not FAA approved it does provide all the instruments, problems and a fun way to learn the basics of flying an aircraft. There is a good add-on to it, for $6,500 or so, that is FAA certified, a full detail full size cockpit tied into it to allow proof of some parts of IFR certification training.

Of course, when Mayor Daley shut down Meigs Field to turn it into a business / public park what happens to MS Flight Simulator? By default it starts every pilot at Meigs Field. If Mayor Daley got his wish and had the field shut down permanently does this mean that Microsoft would have to recall all their prior versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator product to remove Meigs Field as a starting point?

Not sure where the new versions start a pilot out at. Maybe starting a pilot 12 miles off the US coast in international would be the safest since that would prevent a single person with a vendetta / agenda / connections / other financial interests and no respect for promises or the law can not mess up a flight simulator in the future?

Note: Mayor Daley broke all his promises and used bulldozers — in the middle of the night — and had them carve multiple X's along the runway on April 7th, 2003. Effectively shutting down the airfield.

Seen on a Yahoo Message Board regarding a story about a pilot who on Sunday (April 13, 2003) made a successful emergency landing on a freeway in Anaheim, Calif.:

"THIS JUST IN - Chicago Mayor Richard Daley plans to carve giant "X"s into the Riverside Freeway at midnight tonight."

MS could be sued for selling a false product. Then MS could sue Chicago for damages in having to recall every FS every produced to fix the problem Mayor Daley caused. Hey, it could happen.