Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moonrise Over Lake Michigan

Sunday evening near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. . .  Even after thirty years, I never cease to be amazed!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Captain's Preflight

70 degree sunset, Tampa, Florida

I tell my co-stars that I will get the walk-around on their legs.  After two and a half months of rain, wind, and sideways blowing snow, I'm thinking about changing my policy.  Not really; but it has been an unusually harsh winter for preflights.  Thankfully, I caught a break in Tampa, Florida Monday evening.

Happiness is the warm glow of a Florida sunset. . .

. . . as opposed to a Minnesota snowstorm!

Or Brother Hogan's load of Florida ice. . .  Yes, it has been that kind of winter.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beacons in the Night

I love rotating beacons.  If I could, I would put one in my back yard!  Not one of those fancy fuel efficient jobs that you see in the back of Sporty's catalog; I want the old vintage beacon that sits atop the red and white steel scaffolding.  The neighbors might fuss a little---but I would be nice about it.  I would only plug it in on dark rainy nights!  Besides the power bill---and the restraining order---I really can't think of a down side.

The Post Office established the lighted airways system in the 1920s.  Signal towers with rotating beacons and direction lamps were placed at ten mile intervals along air mail routes to aid pilots with night-time navigation.  By 1925 the system stretched from New York to San Francisco.  Trans-continental delivery times that took 4 1/2 days by train, were reduced to just 29 hours!  Of course as radio navigation technology advanced, the lighted airway system disappeared---so I thought.

Airway Beacon, Montana, by Jason Savage

More than eighty years after they were first introduced, night-time lighted airway beacons are still in use in parts of Montana!  According to the state website, the Montana Department of Transportation continues to maintain 19 of the old beacons in the western mountain region.  I never would have known this, had I not stumbled upon this fantastic image in a blog post titled, PBS in Montana, by photographer, Jason Savage.

Jason's Blog Post:  Here

The PBS Video:  Here