Monthly Archives: July 2016

In another world

One attack

… a blending of two realities join and my little huntress launches attacks on prey before they have a chance to exercise their instinct for flight, but since this is my interpretation of the twitching and movements in her dream state I hope I got it right for her. She does have the making of a smile on her face as she dreams on. Thanks to Eric for a great backyard where a large part of the winged population of the village resides and some neat background too … One of course is as at home launching attacks like this as she is piloting jets or lurking in the inner basin of the San Francisco Peaks.

Its Friday and we’re into the weekend; Anthony Mazzella is playing at Sound Bites tonight and he puts on a heck of a show so hope you can make it. Food is good too; B&B burger (blue cheese and bacon) with a cup of the Arizona Chowder – the ribs are very good too!

Flying again in the morning and finding it a nice way to start the day. Tried using the 5DsR for shooting video this morning and considering that I have never read the instructions or done it before things worked out pretty good … shot a video of a flyby close to the mountain at 12,700’. Kind of a waste using that camera for video so will start using the 6D for video and give that a try in the morning.

Have a fun weekend and smile, you’re alive! Back Monday morning


I go out into the night and stretch forth my arms, as

if to embrace one I love …the solace of the stars is sweet,

and the stillness has a voice I understand

Max Ehrmann

The new norm


This shot gives you the current state of the atmosphere in the Sedona, Verde Valley, Flagstaff and you name it areas. I took the shot mid-morning today. I actually dehazed it too. The road snaking its way up and over the mountain is SR 89A above Jerome.

The USFS did a great job of taking care of and suppressing the two fires in the Sedona area this past week and fought the fires in unimaginably difficult conditions. My thanks to them. The USFS is also “managing” fires around the Grand Canyon, Williams and many other places. They use a small naturally caused fire, normally lightning, as an excuse to convert it to a prescribed burn, but without any oversight by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The “managed fire” concept is a fiction to burn without oversight! Lots of smoke? Oh well, we are improving the health of the forest and restoring the health of the forest. Since it is a naturally caused fire in the beginning, ADEQ has no oversight, but the USFS then proceeds to burn out the areas they want through the use of additional ignitions to get the areas they had planned to burn anyway. The average size of a lightning caused fire is 402 acres … not the thousands of acres the USFS gets by managing them.

I am on a lot of mailing lists and received numerous emails today detailing how they are going to “manage” a bunch of fires and expand them exponentially from what they currently are. Not only that, the Williams Ranger District is going to begin their prescribed burning for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 season as early as the middle of August. On tap for burning are approximately 19,000 acres. Following is the message I received:

Williams Ranger District announces plans to begin fall prescribed burning


Williams, Ariz., July 27, 2016—For Immediate Release. Fire managers on the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest have completed plans for the 2016 fall and 2017 spring prescribed fire burning seasons and are planning to begin working as early as mid-August on several projects. The specific units to be ignited will be chosen based on fuel moistures and weather conditions that are within prescriptive levels that meet fuels reduction objectives.

The flowing project areas are planned for treatments:

Green Base Dry Lake Project: Ten burn units northeast of Williams, approximately 9,040 acres.

Green Base Parks West Project: Four burn units east of Williams, approximately 5,141 acres.

McCracken East Project: Two burn units south of Williams, approximately 839 acres.

McCracken West Prescribed Fire: Four burn units south of Williams, approximately 1,693 acres.

Kendrick Prescribed Fire: Six burn units northeast of Williams approximately 2,497 acres.

Fire plays a beneficial role in maintaining the ecological stability of many landscapes including the Kaibab National Forest. Managers use prescribed fire as a practical means to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety.

Officials recognize that impacts to air quality may be unpleasant at times, however they can significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke more effectively using prescribed methods than in an uncontrolled wildfire situation. Furthermore, fire managers will remain cognizant of wind direction and ventilation with the intent to minimize smoke impacts to businesses and residences.

During operations, fire personnel and vehicles working in these vicinities will be visible to the public. Motorists are reminded to slow down and drive with heightened caution when passing through active project areas.

All prescribed burning on the Kaibab National Forest is subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division of the ADEQ and to view prescribed burns authorizations, please visit Additional fire information for Kaibab National Forest can be obtained through the following sources: InciWeb; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404.”

They say the impact to air quality may be unpleasant at times … they fail to state the most important thing and that is that the smoke is not only unpleasant, but dangerous to human health and to be honest it does not seem like they actually give a darn about human health. Tourism? Who will want to continue to come to see the Grand Canyon or Sedona if the area is always concealed in smoke … is this the new norm in air quality here? … all summer and then all fall and then all spring and probably winter too. They also comment on doing burns when the ventilation is such that the smoke goes up in the air and leaves the vicinity where it is generated. What goes up, must come down … somewhere … so the smoke that goes up here comes down on people in another area and smoke that went up somewhere else comes down on us … in addition to the smoke that never leaves us.

90% of wood smoke particles are smaller than I micron ( ) and particles smaller than 2.5 microns tend to reach the furthest depths of the lungs and are lodged deep in the lungs and are the most injurious to human health. The smaller particles that do the harm are the least likely to precipitate out of the air. Take a look again at the photo … I was at 11,500’over Mingus Mountain looking towards the ESE and Camp Verde is obliterated in this photo.

So we have had few clean air days this summer, the USFS continues to “manage “numerous fires and are preparing to begin the fall and spring prescribed burns within weeks … and you are breathing this stuff and it is lodging in your lungs, your children’s lungs, your pet’s lungs and all the wild life’s lungs. There are other ways of doing a lot of this, but it costs more money…

This is real and you are breathing it and it is lodging deep in your lungs and the lungs of those whom you love! Like they tell the person in the gas chamber “breathe deeply and get it over with fast”

Cheers – we can cause change and we can regain control of and make government responsive to the people again!



The growing grain and the placid sky have a kind of voice; and though you are

alone, the boundlessness of the universe is with you.


Max Ehrmann

Having fun

fun… looking back to the first of the month … the air was clean … cloud base was only around 9,000’ and the sole mission was to enjoy the moment and play in the sky … I like days like that. The airport is right off my nose and cathedral rock is between the propeller and the instrument panel … what fun! That pretty much was the main attraction today and again tomorrow like what better way to start a day and 12,000’ + the temps were in the high 40’s to low 50’s, sweet!
Lots of work on photos today and major deletions are underway; doesn’t seem that long ago that I had the portfolio under 350GB and it had ballooned to more than 750GB. Doing a lot of shooting with the 5DsR in flight and at 50+MB per image it adds up quick … and because I shoot so many duplicates whilst flying, the deletions are going fast and already am back under 700GB. So flying in the morning, lunch with a friend, more work on images and then the ISO 100 group over in the evening … then it is Thursday … flying?
Have a beautiful day today and enjoy whatever it is that you choose to do … only chance you will ever get to do so … and smile.
I tell you that you and I and the commonest person are all journeying the same way, hemmed in by the same narrow path, leading to the eternal years.

We pride ourselves over our particular superiority; but really there is little difference between us.

And in this journey over the thousand hills and valleys called life; he is wisest who is patient where the way is hard, has faith when he does not understand, and carries into the dark places the light of a cheerful heart.
Max Ehrmann

the truth

the truth

… in an effort to make our area look good this summer I have been spending a lot of time in Photoshop dehazing images and other techniques to bring out the natural beauty of the area. I do not believe that we have had a day this summer that the air has been clean. Know how when you look at Mingus from Sedona and you cannot see detail, but there is kind of a white haze obscuring your vision? That is smoke. When you look at the red rocks in Sedona and they have that white haze obscuring them a bit? You think there is something wrong with your vision, but your vision is good, just smoke in the air.

The Point Fire was producing no smoke today and is pretty well suppressed and it is my understanding that they are going to suppress the fire in this image too.

Hopefully we will have a few clear days this summer. When deciding whether to suppress or manage a fire, I hope that the USFS will start taking into account the health effects on we humans who are compelled to breath this air and the impact day in and day out air like this has not only on human health, but on tourism. The missives received from the USFS touts the benefits to the forest, but at what cost? Ask yourself this, would you go into a restaurant or bar that permitted smoking and had air quality like this? At least with a structure you have a choice to go into it or not. So this air quality is a mix of natural and managed burns all over the place. As far as I could see in any direction, this is exactly what it looked like. Tomorrow I’ll return to trying to make them look good. If you are going to visit the area, check and see what the air quality will be like … might have a better view of mountains from downtown LA.

So, cheers, we’re still breathing and doing so in real time … today … that is all you are assured of. Smile and share the joy of life with those you meet and greet … pretty special day for them too.



O sweet content! Where is thy mild abode

Where I may dwell in endless peace?

Show me the much sought road

And give the lease.


The answer came, “Then cease to vainly roam

In search of me, for thou wilt find

My quiet, hidden home

Within thy mind”.


Max Ehrmann

The Point

Point fire

… fire, that is, I took this shot Saturday morning and it gives you a pretty good view of the Point Fire as they call it. It was caused by a lightning strike on Wednesday. As of this morning it was 190 acres and they Are trying to contain the fire on the north end of the mesa. As you can see the terrain is extremely rugged and they are trying to keep it from spreading into nearby canyons.

The USFS is also requesting those with drones/quadcopters or whatever to not fly them anywhere close to the fire as it prevents them from flying water drops in the area. Think safety, drones/quadcopters endanger real aircraft and the people in them … I had a near miss with a large yellow one last year as the jerk was flying it less than a couple of miles from the airport.

The near canyon wall in the photo is the western side of jacks Canyon, beyond the mesa you have the chapel area, on the left above mid image is Cathedral Rock, to the right of it, the airport and upper right the Cockscomb. The air was pretty smokey and a little later the wind direction changed and the smoke plume drifted to the NE. You can follow the progress of the fire at: they also have a great photograph of the fire taken Friday afternoon when much of the area in my photograph that is burned out was really burning.

Quite a few other lightning caused fires and it appears that many of them will be “managed” … bummer.

A new week is underway; enjoy each day as it comes, smile and keep breathing … perhaps with a mask.




Good night, thou sweet, old world, good night;

Enfold me in the gentle light

Of other days when gleams

Of dewy meadows held my dreams;

And quiet walks, as day sunk low,

Dispelled each touch of woe.

Let me forget these joys be gone,

But feel them coming on

From out of the past, with laughter’s cries

And dream-enamored skies

Of old. One hand let me hold tight.

Good night, thou sweet, old world, good night.


Max Ehrmann

it’s working

Confluence Sycamore VV

… every minute of every day, nature is perfecting its work of art. Rain and wind sculpt the land and earth is removed from hillsides and washed down into streams where water is flowing and the waste products are washed down stream and additional material is removed from the stream beds and slowly it cuts deeper into the earth and the canyon walls increase in height as a result … millions of years pass as the process continues and here is the current state of the project at the confluence of Sycamore Creek and the Verde River … stay tuned, it is a work in progress.

Sycamore Creek is flowing to the south from the lower right into Verde River near the upper right which is flowing from right to left. We have added some touches too in the way of roads and a rail road track that runs along the upper side of the Verde River. The primary dirt road that comes in from the left side is accessed near Tuzigoot about eleven miles downstream and there is a parking lot at its terminus overlooking Sycamore Creek. Never been there, probably never will, but it looks nice.

Into the weekend, have a good one and share your joy with those you meet … family, friends and passerby’s.  A smile will do the trick!

Cheers, back Monday morning



So each one to his wish, and as for me,

I sit tonight and wait

To find the answers to my soul in me,

And in the beauty of the sky and sea.


Max Ehrmann



… this drake Canvas Back is dragging his feet through the water as he rotates them forward to act as his landing gear, in his case like shoe skis in water skiing. While less than a perfect landing (makes all pilots feel better methinks) it worked and he survived to fly another day … almost like landing and realizing you forgot to put the landing gear down and catching it before you leave a streak of fiber glass down the middle of the runway.

Mostly I am using a 1920 x 1080 crop on the evening photos now as that is the format used for HD video and I need to build up a collection of images with this format. Print photos will remain the 2 x 3 format, i.e. 12 x 18, 16 x 24, 20 x 30 and so forth. This is the native format for full frame sensors in digital cameras so it makes sense, but video has its own rules and so for digital images this works for me. Learning curve on Premier Pro remains steep, but at least I am beginning to understand what I am doing … just kinda clunky working in it, but better than last week. I really wish there was a way for instant knowledge, but like everything else in life, there is no free lunch and that which you work for is the only legitimate way to get it.

A fun day and extended lunch with a friend at the Hilton as we waited and waited for the storm to abate … a dessert helped while the time away and it was a beautiful storm.

Have a beautiful day, stay dry and keep breathing … smile, life is terrific!




Learn the music of a summer night by the restless wave of the sea, or surrender to the sunlight of an open country where the illimitable sky at last meets to kiss the sweet, green earth, and stay till the crimson shafts burn the western world.

And something will rise in you that is not connected with the tiring routine of your trade – something strange and calm.

Max Ehrmann

Before the storm

Before the storm

I got a rather late start this morning and it was about 9A before I took off … got some more great video with the GoPro and will work on that this weekend and put another and better polished video up. The sky was starting to OD to the NE when I took off and another terrific cumulous nimbus cloud was developing to the SW behind Mingus so I was not expecting a long flight. By the time I got up past Munds Park there was lightning about ten miles to the NE and more to the SW. The clouds were developing quickly around me and base was only about 10,000’. And I was about 11,000’ when I took this shot looking to the WNW from an area near over West Fork Canyon. Sitgreaves Mountain is just above center photograph … left the wing tip in the right side of the image and it adds a little reality to the shot.

Shortly after I took this shot, the CuNim over Mingus had totally over developed and had an anvil top and it was blowing out. So with that one overdeveloping and more to the N and NE doing the same a prudent decision was made to land and fly another day.

Last year I had special caps made for my wing tanks to accept a GoPro, but the job that was done was such that it would not work, so a friend in Cottonwood is going to modify them to work, heading down there Thursday and then install them on Mariah. They are pretty neat in that you can remote control them from your cell phone whilst flying. Eventually the plan is to mount them, one pointing forward and one down the top of the wing so I can get cool shots looking down the wing which will be great for flying along cliff faces or in steep turns. Need to keep one in the cockpit too. Might get to try it this coming weekend.

Have a beautiful day and keep breathing.



Give me to gladly go

My way and say

No word of mine own woe;

But let me smile each day


Max Ehrmann

a tiny success

I matter

… a fun and busy day and I’m back to learning Adobe Premier Pro … like Photoshop, until you learn it, it is complex and intimidating. I did have my first tiny success tonight and produced my first video from some GoPro clips I took on a flight last year. The video starts just as I begin to accelerate for takeoff on Runway 21 at Sedona and ends with a landing on Runway 3  around sunset. The transitions need improvement and the audio transition could be better, but the overall quality is far superior to anything I produced in Power Point and the audio quality is absolutely terrific. I will begin making all new video files and discard everything I did in Power Point and converted to mp4 or wmv files as the audio quality is not good. I think the skills will come pretty quickly now that I am getting the hang of it … feel like I have accomplished something big, even though it the scale of things it is not … still, I have this great smile I cannot wipe off my face.

The link to the video is:  and I do think you will enjoy it. Thanks also to Anthony Mazzella and Erik Spicard for the use of their original music. The video is only five minutes long so please take the time to view it – some very cool footage in it.

Photo tonight is a repeat of one of my favorites as I didn’t have time to finish a new one tonight. No explanation necessary, a creature of beauty and grace – right Reagan?

Sleep, leaving for the airport early in the morning … health food for dinner tonight … fried Pepper Spam and Chili beans … part of an apple fritter and ice cream for dessert. Smiles!

Share a smile or three today … you’re breathing so how much better can it get!



Watch the video … it is fun


Hold high your head and be an honest man.

May kindness guide your daily steps, and in each deed and thought

Let Christ’s sweet soul always reflect itself

And love your fellow men as I love you.


Max Ehrmann


My view

My view

… when I was landing this morning I grabbed the camera and did some point and shoot whilst I turned into a short final for runway 3 at Sedona … there’s the number, confirmed, I have the right runway. About a 6 kt quartering tail wind and a nice landing about two thirds of the way down the runway … sometimes I get it so I can roll up to my shade without re-starting the engine.

Runways take their designation by the place on the compass rose they align with, round that number to the nearest ten and drop the last digit. Thus a heading of 030 (NE) becomes 3 … 210 (SW) becomes 21 and those are the two designations and alignments at Sedona. In Sedona the runway has a 1.9% slope so that the 3 is about 100’ lower than the far end of the runway and preferred runway for landing up to about ten knots tailwind (for most planes, 7 kts for me, I am a tail dragger) It is easier to land on a runway where the ground is rising to meet you as opposed to landing downhill and the ground is falling away from you. As you can see, landing short here is not a terrific idea.

I unfeather my propeller when landing and you can see the one blade upper right; two reasons, one it gives me a lot more drag which increases my sink rate and two, in case I have to do an engine restart, it is ready to go. Just offset from the runway you can see a canyon going up to the right of Wilson Mountain (left side). This is where Oak Creek Canyon and Munds Canyon meet/split. SR179 is just in front of the prop blade … kinda fun to look at a photo like this after the fact, because my focus was and always is keeping me on a descending glide slope to hit a point on the runway that I want to be rolling and the flying over … like I said, this is point and shoot, my eyes were focused on the runway.

The runway at KSEZ is 5132’ long and 100’ wide; to the left of the runway is the taxiway, and taxiways are designated with letters as opposed to numbers which is a good way to avoid confusion. In our case there is only one taxi way and it is designated “A” referred to as taxiway alpha. Looking down the runway you can see access/egress points and they are numbered on our runway A-1 through A-8 and the nearest access to me as I am landing is A-8, A-1 is at the North end of the runway. To the left of the taxiway you have the fuel farms, landing pads for helicopters and parking ramps for planes and going further up the runway there are the private hangars. You can see that there were not a lot of aircraft on the ramps this morning; to the left of the main ramps between A-6 and A-5 in the trees is the terminal building which contains the administrative offices, car rental and Red Rock Aviation, the FBO. They have trucks that will come to your hangar and refuel you and give all manner of assistance – good people.

At about A-4 you have the Mesa Grill, which has really good food and behind it Sedona Air Tours ; Westwind Air Service also gives aero tours and they operate out of the Terminal Building:

Sedona’s airport is considered one of the most beautiful airports in the country and is home to a lot of neat planes and people who fly and service them. A super community and economic engine for the community. I’m fortunate to be a part of it, I started flying pure gliders out of Sedona in 1997 and my friend Elemer Katinsky gave me tows with his Rallye. Love this place! For complete information check it out at:

So, hope you have a terrific day as we get another week off to a start. Flying again on Tuesday … huge smiles.


“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Leonardo da Vinci