Photography by Ian L. Sitren

Posts tagged “Tuskegee Airmen

ICAS With Another 1500

I just returned from the ICAS convention, International Council Of Air Shows at Paris Las Vegas. I am the Aviation Coordinator (and photographer) for the Palm Springs Air Museum. “Delegates” numbered 1,501 and 247 exhibitors in the trade show. This Tuesday morning opening session hosted by “Good Morning America” David Hartman featured three World War II Veterans; Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles McGee, B-29 gunner and Japanese POW Staff Sergeant Kargin Thomasian, and B-29 Pilot Lt. Col. Bob Vaucher.

I went to a hotel restaurant for lunch and ended up sitting next to Colonel Vaucher. The Colonel had flown the first B-29 strategic combat mission over Japan on June 15, 1944. And he flew as lead pilot in a massive 525 B-29 formation over Tokyo Harbor during the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945. As a Lieutenant with a total of 2.5 hours in the B-29 he took delivery as Pilot in Command of the first B-29 to enter service. His Second in Command was a Captain but with only 90 minutes of B-29 time.

I did invite Colonel Vaucher to come see us at the Palm Springs Air Museum. And I expect in the next few months he may do that. In talking with him, I think he finds where he has been in his life as amazing as we do.

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Memorial Service For A Great Man

The Memorial Service at the Palm Springs Air Museum for a great man, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert Friend. I am so very honored to have been part of planning, the flight operations, photographer, writing the story; and even more so, knowing him.

Personal big Thank You to the people who I reached out to help on the photography side things. It was too much and too important for just one person. Thank You to Rick Rowell and Ian Glover. And a huge Thank You to Scott Plummer and Lisa Plummer for their incredible video coverage and photography. Truly Thank You! 

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Bunny Looking Good

Shooting this morning for the Palm Springs Air Museum. A flight of ” Bunny” the P-51 Mustang dedicated to the “Red Tails” of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The actual “Bunny” was flown by Lt. Col. Robert J “Bob” Friend (February 29, 1920 – June 21, 2019).

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Photographed with my FujiFilm X-T3 and XF100-400 lens. Pilot Tom Nightingale.


The Salute

Honoring a great man, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert “Bob” J. Friend. And I am very honored as well to have stood next to him when I shot this photograph of him saluting during the National Anthem at the Reno Air Races 2017.

This graphic was displayed on the 18x10ft high definition screen over the Memorial Services for the Colonel at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The beautiful painting of the Red Tail P-51 Mustang by aviation artist Stan Stokes.

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Some behind the scenes info… I was going to be right next to the Colonel while he was introduced to the huge crowd in the grandstands at the beginning of the race finals. I wanted to be inconspicuous so I had put my Fujifilm X-T1 camera on my shoulder with the Fujifilm 16-55 f2.8 lens. It also made for a smaller and lighter package than the other cameras I had brought along for the races.

The National Anthem started playing and the Colonel raised his hand in salute. Only a couple of feet away from him, I brought the camera up, looked through the viewfinder and fired maybe two or three frames and brought the camera down. I saw the photo through the viewfinder and knew I had shot, for me anyway, a photo of a lifetime. For the Memorial Service, his daughter Karen specifically asked for that photo to be displayed. Afterwards she said “This is how I want to remember him”.

 


Tuskegee Airman Harry Stewart

Opportunities to be present with such great people are always not to be missed. At the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday to photograph and video Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Harry Stewart. By the way, he is 95 years old. Here is a very fun minute…

How do you solve one of the unforeseen problems of enduring a 6 1/2 hour mission in a fighter aircraft? You might never have thought of this! Explained by Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Harry Stewart.

Yesterday at the Palm Springs Air Museum for the West Coast World premier of the Colonel’s book “Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of WWII”, along with author Philip Handleman.

The Colonel flew forty-three combat missions as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II. For his flying prowess with the famed 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Red Tails, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

It was a standing room only event and his book was a sell out!


Memorial Day 2019

Just some of what I did (shoot some video) on Memorial Day at the Palm Springs Air Museum

Aircraft start up for the flyover and flower drop, Memorial Day 2019 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. A World War II Mitchell B-25 bomber, F4U Corsair, P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly”, Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny”, PB4Y-2 Privateer and T-33 jet “Shooting Star”.


Chino Air Show

At the Planes of Fame Airshow this past weekend with the Palm Springs Air Museum. Honored to have with us, 99 year old, Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Robert Friend.

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Reno Air Races Recap

Again I am honored to be part of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Here as photographer, content creator, social media manager and even in flight operations at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno for 2018. Thanks!

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The Palm Springs Air Museum again became the standout at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno this September. The most prestigious race in the fastest motorsport in the world saw our Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny” and our P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly” fly around the pylons in front of crowds estimated to be 150,000+. “Bunny” flown by pilot Mark Moodie took a Third Place “on the podium” win in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 333.562, less than one mile per hour away from first place! “Pretty Polly” flown by pilot Jim “JD” Dale made for a crowd favorite in 7th Place in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 307.781. We finished with both aircraft “in the money”!

We were most honored for the second year in a row to be joined by a man who is indeed a very special friend to the Air Museum, 98 year old Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Bob Friend. With us everyday at the Races to meet people and sign autographs, we were most proud to have him start our airplanes and watch as they taxi’d out for the Finals. The honor even extended further as the Colonel joined us on stage for the Awards Dinner to accept our trophies as he was given an extended standing ovation by a hangar filled with 1,000 racers and crew and family and friends. A moment in time that brought many to tears as cameras and cellphones saved the moment for history.

Certainly “Bunny” stole the show in so very many ways. A Red Tail dedicated to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and specifically to the aircraft flown by Lt. Col. Bob Friend, many would say she is the most beautiful of all P-51 Mustangs. But we had another very special girl with us, “Pretty Polly”. One of perhaps only four P-63 Kingcobras still flying, it has been forty years since a Kingcobra raced at Reno. Race fans, aviation fans, aviation photographers all greeted the news of “Pretty Polly” at Reno and her arrival and racing with huge enthusiasm and appreciation. Our Race Pit was continually visited by Kingcobra fans who specifically came to see her. Even a fan from Japan came by wearing one of our Air Museum ‘Pretty Polly” shirts! Pilot Jim “JD” Dale was on hand to talk with so very many and they were in luck because “JD” is a tremendously knowledgeable Kingcobra historian and of course one of the very few Kingcobra pilots.

The National Championship Air Races Reno gives the Palm Springs Air Museum the opportunity to bring our message of living history to expanding audiences around the world. Millions of people online will share in our adventure being there. We have endless numbers of people to Thank in getting us to Reno. Mechanics, pilots, the people who loaded the trailers, and so very many volunteers. And of course the individuals and sponsors who donated to funding our being able to make it happen. Everyone has their own reasons for being part of Reno with us. But to a person, it is unselfish and giving, whether through their money or labor. To everyone a huge and heartfelt Thank You! And an excited; see you in Reno for 2019!


Sigma 150-600mm Lens

I have been trying out the the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S lens. On my Canon 1DMkIV. And a no fail serious camera strap from Vulture Equipment Works.

Just worked with it for the 2nd time. Yes it is sharp and the color fidelity is beautiful! You might look at the lettering on the prop and say it is blurry. Actually that is exactly how it is on the prop. This was at 150mm. The aircraft is at the Palm Springs Air Museum; a Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny” dedicated to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

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The Fastest Motorsport In The World

Hey everyone! This is for me… Off to the Reno Air Races very soon with the Palm Springs Air Museum. We are racing our “Red Tail” P-51 Mustang “Bunny” dedicated to the famed and heroic Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. And… the very rare P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly”, one of only four flying in the entire world!

This is the big one, the Indy 500 of air racing, the fastest motorsport in the world. And this is the last few days of my crowdfunding for it. Yes I am asking you for money. This has been really successful so far and I am very grateful. To be honest, it makes me look good too! But I am asking your help to make this finish with a big bang.

Thanks to so many of you who have jumped in so far. If you add on in, that would be wonderful too. For those of you who have been just watching, come on in! Join with me! There are great perks from team T-Shirts to actually flying!

We have group and business sponsorships too. Don’t see something that exactly fits what you might like for your company; just send me a note and we can chat. Ian@PalmSpringsAirMuseum.org

Anyway this is the last few days, so please jump on in. We are preserving a great part of history and it is fun! Or if anything else, do it for me! Thanks! Here is the link, check it out… https://igg.me/at/RedTailsReno2018


Meet The Heroes

Not just the machines but the men too! On Memorial Day come meet Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Bob Friend and Captain Rusty Burns. Two of the airmen of the iconic “Red Tails” of World War II. Watch our own P-51 Mustang “Bunny” take to the skies, the “Red Tail” dedicated to the Mustang that now 98 year old Col. Friend himself flew during the War.

Also with us will be B-17 Flying Fortress Gunner, US Army Air Force Tech Sgt. Mike Kovich. Now 102 years old, Mike was shot down in March of 1944 over Germany and was a POW until April 1945.

And meet 106 year old US Navy Radioman 2nd Class Marvin Cohn. Served in World War II from 1943-1945 aboard the USS Purdy. The Destroyer was attacked off the coast of Okinawa by Japanese aircraft suffering extensive damage and 73 casualties.

So please visit the Palm Springs Air Museum on Memorial Day. It is a day to meet the heroes of history. Thanks!

I am very proud to have photographed this Red Tail P-51 for this very special poster.

PSAM Reno Poster


Back Seat Mustang

This was me in the back seat and it could be you in the Palm Springs Air Museum P-51 Mustang “Bunny” this coming Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday!

A flight experience in one of the most iconic aircraft of all time. The fighter that changed the course of the air campaign in World War II. Hear the roar of that distinctive Merlin engine as it pulls you into the skies!

Dedicated to the famed “Red Tails” Tuskegee Airmen, on Monday you can personally meet 98 year old Lt. Col Bob Friend, the man who flew this aircraft dedicated to the one he flew over Europe during the War. Also meet Tuskegee Airmen Captain Rusty Burns!

Call 760-778-6262 to reserve your time. Your flight experience of history $1895.00. A flight you will not forget!. Thanks!


National Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month and May 19th was National Armed Forces Day. buzzbox premium cocktails joined with the Palm Springs Air Museum to honor the so very many by celebrating the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Watch and listen as Air Museum Volunteer and United States Air Force Veteran Al Crossley tells his story and takes a flight in the “Red Tail” P-51 Mustang “Bunny”.  Thanks!


Remember Those Airplane Models

Remember when you were a kid like me building those plastic model airplanes. Now we are old enough to fly in the real ones or at least see them close up. The Palm Springs Air Museum is where you will find me and get the chance to fly too, for tomorrow Veterans Day. Check it out…

Your flight is warming up! Get on board for a flight, Saturday Veterans Day, in this World War II B-25 Mitchell Bomber! Once you are in the air you will get to check out everything from the bombardier seat in the nose to the gun turret and even looking over the pilot’s shoulder. Sure beats sitting in some economy seat on your least favorite airline with a better spent only $425 to kept it fueled and mission ready! Call 805-377-2106 (please leave a message and you will be called right back). You can also fly on Sunday and next weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What a great opportunity!

For Veterans Day right here at the Air Museum, flight demonstrations going on all day. You will see our P-51 Mustang ‘Bunny” in the air along with our C-47 “What’s Up Doc”? and our T-28 Trojan. There will be a special appearance by a flight of six T-34 trainers too. You can also fly in a World War II Stearman Biplane trainer for only $175!

Not to be missed! With us will be a very very special guest… Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Bob Friend. A wonderful opportunity to meet and shake the hand of this true American Hero.

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Also we are dedicating our newly finished Grumman F9F Panther which was the Navy’s first successful carrier based jet fighter. For that honor we will have with us another very special guest, a man who has been called “The Forgotten Hero”, Capt E. Royce Williams! On November 18th, 1952, then Lt. Williams in a carrier based engagement of the Korean War shot down four MiG-15s. Forty years later it was revealed that all four were flown by Soviet pilots.

There will be food and birthday cake celebrating the Museum’s 21st Anniversary. So much fun going on! You can reserve your flights on the Stearman Bi Plane trainer by calling us at 760-778-6262 and for the B-25 at 805-377-2106.

Yes you can just come on in and get your flight on either the B-25 and/or Stearman. However there might be a wait for the next available seat. There are only so many seats per flight. So again try to make your phone reservations but come on in no matter what! You will be happy you did! Thanks!


Air To Air And For Veterans Day

Honoring our Veterans last Saturday flying out to Veterans Memorial Park in Coachella. I was flying and photographing from the backseat of a T-28 Trojan. And lots more flying coming up on Veterans Day Saturday at the Palm Springs Air Museum. More info below…

At the Air Museum, flight demonstrations going on all day. You will see our P-51 Mustang ‘Bunny” in the air along with our C-47 “What’s Up Doc”? and our T-28 Trojan. There will be a special appearance by a flight of six T-34 trainers too. Even more exciting you can watch and even go up in a Stearman Biplane trainer AND even fly in a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber, both from right here!

Not to be missed! With us will be a very very special guest… Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Bob Friend. A wonderful opportunity to meet and shake the hand of this true American Hero.

Also we are dedicating our newly finished Grumman F9F Panther which was the Navy’s first successful carrier based jet fighter. For that honor we will have with us another very special guest, a man who has been called “The Forgotten Hero”, Capt E. Royce Williams! On November 18th, 1952, then Lt. Williams in a carrier based engagement of the Korean War shot down four MiG-15s. Forty years later it was revealed that all four were flown by Soviet pilots.

There will be food and birthday cake celebrating the Museum’s 21st Anniversary. So much fun going on! You can reserve your flights on the Stearman Bi Plane trainer by calling us at 760-778-6262. For your seat on a flight in the B-25 Bomber call 805-377-2106 (please leave a message and you will be called right back). You can also fly on Sunday and next weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What a great opportunity! Thanks!


Featured Reno Air Races Story

Great fun! My photographs and story about our trip racing at the Reno Air Races with the Palm Springs Air Museum

A big feature about our trip to the Reno Air Races racing “Bunny” our P-51 Mustang, just a few weeks ago. In the October issue of our Palm Springs Air Museum Member Newsletter “The Beacon”. Always good stories and history in “The Beacon” and upcoming events. So if you are not a Member yet, please join us and you can get your copy every month in the mail too! Thanks!

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A Reno Air Race Thank You!

A full page Thank You in the Desert Sun newspaper today to all of our Palm Springs Air Museum Sponsors who made our “Red Tails Race Team” so very successful at the National Championship Air Races Reno 2017! Also a Thank You to the many of you who so graciously donated but wished to remain anonymous. Every one of you made it possible for all of us to participate and to honor the heroic and brave Tuskegee Airmen at this prestigious event! Thank You! Thank You!

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You Have A Race!

This is how the Race starts! The planes join up and fly to the course. As you are watching, you will see the T-33 pace plane climb away and it is on! Six P-51 Mustangs including our Palm Springs Air Museum “Bunny” dive for the first pylons! The Silver Race of the Unlimited Class this past Sunday at the National Championship Air Races in Reno! This was shot on my GoPro mounted along the canopy rail. You can also watch this in HD on my Vimeo Channel at https://vimeo.com/235180990

We had a great successful ten days at Reno and we were honored to have the entire event join us in celebrating the brave Tuskegee Airmen heroes of World War II! You can join us in that too, through this one last weekend and be a part of our “Red Tails Race Team”! You can even get our actual Team T-Shirt and the Official Poster and more. Please check it out and we Thank You so very much for your help… https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-tails-race-team

 


10 Days At The Reno Air Races

Flew back Monday in the Palm Springs Air Museum P-51 Mustang “Bunny” from the National Championship Air Races 2017 in Reno. I did 10 days as part of the crew racing “Bunny” and shooting photos and video. Worked hard long hours and every moment was incredible fun. I did keep my Facebook page and the Facebook page for the Air Museum current but neglected my own Blog here and my Instagram. So I will now being going back and posting some of the fun. And there is plenty of it for sure! Thanks!

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Bunny Fly-By

How about a “Bunny” fly-by to get things going! Now come along with us and JOIN OUR TEAM at the Palm Springs Air Museum!

The “Red Tails Race Team” sending “Bunny” our P-51 Mustang to the prestigious National Championship Air Races Reno, September 13th – 17th! “Bunny” will be joined by and honoring the famed Tuskegee Airmen “Red Tails” of World War II. And you can be a part of it!

Lots of cool stuff coming your way for helping us and it’s great fun! You can even get our actual Team T-Shirt and the Official Poster and more. Please check it out and you truly have our biggest Thanks! Right here at… https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-tails-race-team

And a Big Thank You to BUZZBOX Premium Cocktails for being our Team Partner!


“Bunny” The Poster

So very fun to have my photograph of “Bunny” the P-51 Mustang on the official poster for the “Red Tails Race Team” going to the prestigious National Championship Air Races in Reno next week!

We are all very excited to have BUZZBOX Premium Cocktails as our title sponsor. They are truly a great partner and will actually be with us in the Race Pit itself with the Team and the Palm Springs Air Museum. We also will be very honored to have with us famed Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. BobFriend. The Colonel and other Tuskegee Airmen will be signing the poster for the fans at the Race.

You can join the “Red Tails Race Team” too and share the fun. Help us make it all happen and get yourself a signed poster or even an actual Team Crew T-Shirt. I would personally be appreciative for your help! Check it out and Thanks… https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-tails-race-team

I also want to Thank the Jones Agency for creating a truly remarkable poster!
https://www.facebook.com/TheJonesAgency

PSAM Reno Poster


Labor Day Traffic

Not exactly like getting on a freeway onramp. Just made me think of it. I shot these photos from the backseat of a T-28 Trojan as we were waiting to takeoff at the “Wings Over Camarillo” airshow in August. One of my duties as Photographer and Social Media Manager for the Palm Springs Air Museum. Next stop is the National Championship Air Races in Reno coming up now! And I need your help with that please! Check it out at “Red Tails Race Team” and Thanks!

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Everyone Stops And Looks!

No matter what you are doing, when “Bunny” flies by you stop and look! At the opening for the “Wings Over Camarillo” airshow earlier this month. “Bunny” will be in the show opening again at the prestigious National Championship Air Races Reno, September 13th – 17th! And we are asking for your help today please!

JOIN OUR TEAM! The Red Tails Race Team by helping the Palm Springs Air Museum send the Tuskegee Airmen and “Bunny” the P-51 Mustang to participate in this huge honor. Be part of it along with our incredible “Bunny” pilot Tom Nightingale! Even Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Bob Friend is going at the age of 97 years old!

Lots of cool stuff coming your way for helping  and it’s great fun! Please check it out and you truly have our biggest Thanks! Right here at… https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-tails-race-team

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Evening Run Up

A little evening engine check before we left for the Air Fair at Big Bear Lake this past Saturday morning. This is the historic World War II fighter, the P-51 Mustang. This one named “Bunny”, it is dedicated to the famed “Red Tails” Tuskegee Airmen.

I am personally asking you to help me and the Palm Springs Air Museum in sending “Bunny” and the Tuskegee Airmen to the National Championship Air Races Reno in just a few weeks! Do it for me! Please! Every few bucks helps!

You will be a part of our “Red Tails Race Team” and get some cool stuff too! Check it out and Thanks… https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-tails-race-team