January 26, 2007

Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag Roars into Chicago

01_25_06_fighter_pilot.jpgOn Wednesday I attended an advance screeing of the the award-winning IMAX Film, Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag, that debuts in Chicago today. While living in Cincinnati I saw a promo for this but never had the opportunity to check out the film. The movie follows Captain John "Otter Stratton", pilot of a U.S. Air Force F-15, through his experience at the Red Flag Training program at Nellis Air Force Base outside of Las Vegas. Red Flag is a two-week, realistic combat training exercise that involves the best pilots from our Air Force and allied air forces like Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The goal of Red Flag is to maximize combat readiness, capability, and survivability of participating units through realistic training.

The film takes full advantage of the large screen format of the IMAX theater. Director Stephen Low explains how this is different from traditional aviation films, �So many films on fighter aircraft essentially fake the interaction between the planes using a lot of quick cutting, simulated cockpit photography, and special effects. Working with the Air Force made it possible for us to shoot actual dog-fighting for the first time between a dozen aircraft at once. Altogether we were working with more than one hundred aircraft of all types. This is the closet an audience will ever get to flying in the middle of a massive air combat mission."

Low is exactly right, as the film made me feel like I was right in the heart of all the action. I flew along during simulated close contact air-to-air combat missions, simulated bombing runs, humanitarian food drops, and rescue missions.

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag, winner of the Large Format Cinema Association 2005 "Best of Festival", opens in Chicago at the Navy Pier Imax today. The IMAX Theater at Navy Pier is "Chicago's largest flat movie screen-a soaring six-story, 60 x 80-foot screen designed to enhance both 2D and 3D films."

Anyone with a nugget of interest in aviation will love this film!

Posted at 7:42 AM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

January 20, 2007

First Flight of 2007

wilmot.jpgThis afternoon, I fit in my first flight of 2007. I flew out of Chicago Executive (formerly Palwuakee) departing a little after noon. The weather was beautiful for flying with no visible clouds, 10 miles of visibility, and light and variable winds. I flew north out of Palwaukee towards the Illinois / Wisconsin state border and flew over the Wilmot Ski Area.

I used to ski at Wilmot when I was a kid. Seeing it from the air reminded me what a small ski hill it really is. I then made three landings at cozy Westosha Airport in Wilmot, WI. While flying through the pattern I got a nice view of the skiers and it looked like a busy day at the ski area. The photo of Wilmot to the right is from fellow pilot blog, Eblo.

After departing Westosha Airport I headed south back into Illinois for a landing at Galt Field. At Galt I performed a touch and go before heading on to Lake In the Hills for another touch and go. At that point, I headed back for Chicago Executive. Throughout the flight the air was smooth and the visibility was great. I had to keep my eyes outside the cockpit as many pilots were taking advantage of the great weather.

It was an enjoyable 2.2 hour flight to kick off 2007 and allowed me to add two new airports (Westosha and Galt) to my list of airports visited bringing my total to an even 30. My next aviation experience is scheduled for Wednesday. Sadly, I won't be in the cockpit, but going to a VIP Screening of Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag at the Imax Theater at Navy Pier thanks to my friends at the U.S. Air Force and Civil Air Patrol.

Posted at 6:10 PM | Post Category: Cessna 172, Flight Time | Save & Share This Story