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Tom Cleaver
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Collings Foundation B-24 and B-17 air-to-air back in 1998

August 14, 2013 · in Show Reports · · 2 · 2.2K

These shots of the Collings Foundation in its "All American" markings and the B-17G "9-0-9", were taken during a tour of Los Angeles in 1998. Sadly, they're the last air-to-air shots photographers are likely to get who aren't working for the Collings Foundation, due to a 1999 FAA rule that you cannot fly close formation with a passenger-carrying aircraft (and the B-24 and always fly with paying passengers) unless all passengers have signed a complete liability release in the event one of the many collisions that take place during air-to-air photography (not!) should occur.

The first shot was on a flight over the south bay area, flying over the oil storage at Signal Hill/Long Beach and being reminiscent of the Ploesti mission. The others were taken during a flight through the Mullholland Pass, then heading back east over UCLA, Hollywood (downtown skyline in view), then turning over East L.A. to head back up north through Cahuenga Pass and on back to Burbank. We tried for a "Hollywood sign" shot but succeeded only in creating a massive traffic jam along Riverside Drive in Griffith Park when we went rumbling over at about 1,500 feet.

The B-17 was photographed on a flight west over the San Fernando valley out to Malibu, then back over west Los Angeles. The first shot catches "9-0-9" over the 50,000 sq ft mansion (lower right corner of picture) of TV mega producer the late Aaron Spelling (it's still the biggest single family residential building in Los Angeles and used to feature a "gift wrapping room" for his wife). The other interesting shot has "9-0-9" over the world-renowned Getty Center art museum, with other shots over the Malibu Hills, over Stone Canyon Reservoir, then the Hollywood Hills, approaching Santa Monica from the ocean and flying over the Los Angeles Country Club.

That weekend in May 1998 was fun. Too bad the FAA had to come along and be a "joy-killer," but protecting people from highly-unlikely aviation mishaps is their job, after all. (snark intentional)

My apologies for some of the digital transfers, but these flights took place so long ago back in the late Triassic that they were shot on film and the prints then scanned.


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2 responses

  1. Great stuff, as usual, Tom. Thanks for posting. Just beautiful !

  2. i agree...much appreciated

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