Flying has always been a part of my life.  During my childhood, the weekends could never come quick enough.  On either day,
my cousin and I would ride in the rear seat of my dad & uncle's airplane; a 1946 Fairchild F-24R.  We would never fly too
far, but the airports we visited were always quite memorable with much comraderie between all the pilots & people we met.

I remember one special weekend day when we flew into Sky Manor airport in northwestern NJ.  There were many older
aircraft present and previous arrangements were made for them to perform a "fly-over" of the Solberg Balloon Festival in
Readington, NJ.  Soon, my dad and uncle were asked to join the parade of aircraft, then off we went.  This was my first
time seeing the festival, though from the air, and what a sight it was.  We made three low passes
over the corn fields then all headed our separate ways home.

After I graduated college, I began my flight training at Lincoln Park Aviation, located at Lincoln Park airport in
New Jersey.  I first took classes and studied for the "ground" portion of my training.  Next I began my actual flight
training at the controls of a Piper Cherokee.  After roughly 6 hours, I soloed in that aircraft.  Soon, I graduated to
larger and more complex aircraft; the Piper Warrior and finally the Piper Archer.  My final flight test was with an
FAA flight examiner from Robert J. Miller Airpark in Toms River, NJ.  She flew to Lincoln Park airport and we boarded
the Piper Archer.  After a 1 hour flight check, I was back in the office as she signed my logbook stating that
I was now a Private Pilot.
After obtaining my pilot's license, I would rent various aircraft that I flew during training from
Lincoln Park Aviation.  These Piper aircraft all had low wings, meaning the wing was beneath
the fuselage.  Though these types of aircraft are more stable, they also hinder your view
downward.  Since my dad & uncle's plane had a high wing, meaning the wing was above the
fuselage giving you a relatively unobstructed view downward, I decided to have a flight instructor
check me out in a
Cessna 172 Skyhawk.  This is Cessna's most stable and popular
high wing aircraft, and it wasn't long before I was piloting the two different year
models that Lincoln Park Aviation had to offer.

My dad and I would rent a Cessna Skyhawk for the day or part of the day, or sometimes when we
needed speed on our side, we would rent the Piper Archer.  As you can imagine, at roughly $80
per hour, this became quite expensive and too restrictive.  It was summer of 1996, and after
much airplane searching, we decided to talk to Lincoln Park Aviation about a plane we were
interested in at Lincoln Park airport.  Needless to say, after a quick check flight we purchased
a 1964 model Cessna Skyhawk with the original O-300 Continental (145 hp) engine.

Over the years, we had many improvements and modifications performed to our airplane, including
a complete painting in 1997 by Aerostrip, who has since gone out of business.  In 2001, we had an
engine conversion performed which replaced our Continental 145 hp with a Factory NEW Lycoming
180 hp.  It may not seem like a significant increase in horsepower, but that small amount makes a
very noticeable difference in performance.

To this day, we continue to enjoy the increased airspeed and take-off performance with this new
engine. We loaded the plane with gas engine-powered bicycles and headed to destinations such as
Martha's Vineyard, Fort Ticonderoga, Gettysburg, Cape May and other areas
of interest throughout the Northeast.
My excitement with shooting pictures from the air began when I first obtained my private pilot
license.  I remember the exact flight that opened up an entire new world of photography for me.  
I flew east toward New York City, then south along the Hudson river, shooting pictures of the
Manhattan skyline and World Trade Center towers.  This brought me around the Statue of
Liberty, over the Verrazano Narrows bridge and on a tour of central New Jersey.  I remember
having the pictures developed immediately upon returning home, then gawking over them a few days
later, trying to pick out every detail that I could.

When I first began shooting aerial photos it was with a
Kodak 35mm Disposable, and these
pictures weren't half bad.  My next film camera was an
Olympus 35mm and I took many
hundreds of photos with this one.  Eventually, the hard copy photos became a nightmare to
organize and far too expensive.  After some convincing by a former colleague, I graduated to
the digital age and purchased a point-and-shoot
Canon S110 Digital ELPH.
The majority of photos on this website as of March 2006 are shot with this camera,
though a few were shot with the Olympus and even some with the Kodak.

Moving forward, I upgraded to another point-and-shoot camera, the
Canon S2 IS, with a
12X Optical Zoom lens and 5.1 Mega Pixel resolution.  My final and current point-and-shoot
camera is the
Canon SX20 IS with a 20X Optical Zoom lens and 12.1 Mega Pixel resolution.
With this greater level of performance I am better able to capture the detail & beauty of the
many more aerial photos I plan on shooting.  All of my photos are shot as a hobby and
throughout the years I feel I have shot some rather interesting and entertaining photos
of cities, lakes, rivers, mountains, landscapes, clouds, buildings, airports, shorelines
and amusement areas.
Every flying day for me is a another opportunity to shoot aerial photos.  Each season has it's difficulties, though.  In the
summer, the sun is high and bright but there is usually much haze, especially in the Northeast.  It's warm and the trees
are full of leaves and beautiful looking, but they may block the features and/or terrain that I am photographing.  In the
winter, the air is crisp and clear but the sun is low in the sky, and darkness sets in quickly.  The leaves are gone which
allows me to see the terrain, but a drawback is the landscape is rather brown and dull in appearance.

I mostly fly with my Dad, though my wife joins me occasionally in the evening when we visit a local airport for a picnic
dinner.  And on a very few occasions, I'll fly alone just to brush up on my flying skills.  If I fly alone on a photo flight,
I shoot the photos AND fly the airplane, though this is not easy to do all while checking for other air traffic.  When Dad
joins me, though, I ask him to fly the plane and check for other traffic in the area while I am shooting the photos.
When flying and photographing alone, I get the job done, though it takes a bit more thought and situational awareness.

After the photos are shot and downloaded to my computer, I individually enhance them (if needed) and pick out the
best ones to place on this website in the hopes you will enjoy them as much as I do.
Aviation fuel, or AVGAS as it is commonly called, has seen a substantial increase in price over the past decade.
The difference is that very few refineries in the United States produce AVGAS, meaning that this type of fuel is
considered a "Boutique Fuel" and thus a "Boutique Price" is charged.  And because so few people use AVGAS as compared to
automobile gasoline, the inflated price is likely to stay here for quite some time.  One other important fact is that pipelines
that carry AVGAS cannot also carry automobile gasoline, and is why only certain refineries and fuel tanker trucks are
reserved for AVGAS.  Following is a bit more information about what makes AVGAS different than automobile gasoline,
which will give you an idea why aircraft need to burn this grade of fuel.

Avgas is a high-octane fuel used for aircraft and, in the past, racing cars. AVGAS includes a number of additives in order
to decrease volatility so it won't evaporate away as quickly, which is important for high-altitude use. The particular
mixtures in use today are the same as when they were first developed in the 1950's & 60's, and therefore the
high-octane ratings are achieved by the addition of tetra-ethyl lead, a fairly toxic substance that was phased-out
for use in most countries in the 1980s.

Many general aviation aircraft engines were designed to run on 87 octane, the standard for automobiles today. Direct
conversions to run on automotive fuel, known as MOGAS in the industry, are fairly common. However, the alloys used in
aviation engine construction are rather outdated, and engine wear in the valves is a serious problem on MOGAS conversions.
Additionally, the wider range of allowable vapor pressures found in MOGAS pose some risk to aviation users if fuel system
design considerations are not taken into account. MOGAS can vaporize in fuel lines causing a vapor lock (a bubble in the line)
which starves the engine of fuel.  Not a problem driving along a highway, but when you're only a few thousand feet over
mountainous terrain, you have a real problem on your hands.
Canon S2 IS
5.1 MP & 12X Optical Zoom
FOURTH CAMERA
Canon S110 Digital ELPH
2.1 MP & 2X Optical Zoom
THIRD CAMERA
Kodak 35mm Film
Disposable
FIRST CAMERA
Olympus 35mm Film
3X Optical Zoom
SECOND CAMERA
Copyright © Flyin Phil's Photos
Email:  
flyinphilsphotos@yahoo.com
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