Tag Archive: aviation


Here’s a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter (which you have seen before), operated by mythical Flying Moose Aviation of Talkeetna, Alaska, flying over a snow-covered mountain range. While Dogwaffle began as a 2D, raster-based paint program, Howler can model landscapes with multiple ray tracing utilities. This image, of stunning, almost photo-realistic quality, was rendered up in the 3D Designer utility. 3D Designer also has the ability to insert localized cloud formations of several types into your image. In this example you can see the leading edge of an approaching snowstorm just beyond the mountains.

outrunning an approaching blizzard

Running Ahead Of The Storm

Dogwaffle has an amazing array features – 2D, 3D, particles. There is also a large and growing number of video tutorials to help you figure out how to use them. Look here for more examples in the future including landscapes rendered with the Puppy Ray ray tracing utility.

I’m always trying to get better at what I do. It takes tome to learn new tricks and techniques and improve old ones. This rendition of a Russian AN-2 in flight somewhere over Siberia in the 1950s is much better than the one I did a few years ago. This is sort of a doodle for a couple of other images I want to do which will include an AN-2 or two. The AN-2 was built by the Antonov Design Bureau which is still in existence in the Ukraine.

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As the AN-2 is a biplane, making it more complicated to portray than single-wing aircraft, I first tried out a few things I learned to do on something simpler. Two Dassault Super Mystère B2 fighter bombers from the Israeli Air Force (IAF) 105 Squadron (Scorpion) in flight over a mountainous desert landscape; circa 1967.

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The Super Mystère was the result of progressive improvements in earlier Dassault aircraft which were also flown by the IAF. The Super Mystère went into production in 1957. Israel acquired its first aircraft of this type a year later. They saw service in both the 1967 Six Day War and in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. It was the first aircraft flown by the IAF which could attain supersonic speeds in level flight. IAF pilots liked the aircraft feeling it was a good match for the MiG-19.

The image of the Super Mystères is available on various products at one of my Zazzle stores. The AN-2 should appear there at some time in the near future.

Here is the squadron insignia of the 1st Polar Airlift Squadron, known as “Santa’s Own,” to which are assigned Santa’s eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. The Latin motto, “UNA NOCTA TOTIUS MUNDI,” translates as “The entire world in one night.”

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And this is the night operations, arctic/polar blue, subdued camouflage version:

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The First Polar Airlift Squadron (1st PAS) has a long and storied history. Based at the North Pole the 1st PAS is best known for providing airlift for Santa Claus during his annual, global, nocturnal delivery using venerable, reliable air-mobile RT-1 Reindeer (aka Caribou – Rangifer tarandus) generally deployed in teams of eight. For operations during inclement weather the squadron maintains one Reindeer equipped with a “RUDOLPH” enhanced red navigation lighting system.

For heavylift missions at other times of the year the 1st PAS also maintains a fleet of air-mobile A-1 Moose (Alces alces), one of which was featured earlier on this blog.

There are some who think I make these things up. The squadron did ask me to design the patch, so, in a sense, I did make it up. However the idea that the 1st PAS does not exist is just not true. Here’s a photo of Santa Claus on a training flight over Greenland , in the training sleigh “ICEBAT -1,” which was forwarded to me by the squadron public information officer. It is even signed by the jolly, old elf himself. What better proof could there be that the 1st PAS exists? The subdued version of the squadron patch can be seen on the left side of the sleigh.

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The insignia is easier to see in this enlargement:

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Not only can the unit insignia be seen, but, as Santa takes flight safety very seriously, you can see that both he and the elf in the back seat are wearing flight helmets. You might also note that Santa is not wearing the traditional red suit. Instead he is wearing caribou fur the reindeer need not be made aware of that) as it is much warmer than the red getup and does not require multiple layers of thermal underwear.

The unit insignia are available on many items at one of my Zazzle stores. Ten percent of all proceeds from these items will be donated to charity. Search for “airlift.”

De Havilland Otter

A de De havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter, sporting the logo of mythical Flying Moose Aviation of Talkeetna, flies somewhere over Alaska.

Click on image for full-size view.

de havilland dh-3 otter

de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter

The Otter, originally intended to be known as the King Beaver, was conceived as a larger, more capable follow on to highly successful Beaver. The Beaver referred to by de Havilland as a “half-ton truck;” the Otter would be the “one-ton truck.”

The Otter was used by the militaries of many countries and is also popular in  with skydivers; it can be found in many drop zones throughout the world.

Of course, the bush pilots at Flying Moose Aviation have their own, specially-designed, pilot’s wings featuring Milton, the Flying Moose, wearing a leather aviator’s helmet and goggles.

Click on image for full-size view.

flying moose aviation pilot's wings

Flying Moose Aviation Pilot’s Wings

 

Reindeer (Caribou), Rangifer tarandus, may suffice for once-yearly, late-December deliveries, but when you need a heavy lift capability nothing beats the Flying Moose, Alces volanti.  Not only is the Flying Moose able to lift a much heavier payload than is the Reindeer, but its wings allow for greater precision when landing as well as hovering capability.  A wild Flying Moose, sighted somewhere over British Columbia, is pictured below.

Click on image for full-size view.

flying moose - alces volanti

Alces volanti – the Flying Moose

The Flying Moose has been adopted by at least one mythical, all-purpose flying service in Talkeetna Alaska – Flying Moose Aviation (FMA). FMA’s motto is “Flightseeing, glacier landings, cargo, hunting and fishing charters.  We fly; tell us where you want to go.”  A leather patch, as worn by FMA bush pilots on their jackets, is below.

Click on image for full-size view.

flying moose aviation logo patch

Flying Moose Aviation Jacket Patch

Bush Pilot

Pilots of Alaska’s small planes carry mail, groceries, and passengers to Bush villages and ferry hikers, hunters, and fishermen to some of the prime spots in North America. They often need to carry items that don’t fit in the airplane, such as canoes that ride like lampreys on the bellies of planes, or 60-inch moose antlers tied to struts.

One of the most common floatplanes in Alaska and Canada is the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.

Click on image for full-size view.

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De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver

The Beaver was designed with the float pilot in mind. Its short takeoff and landing capability made it ideal for areas normally only accessible by canoe or foot. As well as having cabin doors, the cockpit has a pilot’s door on each side and full-sized doors on both sides of the aircraft allow it to be easily loaded no matter which side of a dock it tied up on. The doors are wide enough to allow for a 45 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled up into the aircraft. Beavers have large cabins and can seat eight people. Depending upon equipment, their useful load can be 2,100 pounds.

Because it often flies to remote locations, often in cold climates, its oil reservoir filler is located in the cockpit and oil can be filled in flight eliminating the need to scale the airplane to put oil in it and risk dropping something or someone in the water.

In addition to hauling passengers and freight around the bush the Beaver is used for crop dusting and aerial topdressing, and has been widely adopted by armed forces as a utility aircraft. The United States Army purchased several hundred; nine DHC-2s are still in service with the Civil Air Patrol for search and rescue. A Royal New Zealand Air Force Beaver supported Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition to the South Pole.

Despite the fact that production ceased in 1967, (1692 were built) hundreds of Beavers are still flying—many of them heavily modified to adapt to changes in technology.

The original Wasp Jr radial engine of the Beaver is long out of production, so repair parts are getting harder to find. Some aircraft conversion stations have addressed this problem by replacing the piston engine with a turboprop engine. The added power and lighter installed weight, together with greater availability of kerosene fuel instead of high-octane aviation gasoline, make this a desirable modification, but at a high financial cost.

The Beaver was deployed by the British Army Air Corps during the Troubles at least until 1979 for photo-reconnaissance missions. One of them was hit seven times by machine gun fire in South County Armagh, near the border with the Republic of Ireland in November 1979, while taking valuable photos of an IRA checkpoint. The border crossing where the action took place was known by the British Army as “Beaver Junction” since then.

Designed and built in Downsview, Ontario, the Beaver was cited as one of 10 Outstanding Canadian Engineering Achievements of the past 100 years. The Royal Canadian Mint commemorated the Beaver on a special edition Canadian quarter in November 1999.

Beaver has been featured in Hollywood films such as Never Cry Wolf, a film based on the true story of Farley Mowat’s journey alone into the Canadian tundra to study the relationship between wolves and and caribou. In the film, Early on the film provides a good look at the sights and sounds of a well worn Beaver. Brian Dennehy’s portrayal of a Canadian bush pilot captures the spirit and unique character present within many a cavalier bush aviator.