Earlier today, my dad and I ran a couple of errands at Ft. Carson. At the time, two Blackhawks were coming in for a landing on the parade field in front of the headquarters building. It is one of those sights I do not grow tired of seeing – military aviation in motion.

When Laurie worked as a DoD contract MD a few years ago at Ft. Carson, she had an opportunity to make two medevac missions into the training range. On the second mission, she was able to take a photo of two dust-offs coming in to take her and an injured soldier to the hospital on post.

coming in for a landing: a pair of UH-60 Blackhawk dust-offs
photo credit: Laurie Westin

In Vietnam, my dad flew with the surgeon when it was their turn to survey the aid stations, or there were heavy casualties in the field. (The latter rarely happened.) They were always accompanied by a UH-1 Huey or AH-1 Cobra gunship that provided overwatch. This is one tactic that has not changed through the years.

Both Laurie and Andrea rarely make these type of missions, but when they do, the situation must require their presence. The last time they did, two years ago, they talked about the experience for the better part of a week.


Chasing The Sunset

From last month’s return trip from Atlanta for home.

twilight reflections on a Delta 737-800


on the tarmac in Atlanta, baggage loading for the flight home on a Delta Airbus A320


heading west, chasing the sunset


About the photos

These were taken using a BlackBerry Q10.

Night Flight


Known as Memorial Star Transport, the medical helicopter for Memorial-UCH Hospital, a Bell 407, in flight after sunset. Most days, and occasionally at night, you can see the helicopter headed somewhere. Considering the direction, it was probably heading for its maintenance base located in Penrose, CO.

Andrea has flown on medical helicopters a handful of times when working at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH). Laurie has flown a couple of times on a UH-60 medevac when she worked at an Army hospital. Both wouldn’t mind another medevac mission. It’s an adrenaline rush whenever you’re on a helicopter, especially if you’re flying low and fast.

A video of Memorial Star Transport can be found here. After watching it, you may be ready for a ride along.

Window Seat

Views from the window seat from last week’s flight to Atlanta  …

sunrise above the clouds


not much to see below


more cloud cover


There wasn’t much to see below, except for clouds, until we neared Atlanta. At least the window, inside and outside, was rather clean.

Inbound: San Diego

If you’ve flown into Lindbergh Field, in San Diego, the flight path will take you directly over some of the neighborhoods near the airport.


It’s not much different from flying into LAX, or San Francisco International (SFO) on occasion. While it feels like you can reach out and touch the rooftops, the experience from the ground is much more exciting – especially when a heavy flies overhead on its final approach.

Atlanta Interlude

The trip to Atlanta was all too brief. But, business trip itineraries are generally that way.

in the landing pattern at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (Tue, Oct 15 2013)


Delta 767 being rolled back from its gate at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (Wed, Oct 16 2013)


With the focus of the trip being business, taking photos wasn’t high on the priority list. The two shots I was aiming for came out better than I expected. But when you shoot between 24-36 shots, something is bound to be decent. The hardest part was trying to get a shot where it doesn’t seem you’re shooting through an aircraft window and the wing is not in the frame. The photo through the terminal window, it’s much easier to shoot between streaks on the glass.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a chance to see and sample Atlanta. Perhaps another time when the itinerary is less busy.


About the photos

The photos were taken using an HP Photosmart E417 digital camera. While it’s pretty much outdated as a digital camera, it’s still capable of taking a decent shot.

Overflight: C-130 Hercules

The venerable C-130 Hercules transport aircraft is the backbone of the military airlift capability for the US Air Force, entering service in the 1950s. Through the years, its platform has been modified and updated as its mission role expanded. It is not uncommon to find the C-130s of the 302nd Airlift Wing, based at Peterson AFB, east of Colorado Springs, in the skies over the region. Their weekly flight routines, day and night, provide valuable training for the aircrews and the load crews in all kinds of conditions.









It’s always a special treat to watch them fly.


For more information on the C-130 Hercules aircraft, please read here. For more information on the 302nd Airlift Wing, please read here.