Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

A Stearman PT-17 Biplane
Sonoma Valley, California

A somewhat abstract view of the Stearman PT-17 and its shadow (25K jpg).

go to location mapSunday last I drove up to Sonoma Valley, just north of San Francisco Bay, for a faculty function. I left an hour early thinking I might sneak in a quick KAP roll. It was a great day for a drive in the country and as I neared the town of Sonoma I noticed a pair of biplanes in a small, local airport. Over I pulled and after a brief discussion with the delightful owners of the biplane (see the Aeroschellville note a bottom of page) and the airport manager I'd secured permission to fly the kite at the airport. I promised to stay low.

My target was the biplanes so I did not need great height for the job. Up went the Sutton 30 and after assuring myself it was stable on went the Canon rig. The breeze was mostly sufficient to loft the camera but on occasion I would have to land the rig during momentary lapses in the wind. There was plenty of room on the tarmac so it was easy to control these ups and downs as I could "create" wind by walking backwards. The plane owners were patient and trusting as I hovered my camera near their craft.

The Stearman from a greater height (19K jpg).

The plane in question is a WWII-vintage trainer -- the Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet biplane. It is 25 feet long, has a 32-foot wingspan, and sports a single radial Continental engine rated at 220 horsepower. You see these planes pulling banners around sporting events and performing basic aerobatics. They are reminiscent of an era of barnstorming and must be entertaining to fly.


Oblique views of the PT-17 (37K jpg left, 31K jpg below left and 31K jpg below right ).

The whole KAP session probably took 30 to 40 minutes. This quick set of photos has piqued my interest and I will probably go back to shoot more. There are other interesting aircraft there too.

An unsolicited commercial plug:

The operators of Aeroschellville seemed like awfully nice folks so I thought I would post their business card. It looks like it would be great fun to take a biplane ride over the scenic Sonoma vineyards. This seems to run around $100 for a twenty minute ride. They can accommodate two passengers at a time. Mild aerobatics are also available as is instruction. If you go, tell them I sent you.

Aeroschellville, contact Linda Sue Brown, 707-938-2444


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All rights reserved. Revised: Saturday, June 26, 2010