Aerial Photographer hangs up helmet - flying 2,000 hours +

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Elite 5K

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Unread post09 Oct 2016, 20:44

Whence come some great photos of the X-35 & F-35 at Edwards AFB:
Aerial photographer hangs up his helmet after flying more than 2,000 hours
07 Oct 2016 AeroTechNews

"Lockheed Martin aerial photographer Tom Reynolds didn’t have a clue that saying yes to a temporary, year-long assignment would turn into a 33-year career at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Arriving in 1983 as part of an industry team, he documented the testing of two highly modified delta winged versions of the F-16- the F-16XL. He also covered testing of the YF-22, F-22, X-35, and F-35. Reynolds has more than 1,800 hours in the F-16 and hundreds more in the F-15, spending time at all three test squadrons....

...Flying in the back seat of chase planes, photographers capture video and still images that provide insight into test flights that can’t be acquired any other way. Documenting how a bomb falls away or how a missile leaves the rail is a critical part of testing.

Extensive training is required by the Air Force and Edwards before someone is allowed in the backseat of high performance aircraft. Mission aircrew attend altitude chamber training, land survival, water survival, parachute and specialized equipment training.

However, there are some things that no amount of training can account for. On his first flight he was too excited to get sick; however, it was the next 30 flights of throwing up, down and sideways, that made him think that perhaps, flying wasn’t so special after all.

“One day I had a flight in which I returned with my stomach contents not in a bag and a dawning realization began from that point,” explains Reynolds. He appreciated what a fighter is capable of, that test pilots are phenomenal operators of not just an aircraft but a whole host of equally complex systems. There are so many people who build and maintain the fighters and people in life support and those on the ground. “It hit me — Wow! This is pretty incredible.”

Heading up a crew of photographers for Lockheed Martin, he has had his last flight but will continue to work at the F-35 Integrated Test Force until retiring next year...."

Source: ... 000-hours/
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Elite 2K

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Unread post09 Oct 2016, 23:05

Thanks for posting the article about Tom Reynolds. I was on the F-16XL test team at Edwards when Tom started and had the chance to work with him. Interesting to hear he stuck with it for 33 more years.

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