As Storm Retreats: A Rainbow Over St. Cloud

After some flight work away from St.Cloud today, I returned with only one charged battery remaining as a rainbow unexpectedly stretched across the sky over the city. I’d never photographed a rainbow from the air and was waiting for a chance to do this. There was only one fading patch of open sky allowing the sunlight through the clouds that was necessary to illuminate the rainbow behind this rainstorm, so I had to move quickly. Arriving home, I readied my flight and camera gear as the last droplets of rain were falling into the field that I intended to launch from. I had to wait for it to stop since the exposed electronics of my plane would certainly fail if covered in water. This is one of the photographs from the flight.


Nous Sommes Charlie #Standfortruthfightforlove

Two for one….Honey, ironicly we have the same deal from D.


In Memoriam.

On May 27, 2011, Amanda Franklin succomed to injuries received in a crash at an airshow in Texas on March 12. She is seen here in a performance at the EAA in OshKosh, Wi in July of 2009. She also performed at the Great Minnesota Airshow in St.Cloud, Mn in June of 2010. Amanda Franklin is among very few to know the courage and bravery of flight above the wing.

Snow On April 20 In St. Cloud

The Mynah Bird HD2 went to work early today after an unusual, late-April Snowfall in St. Cloud that amounted to a beautiful Spring morning. The calm sky revealed a fluffy, bleach-white snow that covered nearly everything, and allowed for a crisp HD video image in the low-light minutes just after daybreak. Even at extremely low altitudes, the Mynah Bird found small clouds drifting between it and the Mississippi River, as the cold and humid air created a varied and low cloud cieling. In the light snowfall, the taps of impacting snow and ice on the camera lense sent a crackle through the aircraft’s sound recorder. 

By noon today, most of this snow coverage had completely melted, and the land appeared as normal for an April day in Central Minnesota: with green grass awaking to the sun as though nothing had even happened. Yet, only hours before, the inches of white fluff sucked the MBHD2 beneath a wintry cover of snow, even after a nearly perfect landing approach. 

To view a flight video from this morning, click this link to Youtube >> << Special thanks to for forwarding this coverage. View a special news presentation of this event from the Radio Pilot News Service  here >> The image posted above is a frame grab from the HD video of The Mynah Bird HD2, or on assignment known as “Sky Flash One”.

Wings Of The Citabria

Last Friday evening my father and I accompanied my sister’s husband, Craig Swan, to Flemming Field in St.Paul where his Citabria is hangered. It’s a restoration project for Craig who is used to flying much larger aircraft, since he pilots a Boeing 747 for a living. This airplane was purchased in California and transported overland to Mn nearly completely dissassembled. Friday evening was spent attaching a wing and other parts to get a more complete feel for how the aircraft will be pieced back together as the restoration moves forward. View a short film of the assembly process of the Citabria: >>> <<<

Island Ice Writer Unveiled

Two weeks ago while photographing the Beaver Islands, the discovery of this image took me by surprise. A search on Facebook revealed that the owner of the signature is the gutsy Rob Stromme who carved his name into the snow along the open waters of the Mississippi.

Here’s what Rob had to say about it, ” The story goes; I was born and raised in St. Cloud and one of my friends’ and I’s most favorite past times is going down to the islands, summer or winter, and just walk around and explore. We call it galavanting. You get to see all kinds of nature that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s great to be able to be in the city one minute, then take a 10 minute walk to the river and be completely engulfed in the woods, river and streams. That day, we were on a winter galavant and took a little pit stop on one of the trees that hang over the banks of the river and I decided to write my name in the snow as big as I could.”

View an HD video flight over the Beaver Islands yesterday: View it in 720 HD if you can.

Mynah Bird Flies Again

Two years ago this weekend the Mynah Bird was designed and created for the purpose of capturing a forward looking HD motion picture view. It carried a relatively heavy camera payload with a very wide 16×9 angle lense. After a lengthy process of adjustments it eventually took to the sky but was later grounded due to the risks of carrying such a heavy and expensive camera in a forward looking configuation…Today, after two years, the aircraft returned to the sky again to resume it’s mission after being modified to carry a lighter and less expensive HD motion picture cam. By the third test-flight today, balance and trim were dialed in to a degree where the airplane could navigate through the air comfortably. Additional tests and improvements are forthcoming.

Landing approach today: YOUTUBE
A test flight with 16×9 lense two years ago: YOUTUBE
Read more about the history of this aircraft:

A wide angle lense was added to the camera rig today (March 28) and additional test flights were conducted: YOUTUBE

Calm After Winter Storm

An hour and a half before sunset tonight, the sky calmed enough to send up a flight to survey the changes that the heavy snow, wind, drifting and cold temperatures had brought to St.Cloud in the last day. The gusty Easterly wind put enough turbulence in the air to make for a very bumpy flight. The Mississippi river in St.Cloud was already flowing freely at this time a year ago. See last year’s Flight Flash blog: