Archive for the 'Aerospace' Category


the north american yf-100, the 60th anniversary of her first flight.

NA YF-100


Today is a milestone in aviation history with the first flight of North Americans YF-100 from Edwards Air Force Base…

The YF-100A first flew on 25 May 1953, seven months ahead of schedule. It reached Mach 1.05 in spite of being fitted with a de-rated XJ57-P-7 engine. The second prototype flew on 14 October 1953, followed by the first production F-100A on 9 October 1953. The USAF operational evaluation from November 1953 to December 1955 found the new fighter to have superior performance but declared it not ready for widescale deployment due to various deficiencies in the design.

A wicked looking fighter and this was one of my first model kits that I built as a kid.


fire at will Miss Kay jay

By popular demand here she is for a middle of the week pin up update.   Lethal weapon Miss Kay Jay returns today in an “if looks could kill” theme for a sizzling edition from last February ‘s 2011 shoot!


it’s miss Kay jay friday, an arizona pin up update

Here is one more post for a gorgeous Friday.  Miss Kay Jay is the very lovely and talented lady from Arizona who a few months back had a small feature post in the beloved red dress series (  ).  Today here she is again giving her take on an aviation pin up theme.  She is every inch an amazing model, and her style is sleek, elegant, and very sassy.  She is a favorite to work with and look forward to more shoots in the future, so until then enjoys some new pics from one of the queens of Arizona modeling.  Miss Kay Jay.

kay jay 1

Kay in Color

Kay in B&G

Kay give-n the big gun a go

For more of Kay see the link below


the Enterprise-e shuttle bay from the sotl calendar

Howdy and good morning everyone, this is the piece that was created for the Ships of the Line calendar, and here is the process of how it came to be… Doug Drexler called and asked if I wanted to submit another piece for the 2011 calendar, and I was so happy to be able too.  From a personal challenging point of view, I wanted to see if I could do the whole thing in Photoshop and thus I bit off more than I could chew because I had never taken on such a big task in Photoshop before…..  It took a very long time to make everything work this way but I was very happy with the end result.  What Doug needs to get the calendar going is a few ideas and then some sketches to pitch the concepts to Pocket books in New York.  A big nod has to go to the USS Midway CV-41  for the inspiration from which the idea came. My friend, Nelson, and I had just had our first tour of the Carrier in San Diego after a week at Comicon and once we were below the flight deck, we were in the aircraft storage area of the ship.  The bay was almost the entire length of the flight deck above and one incredible site to behold.  I was imagining the E bays looking like this in my head but didn’t really think about rendering the concept until the calendar art was in the works.

The bay pictured in the drawing is the one situated at the back of the saucer.  The first sketch shows a rough view of the angle and what the surroundings will be like.  I drew the first pass in the wrong format so I had to add more length to the left side before I got the go ahead from Drexler. Once all was ago, I started the piece off with a very clean pencil drawing, did a scan and then began to texture and paint away.  It was way hard to find grid and metal screen textures that were usable, and I spent more time researching than drawing at times, HAAA!  I’m sure this is a big issue with those of you who live in CG and 3D land that you build more than you need.  I did the same with putting a large amount of under the grates equipment below the floor line and once I put the shuttles on top of grates the details were all hidden.  Lost a couple of days with that idea LOL.  From there it was a lot of fun to find tons of LCAR screens to use, and I even found some deck crew from the carrier Enterprise CV-65 and dropped them in the background.  After the piece was nearing completion and I was passed my due date, I started to drop the heavy shuttles on the opposite side of the bay and at the last minute left them out so the wall details could be seen.  I went back and forth with this layer and in the end, I’m glad I left it turned off.  The hanging shuttles were a fun way to fill space and add another layer of detail.  The ships were designed to be the fighter group that were added to the ship’s arsenal after the Nemesis refit.

I have mentioned this loosely in past posts, but if the chance arises I name the shuttles after people that I highly admire.  There are never enough shuttles to do this idea any justice so the names rotate as the drawings for the Trek films are being drawn.  In every drawing I do, though, there is ALWAYS a shuttle named for  the great “Siouxsie Sue” my all time favorite singer.  Siouxsie has the most beautiful voice and many a drawing have been done with her music as the backdrop.  In the mid 70’s one of her first band’s was named “Siouxsie and the Banshees”.  Years after the fact I found out she had an alternate band called the “Creatures”, and at the present time  Siouxsie has gone solo and she only gets better with time!!!  Love ya, Sioux.  Next is the Yeager named after  the great Chuck Yeager.  Remember “the Right Stuff”????   Yeager is the test pilot who broke the sound Barrier in October of 1947 and is still flying today.  The next shuttle was named after pilot Glen Edwards, Glen was one of the pilots that was killed in a test flight of the Northrup YB-49 (The Flying Wing).  Muroc AFB was renamed Edwards Air Force Base in his honor in 1950.  The 4th Shuttle was named after William J. Fox, another USAF General that has a small airport named after him in Lancaster, CA.  A few days after the drawing was out of my hands, news came that my friend Robert McCall had passing away.  This terrible news hit me hard!!!  If this name is unfamiliar to you, Bob is the space artist from Arizona who is best known for his works on 2001 a Space Odyssey and his massive murals at the Smithsonian depicting NASA and the quest for space.  I made a quick call to Doug and he let me replace the Fox shuttle with the McCall shuttle in Bob’s Honor.  On an interesting note, except for Siouxsie all of the above men listed knew each other.  Bob’s passing was a sad time, but it was so nice to be able to honor him in such a memorable way. So with that all said, Thanks go to Doug and a few of my heroes that got to be a part of the drawing.  Enjoy, and more from the world of Trek to come.

the e exterior

sketch of the E bay

view of the E bay from the ILM miniature

the USS Midway, CV 41

the first sketch

the reformatted sketch

the full placement rendering

in the works

more penciling

the background painting and I found that cigarette smoke makes for a great galaxy detail

the bay minus the graphics and shuttles

even more pencilings

and the final piece

little details 1

little details 2

little details 3

little details 4

Siouxsie from the early 90’s

Siouxsie from today

Capt. Glen W. Edwards

Edwards Yb-49

Chuck Yeager and the X-1

Yeager in the cockpit of the NF-104

Robert McCall

McCalls art from 2001


robert mccall, saying goodbye to a good friend

Robert T. McCall

I just got word of Robert McCall’s passing yesterday and am so very sad to hear this news…I had been working on a special about Bob for the blog here and am sad I didn’t get it finished in time for him to see.  Mr. McCall was 90 years old and painting away when he passed away last Friday, February 26th, 2010.  Many of you know of  Robert McCall, or if you don’t, I am sure you have at least seen his work.  He was a legendary artist, and his work has covered a multitude of subject matters.  At heart he was an astronaut, a pilot, and mostly a dreamer, with pencil and paintbrush as his means to take you to places far beyond the bounds of Earth.  He was a visionary genius who’s strokes on the canvas took us to places where no man had gone before!!  With his feet firmly planted on the ground, his imagination new nothing of shoes for his visions, always looking towards the heavens.

Bob’s work covered the world of aviation, from the big propeller driven planes to the supersonic hyper jets…from present day to historical space exploration and well into the future.  He re-landscaped the state of Arizona in many futuristic styles with incredible imagination…He created some of the most beautiful stained glass windows for many of the churches around Phoenix; he also created massive murals for the Smithsonian, Edwards AFB and beyond.  He created some of the most memorable art and designs for many motion pictures including the world of Star Trek.  He created many mission patches, as well as stamps for the US post office.  Mr. McCall’s work has no bounds, and he has done something for just about everything.  He was a true gentleman at heart with an endless imagination.  He was a loving husband and father, and he was a friend to everyone.  To me, he was my first artistic hero and for the last 13 years or so had become a very good friend.

As a young boy growing up in Arizona in the 60’s, I was captivated by aviation and especially by all the Gemini and Apollo missions taking us to the moon!!!  My whole world revolved around these things, and in early 1973 my mom had found a painting of a new NASA project called Skylab.  The painting was by an artist named Robert McCall, and I was glued to that picture for weeks!!!  I would try and draw it myself using Bob’s painting as a guide.  That little painting hung on my wall right next to my Apollo 17 mission patch that was also drawn by McCall.  My parents subscribed to “Arizona Highways” magazine, and it showcased everything beautiful about Arizona and it’s people in pictures.  I remember getting the mail in August of 1975 and the new AZ Highways was in amongst the other letters; on the cover was this beautiful wrap around painting of a Chromed city situated in the AZ desert.  Wow, I thought, “This is really cool.”  Looking through the pages, it was filled with fantastic art depicting solar cities and fantastic craft floating around the state.  The back of the mag was covered with some incredible space craft paintings and even the Apollo Soyuz stamps that McCall had drawn.  I looked at these drawings for months with such fascination.  Again, I had my tablet out and tried to draw these incredible things that graced the many pages that lie in front of me.  I took the mag to school and showed it to everyone I knew.  I showed my science teacher, Mr. Chuck Bell, and he became one of the most influential teachers in pushing me to become an artist.  Always with an encouraging word and giving me extra art assignments using McCall as my guide, he would take the finished art and showcase it on the wall behind his desk.  Outside of my parents, Mr. Bell was the first adult that took that that little extra time to encourage me on my way.  He is a great man and I owe him a great amount of thanks.

About this same time I got my first turntable and my dad bought me the soundtrack of the movie Jaws and the movie 2001.  Holy cow, the art on the 2001 album was by McCall, and again I couldn’t put the jacket down.  Far more detailed than what I had seen of his work in earlier years, the details were mesmerizing, and the way he used the lighting and the thick heavy shadows was awesome.  What I thought was so creative with his 2001 work was that he only showed you part of the ships.  Most of the craft would be off the canvas, thus making things seem far too massive to fit all on one page.  His work was magical, and he depicted weight and mass combined with light in shadow with such grace and elegance.  The “Arizona Highways” mag had got me drawing everything in McCall style.

A few years later, Star Wars & Close Encounters came out and started the big theatrical run of everything Sci Fi.  During that fantastic movie run, one of the big anticipated films to come was Star Trek:  The Motion Picture.  “Starlogmagazine was the big source of sci-fi info back in the 70’s, and when ever possible they would show what ever they could of what was coming next.  It would usually be some artwork or a teaser picture, but for Trek they showed some of McCall’s production paintings for the flying through Vger segment.  WOW!!!  Bob’s work is a part of STAR TREK!!!  I wanted to see it even more just because of his involvement.  After seeing the film and now 30 years later that sequence is still one of my favorite parts of the film.  All of Bob’s creative imagery combined with that incredible Jerry Goldsmith score made for one amazing moment in motion picture history!!!  Just a few short weeks after Star Trek was released, Bob’s work would be seen again, but this time as the principle designer for Walt Disney’s The Black Hole. Mr. McCall designed the Cygnus for the film which, in his original designs, was a ship composed of solid panels and high towers.  As the film’s designs progressed, Bob’s profile of the ship stayed the same, but the outer look turned into a series of beautiful and intricate framing and piped under-structures.  For the look of the filming miniature, the vessel was lit from within and gave it a very haunting look and feel against the deep space backgrounds.  The Cygnus was one awesome ship and is one that adds to a very vast body of work for McCall.

Time rolls on and Arizona Highways & Starlog keep Bob’s work and what his projects are up to date.  Moving away from the film industry he continued on with his space work for NASA and many museums and AFB’s around the country.  In the 90’s a great many art books are published on Bob’s work.  Thanks to Mr. McCall’s influence and inspiration, I was at that time celebrating my 10th anniversary of working in the movies as an artist.  It’s 1995 and I had had Robert McCall’s phone number for years but was too nervous to call.  All of the gang in the Star Trek art department were fellow fans of McCall, the Okudas, Jim Van Over, Anthony Fredrickson, and especially Doug Drexler.  It was Christmas break from Star Trek, and I was on my way home to see my parents.  One fine December day I worked up the courage to call, and he answered the phone.  What an awesome moment!!!  After a brief conversation, he invited me over to his place!!!  I had just finished the preliminary designs for the Enterprise-E and had made a copy of it, as well as a bunch of other artwork, as a gift of thanks.  Bob’s house was nestled in the hills of Scottsdale, and he and his wife, Louise, met me at the door.  Louise is an artist as well, and flowers are her forte.  She has such a beautiful style to her work, and she makes prints and cards of her creations.  Bob’s art room was a big open area with big flat cabinets holding generations of work, as well as many big pieces hanging around the room.  The first piece to catch my eye was a painting of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  It was a huge painting, and Bob went on to say it was one of 8 paintings he did for the movie Tora, Tora, Tora. I had no idea that he had worked on that classic motion picture.  We had a great afternoon, and Bob and Louise were extremely gracious; It seemed like we we had been friends for years.  Bob signed three of his books for me, as well as a print from Star Trek, and Louise gave me a pack of her flower prints.  It’s not every day you get to meet someone you admire, and in the movie industry disappointment is usually what follows, but as for meeting the McCalls, it was the start of a great friendship.  We kept in touch throughout the years and would visit often when I was in town.  Robert’s daughter runs his website and does one mighty fine job, so be sure to follow the link below and spend some time looking and reading all of the incredible stuff there.

We  will miss you dearly Robert…and to Louise and your kids and your grandkids, I send my very best and prayers as well.

below are some of  Mr. McCall’s beautiful paintings…

from 2001

another from 2001


the Cygnus

Apollo 8 introduction to the art of Robert McCall

full spread of the August 1975 Arizona Highways magazine

one of Bob's paintings from the Aug 75 AZ Highways

Bob in his studio

cover art for "Our World in Space"

Bob's note written in "Our world from Space"

cover art

a note from Bob in "The Art of Robert McCall"

and a final note from my friend

cover art

Thank you, my friend, for all you have done.


by request the F-86 Sabre jet









My other car’s a jet fighter, the aircraft in my neighborhood, part 1

By popular demand, here are some images of the jets parked around town that I go and take pictures of often.  Living in the high desert and in close proximity to both Edwards AFB, Plant 42, Lockheed and a variety of other aviation corporations, the rich history of aviation is spread thick throughout town!!!  I so love where I live and have such admiration and respect for all the incredible  achievements that have been made here.  So with that, Happy Friday to all and thanks again for coming by to visit and especially for all the notes & prayers to Carlene.

Be sure to get your “Right Stuff” soundtrack out and play it as  you look at these pictures!


from the Edward's archives comes this shot of the X-1 pit

from the Edward's archives comes this shot of the X-1 pit


now it's a parking lot and a few years ago it was to be filled in for more parking but a bunch of folks on the base made it a historical monument so it was saved from destruction and will be around forever!

now it's a parking lot and a few years ago it was to be filled in for more parking but a bunch of folks on the base made it a historical monument so it was saved from destruction and will be around forever!


the last of the NF-104's with the rocket pack attached to the tail, this is the one Yeager flew and is recreated in the "Right Stuff"

the last of the NF-104's with the rocket pack attached to the tail, this is the one Yeager flew and is recreated in the "Right Stuff"

Continue reading ‘My other car’s a jet fighter, the aircraft in my neighborhood, part 1′


As You Remember It: The Lift-Off of APOLLO 11

In July of 1969, America sent the first humans to the moon. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins were aboard the mission named Apollo 11.
The launch vehicle they rode, the Saturn 5 rocket, is still the most powerful machine ever built. It generated almost 8 million pounds of thrust and even after nearly 40 years, it is the only vehicle that has carried men beyond earth’s gravity.
Watch it now, as you would have seen it on July 16, 1969, at 9:26 AM EDT. T-minus 00:5:59 and counting.


splashdown 2009, 40th of Apollo 11 celebration

Wow i have got to get to San Francisco for this event, check out the link below and if your anywhere near the Frisco bay be sure and head over to the USS Hornet for an awesome anniversary event.

WOW What a show this will be!!!

WOW What a show this will be!!!


40th anniversary of Apollo 11

This is one of the biggest days in history, and it is a time I think of often.  I was 7 years old in 1969 and lived in a little trailer off of the side of the freeway in Black Canyon City, Arizona.  My dad was a Highway Patrolman, and this was one of two trailers and two homes that housed the patrolmen and their families.  Even though the houses are gone my trailer is still there to this day.  As a kid, this was a really big event for me.  I didn’t leave the TV for a good two weeks, I watched every minute as Walter Cronkite would talk us through the entire process of the launch and landing with some awesome models and incredible art work.  WOW MODELS AND SPACE ART!!!!  I guess my future was pegged and laid out for me in just a couple of weeks’ time.  I haven’t researched who built the models nor have I confirmed the art, but I would swear it was all Ralph McQuarrie and Robert McCall.  Anyway, I would just watch with amazement as ol’ Walter would talk away in complete professional fandom.  He would walk you through the mission and tell you all there was to know about the astronauts who were household names in our house, and we knew every inch of the Saturn V rocket right down to all it’s tiniest of specifications.  I started drawing pictures majorly during this time and compiled the whole mission in little scribbles.  Once the Apollo lifted off,  it was unbelievable to watch that beautiful rocket soar by a wide angle camera mounted on the side of the launch tower.  Another camera recorded the aft view as the rocket went into orbit, and it was so awesome  to see the stages and coupler rings disengage and tumble slowly back to Earth.  It was an anxious wait for the ships to get to the moon; a couple of days to a kid was like 6 weeks. I don’t think I ever went to bed, and I am sure  all the rest of the guys and gals from the Star Trek art department were doing the same.  I would have loved to have known Doug, Mike and Denise, Jim Van Over, Rick, Andy, Anthony and the rest of the gang back then!!!  Can you imagine Doug in his little Jammies running around the house screaming as a kid back then…I might have to draw some of these scenarios just for the heck of it, HAAA!  The landing took place perfectly, Neil Armstrong was the first man down the ladder and his words will echo on forever, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Neil and Buzz started walking around on the moon setting up equipment and  placing an American flag on the surface, while Mike Collins orbited the moon waiting to pick up the moon walkers after the mission was over.  All the footage on the moon had these little faint crosses on the screen, some type of registration I guess but I had to put those marks on everything I was drawing for years to come.  The lift off from the moon through that exterior camera was breathtaking,  and all the little pieces of golden debris flying all over the screen inspired the entire VFX community for sure.  The reentry and splashdown brought the mission back into full color, and I was so sad that it was over.  Even as a youth, you felt like you were a part of the mission, as I am certain everyone that saw this amazing adventure was, too.  It was a different time, and nothing was hurried to the point of becoming a blur; the public’s minds were not exposed to the rapid MTV style of needing 4000 edits every three minutes to tell a story.  The whole event from the news end to the NASA side of things was so beautifully merged with great talent and exquisite professionalism.  This was an unbelievable time, and I’m so glad I had a few moments to relive and share it with you today.   Happy 40th, Apollo 11.  Below is a quick photo album to relive some of those awesome moments and images from long ago.  Enjoy.

Continue reading ’40th anniversary of Apollo 11′

June 2023