|By Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl|
We begin our coverage in Part 1 with a look at the arrivals, including The Aero Experience team member Fred Harl, in pilot Marvin Pitney's red and white Cessna 172. Fred Harl met up with his friend, Don Frazier, covering the event for KFVS 12 News. Our morning coverage includes more arrivals, aircraft parking, a brisk T-shirt business at the main hangar and some super heroes guarding the planet from all villains. We will include coverage of the variety of the over 100 aircraft that flew in Monday in Part 2.
At midday, four balloons were launched, each carrying payloads of cameras and experiments designed to capture the totality from thousands of feet above the ground. Launched in pairs, the balloons rose together in parallel in the breezeless blue sky. Though it was seasonably hot and very humid, the weather front due into the area held off until the evening.
The time came to cover the solar eclipse itself, and we set up our cameras to record some images of the actual eclipse and also the lighting effects on the aircraft surrounding us on the apron. Mark Nankivil prepared his camera with a filtered lens for capturing the views of the sun through totality, and Carmelo Turdo and Fred Harl focused on other sites as the lighting changed from full sunlight to darkness surrounded by an orange ring all around us. One aircraft, an RV-6 built and owned by John Scharff of Clinton, IL, was the target for the next series of photos taken over 40 minutes before, during and after totality. We also included a few more totality photos of other aircraft, and Mark Nankivil's eclipse photos.