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The Shot List: My Top Five Video Experiences

Posted on: March 30th, 2011 by Tom McDonald

In my last blog, I shared my adventures of being on the video crew for the 2009 Iditarod. It got me thinking of all of the amazing experiences I have had behind the camera. In my early news days, Dana Haynes, Reporter KHQ-6 News said it best, “Doing what we do is like taking a field trip every day.” It is true, through the years in news and now in video production, I have witnessed countless life experiences both good and unfortunately, sometimes tragic. Over the coming weeks, I will share some of the best.

5. Refueling a B-52 Bomber in Mid-Air

The Mission was with the 92nd Refueling Wing of The Air Force out of Fairchild Air Force Base. The airplane was a KC-135, which is essentially the same design as the Boeing 707 passenger plane without the seats or drink cart. Oh yeah, it also has a fuel hose coming out of the rear. I was assured that this was a type of a plane that could lose all but one engine and still make it home. Thankfully, they did not have to prove this to me. We took off on a real mission and somewhere over the Pacific, we connected with a B-52 bomber which flew underneath as we re-fueled it. To get the shot, I had to lay on my belly with the camera on my shoulder looking out of a window below the tail. Cramped next to me in a space about the width of a large sleeping bag was the fuel hose operator controlling the refuel with a joystick. I remember trying to get a good shot in an uncomfortable situation and the operator nudging me at first, then pushing me rather assertively with his elbow. It is probably not a good thing to inhibit a man trying to pour jet fuel into a huge plane in mid-air. His annoyance of the pesky videographer was soon tempered, however, as he watched me turn green on the unbelievably long and bumpy ride back to the base. For the record, though, I held my lunch.

To be continued…

Some cool pictures from Fairchild AFB.
http://www.fairchild.af.mil/photos/slideshow.asp?id={8C1168FA-3990-4492-86E6-003D5107E356}

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