The Aviation Art of Richard Louis Newman

   Photo Album

Here are a few of my favorite photos either taken by myself or others, (and there are many more that I will dig out and post with time.) This is a small look into my world, spanning many years, reflecting on special moments with friends and family. The photos are not arranged in any special sequence, I will tell you a little about them as they "pop" up.
Note: Underlined names are links to that individual's website.

Approach to Runway 18: With a fresh haircut (look at those ears!) here I am easing a Cessna 172 down onto Runway 18 at Vandenberg Airport in Tampa. I am above the glideslope here and I always seemed to be a bit high on final when shooting this approach, because if you notice out the window to my left, you see water. This approach carried you in over the channel which also ran parallel with the runway. It always seemed to me that I was flying "into the water" when landing on this runway. I believe my sister Nancy snapped this photo from the backseat. I am proud to say that I took my sister, Nancy, at age 53, for her first airplane ride! I remember after the rollout looking back over my shoulder to see her with tears in her eyes. I asked jokingly, "Was it that bad?!", to which she replied, "No, it was that beautiful!"

Visit to Fantasy of Flight:
You may well recognize the fella with me in the picture on the right. That is Chas McHugh , considered by many to be one of England's premier aviation artists. Chas and family visited Florida and he and his son, Daniel and I dropped in to Fantasy of Flight and had a heck of a day admiring the incredible collection of aircraft owned by Kermit Weeks. If in Florida, do make plans to visit Fantasy of Flight! We also took a journey to the Kennedy Space Center and had a fine day there as well. Chas and Daniel saw their first "live" alligator, and soaked up a lot of knowledge about the American Space Program and the Shuttle Program in particular. When he's not painting, Chas is a helicopter instructor pilot in the Royal Air Force.

November 20th, 1993:
Obviously I am getting ready to go flying, but making this picture special is that I am to embark on my first solo. It was 8AM on a Saturday morning and very humid. The aircraft checked out okay, and my flight instructor, Rich Kossman, and I went up for a couple trips around the pattern. I made two smooth approaches and he said, "Okay. It's time. I'll be standing by the windsock watching, and if you make your next three landings as pretty as those two, I'll be real proud of ya. And while you're on your third trip round, I'm going back to the terminal to get my scissors ready."

If you fly you know what he meant. For those who don't fly, he is referring to a tradition where after a student's first solo, the flight instructor takes a pair of scissors and cuts a big square out of the back of the student's shirt. On this material, is written the date, the aircraft N number, instructor's name, and the words "FIRST SOLO". And make no mistake about it ... this is a very proud moment in one's life. Making this day even more special, was that it took place on what would have been my father's birthday (this was not planned, it just happened that way) had he still been alive. As I rolled onto the runway, Rich watching by the windsock, my sister mid-way down the runway with video tape rolling (for the evening news in case I screwed up!) I made my call over the radio announcing my intentions, that it was a first solo, and then finished with, "This one, Dad, is for you." While my dad had died several years earlier, I had the distinct feeling his was watching his boy get his wings that day.

In Keeping with Tradition:
Before the shearing of the shirt is another tradition that I had heard of but had never witnessed ... until I met about five gallons of water coming straight at me without a warning. This was my "wetting-down" and boy did they get that right.

Snip, Snip:
Soaked to the skin and now at the mercy of Rich and his scissors ... I made it through the shirt-cutting without being injured. I still have that piece of fabric and whenever I see it, I remember that wonderful day and all the smiles.

Not long after this picture was taken, the smiles would turn to tears as Rich Kossman was in a very bad plane crash and nearly lost his life. It took many months for his broken bones, punctured lung and gashes to heal, but in time they did, and he was back in the sky doing what he does best, flying and teaching others his passion.

Bath Time:
Talk about a wetting-down! I warned you the pictures were not in any particular sequence ... and now you can tell all your friends that Richard Louis Newman poses nude on his website! Imagine the horror of having this photo shown to your friends when you are in high school! That is precisely what my sister did!!! These days, I get a big laugh out of it, and for those of you who think you are actually seeing, well ... ummmm, sorry to disappoint, but that is my BIG TOE!

It is hard to believe I paid good money to get beat up like this! And yes, it hurt. If you have ever considered having nose reconstruction surgery, this is what you get to look forward too. When I was 11 years old I dove into a shallow pool and went just a little to close to the bottom. Heck, I smacked it. I knew it hurt, and I remember it bleeding, but hadn't a clue I had broken it. Not until many years later when it began to grow crooked and I could no longer breathe through the right side. Needless to say this led to a lot of sinus infections, and I nearly lost my right eye once because of a very bad infection. Finally I agreed with the doctors that something had to be done, and I went to see a plastic surgeon who knocked me out for three hours and crunched my nose with a hammer. Portions of my skull were removed because bones had grown shut in places not meant to be shut. It took three surgeries over the course of a year to obtain the desired result: Allowing me to breathe again! Was it worth it? YES!

Just in case you fall out:
It's a good idea to have on a parachute! That's me in the red helmet all suited up and ready to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. As you might expect, it was quite a thrill and everything went great until time to land. I had a choice between a barbed-wire fence, a pine tree, or the runway. I elected for the runway ... spraining my ankle (would later learn it was fractured) and jamming my shoulder, which still aches on damp, rainy days. A word of advice: If you're going to go flying in an airplane, MAKE SURE IT HAS A DOOR ON IT!

The Skyway Bridge:
My sister, Nancy, snapped this photo from the back seat of the 172 on a flight which took us out over Tampa Bay, past the Skyway and then back around over downtown Tampa. I love the way she framed this image, with the aircraft's wingtip visible and the magestic bridge towering up from below. Nancy has always been good with a camera. She has won awards for her photography and has taken photos of Space Shuttle launches that are just spectacular.

Out and About:
With Tarpon Springs in the background, friends, (L to R) Chuck Lowe, his wife Patty, Wendy Roth and yours truly, we had just had a great lunch and were off on a day of sightseeing. Tarpon Springs has a lot of neat shops and is a fun place. This photo was taken several years ago, and is often the case with good friends, you just don't get to see them as much as you would like. It was also reported here at the time of posting that Chuck had battled cancer and won. Sadly, the cancer returned and he lost his battle in January 09. A dear friend of nearly 20 years is gone but only after having put forth a courageous fight. Chuck, it was privilege flying with you. I shall miss you until the day I die, at which time, I hope to see you again.

Smokey Bear:
Smokey Bear came to the Newman manor nearly 5 years ago after his original owner passed away. He'd ended up in a shelter for three months and being a somewhat large Dalmatian and a bit of the "bull-in-the-china-shop" personality, people were just passing him by and he was becoming depressed. Enter Dalmatian Rescue of Tampa Bay, and a friend who sent me an email telling me of Smokey's plight. I met Smokey the next day and we just clicked. After the papers were signed and I was checked out, Smokey became a member of the family. His favorite thing in the world, aside from eating of course, is chilling out with Dad. Smokey is one of four Dalmatians I have romping about the house. The others are Oreo, Domino and Merlin.

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