William Howell

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Latest Articles

Guy in the sky: Drought no joke

Local reservoirs indicate water shortages

Flying over San Diego County's various reservoirs on the morning of February 14 at about 1500' above each, it's easy to see that the water levels are not where they should be at this time ...

International Space Station flying over San Diego tonight

Oh, at about 17,500 miles per hour

The International Space Station will overfly San Diego this evening, October 8, at 6:59 p.m. The station will appear as bright as Venus. It is approximately 220 miles above the Earth and traveling at 17,500 ...

Fire fought on hill in Santee

Four planes drop retardant, contain fire

At about 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, October 6, wisps of smoke were seen from the foothills just north of El Nopal Avenue on the border of Santee and Lakeside. Immediately, up to four S-2 CDF ...

Guy in the Sky: Spots SR-52 grass fire

Gillespie Field runway obscured

I had just taken off from Montgomery Field with my friend in his Cessna 172 at 4:30pm on Sunday, June 16, and we turned to fly eastbound. Smoke was clearly visible just beginning to rise ...

How the Imperial Valley solar panel land looks from the air

Already disturbed, low productivity

My friend Richard Bailey, grandson of Julian's founder Drury Bailey, brought my attention to a construction project west of Calexico which sounded amazing. With my photographer Pam Wilmers, we struck out on Wednesday, April 3, ...

Coyote explores Gillespie Field

Flights delayed 20 minutes

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, the normal traffic pattern at Gillespie Field was interrupted when a coyote decided to take a tour of the field. Six aircraft were ordered by the control tower ...

International Space Station to soar across San Diego skies

Resupply vessel to be nearby

On Friday, March 1, at 6:20 pm, the International Space Station and the Dragon unmanned resupply ship will be visible for three minutes, flying "in formation" over the San Diego skies. Both ships will be ...

Marine aircraft conduct training exercise at Gillespie Field

Two V-22 Ospreys delay our guy in the sky

I was sitting in the engine warm-up area at the end of Gillespie Field's runway 27R at 10 a.m. on February 26, getting ready for takeoff on a flight to Camarillo. Four other planes were ...

Aerial view of Julian’s snowfall, February 22

Winter wonder mesmerizes our guy in the sky

Plenty of snow in downtown Julian this morning. I flew over at 9 a.m. in a light plane at 8000 feet above sea level, about 2000 feet above the ground, and was mesmerized by the ...