Running Contrails 2012

The condensation trails left behind by jet aircraft are called contrails. Seeing them from the ground, they turn our heads up and view them with our eyes in wonder for such a beautiful sight.

Trails were definitely made in 2012 with my found passion for barefoot running. What started out as a recreation, health and fitness undertaking has become a guide post for me to be inspired and inspire, share time and friendship, and find fulfillment with humility and simplicity.

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And for 2013, my barefoot running journey goes on…

Click here to view my Running Contrails 2012.

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The Essence of a Flyby

16 Plane “Diamond of Diamonds” Formation of SF-260FH.

On the 6th of July 2012, the Philippine Air Force staged a flyby of its “modest” air assets on the occasion of its 65th Founding Anniversary as a separate branch of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It has been 15 years since the Air Force staged a flyby during its anniversary.

Similarly, the Philippine Air Force Flying School showcased a rare 25 aircraft formation flyby of the Roundel as a tribute to all Airmen of the PAF during the Air Education and Training Command’s 13th Founding Anniversary on September 20, 2012.

The Air Force Roundel Formation of 16 SF-260FH Outer Diamond and 9 T-41 Inner Diamond.

Fate as it may seem, the PAF was once the most modern Air Force in Asia in the 1960s. Together with the downfall of the Philippine’s politics and economy starting in the 1970’s, the Air Force has been a subject of public ridicule, until the present, as having more “air” with no “force”. From territorial and external defense capability, the Air Force has been reduced to a survival mode for quite sometime in addressing internal security matters. Nonetheless, it has been a formidable force in the counter-insurgency operations, and search and rescue endeavors in times of calamities and disasters.

Not known to many, the Air Force has been pushing hard to regain its capability similar to the “Glory Days of the ‘60s”. And the horizon has begun to shine. 18 brand new Italian SF-260FHs are now flying in the PAF Flying School as Basic Trainer Aircraft.  4 newly delivered Polish PZL W-3 SOKOL have become the work horses in the Search and Rescue unit.

Additionally, 12 Lead-In Fighter Trainer Jet aircraft, 21 UH-1H Helicopters, 2 Long Range Patrol Aircraft, 3 state-of-art Air Defense ground radar systems, 2 C-130 Hercules and a handful of other capability enhancements are in the pipeline in next 2-5 years. And they are already in the final stages of contract signing for their deliveries.

Slowly but surely, the PAF is getting there, getting more Air Power. And the fitting time to witness the dawning of the renewed Air Force is TODAY, and a flyby is a priceless gesture to show to the Filipino people that they have an Air Force they can rely on; that they have airmen who can display a rare feat of airmanship with the PAF’s current “modest” platforms – how much more with the modern ones?

One may wonder, what’s with a flyby? It’s just a waste of time, money and resources.

Well, here’s a beautifully written piece on the essence of a flyby from the online Philippine Defense Forum posted by “Historian” and I totally agree with him.

“Even in the direst of times, in the worst of seasons and in the lowest ebb points of our history, there must be something to look up to, something to inspire and raise flagging spirits and something to refresh even lost hopes.  

We cry at the martyrdom of Rizal, that in death, a hero was defined and he became the rallying cry of a revolution, and probably independence, although, ironically and bitterly torn from our grasp by a new colonial master replacing another. Why should we exalt in the death of a most loved patriot, a very intelligent human being, the pride of the Malay race? Because in death, we are defined as a people, for we know are not, for motherland, afraid to die.

The connection may be tenuous. Probably thin between the martyrdom of a hero and Air Force flyby. 

But a flyby is more than inspirational, more than exalting. It is a glorious reminder that the Philippine colors fly high. It is a moment to behold by downcast and downtrodden Filipinos, when in seeing a glimmer of a flying color; he shall see a symbol of salvation, a hope of survival and a prayer that someday our colors shall fly in the rainbow, carrying all the dreams and the wishes of millions of this proud Malay race. 

Would it matter that a jet fighter is sent on a flyby? Would it matter that thousands are spent? Would it matter that blood be shed and tears be let fall?  

There are higher and loftier considerations than the needs of the economy at the present. The recollections of posters here who remember poignantly their last flyby, in times gone by, in childhoods of yore and plenty, reminds us that the flyby is a reminder, a memory, a vision that lasts a lifetime, etched forever in their minds, a story to be told and retold to their children and grandchildren. 

In the same manner that our children must be fed, sheltered, clothed and educated, in the same manner must we, the people, the government, more the Air Force, must provide inspiration and hope, by a flying symbol, even for a fleeting moment.

I do not care that no F-5 can fly. The S-211s certainly can, and so can the SF-260s and the Hueys. The Lebanese flying their decrepit Helos were in bitter and bloody civil war for many years. The Lebanese flag was tattered and torn and the nations almost given up for lost as a state.  But they knew that they must keep their banners flying for in doing so they kept their hearts and spirits flying.

There are many things we have to give up today in these trying times of our nationhood – foods, luxuries, expensive clothes, cars and things.

But heart and spirit cannot be given up. And the flyby shall keep us free from fear and keep our hearts glad and strong. No more symbolic banner is needed. 

No, sirs, the flyby is not a luxury.”

F-27s, C-130 and Sokol Helicopters.

Air Force Flyby reawakened after 15 years of hiatus.

YouTube video highlights the 65th PAF Anniversary flyby here. 

More photos of the 65th PAF Anniversary flyby here.

16 Plane Diamond Opener Pass video here.

16 Plane Diamond Final Pass video here.

13th AETC Anniversary Aerial Demo and Flyby video here.

The Running Pilot is one of the SF-260FH Flight Commanders in the 16 Plane “Diamond of Diamonds” and the 25 Plane “Roundel”  Formations during the Flyby in the 65th PAF Anniversary and 13th AETC  Anniversary in Fernando Air Base, Lipa City on July 6, 2012 and September 20, 2012 respectively.

Photos by Elmer Angalan Domingo Del-O

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A Race Director’s Debut

It all started in March 2011 when I conceptualized the 440th Aircraft Maintenance Group’s 1st Family Fun Run as part of unit’s pre-anniversary activity. It was intended to promote health and fitness and strengthen family cohesiveness among the personnel and their dependents (families).  Surprisingly, a month later, the organized event went well and it was where my wife and I started the journey to our first marathon.

The event was a success that it was replicated by the Air Education and Training Command to include all Air Force units within Fernando Air Base in September 2011 as the Command’s 1st Family Fun Run with our 440th AMG tasked as the Unit of Primary Responsibility (UPR).

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A Leap of Faith and Feet at the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012 (Part 2 of 2)

My wife and I ran the first marathon of our lives in the Cebu City Marathon 2012 and we were happy finishers. It was a life changing experience for us. Indeed running is addicting! In no time, I hit the computer keyboards of Riovana at the Bonifacio Global City and registered ourselves to the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012 for another marathon distance – 27 days after our first Cebu mary!

Our motivation was to run in the most prestigious and biggest running event in the Philippines and get that 4-inch “platito” finishers medal hanging around our necks and in our living room. Besides, it is only once a year where the whole stretch of the Skyway will be exclusively ran not by cars but by the people. Further, our run will add 6 trees as part of the 39,000++ mangroves to be planted in Zamboanga de Sibugay that will not only serve to protect the environment but also provide livelihood for the people in the area.

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A Leap of Faith and Feet at the Condura Skyway Marathon 2012 (Part 1 of 2)

When Abebe Bikila won the Olympic Marathon in 1960 in bare feet through the cobble-stoned streets of Rome in the world record time of 2:14, he demonstrated to his competitors a well-concealed truth. The fastest shoes are the ones that slow you down the least, and barefoot running is the fastest of all.

                                                                                         – Barefoot Running by Lorraine Moller

Learning, Training, Motivation and Discipline

After sunset of October 4, 2011, I ran bare feet for the first time for 20 minutes covering 3.3K distance along the Fernando Air Base oval loop (my regular running training ground). It felt great! Running bare feet is running like a child again, careless and free! Blisters on the sides of my pinky toes served as a prize for running too long. Besides, my toes (except for the big ones) are “cramped” together as a result of wearing shoes since childhood.

I decided to run bare after learning about barefoot running (mainly through the internet) and practicing the technique in my Merrell Trail Glove minimalist shoes for a month as a “transition”.

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Ran Bare @ ADMU SPEED’s No Speed Limit 2012

Ateneo de Manila University Special Education Society’s (SPEED) No Speed Limit Fun Run 2012 was a success. This particular run was organized and supervised by a group of college Ateneans for the benefit of Batino Elementary School in aid to the further development of teachers in one of the largest public special education institution in Quezon City.

I intentionally joined this noble event for two reasons. First is my support to their aim. Second is for my passion in barefoot running.

The route was pretty challenging with uphill and downhill stretches in ADMU and along Katipunan and C-5 roads. There were rough portions for my barefeet but I still manage to control my foot landing. Hydration stations were sufficient with water only drinks. Marshals composed of students and local traffic patrolmen provided safety and cheering support. Some portions made runners feel unsafe especially during road crossings where marshals were not present. After event “freebies” like photo booth, free magazine, energy drinks, loot bags, and raffle draw added zest to the festive mode of happy finishers.

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16K Barefoot @ the Timex Run 2012

The Running Pilot meets Coach Rio.

After running barefoot in 3K, 5K, 6k, and 10K running events since October 2011, my feet were telling me to start going the distance.  Indeed in barefoot running, our feet are the perfect messengers to our body and amazingly our body reacts naturally and correspondingly.

It was time to do the 16K barefoot-all-the-way! And I have chosen the Timex Run 2012 organized by Rio Dela Cruz’ Runrio. Timex Run is where actor Piolo Pascual gained respect from the running community when in 2009, he did a personal best 10K record of 47 minutes and 56 seconds while being paced by Coach Rio from start to finish. The term “sub-Piolo” 10K was coined since then. I have never made a sub-Piolo 10K so far…I’ve been attempting it!

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