Put two guys together, each with a love for flying, and you never know what they might try.
Brooke Allen and Reggie Paul met during voluntary search and rescue/disaster relief missions with the Civil Air Patrol where the pilots are also Check Airmen, providing standard proficiency evaluations of other pilots.
"I'd thought about the possibilities of starting an aerial photography business for quite some time, but besides having no knowledge of photography, I couldn't fly and take pictures at the same time. When I met Reggie, I recognized the perfect opportunity for us to combine our resources," Allen said.
Paul has 23 years of service with the CAP and is the current operations officer of the Terre Haute CAP Squadron. He served the U.S. Air Force for eight years during the Vietnam war as a professional reconnaissance photographer and ground/airborne radio operator. He then went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration for 27 years and retired as assistant air traffic manager in flight service at Hulman Field in Terre Haute.
Allen has six years of service with the CAP, is the emergency officer and was recently promoted to vice commander of the Terre Haute CAP Squadron. He is a commercial airline pilot for United Parcel Service, flying a Boeing 767 on international flights for UPS frequently flying around the world. The company serves more than 200 countries.
"Civil Air Patrol started during World War II flying over the east coast in search of German submarines. It shifted to search and rescue over the last 50 years, but has come back full circle to Homeland Defense. The Civil Air Patrol was the first on the scene at the Sept. 11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, taking the first aerial images," Paul said.
Indiana has seven CAP planes strategically located throughout the state to fly voluntary missions for the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Association and many other agencies as well as Homeland Defense.
The pilots fly a modified Cessna 172P in their CAP missions equipped with a global positioning satellite, emergency locator transmitter, other electronic equipment and upgraded packages for the engine and fuel tanks.
They fly a privately owned Cessna 172P, without all the extra gadgets, for Blue Skies Aerial Photography.
Allen takes the controls with most flights about 500-1,000 feet above ground at a speed of 70 knots (about 80 mph) while Paul takes pictures with a 35 millimeter Minolta camera using a 200 millimeter telephoto lens. They will also soar to heights of 10,000 feet and have full digital capability as well.
"It's absolutely limitless what we can do for our clients. We take the time to sit down and talk with potential clients to learn what they are really looking for and what unique needs they might have," Allen said.
Besides residential aerial photos, they have been busy taking aerial photos for building contractors needing to see their work in various stages of progress, municipalities creating master plans and applying for grants, real estate agents, golf courses and various events.
"We're up for any type of mission. Some will pan out and some won't. We're learning," Paul said.
Blue Skies Aerial Photography pilots are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can fly out of Hulman Field within a one-hour response time. Allen can be reached at 448-2808 and Paul can be reached at (812) 877-4433.