Welcome to
It's All About Airplanes!

When I was a child, during the early 1940s, growing up in the little town in Michigan, some of my earliest recollections were of playing with model airplanes. My dream of course was to become a famous pilot, conquer the great unknown, and fly off into the sunset. However, fate had slightly different plans for me as a result of the polio epidemic during the early 1950s. Therefore, I decided that if I couldn't fly airplanes, I would help design them. So, fifteen years later, I was a brand new, straight out of the “cookie-jar” Aeronautical Engineer. My new bride and I decided to conquer the great unknown, as we hopped into our newly acquired jalopy and headed off into the sunrise. Our first stop in this journey was the “FRDC” — Pratt & Whitney's Florida Research and Development Center. This is where Pratt & Whitney designed and built the P&W J58 (JT11D-20) turbojet engines that powered the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbirds.

Later, when I went to work for Northrop in the mid 1980s, I thought that I had died and gone to “Airplane Heaven.” Northrop had some of the finest Aerospace engineers and designers in the world. At this point I became a member of Northrop's YF-23A Black Widow II Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) design team and officially entered the “Black Projects” (secret) world. I eventually retired from Northrop Grumman as one of their Program Directors on the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program. My Aerospace career spanned 36 years and I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.

One of the by-products of working on secret projects is you need to travel a lot. During my career, I worked for over twenty years on these “Black” programs. As a result, I traveled extensively throughout the United States. During these trips, I would always have my trusty 35-mm camera tucked away in my suitcase — just in case an airplane photo was begging to be taken. Even now, when my wife and I travel, the car always seems to automatically turn into airports — no matter how small. As time marched on my photo archive kept expanding. It then exploded as we entered the digital age. I've never actually counted the number of photos in my personal photo archive, but best estimates are somewhat North of 60,000 photos. That's where the Skytamer Archive comes in. I'm going through the process of incorporating these personal photographs, both aviation and travel into the (airplane) and (travel) websites.

So, as you can see, I've had a very long love affair with airplanes. This website is a way for me to share this passion with you. It is therefore dedicated to all of you who have that same passion. You know who you are … you're the one who stops and looks up to the sky every time you hear an airplane engine.

Currently, this website has over thousands (expandable) airplane photos on it. Behind each of the 250-pixel wide “thumbnail” photos is a 3000×2000 pixel or larger “master” photo. These larger photos may be accessed by merely clicking them for full-size 600-dpi photos.

The Slide-Show presentation below is comprised of 100 photos from the 2004 Photo Gallery. The photos were taken on 18 September 2003 at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Rhinebeck, New York. By the way, if you have never been to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, be sure to put it on your Aviation Museum/Airshow “Bucket List!”

Airplane Trading Cards

A few years ago, I remembered that I had collected the Topps Wings airplane bubble-gum trading cards when I was in High School. Somehow, over the years they had all disappeared. So, around 2002, I logged onto eBay and started collecting cards to put on the website. When I started out this project, I didn't realize how many airplane cards sets there were. To date, I have acquired and catalogued approximately 300+ different sets (20,000+ cards) of airplane cards. Eventually they will all be placed on the website — about 20,000 cards. Check out the Airplane Trading Cards section to see how they are being displayed. These cards are Aviation History at their very best. There is a lot more on the site: Aviation Museum Guide, Aviation History, Skytamer's World, etc. Check out the navigation buttons to the left.

Best wishes, and enjoy the website.

John Shupek

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