A high-flying pastime
Strapping on a parachute and bracing himself against the open door of an airplane at 3,000 feet are all in a day's work for Ron Gerot, of Cassville, as he captures images of airplanes in flight on his camera.
Gerot isn't content to snap his photographs from the ground but would rather take to the air to get the perfect shot. Gerot's efforts have paid off. Just this month, one of Gerot's photographs appeared on the cover of the March issue of "Trade-A-Plane," an international aviation magazine that is well known among pilots and other airplane enthusiasts.
The front page photograph features a pair of 1962 Nord 3202 French post-war trainers flying formation. The planes were rebuilt by Golden Aviation. Gerot's good friend, Peggy VanGorkom, of Cassville, can be seen in the passenger's seat of the airplane. It was only VanGorkom's third ride in an airplane, and she loved it.
"I wasn't scared," said VanGorkom. "It was fun, and I'd do it again."
Gerot snapped the photographs of the vintage planes 40 miles north of Greenbay, Wisc., over the lake. He said the process he follows to get the quality of photographs he wants requires him to rely on the expertise of two pilots.
"I first find a plane I want to take a picture of, and then I've got to get another plane where I know the pilot," said Gerot. "You have to get the two planes lined up and I talk to the pilot flying the plane I'm in through a headset. I tell the two pilots where I want the aircrafts to be."
Gerot says the way he sets up his photos is rather unique and makes for much clearer images.
"The two planes stay at one altitude and one heading and my subject moves around me until I get the photograph I want," said Gerot. "I really have to have a lot of confidence in both pilots to do this. I usually bring the other plane in pretty close."
Gerot has been perfecting his airplane photography skills for the past five years, travelling to air shows all over the country. The Texas native moved to Cassville about the time he began taking photos and soon became a familiar face at the Cassville Municipal Airport.
Gerot is retired from the construction, heavy equipment business. He held a private pilot's license for 10 to 15 years before losing it due to medical reasons.
Gerot refers to himself as "an airport rat" and loves hanging around pilots and taking aviation.
"I truly love airplanes and I have a good time taking pictures of them," said Gerot. "This is a hobby for me."
Some of the air shows Gerot has attended recently include Osh Kosh in Wisconsin, Sun and Fun in Lakeland, Fla., as well as shows in Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, Alva, Okla., and Wichita, Kan.
When Gerot is not taking pictures of airplanes, he enjoys taking photographs of performers at the Roaring River Theater just south of Cassville.