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It's Airshow Season!


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I attended the airshow this past weekend at the Air National Guard Base in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and brought along my now low-end DSLR Canon Digital Rebel w/ a Canon 28-200 EF zoom lens to try my hand at taking photos. As for the airshow itself:

 

The Good-- Nice selection of high end equipment there. F-22 demo, F-15E Strike Eagle demo, F-18 Super Hornet demo, Blue Angels. The weather was absolutely perfect and we beat the traffic getting in.

The Bad-- "Due to technical difficulties, the F-22 Raptor will be performing a low power demonstration." Aaarrgghh!! Came to see that Raptor's thrust vectoring and only got to see a very limited demo of it's flight capabilities. :o: Also, the F-86, one of my faves, was a no show.

The Ugly-- Most interesting moment: The P-51 landing after the Heritage Flight and watching the F-15 have to do a touch and go right behind it with full afterburner in order to avoid overtaking it on the runway. :blink:

Waiting on line for well over an hour in hot sun with no water to get on the shuttle buses back to the parking area.

 

Some Things I Learned--

  • Airplanes go fast! Who'd have thought? :D It would be much easier to take photos if they would just fly much more slowly. You've got two, maybe three seconds at most to get your photos each pass. Of course this an obvious point, but you don't realize that pressure until you're there.
  • Unless you're very experienced, don't try and zoom in too closely. I thought I'd zoom in so I wouldn't have to crop so much and could keep my photos sharp. Well, it's much easier to crop than to fix a great closeup of three quarters of an airplane. :rolleyes: I've got lots of almost good photos due to overly ambitious zooming and the fact that-- planes are fast. Did I mention that already?
  • OTOH, apparently I need a longer lens. How long? Just slightly longer than whatever lens I happen to be using. :rolleyes:
  • Set my Canon to the Sports setting. Allowed autofocusing on moving objects with continuously updated focus, but it set a higher ISO and many of my photos are much grainier than they needed to be, especially on such a sunny day.
  • My Canon has a very bad tendency to show obvious blue edging along overexposed areas. Quite evident in some photos.
  • I have this really irritating tendency to tilt my camera to the right of horizontal. C'mon, that's pretty basic-- hold the camera straight! Maybe one leg is shorter...
  • I was determined to achieve the Holy Grail of Good Prop Blur. Like they say-- it's harder than it looks. Many of my photos came out quite blurry, including some of the Heritage Flight shots. :( Low shutter speeds are difficult enough. I learned NOT to try to combine them with zoom shots-- what looked great on my camera's little LCD display was very disappointing when I got home and downloaded them to my PC (my brother referred to my efforts as "Appeasing the Prop Nazis" ) I could get some prop blur even at 1/250 and zoom fairly safely. Don't be overambitious like I was.

Now some photos:

 

The F-18 demo-- The Hornet looks like it means business even on the ground:

 

Cargo drop:

 

F-15E Strike Eagle:

 

The clean lines of the F-22:

 

Funny, he was able to find full power on his way back to base...

 

Where the Raptor hides its claws:

 

Kinda like this shot-- the F-22 through its heat signature. Note the wingtips are sharp:

 

Prop blur! Prop Blur! Another plane with clean lines:

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A wonderful image indeed!

 

Thanks!

Definitely a lucky shot. My shutter speed was too low at only 1/100 but it came out anyway. I like the sensation of speed you get which is enhanced by the presence of the ground in this photo.

My best shot of the day for sure.

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  • 3 years later...
The commanding officer of the elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team stepped down Friday after a mere seven months in command following a “lower-than-normal maneuver” during a recent show that forced the cancellation of three of the team’s acrobatic performances, according to a Navy announcement.

 

The voluntary relief of Cmdr. Dave Koss of Orange Park, Fla., a 20-year F/A-18 pilot, came less than a week after he grounded the unit following a May 22 incident in which four of the team’s Hornets flying in a diamond formation completed a maneuver judged to have passed too low to the ground in Lynchburg, Va.

 

The Blues subsequently scrapped a practice session and an air show planned for last Tuesday and Wednesday in Annapolis, Md. On Thursday, the team announced it was canceling appearances at Friday’s Naval Academy graduation and at an air show in Millville, N.J., this weekend.

 

The relief of Koss means the Blues will also have to cancel their air shows at the Rockford Airfest in Illinois on June 4-5 and at the Evansville Freedom Festival Air Show in Indiana on June 11-12. The announcement said any other potential changes will be announced at a later date.

 

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/05/navy-blue-angels-co-steps-down-052711w/

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... Cmdr. Dave Koss of Orange Park, Fla., a 20-year F/A-18 pilot ...

A commander / light colonel (O-5) at 20 ? :blink:

In my time, that was the age of a 2LT (01). What ever happened to time in grade/service?

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Relaying from the USNA group at Yahoo:

 

The offending loop is the second one

 

1st time by for loop is from practice show day before. 2nd is the too low and bailout.

 

 

The below link is a Blue Angel video taken last week at the Lynchburg air show. Towards the end of the show the four plane diamond formation does a loop and this should be followed by a barrel roll break into the landing pattern. As the formation comes through the backside of the loop the flight leader realizes that he is going to come out of the loop at too low an altitude and pulls back on the stick increasing the g forces beyond normal which is the first clue for the left and right wingmen and the slot man that there is a problem. It appears that as the four plane diamond approached the bottom of the loop the right wingman and slot man shelled out to the right making a high g departure from the formation. The left wingman apparently stayed in place though it appears that he is flying a much looser formation as the other two leave the formation. Apparently there had been a less apparent problem during a previous performance and with this close call the CO wisely decided to step down. Most unfortunate. Hope it doesn’t ruin his career. Had to be a front runner to get the job. The interim Blues Commanding Officer (Flight Leader) will be the previous CO.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thumbs-up to Cmdr Ross for his integrity; stepping down can take more cojones than standing fast. Given that it was his error as leader (the other three are watching him, and trusting Lead to maneuver safely), there could have been FOUR flaming holes in the ground. For example, the Thunderbirds' "Diamond Crash" in 1982: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Crash

 

As said, I hope this doesn't cripple his career--he made the hard call for the good of his people.

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Thumbs-up to Cmdr Ross for his integrity; stepping down can take more cojones than standing fast. Given that it was his error as leader (the other three are watching him, and trusting Lead to maneuver safely), there could have been FOUR flaming holes in the ground. For example, the Thunderbirds' "Diamond Crash" in 1982: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_Crash

 

As said, I hope this doesn't cripple his career--he made the hard call for the good of his people.

Giving up a command amounts to a scarlet letter. Still, Gen Tom Morgan had given up his flight status as a LtCol, made Asst CMC.

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Giving up a command amounts to a scarlet letter. Still, Gen Tom Morgan had given up his flight status as a LtCol, made Asst CMC.

That's why it can be such a hard call--how tempting must it be to go into CYA mode even if it hurts the unit?

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That's why it can be such a hard call--how tempting must it be to go into CYA mode even if it hurts the unit?

Well, think of that poor SOB who stood up the first MV-22 squadron and had to face an impossible test and development schedule. He went down for pencil whipping, but did his project manager and D/CMC for Aviation? I guess not.

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  • 1 year later...

I heard this one on the radio as I drove home from visiting the family after the holidays. Unfamiliar private aviation airfield, and as noted, that road is very close to the end of the runway and somewhat raised, and should have been blocked to traffic and spectators for the approach of an aircraft that size. In fact you can see a small crowd behind an obvious barrier in the pictures, and would bet those morons willingly found some hole to be closer to the action. They certainly succeeded in that.

 

 

 

 

http://youtu.be/1RIoR8TAD9I

 

Now that's what you call REAL plane spotting! Enthusiasts come within inches of death after military aircraft comes down short of the runway
  • Crowd of 1,000 watching final landing of military plane on Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany
  • But pilot of 31-ton Transall C-160 aircraft suddenly reported she couldn't see start of runway from her cockpit
  • Brought aircraft down on a side road where spectators were standing and they almost ended up being crushed

By Ray Massey

 

PUBLISHED: 22:30 GMT, 26 December 2012 | UPDATED: 19:30 GMT, 27 December 2012

 

As lucky bounces go it’s right up there with the Dambusters – and only narrowly missed ending in catastrophe.

 

But this time it wasn’t the RAF dropping bouncing bombs on Germany, but the modern Luftwaffe inadvertently dropping one of its own transporter planes onto a busy main road, from where it bounced onto the runway, 30 yards away, as up to a thousand spectators watched in horror.

 

It was the plane’s last fight and one its pilot, Captain Jasmin Kirsch, is unlikely to forget – but for all the wrong reasons.

 

Families, children and plane-spotters had come to celebrate what was billed by the authorities as ‘the final flight’ for the 31-tonne Transall C-160 military transporter plane.

 

The drama unfolded as the colossal plane - which was being de-commissioned by Germany’s armed forces - came in too low and landed about 100 feet short of the runway on a main road built along a raised embankment.

 

The consequence of this was chillingly spectacular but potentially catastrophic.

 

As spectators lined the runway capturing head-on in film and video the moments of the plane’s final approach and landing into Ballenstedt airport in Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany, its nose appeared to dip quite low.

 

But horror struck as six of the plane’s landing wheels thudded into the raised road embankment causing the plane to bounce back into the air, with its wings waggling momentarily to the right.

 

Some of the onlookers closest to the road were forced to duck and dive for cover just feet (and possibly inches) away from its 131-feet wings and propeller blades.

 

The Transall C-160 military transporter plane flew another 30 yards to the start of the runway where 100 yards further on its pilot brought it to a safe stop.

 

[...]

 

The Luftwaffe said they were investigating the issue of the raised road.

 

Wing commander Kai Gudenoge, spokesman for the Luftwaffe in Köln-Wahn, said: ‘The problem of the raised road does exist. Whether it is the only cause, I can’t say. We still feel the shock in our bones.’

 

He said the problem was not the plane but the insufficient barriers: ‘We had from the airport authorities the confirmation that streets should have been clear’.

 

The Transall C-160 which has a crew of three and can carry up to 93 troops was built by a French-German consortium Transporter Allianz and has been in service around the world – including Afghanistan - since 1965 with the German, French and South African military with some 214 built until 1985.

 

 

 

I'm waiting for the official report to show up, but willing to give the lady at the yoke the benefit of the doubt.

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