The IL-76 is a beast of a transport. It is a rugged plane and looks like it could handle anything thrown at it. I have seen them on a variety of occasions – most recently the modernized versions used for civil freight work. The older versions with the original engines are a great thing to see though. The Ukrainian Air Force brought an example to RIAT this year. It was flying overhead when the Sukhois were landing and then it came in too. It came up to the west end where we got a good view of it. Then it was parked up on static display for the show. Sadly, I didn’t get to see it depart at the end of the show.
When I heard an Avanti had showed up at RIAT while I wasn’t there, I was a touch annoyed. I am such a fan of the type that I thought missing it would be very frustrating. Fortunately, it was still at Fairford at the end of the show so the departure day was going to be the time for me to get a shot. It took off in plenty of time before I had to go so I was treated to the sight and sounds that accompany a pair of pusher props.
One of my favorites when visiting Chino for the Planes of Fame Airshow is the Boeing P-26 Peashooter. A pre-WWII aircraft, this is the end of a generation of aircraft. Once the war started, aircraft really advanced quickly. For those that had been involved in conflict before the US actually entered the war, the aircraft had already moved on. The P-26 is a bit of a stranger in a time warp. However, the shape and technology combined with the colors make it a curious aircraft for me. Seeing it fly during the twilight show at Chino was cool and the evening light was a lot more impressive than seeing it during the day.
A few outlets have recently been covering the reemergence of the Edgley Optica. In the 80s, his was an aircraft that was coming in to production. Designed as an observation platform, it is a rather interesting looking airframe. A bulbous fuselage sits ahead of the wing and the powerplant is mounted in the rear driving a ducted fan. The unrestricted view is supposed to make the aircraft ideal for seeing what is going on below. Supposedly, the ducted fan makes for a low noise signature which helps the “stealthiness” of the aircraft.
The ownership of the design moved through a few entities and the program experienced some setbacks including a crash and a fire that destroyed a number of in production aircraft. Ultimately, the whole thing sputtered to a stop. A few airframes are still in use around the world but John Edgley, the original designer, has bought back the rights and is now trying to relaunch the project. I saw the aircraft at Farnborough back at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s. These shots were taken then. I really would quite like to track down some of the currently active airframes.
A bit more from the Raptor display today. As the jet flew away from the crowd, it pulled in to the vertical. From a view directly astern, we got a brief view of the vortices forming over the forebody. The jet was quite a way off so these shots are cropped quite a bit. I love the way the vortex sits away from the body. Chino was a pretty dry environment so not a lot of vapor to pull from the air but it still showed up nicely.
It might be a long time ago that I did anything closely related to the engineering of fighters but there is still a part of me that is a stability and control type of guy. Watching the control inputs and responses of planes is cool as far as I am concerned. With the advent of fly by wire designs, there was considerable scope to play around with the use of the control surfaces to achieve different aims. With no direct linkages to the stick, the pilot can be totally unaware of the choices the system is making for control combinations.
The engineers may have chosen to program the trailing edges to have different deflections inboard and outboard to offload the outer portion of the wing for example. The F-22 makes use of a variety of interesting control inputs. For example, it doesn’t have a traditional speed brake. I assume this was removed for stealth reasons. Instead, the control surfaces move counter to each other. You may have inboard flaps going down and outboard flaps going up. The moments cancel out but all increase drag incrementally so the effect is like having a speed brake deployed.
Since the aircraft is also unstable, you may have tail deflections that seem at odds with the maneuver being flown. During the Chino show, the usual routine was flown (usual for an F-22 but not many other jets) and, as I look through a bunch of the shots, I see some quite unusual control inputs. If you are in to such things, these may appeal to you. Gary, are you reading this?
Unfortunately, I have a rather large backlog of images that I haven’t done much with. This is sometimes the result of having a number of events in a short space of time and other times it is the result of laziness! Last year I covered the Planes of Fame show at Chino for GAR. I got a lot of shots while I was there and I needed a selection to illustrate the piece so I dived in, found some good examples, worked on those and put them into the feature.
Unfortunately, I never got around to undertaking a proper run through of the shoot. I only realized this recently so I have started to go through the images when the time allows. One part of the show I really liked was the twilight show on the Friday. This included a display by the USAF F-22. In the last light of the day, the airframe looked really great.
Running through the shots I found a few of the jet that I really liked. (I found more than will work for this post and some that I like for various reasons but won’t really gel with most people.) As a result, here are a sample of the shots I have been finding. Now I am starting to think about air shows this year for the first time. I might have to go to this one again!
The weekend I was in Madras was the weekend that the Airshow of the Cascades was scheduled. The show was supposed to be a two day affair. An evening show was planned for the Friday evening and the Saturday was supposed to be a day show. Friday went ahead as planned. There was a great crowd attending the flying with the aircraft using pyrotechnics to highlight themselves in the dark.
At the end of the evening, they wrapped up with a fireworks display which provided a nice conclusion for the evening. Sadly, Saturday dawned with nice skies but incredibly strong winds. The hope was that the winds would abate in the afternoon but, unfortunately, that did not work out and they canceled the show. These shots were a few that I took when there was something to watch. I am sorry for the organizers that so much effort goes into a show that doesn’t end up happening. I hope the lack of revenue will not have a negative impact on future shows.
You don’t often get to see an airliner maneuvering at low level. They tend to be up and away or approaching to land in a stable configuration. Each year at Fleet Week, united bring one of their airliners as part of the air show and it gets to be thrown around the bay, if not with abandon, at least with more vigor than is the norm for an airliner. In the past, the 747 has been the display aircraft of choice. Since I have been here, they have been using the 757.
The bay provides a nice backdrop for any display but one that uses a big airplane is well suited to the area since they have to maintain a reasonable distance from the shore at all times unless they are climbing out over the crowd. A combination of clean passes and gear and flaps deployed passes made for some good variety and some aggressive climb outs at high power and low weight were nice. Watching the plane turn over the Marin side of the bay was also pretty cool.
This may not be the most dynamic of air show performances but it has a novelty factor that makes it worth seeing and it certainly brought some variety to the show on the day. I’m just glad I got to see it this year. Last year they displayed on the day I was there but the low cloud base meant that we mainly heard them above the clouds but saw very little.
While I was walking around the display line of the Airshow of the Cascades during the evening show, the Erickson collection’s P-38 was carrying out its display. I was in amongst a lot of people when the announcer told everyone to be ready for a special pass. My location was not great but I got ready as the P-38 ran in for a topside pass expecting the detonation of some pyrotechnics behind it. Nothing happened. The P-38 flew by and no explosions.
A short while later, the announcer had a second crack at getting us ready for the pass. Obviously the first pass had not worked as planned. This time the P-38 was coming in from the opposite direction. I also had a few moments to try and reposition myself to get a better view. This shot was the result. Some of my friends were further up the display line and got a different angle on the shot which was cool. Even so, I am pretty happy with this.