Departure day at RIAT was a bit overcast, much like the majority of the show. The damp atmosphere did have the positive effect of meaning many of the more powerful prop aircraft were pulling vortices from the tips of their propellers. This was most obvious earlier in their take off runs but you could get a pretty good view of it even head on from where I was sitting in the FRIAT stand. Here is one of the Hercs that was beating the air into submission.
A couple of years ago I was in Tucson for an exercise I was covering for GAR. There was some time when I was shooting the arrival of the A-10s on the base. In between the Hawg movements a few other aircraft came in, most of which were what you might expect. One unusual arrival was a C-130. I was trying to work out what unit it might belong to as it came in because it was a pale color. As it got closer, the markings were clearly those of the Japanese Self Defence Force. This was something I hadn’t seen before.
I wrote about the arrival of the C-27J Spartan in Coast Guard service. This means that the C-130s are going to be heading out. One the same day I saw a Spartan flying, one of the current C-130s took off. It was a nice illustration of what is now and what will be. I have seen the Coast Guard 130s around on a number of occasions but I guess they will soon be gone. Maybe I shall see them fighting fires somewhere.
While I was not aiming to get any aviation photography done while I was in San Diego, I don’t think it is wrong to grab a few shots of passing aircraft if they happen to come my way. It’s not like I planned for it to happen. While we were up at Cabrillo, a C-130 launched out of NAS North Island. It was still a reasonably large distance away from us but I did manage to get a few shots of it as it climbed out in our general direction. At least it stopped me from getting withdrawal symptoms.
Lots of my retro posts come about because I was doing something else that led me to a shot I had forgotten about. Having a system like Lightroom is a great way of throwing up some interesting shots that appear when you run a keyword search. In this case, I was looking at an old air show which had featured the Blue Angels. As is usual for their shows, the first part of the demonstration was the USMC C-130 display, Fat Albert.
At the end of the display, they land the C-130 and throw the props into reverse aiming to stop as quickly as possible. (A little bit of bouncing is also apparent in the top shot!) On this occasion, I guess the ground alongside the runway was not too stable. The wash thrown forward by the props ripped the turf up ahead of the plane and threw it into the air. It made for a pretty dramatic view. Even through the viewfinder, I could see what was going on. The shots afterwards just confirmed how much material they threw around that day!
Fleet Week in San Francisco was something I had been looking forward to since moving here. The air display over the bay had looked great in shots I had seen from previous years and that combined with the parade of naval ships sounded good. Sadly, things didn’t quite go to plan. The parade of ships happened but there weren’t very many of them so it was not a huge parade. Then the flying started but, with cloud cover coming in from the Golden Gate, the flying tended to be pushed farther into the bay and away from us.
We did get a couple of V-22s doing a tour of the bay before the real flying display kicked off and the weather improved for Fat Albert’s part of the Blue Angels’ performance. However, the cloud came right back and the Blues did a few orbits above the clouds over us and then gave up. Apparently the weather was better on the following days but I could not be there for that so I missed out. However, I got to spend the day with a couple of friends so it was still better than being at work!
Davis Monthan was not just a hive of A-10 activity. We also got a couple of Hercules while we were there. The first to show up was the one I was particularly pleased with. It was a Japanese forces aircraft and looked very nice in its pale blue colors. The other was a based aircraft which was an EC-130. We actually got to see it twice. Once it was flying around DM itself but it also flew an approach while we were at Tucson shooting the F-16s. A nice addition to the trip!