I was working through some RIAT photos of the Patrouille de France display. I had some tight shots of the first four jets as they took off and, as I looked closer at them, I was confused as to why two of the jets had a more nose high attitude than the other two. Since they are taking off on formation, I figured that they should look the same.
A closer look at the images and it seems that the flap settings of the jets vary. The nose high aircraft seem to have less flap – hence their need for a higher angle of attack – than the other two jets. I have been trying the think why they would adopt this approach. With all jets accelerating together and climbing together, I had imagined that they would all be in the same configuration. I wonder whether there is something to do with the outwash from the nearby jets that requires a different configuration but I haven’t come up with anything conclusive. I throw it out to the aero engineers that read this to propose your ideas as to why. If any of you know anyone in the PdF, feel free to ask them instead!
RIAT is known for putting together formations of different types to celebrate certain events.The fiftieth anniversary of the first flight of Concorde resulted in two display teams getting together.Concorde was an Anglo-French collaboration and so was the celebration in this case.The Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France both fly formations to represent Concorde so, for this joint effort, both teams got airborne and flew their two Concorde formations in line astern.They made passes in each direction with the national anthems of each country playing – one on the first pass and the other on the second.It was a simple demonstration but an impressive one all the same.
The Alpha Jet has attracted the attention of a few owners in the Pacific Northwest. This example is pretty cool because, rather than being painted in some new scheme, it is still in the colors it wore when operated by the Luftwaffe. It flew a few passes during Skyfair so we were able to see it in action. I have seen lots of the French style Alpha Jets with the spinning nose but my exposure to the German style of jets over the years has been a lot less. The pointy nose has a slightly more purposeful look to me.
Dassault make some very elegant looking jets. The Falcon 7X is a particularly good looking one in my opinion with perhaps the only issue being the extension of the fin below the tailplane which looks a bit like a fix for something. This example was at Boeing Field heading out. I don’t know where it lives because it has a Manx registration which means it could be from almost anywhere. I did like the rest of the registration, though. I hope they are Scottish rather than just someone called Scott!
Union Pacific is one of the large freight railroads in the US. Their fleet of locomotives is commonly seen across the US west of Chicago. They are painted yellow and carry a large American flag on the side. However, trains are not the only way that staff of UP get around. They also own a Dassault Falcon 2000 and I saw it come in to Boeing Field. While it isn’t painted like a loco, it certainly shares a few design cues with them and it looks a bit more interesting than the average all white scheme.
I am catching up on some things that happened quite a while ago. The visit of the Patrouille de France to Mather for a display as part of their US Tour was a combination of fun and frustration. I was covering the visit for GAR and had arranged to be there for the arrival, the practice and the show itself. They were supposed to show up relatively early but they had some serviceability issues and, when they finally showed up, the sun was setting.
There was still some light when the first jets flew into the pattern. As they taxied in, the light on them was rather nice. By the time the last jets (of the day) showed up, it was dark. The crews were very cheerful despite their difficult day and they spent a lot of time with some local kids for a French school. They didn’t all make it though. Two jets had diverted with problems and they would show up until late the following day. The A400M didn’t arrive until after I had left and it headed straight out the following morning to go and fix the two stragglers. The second day practice and flyby over the Golden Gate were scrubbed as a result with the flyby being achieved after the display rather than before.
It was a few days with a mix of good flying and disappointment but such is the way with aviation.
Catching a cool bizjet is nice but coming across one that is a bit special is even better. I almost missed this one. I was focused on something else when I looked up and saw something on the approach. At first I thought it was a parallel approach but I lifted the camera up to my eye and saw it was a colorful fun that was getting my attention. It was a Dassault Falcon 7X. It was in French government colors. The fin was the French tricolor. This was a cool thing to catch and quite a surprise.
The Dassault Rafale is a fantastic looking aircraft. Gradually being built in reasonable numbers, it has broken into the export market and has customers in Egypt and Qatar and probably India although exports to India are always hard to pin down! The French air force and navy will no longer be the sole operators. The Rafale B is a two seat version and the C is the Air Force’s single seat version. However, there was the Rafale A. One of them was built in the mid 1980s as a demonstrator. It looks almost identical to the production version but was actually slightly larger. Painted in Dassault’s house colors, it made a number of air show appearances. At the time, it was competing for attention with BAe’s EAP demonstrator. I didn’t get to see EAP until I got to Warton where I wasn’t able to photograph it!
Here are some shots of the Rafale A. It was originally powered by GE F404 engines although later one was swapped for the M88 that would power the production Rafale. The first Rafale C was rolled out in an all black paint scheme which made it look very cool. The size difference is not immediately obvious but a number of detail design changes were incorporated too including lots of sensors required for an operational type rather than the demonstrator. The wing planform was also altered slightly based on the experience gained with the demonstrator. I understand that, when the aircraft was retired, it went to the Museum at le Bourget in Paris.
Airliners were not the only thing we got to see above LAX. On the south side of the field are some FBOs and they had an interesting selection of planes parked up on their ramps. As we passed overhead, it was a good time to see what was around. There were plenty of Gulfstreams on show. The view from above shows just how large the wing is on the largest of Savannah’s products. We also had some BBJs, a 757 that appeared to belong to a casino and some Cessnas, Challengers, Falcons and Hawkers. I am not sure I would be able to choose which one to use today. Maybe I will rotate them?
If you are like me, when you are shopping for your next business jet, you are always making a choice between three types. Our tricky decision is between the Gulfstream, the Bombardier Global 6000 and the Dassault Falcon 7X. They each have slightly different characteristics and capabilities but they are all great jets and suitable for our day-to-day needs. Which one to take is a tough call which is why I would probably get one of each and decide on a given day which one was best.
It came as a good thing, then, that I got to see all three types at San Jose. This is an airport that is convenient for much of Silicon Valley. The prevalence of big jets is hardly a surprise given how much cash is floating around over there. I wonder if seeing them on this day will help me with my decision?