My trawl of the archives is also including airlines that have disappeared. Today’s subject is Midwest Airlines. They operated out of Milwaukee which was not far from me when I lived in Chicago but was not a place I frequented much. The only time I think I shot there was during an open day at the ANG tanker unit based there. I did get some Midwest movements that day. I actually saw more of their jets and Washington National as it happens. It wasn’t an airline I have many shots of in total but here is a selection of what I did get before they disappeared.
As is so often the case, I was looking through some images for a feature that someone else was preparing when I came across some other shots that had never made their way on to the blog. In this case, they are some old shots of the F-22 Raptor taken in the UK. I had made a quick trip across the pond to go to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. I had joined up with my sister and my nephew for this trip – their first trip to RIAT and one that has resulted in them going every year since!
We made a two day visit out of it. The first was for the arrival day and the second was the first day of the show itself. The weather on arrivals day was not fantastic! We had a lot of cloud dueing the day and it ultimately turned into a torrential downpour. We huddled under umbrellas and aimed to avoid getting totally soaked while those around us did likewise. A couple of guys in a tent bailing themselves out provided some amusement as we got pelted with rain.
Earlier in the day, the F-22 practiced its routine. The Raptor had come the previous year and the weather had precluded it from getting a public display as the show got weathered out. This time it looked as if it might be more of the same. However, things got steadily better over the weekend. My favorite shots were taken on the practice day. The weather had not gone totally downhill at that point but the moisture was in the air. Lots of cloud and poor light plus clouds of moisture and highly visible vortices. What more can you ask for – other than nice weather?
Anyway, here are some of the shots from that day. All was not lost!
A short drive north of Chicago is Milwaukee. The main airport at Milwaukee is General Mitchell International and, aside from the commercial services that operate there, the Wisconsin Air National Guard also has a unit based on the field. It has a fleet of KC-135 tankers operated by the 128 Aerial Refueling Wing. Periodically, they have an open house and I went up to the recent event.
This is not an air show. The field remains open and normal flight operations continue. However, the ANG unit takes the chance to show off what they do to the local community and let them know what is going on with their tax dollars. They also invite others to bring aircraft in to give the visitors a variety of things to see. These visitors include aircraft from other Air Force units, a helicopter from the army and a variety of vintage aircraft, many from the local area.
The event took place over two days of the weekend. The Sunday looked better from a weather perspective so that is the day I went for. It proved to be a good choice with plenty of sun but temperatures staying very comfortable. What I didn’t appreciate was the additional benefit of it being Mother’s Day. I got their early for the better light but most people were spending time showing their mothers that they love them. Since I am 4,000 miles from my mum, a personal visit was a little impractical! It did make for a quiet ramp for quite a while though.
As the day progressed, plenty more people showed up and they probably achieved their goals for sharing with the local community. I got to chat with a number of interesting people and, since it was quiet, was able to have more than a passing conversation. I also met a few people who might be interested in some follow up work for the magazine so the trip was productive as well as fun.
I got a few shots of airliners as well as the aircraft on the ramp. We were also lucky that one of the based KC-135s launched on a mission while I was there so a shot of that flying helped out a lot. Since it isn’t an air show, that was a nice extra! I hope to get back up to the unit in due course and find out more about them and maybe put together a more detailed piece on their history and operations.