SkyFair was a great time to see a bunch of warbirds flying around. It didn’t stop the normal operations of the airport though. As the day wore on, a Gulfstream made an arrival. It didn’t do anything special for the remaining crowds but it was still something a little different to add to what had been a great day.
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.
The FHCAM IL-2 Shturmovik has been airworthy for a while but I have previously only seen it on the ground. Skyfair was my first opportunity to see it flying so I was rather pleased. This is a pretty rare type and a new one for me so having it display was a treat. The sun was rather high when it flew which is a bit less than ideal for a plane with a dark paint scheme but that is a small price to pay. It flew a number of passes, all of which felt nice and close. Great stuff.
I have seen very few airborne A-26 Invaders in my life. They have been in museums and have been on this blog but the last time I think I saw one active was at North Weald in the late 80s. To see one at Skyfair was, therefore, a treat. It flew a couple of times and was flown with some vigor during its flypasts so we got a good look at it. It is a beefy looking aircraft and to see it hurtling by was a lot of fun.
The first plane I ever flew in was a de Havilland Dragon Rapide. It was at a small air show at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight when I was a small lad. My Gran said I could have a ride in one of the planes. There was an Islander which was the one I really hoped for. It was six pounds for a ride while the Dragon Rapide was five pounds. Gran didn’t have a lot of cash so the Rapide it was. Now I am so happy that my first flight was in such a type.
Consequently, I was a little excited to see one at Skyfair carrying out some pleasure flights. It had recently been repainted in new colors and it flew some passes as well as the normal take offs and landings. I got plenty of shots of it. Now I am even more glad I did as the aircraft suffered an accident a few weeks later at Abbotsford. A number of people were injured including its owner and pilot, John Sessions.
In some of my photos, it appears as if John is staring right at us. The pilot position is right at the front of the aircraft and it quite exposed so it is no surprise that John was one of those injured in the accident since the cockpit appears to have taken the majority of the punishment. I wish him and all of those involved a speedy recovery.
The Fiesler Storch was a most unusual aircraft. It was used for utility purposes and was able to drop in to the smallest of locations and get back out again. Speed was not its thing but it was the one for special missions. I have seen scale versions in private use and some in museums but I am not sure I have ever seen a genuine one fly before. Skyfair included a performance by FHCAM’s example. I got some shots of it airborne although the dark paint scheme was not ideal on a sunny day. When it came to take off, I figured stills would not show anything about the performance so I switched to video. This allows you to see just how quickly and easily the slatted wing lifted the plane off the ground.
The two B-25s that live on Paine Field are regular performers. When they both went up at Skyfair, I have to admit that I was not so excited. However, I was not anticipating a series of flypasts that were significantly better than I had seen from them before. They brought them in with a tight formation and some angles that allowed some great topside shots as they curved around on to the runway alignment.
Watching them line up, you could see that they weren’t going to come so close and ruin the photo opportunities. Instead, we got lots of banking and pulling with far better shots than I had achieved previously. I was not alone in appreciating the effort. Everyone around me was most impressed by the performance.
The A-4 Skyhawk is a great little jet and I really miss seeing the Warbird Heritage Foundation’s Scooter on a regular basis. I haven’t seen others fly for quite a while, despite one being based on Boeing Field. I had intended to go to a show at Tacoma Narrows to see it but the weather was bad so I didn’t bother. This one had taxied out at Olympia last year and then scrubbed. However, it was scheduled for Skyfair this year so I was hoping to finally have some success.
Indeed I did. Not only did I see it fly at Skyfair but I was lucky enough to be at Paine Field the evening before when it came in from Boeing Field. It was fashionably late but this only improved the light so I wasn’t complaining. The two-seater might not look quite as slick as the single but it is still a pretty neat jet. The passes it gave at Skyfair were nice and close and, despite the harsh heat haze, I was pleased to see it up and about.
The FHCAM FW-190 is one I have seen on the ground a few times but I have been thwarted with regard to it flying. It was scheduled to fly at Skyfair so I was optimistic. While waiting for the Skyhawk to arrive, we were pleased to see the 190 taxi out and depart. Hopefully it would be a short test flight and after a few minutes, it came back into the overhead. A very nice early turn to final brought it around the waiting crowd and there was much rejoicing!
On the day of the show it flew again. A nice bunch of passes and some good maneuvers to give us a view of the topside of the glossy paint scheme. The light was a touch harsh but the plane was definitely worth it. Combine that with the extra from the evening before and this will count as a success for me.
Skyfair proved to be a fun day out at Paine Field. A variety of types flew and they put on some nice passes that made getting shots a lot easier than is sometimes the case. The biggest problem was the heat haze which was really tough and affected all but the closest shots. One great combination that was put up was the Mossie with the Spitfire. After an event last year where I was disappointed trying to get shots of the Mossie alone, I was hoping it wouldn’t be in formation. However, when I saw this pairing fly by, I couldn’t help but be pleased with the way things turned out.