Recently, the Blue Angels made their last formation flight with the F/A-18 Hornet. The team is transitioning to the Super Hornet ahead of 2021 and they have started working up with the new jets. It has been a while since I last saw the Blue Angels demonstration so I thought a few shots with their aging legacy Hornets was in order. They always got the oldest jets in the fleet so I hope they are happy to have some slightly newer airframes to work with.
I like having more than one airliner in one shot as you have probably figured by now if you read the blog a lot. Since SFO has parallel approaches, getting this type of shot is not a rarity although you do appreciate it when it works out. In this case a Skywest Embraer E175 (operating for United Express) and a Southwest 737 were lined up on the approach. They were offset a bit so their relative position from my viewpoint changed during the approach which provided a nice variety of compositions.
When I previously wrote you can see all sorts of thing at Santa Cruz, I wasn’t joking. As we walked back along the shore, a woman was walking a rope strung between two sections of fence. Unfortunately, she hopped off the rope just at the time we arrived so I didn’t get to see how good she was. However, she was with a group of people who turned out to be quite skilled.
There were two pairs of people working on some balance routines. It was not clear whether they were acrobats or practitioners of some form of yoga. Whatever it may be, the guys were acting as a support while the women were balancing on them. They used hands and feet to hold them up while the positions changed. They were obviously pretty good at this stuff and confident enough to do this in front of a lot of people on a sunny weekend day at the shore. There was never a shortage of people watching them at work.
Things like this impress me a lot. Someone doing something well that I have no idea how to do (or innate talent for) is bound to get me to pay attention. If you know the definition of what they were doing, please let me know.
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!
I previously talked about the visit to the Vectren show at Dayton a few years ago. One of the more unusual acts to make it is a team that apparently has a track record of appearing at Dayton and that is the Brazilian team, Esquadrilha da Fumaça or Smoke Squadron. They are equipped with Embraer Tucano turboprop trainers and the performance characteristics of the Tucano make for a tight display in front of the crowd combined with good maneuverability for the formations and the individual aircraft.
The weather was not great with low cloud and flat lighting but the lower speed of the Tucano meant that a good display could be presented, even if vertical maneuvering was restricted. The formations were tight and some good configurations could be set up with the planes maneuvering around each other during passes. I was disappointed to see how few shots I had of some passes. Now I would have a lot more to choose from but I guess I spent less time shooting in those days.
I suspect a lot of people have not seen this team so I am posting a lot of different shots in here. I would certainly like to see them perform again at some point in the future. I shall have to see where they next appear in the US.
In my previous post I talked about my trip up with the Golden Knights. It was a lot of fun and the primary goal was to get some images and information for the article. However, since I was there, I decided to grab some video too. I had a combination of the video capabilities of my SLRs as well as a GoPro I mounted on a wrist strap. I tried to make this point in roughly the right direction but it was a bit of a struggle when I was focused on shooting stills.
Anyway, excuses aside, I knocked together a short edit of some of the footage I got. Still not going to get the Emmy people excited but hopefully it gives a bit more of a feel for what it was like on the flight.