Category Archives: Air Shows

Osprey Getting In On The Seafair Action

I spent the Friday of Seafair down at the shore of Lake Washington watching the flying demonstrations (and taking the occasional work call).  The planes weren’t the only aviators over the lake though.  Despite a TFR being in place, a local osprey decided to ignore it and cruise along the shore line.  I never saw it actually dive after any prey for the whole time I was there.  Instead it would just start towards the south end and gradually drift northwards.  After it had completed the leg, it would return to the start and repeat the process.

Fortunately, it was very close to the shore and nowhere near the display box so there was no risk being posed to the performers in the show.  However, it was quite a distraction to everyone around where I was and we would turn to watch it rather than the display aircraft each time it came through.  Initially it was a little offshore and a bit of a reach with the long lens but it came progressively closer in and was right overhead on a number of occasions.

Ye Olde Pub

Erickson took their B-17, Ye Olde Pub, to the show at Klamath Falls.  However, we first got to get a look at her when we stopped at Madras where she was out on the ramp being prepared for the trip south to the show.  When she did make the transfer, we were ready for her arrival and then got a few chances to shoot her undertaking the display routine from a variety of locations both outside and inside the airfield.

She is a good looking B-17.  I like the painted aircraft more than the bare metal versions (although there is not a huge amount in it).  That makes her appeal to me a lot.  (I do get a little annoyed by cutesy words with an added “e” but will let that go for now.)

Rippling The Wing Skin Of A 40 Year Old Jet

The F-15 Eagle recently had the fiftieth anniversary of its first flight.  It is hard to come to terms with the fact that a jet that I still think as high up the pecking order is really over fifty years old.  Of course, the jets in service now are not the originals but the F-15Cs started production in fiscal year 78 which meant they were delivered from around 1980 onwards.  Therefore, they are over 40 years old which is quite something for a jet getting such heavy use today.

The 173FW put a four ship of F-15C/Ds up for the Sentry Eagle 2022 air show.  They tore up the field in an impressive way for the practice days and the main show itself. Having been a fan of the F-15 since my youth, this was a lot of fun to watch.  I got a series of shots of one of the jets as it pulled hard to the vertical in full burner and then turned towards the crowd direction.  Looking at the surface of the rear wing, there is definitely some deformation of the skins as the structure is loaded up.  This is not a problem.  It is quite common to get aircraft skin to ripple under varying load conditions but it is usually something that is more common on aging airframes.

Tactical Air F-5

The provision of aggressor services continues to expand across air forces.  Some have come and gone and it is a developing situation with various old or retired military aircraft being picked up by the contractor market to provide services.  Some of these seem to have a short life span as the demands of the customers increase beyond the point that older jets can be effective.  One operator is called Tactical Air.  They are operating a bunch of F-5s and have some based ay Klamath Falls.

One of their aircraft was on display in a hangar at Sentry Eagle 2022.  It wasn’t the ideal conditions to try and get a shot of it but it was there and I was hardly going to pass it up.  Earlier in the day, one of their jets had been towed to the north end of the field.  I grabbed a shot as it passed, wrongly assuming it was a visiting T-38 and only realizing it wasn’t later.  They had other jets parked at the alert facility but it was the sort of place that showing up with a camera seemed like it might be counterproductive so I didn’t get any shots of them.

Buzzed By A Bearcat

We were standing out to the east of the runway at Klamath Falls when the Erickson team was practicing their display ahead of the show at Sentry Eagle.  I was looking in the wrong direction when someone called out that the Bearcat was diving in on us.  I swung around and pulled the camera up at the last minute.  Needless to say, I did not get the greatest shots of the plane but it was coming right at me so I will go with the best I could get.  It was pretty cool having a Bearcat buzz right over my head!

Yak With Gear Issues

The opening fly day at Skagit County included a bonus in the form of a visiting Yak 3.  It arrived early in the day and then started up to be part of the flybys.  On one of the passes, the gear did not look fully up and then, at some point while it was off to the east, the gear door came off the plane.  Fortunately, it didn’t cause any serious issues and the pilot was able to land safely.

When he taxied in, it was easy to see that the door was missing on one of the legs.  I wondered how long the plane would be down for but I understand it ferried home later in the day to allow them to sort out the repair.  Plenty of planes have lost gear doors over the years.  As long as they come away cleanly and don’t damage any systems as they depart, things will probably be okay.

Heritage Flight Museum Fly Day

I made a trip to the Heritage Flight Museum last year for one of their fly days.  I only shot from outside and that was quite good fun.  This year, I made the effort to get up there earlier to take a look around inside before the flying started.  Once I got inside, I decided that the location was worth staying inside for given that I could watch the planes start up and shut down and also get the best of the low passes.

Sadly, the Skyraider was not signed off to fly but everything else put on a good show. We had flying from the T-6, an O-1, a pair of T-34s and a P-51.  They all flew more than once (except the O-1) and the location on the ramp provided a great place to watch the start JP, taxi out, flybys and the recovery process.  I was even able to be in the shade for a lot of the time which made for a very relaxing day.

They flew some formation flybys including a missing man formation.  Then the individual planes would do a series of passes.  Having shot a similar day from outside before, being inside did provide a good opportunity to try different things.  Outside has angles to offer but inside gives some shots that can’t be matched including the lower passes.  Besides, watching them taxi by at such close range is really cool.  I hope to get back up for another of their fly days this year.  I also need to explore the museum in more detail.

Arlington Evening Flying Display

After my afternoon out up in Skagit for the fly day there, I migrated with the guys down to Arlington.  They were having an evening flying display that would include the Ryan I previously posted about.  An overcast evening did not make for great light for photographing the aircraft.  There were only a few displays to see so it wasn’t too much of an event but it was still nice to be out shooting planes again.  Rene Price put on a good display in his Sukhoi and the Yak-18 display was a great example of what the plane can do.  Interestingly, there was the occasional hint of sunlight from the horizon while it flew which would glint off the white airframe since it was high enough to see the light we weren’t getting.

Grumpy, the B-25, flew a bunch of passes having come across from Skagit.  I guess with not much else flying, they were allowed to fly as many passes as they wanted.  Other than that, it was a pretty low key affair.

Ryan Evening Flight

Arlington’s air show included a brief performance by the replica of the Spirit of St Louis.  I have only shot the plane once before and understand it is up for sale so it might not be around for much longer.  A chance to get it again was welcome and, since it was an evening air show, maybe some good light would be on the cards.  Sadly, it was pretty late by the time they got ready to go and the evening was overcast anyway.  Instead of good light, it was barely any light.

Even so, you go with what you have.  They taxi out passed our location which is nice to have.  Takeoff was away from us so they were a bit distant by the time they were airborne but still not too bad.  Some passes over the field and then a landing form the other direction and that was it.  They did taxi back in our direction of course.  Nice to see it again but, oh to get it in nice light.

North Weald Throw Back

Scanning old photos has mainly focused on my folders of negatives.  Unlike serious photographers, I almost always shot negatives.  However, I knew that slides were supposed to be the way to go and decided to experiment with them a few times.  One of those times was a show at North Weald during my college days.  I did not know a lot about what I was doing then and that is even more the case when considering the use of slide film.  However, some of the shots are okay.

What is more fun is seeing the sort of planes that showed up at a show in the late 80s.  Some of them are familiar today while others are long gone.  A Norwegian A-26 was there which is coincidental given I have recently shot a Norwegian P-8 and a private A-26.  A Jaguar displayed from the RAF as did Tornados.  Sally B was busy then as she is now.  Some things change and others don’t.  Here is a selection of the least crappy shots from that event.