The best time to crawl over the static displays is first thing in the morning (before the crowds get there)!
Although I don't use it, earplugs may be a good idea for those who want to keep their hearing... what's that? I can't hear you!
The WWI style planes. I believe they are replicas, not originals - but cool nevertheless. This is a De Havilland D.H.4 replica. Thanks to Roger Cain for pointing that out.
Gentle laps in front of the flightline only... no Split S's, Immelmanns, loops, etc! :-)
The venerable B-52, aka BUFF (you'd have to look up what that means, I'm not telling!)...
A little out of sequence on the history of flight thing... but presented here in airshow chronological order!
My WWI aircraft ident skills are very weak... I think it's an S.E. 5.
Roger Cain confirmed it's a Royal Aircraft Factory SE-5A replica. (at least I got one right!)
Stearmans! Really neat sounding engines.
Ryan PT-22 recruit. Had to look it up.
T-6 Texan. Also had to look it up to be sure...
One of my favorite warbirds to see in the air... the B-25 Mitchell!
To see and feel them fly, up close, is like being in one of those classic war movies. Radial engines have a very nostalgic quality to them...
C-47 Dakota (aka DC-3 in civilian guise). D-Day anyone?
Specifically, it's a C-53 Skytrooper (a version of the C-47 series)...thanks Roger!
The very tough looking B-17 Flying Fortress!
The not quite as tough (but deadly effective) B-24 Liberator
It has been pointed out to me - that that's technically a LB-30 transport that's been reconfigured as a B-24A...ok, duly noted!
I suppose someone was keeping track of the Memphis Bell name usage. I find it quite fitting on a B-52.
The pyrotechnics were great as a photographic backdrop. A smoke filled sky is just the ticket to generate that period sense.
A very rare flying example of a A6M Zero.
OK, neither gasoline or diesel fueled explosions. They used jet fuel! Comments from the 'Tora Bomb Squad', who are in charge of the pyros at the show.
One of the most agile fighters of WWII. Can out-turn most anything, but thinly armored. Eventually overcome by superior tactics and technology.
Somewhat of a treat to see a Supermarine Spitfire on this side of the pond!
Oh, my illusions are shattered! It's actually a relica with an Allison engine (info per Roger Cain). Still, I can't tell the difference!
Classic angle on a B-17. With all those guns and aircrew, it was a wonder that they had any room for bombs!
Pair of B-25s w/ a P-51 Mustang
I believe a B-29 was originally booked for the event, but had to cancel out due to engine difficulties. Too bad, I've never seen a B-29 in flight - not a surprise considering that there's only one in flight-worthy condition (I think). Still, they had a tribute to the B-29 and atomic bomb drop on the big screen.
I like this shot. The top turret gunner looks really cramped in there, doesn't he?
That's a lot of German planes that P-51 racked up!
That's supposed to be an atomic bomb simulation in the background...well, it's sort of looks like a mushroom cloud.
Very handsome angle for the Zero. I wonder if the pilot gets any flak for wearing that headband...
Really cool to have 4 radial engines rumbling as the B-17 taxis close by.
OL 927 is from the Commemorative Air Force.
Not too many flying examples of B-24s left. I think the Collings Foundation has the other one. Pretty rare treat to see one fly! Of course, the Collings Foundation sez they have the only B-24 flying (as the CAF one was technically a LB-30) - just depends on who you talk to!
I hear that some places in the world still use the DC-3...incredibly timeless design!
A pair of F-16s from the Thunderbirds take to the sky. For an aeriel recon of flight conditions? No, not really.
According to Jim Froneberger (Editor of World Airshow News):
"The two Thunderbird F-16s that made the Saturday flight as a two ship section, were not doing an aerial recon of flight conditions as you surmise in your caption. What was happening is a short practice/check flight for Thunderbird #2 – Maj Chris Austin. That’s Thunderbird Commander/Leader LTCol Kevin “ Hollywood ” Robbins flying the lead jet with Maj Austin flying his normal left wing position. Maj Austin had been sick for about a week and missed the practice show on Friday, so this flight was to validate that he was ready to fly the public show on Saturday and Sunday. You may have noticed that the two jets flew the first half or so of the regular TBird diamond routine during their flight which took place during the Tbird engine run time slot. Maj Austin passed the test and was cleared by the Flight Surgeon and LtCol Robbins to fly the show."
Now you know.......the rest of the story!
So the bonus flight was a good thing for everyone concerned!
Got to fine tune shooting the T-birds (not that it helped that much!), and get some nice shots of the 2 seater F-16s.
I believe it's an F-80 shooting star. Korean War vintage.
Opps! It's actually a T-33 (F-80 2 seater trainer). Thanks to Tony Santos for the correction!
The passenger in the back seat was pumped!
F-86 Sabrejet. Evenly matched with it's nemesis - the Mig-15.
Fairey Firefly. Used by the UK in WWII and Korean War.
Hawker Sea Fury. One of the fastest production piston engined aircraft. Looks really awesome too!
A-1 Skyraider. Very effective close support platform during the Korean, and later Vietnam war.
James Snyder & Bill Mecca chimed in that it's more accurate to call it a AD-5N. 2 seater, not 1.
The Mig-15's like a Mazda Miata... small and very nimble. Except that the Mig-15 has 23mm and 37mm cannons!
Cessna O-1 Bird dogs. Had to look it up too!
The RedBull Mig-17! Pretty plane.
You can see the Bic lighter afterburner in action here.
North American T-28B Trojan.
Thanks to Luc Pieterbourg and many others who clued me in!
Canadian CF-18 demo.
The CF-18 differs from an F-18 in that one has a "C", and has a fake canopy painted on the bottom...
Oh, and is flown by the Canadians! :-)
More Skyraider action - this time for the Vietnam war recreation.
It may look like a DC-3, but don't be fooled...it's a AC-47 "Spooky" gunship!
See? What did I tell you!
I hope that guy by the ATV put on some sunscreen lotion. He's going get quite the sunburn standing there!
A BUFF on a simulated arclight mission. Good thing he's not carrying real bombs. On a real mission, he'd be so high we wouldn't even know he was there! The Iraqi's greatly feared the B-52 during the 1st Gulf war, as the world would just explode around them with no warning. Viewed it as a terror weapon even.
A small representation of what a full string from a B-52 would look like...
Pair of UH-1s. First one kitted out as a gunship.
I read that this Mig-17 suffered damage from an engine fire after the Sunday show. Hope they can repair it.
Quite an intimidating visage...
Sean Tucker doing his magic...
...in the Oracle Challenger II!
They had a jumbo display setup showing a cockpit mounted camera view of the pilot, live during the display. Coupled with the live pilot's audio, it was a special touch not seen at other shows. Really gives a sense of the effort and skill required to do those acrobatic stunts.
After an extended wait, during which time the ThunderBird exciting music kept looping and looping, the T-Birds are a GO! whew!
The F-16 closeup is a very photogenic aircraft, especially decked in T-bird colors.
What's more, the afterburners throw a much longer and visable flame compared to the F-18.
But with such a bright sky, it's hard to make out the afterburners. Boo.
The easiest time to catch a nice solo burner shot is at take off...
The jet isn't going too fast yet!
Much harder to get that same shot when he/she (T-birds had a couple of female pilots flying this year) is going 600mph!
The other solo pilot's take off.
Nice crowd pleasing move!
Had a lot of issues with exposure on the T-birds. Mostly white on the top side, and mostly black on the bottom, and a mix from the side.
Was trying to dial in positive exposure compensation, but ended up badly blown highlights instead...
In the end, settled mostly on no exposure compensation.
With that backdrop, it's clear we're at Nellis!
You'd note that there's no sneak pass shot. Yes, I failed!
The solo pilot repositioned himself very quickly, so it was quite soon after the solo pass.
I figure I wouldn't embarrass myself by posting half an F-16, which is all I got! Still had the camera on him, but someone's head got in the way. Arrgh!
Sort of an unusual break. Don't remember this from years past...
Wish I could have stayed for the next day (to redeem myself, now that I'm more familiar with the routine!)
Preadator UAV. For some reason, the AF doesn't like the term 'drone'. Quite a treat to see these crafts, as they are not usually flown at airshows.
Reaper UAV. This one is kicking some serious A** overseas. They had them orbiting the show and transmitting video live to the big screens. They were so high up, we couldn't see them. Yet, they could track the performing jet's routine no problem!
Oh yes, do fear the Reaper! The AF just better not name any systems 'skynet'... no sense tempting fate!
The A-10 Warthog. So ugly it's beautiful!
I was very happy with these takeoff sequences. Nice background, beautiful light!
QF-4 Phantom. Restored from target drone fate, at least for now...
Nicely done paintjob!
The star of the show...
We'll see more of him later.
The A-10's big gun is the GAU-8 Avenger. 30mm DU round meant for soviet armor, but can chew up pretty much anything in it's path!
The Transformer's movie had a couple of (real) A-10s in an awesome sequence, but the Avenger gun sound was all wrong. Should have used the real sampled audio from the GAu-8 instead of substituting some lowly machine gun noises... I'm really going off on a tangent here aren't I?
The A-10 is put through it's paces in beautiful setting sun light.
There's a video out there showing Coalition forces in Afganistan in a running skirmish with the Taliban. Everytime the A-10 makes a close support pass with it's guns, you see the Afgan interpreter give a huge grin. A couple of times, he mouths the BHHHrrrrrrrrr! sound, and gives a thumbs up.
You know it's making a difference out there for our troops!
The phantom on takeoff.
Beautiful, classic plane!
The shape of things to come...
The F-22 Raptor in full afterburner!
This takeoff sequence was amazing, as was the whole Raptor demo.
Nothing short of a display of raw power.
This is why I dragged the family on a 9 hour road trip (each way) for!
Still pictures really doesn't do the demo justice. Even a video is a poor substitute. You had to be there!
It was doing loops and tailslides and spins that reminded me of what Sean Tucker did in his little red Oracle biplane...
...except the F-22 is much bigger and can go a whole lot faster!
He's about to open the weapons bay, but the camera glitched. Argggh! Had to turn off/on to reset.
The sun is setting pretty low by now, and the light is alot dimmer.
Those photographers with the hubble telescope F2.8 lenses are eating it up at this point. I'm starting to struggle a bit with the slow lens, as I have to up the ISO to compensate.
Heritage flight. P-51, QF-4, F-22, and A-10.
Should have shot it a bit slower for better prop blur. Of course, I can 'fix' it in photoshop, but that's cheating!
The light was kind for this shot.
The deferred high speed pass of the Raptor. They had to delay it for a medical helivac or something like that.
The F-22 is very nimble, and can accelerate amazingly quickly.
The thrust vectoring nozzles are highlighed in this afterburner shot.
An unexpected bonus was the Phantom.
It was stutting it stuff too, and did some very nice afterburner passes!
It was a treat to see the (Q)F-4 flying.
Even after all these years, it can still impress!
As befitting it's role, the F-117 makes what could be it's final airshow appearance, during the twilight!
Not all that easy to get pics of a dark plane against a dark sky...stealth is not being seen!
We wandered around the darkening flightline looking at the static displays afterwards...
Hoped that the lines for the buses would have thinned out if we waited a while. Little did we realize the horrendous queues that awaited us at the buses! That's a F-35 ligtning in the back...supposed to be cheaper than the F-22; but with cost overruns, maybe not that much cheaper!
The F-117 is like something from out of this world. Amazing that it flies at all!
Even at this late hour, there's people milling about the F-22.
I wanted to (so badly) reach out and touch it... but not wanting to be shot, I refrained from doing so. :-)
F-22 from a slightly elevated view (I brought a stepladder, ha!). Then I realized that other people had cameras on a POLE, with a remote release... Oh well, can't beat that.
The B-1B at twilight. Only recently figured out why it's called the Bone. B-ONE. Pretty good huh?
Big thanks to the men & women of Nellis AFB for hosting the show, and especially to the pilots and crew of the amazing planes there! We really enjoyed it!