Saturday, March 31, 2012

U.S. Navy Blue Angels - Florida International Airshow

U.S. Navy Blue Angels - Florida International Airshow:
This year, I didn’t actually manage to get to the airshow on Saturday or Sunday.  Other commitments kept me away but, I did get a chance to see some of the flying acts on their Friday practice day and on Sunday late in the day.  I didn’t like missing the static displays and I never did catch the B-29 Fifi in flight as I wished but, it was still fun to watch the performances from a distance.  I did manage to catch the diamond formation in some dramatic light though.
One benefit of being off the flightline is that you can get some somewhat unconventional views of the aircraft as the form up.  For example, the Blues are famous for some of their inverted flight routines.  I managed to catch this one as a sequence as they flew in, inverted and continued down the runway.

You also see some of the formation breaks that occur out of the view of the general attendees like this one where the formation of all six breaks out to go to the individual and four aircraft routines.

And here are a couple of other incidental shots of the Blue Angels.  As usual, just click for a larger view.

Indianos Querem Parceria Com o Brasil em Seleção do Rafale @ Blog Defesa BR

Indianos Querem Parceria Com o Brasil em Seleção do Rafale @ Blog Defesa BR

Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar) / 一式戦闘機

Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar) / 一式戦闘機:
A photo from a vintage November 1943 magazine.
A Hayabusa stationed in the Central China front getting some final maintenance touches before taking off for the next mission.
Note the very interesting camouflage net and the pristine condition the aircraft is in.
Perhaps it's the same with this aircraft from a different angle.

Test Pilot Engine Trouble, England, 1940From Adventure With...

Test Pilot Engine Trouble, England, 1940

From Adventure With...

Test Pilot Engine Trouble, England, 1940

From Adventure With Fate, by Harald Penrose:
“..Having rumbled in with one engine stopped, it was impossible to taxi, so I switched off the other, clambered out, and began walking to the distant office and hangars.

A small phalanx of RAF personnel came marching towards me armed with rifles and bayonets. Half way we met. They halted with guns pointing aggressively.

‘What is that aeroplane?’ demanded the corporal in charge.

‘A Whirlwind.’

‘Never ‘eard of it. Where are you from?’

I had forgotten that the machine was still on the Secret List. ‘From Yeovil,’ I said. ‘I’m a test pilot.’

‘Then why are you wearing civilian clothes? You could ‘av stole that machine. You’re under arrest. Fall in.’

I tried to explain. It was no good. The scene was ludicrous. ‘Mind those damned guns don’t go off,’ I hopefully said, but he took no notice. Two sharp bayonets were pointing at my tail, and I was forced to march to the Duty Officer for interrogation. Because this had only been a local flight I carried no identity card, so it was not until he had telephoned Westland that my story was believed, and then with charm and apology I was given a cup of tea.”

(photo via)


Most Lexicans know that among Lex’s favorite duty stations was NAS Key West, FL, home of VF-45, the East Coast dedicated Adversary squadron. VF-45 provided services with a variety of jets to imitate likely threat aircraft (such as MiGs of various sorts, and Mirage’s as well) that USN/USMC pilots might encounter.
Here’s a sampling of the three primary aircraft VF-45 operated there, the A-4 Skyhawk, the F-16 Viper, and the F-5 Tiger II.



TA-4J, VF-45, Jul 1990, Friddell Collection




Update:  Here’s a (somewhat crude) profile of an A-4E in VF-45 colors…if you look real hard at the canopy rail you’ll see Lex’s name (well, probably too small to see at this scale, but trust me, it’s there).  – RJL

Thursday, March 29, 2012


LA FOTO DE LOS CINCO MIL EUROS: ¿Por qué vale cinco mil euros esta fotografía de un Ju-52? Es el precio más alto que he visto hasta la fecha, que se pide por una sola foto.

La link por si la queréis comprar. Que conste que yo no tengo nada que ver con ella.

Early Gunship — Spooky, the Douglas AC-47

Early Gunship — Spooky, the Douglas AC-47:
Early Gunship — Spooky, the Douglas AC-47
30º 28′ 01″ N / 86º 33′ 40″ W
During the Vietnam War seemed to teem with strike aircraft ranging from helicopter gunships to strategic bombers. It was an asymmetric war fought against an opponent who often could afford to sit and out wait attacking aircraft loiter time and most likely to assault at night — especially the remote fire bases. Service men modified the noble C-47 Skytrain so that it could be a platform which could carry ammunition and fuel enough to stay on station for hours. Armed with three 7.62mm Miniguns that could be selected to fire at either 4000 or 6000 round per minute there was enough weight of fire to place a round every few feet over the area of a football field within three seconds. But those are numbers. The result meant that attacks could be broken and troop concentrations disrupted which was a welcome relief from the outnumbered fire base under siege or the patrolling infantry unit desperately trying to break contact. Carrying nearly four dozen flares a Spooky could also deny the night, further taking initiative away from attacking forces.
The added workload for the pilot could give many pause. Aside from flying a slow and large target well within range of AAA and most rifles (3000 feet/1000m above ground level) while, perhaps, dropping flares (great for the defenders but just as great benefitting enemy gunners firing at the aircraft) there was the matter of laying fire onto the target. The pilot would calculate (mentally I think) flight time of the bullets and the slant range to render a solution of how many degrees to bank the left wing, deciding to fire sometime after the propeller hub passed beyond the target and countering for the effect of the recoil of the weapons. Every situation must have been highly dynamic.
As we know, the devil is in the details — three 7.62mm Miniguns mass enough fire power to blunt an assault or tear up a truck park but the pilot had communicate with the friendly combatants on the ground — pilots and combat infantry work in entirely different dimensions. An all-important knoll does not show up on the pilot’s aerial map and the pilot cannot fire if he cannot identify the target. Typically a forward air controller (FAC) intervenes for the ground units in air strikes, being able to talk with the combat troops and using ground maps, employing smoke rockets to mark targets for attacking aircraft. So, Spooky pilots soon learned after being deployed from FAC pilot Dale Amend, who retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. Amend wrote a book of his Vietnam War experiences as a FAC entitled, A Duck Looking for Hunters: a Bird Dog FAC’s True Story, a review of the book will be posted soon, and Chapter 20 was quite helpful in the writing of this post.

Douglas AC-47 Spooky at the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum — photo by Joseph May

Spooky, always in evening dress — photo by Joseph May

The Spooky emblem below the pilot's cockpit window — photo by Joseph May

Spooky's hot side — photo by Joseph May

The trio of 7.62mm Miniguns which armed a Spooky — photo by Joseph May

Minigun trio detail — photo by Joseph May

Rudder, showing much use — photo by Joseph May
Oddly enough, Spooky gunships were first designated as the FC-47. The USAF has a penchant for naming bombers as fighters — the Nighthawk is the F-117 though it has no weapon to use in air to air combat. Saner heads prevailed with the Spooky aircraft and the designation became AC-47.
The previous post was on a more modern gunship, the AC-130A Spectre.

Fly Over

Fly Over:

I believe this is a KC-135 flying over Tempe

Army Air Corps Gazelle foraging in Canada

Army Air Corps Gazelle foraging in Canada:
From the UK Defence Images flickr stream is this Eurocopter Gazelle, somewhere in a field in Canada with an oh-so-moody sky. Actually, according to the caption it's at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Alberta, Canada.
Credit: Defence Images

Fill 'er up

Fill 'er up:
Fill 'er up

Air walk

Air walk:
Air walk

High roller

High roller:
High roller

youlikeairplanestoo:A contrail-making section of Boeing B-47...


A contrail-making section of Boeing B-47...


A contrail-making section of Boeing B-47 Stratojets streaks across the sky. Beautiful photo. Courtesy of Kemon01.

Full version here.

Boeing, Elbit Systems to Collaborate on Simulation for Super Hornet

Boeing, Elbit Systems to Collaborate on Simulation for Super Hornet: Santiago, Chile (SPX) Mar 29, 2012

Boeing and Elbit Systems are collaborating on a joint distributed simulation project that will link a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet simulator in St. Louis with an AEL Avionics Laboratory simulator in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The effort brings together Boeing's and Elbit's expertise in order to demonstrate current simulation and network technology as well as the capabilities of the Super Horne

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Airside @ BGI

Airside @ BGI:

I had the opportunity to merge my two loves, aviation and photography.  On a recent occasion I had the opportunity to get an advantageous shooting position and took full advantage of it.
It was a muggy day and definitely not the best for shooting but beggars can’t be choosers, if you love aircraft today’s post is for you, enjoy the gallery!