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Posts tagged “Aircraft

Warhawk

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The mighty P-40 Warhawk, flown by the Commemorative Air Force.   The P-40 first flew in 1938, it was the third most-produced American fighter of World War II, after the P-51 and P-47.   Warhawks served all over the world in combat during the war.   I had never seen one in person, but thankfully one was on hand for the Wichita Flight Festival this year.    The P-40 took off in pursuit of the Japanese fighters in the Tora Tora Tora show, it was great.   Beautiful plane.   When parked, it was roped off in a way that severely limited the angles from which it could be photographed.  I would have loved to have been able to get around in front of it as well.

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Tora! Tora! Tora!

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This years Wichita Flight Festival featured the Tora Tora Tora airshow.  Flown by members of the Commemorative Air Force based in Texas, the show gives the audience just a taste of what it looks like to be attacked by a swarm of Japanese aircraft.  It is a recreation of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  The group takes pains to explain the show is not a glorification of war, but rather a dynamic history lesson about the event which propelled the U.S. into World War II.    As I understand it, most if not all the Japanese planes in the show are very accurate reproductions, which were constructed for the major motion picture Tora Tora Tora from 1970.

The show is very enjoyable, something I will not soon forget.  World War II era aviation has always been an interest of mine.   Although I’m sure all the flying is choreographed, from a photographic standpoint (from someone who had never seen the show before), it was chaos and mayhem.  I’ve never attempted to shoot such an event, I was reasonably pleased with the outcome.   The show includes lots of explosions and smoke, which definitely adds to the experience.

I’ve posted these photos as a gallery, please feel free to click and enlarge!  Amongst all the Japanese planes, you’ll see a lone American P40 Warhawk in there.  I’ll have more of that great plane at a later date.


Aerobatics

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From the Wichita Flight Festival airshow last weekend.  Above, we have Otto the helicopter, flown by pilot Roger Buis.

 

 

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This is pilot Kent Pietsch flying his yellow plane through one of the more sedate maneuvers.  I just like the smoke trails for photography purposes.  Pietsch later landed his plane on top of a truck.  (Well, there was a little flat platform on top of the truck, but still…..

 

 

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These last two are pilot Jason Newburg in his Pitts Viper aircraft.


Jet Power

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This is an image I unearthed while re-processing my air show photos from 2011.  ( I have all the originals but lost my Lightroom edits in my tragic double hard drive disaster.)  My main website is run by Smugmug, and they have just unveiled a massive redesign of the whole operation.  Photographers are going to have to re-design their websites, there is much grumbling on the Smugmug forums about it, however many people are pleased with the new customization and appearance features.  I’ve redesigned my site at http://www.cfordphotography.com     The website redesign has given me a little shot in the arm of photography enthusiasm, which is a good thing.


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Stearman

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This a beautiful example of a Boeing Kaydet, made by the Stearman division of Boeing during the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Often known as the Stearman, it was a trainer aircraft for new pilots during World War II.   I imagine many a military pilot started his career flying along in the open cockpit Stearman with an instructor barking orders at them, and a year or two later they would find themselves strapped into a fighter like the Mustang in the background, hurtling through the skies over Europe in combat.     After the war many Stearmans went into civilian use as crop dusters and general sport planes.   This one was on display at the Wichita Flight Festival.


Mustang Sky

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A beautiful P-51D Mustang awaits it’s next flight.   This aircraft is often cited as the most important fighter of World War II.  Prior to it’s introduction, Allied bomber formations had to plow into Germany unescorted, their shorter range fighter friends left behind.  The Mustang’s range allowed it to follow the bombers all the way to the target and back.   It’s performance in combat equaled anything the Axis could put up, with the possible exception of the ME-262 jet fighter introduced near the end of the war.  The Mustang has a fascinating history and there is undoubtedly a huge amount of information out there for those inclined to research further.  I have read about this plane my entire life, but never able to examine one close up until I encountered this one at the Wichita Flight festival last weekend.

This a a three exposure HDR, processed in Photomatix Pro and finished off in Lightroom.   I have several others, both HDR and ‘normal’, I think this one is my favorite.   Thank you to the proud owners of this plane, a great deal of love and attention have been put into it’s restoration.


Ascension

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Another image of the Red Eagle Air Sports aerobatic team in action at the Wichita Flight Festival.


The Chase

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As you might have deduced, this is something of an optical illusion.  The blue plane is farther from the camera than the red, although they were still very close to each other.  This is the Red Eagle Air Sports aerobatic team from Alabama, they put on a great show over the weekend in Wichita, at the Wichita Flight Festival.


Taking Flight

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I attended my first airshow last weekend.  (My first since I was a young boy anyway.)   Fortunately there were no tragedies at this event, unlike other airshows over the weekend you may have heard about on the news.   I do not own a super long lens, so am not able to get those in-flight closeups that the airshow enthusiast photographers are capable of.   However I did have fun and learned a few things in the process.

In the middle of the show I recalled reading something in the past about shutter speeds and aircraft propellers.   Sure enough, there is a sweet spot for shutter speeds when photographing piston engine airplanes.  Too fast, and you freeze the propeller, making the plane look static and unnatural.   Too slow and you get a blurred plane.   Alas, many of my shots were at too high a shutter speed and I got plenty of frozen prop shots.   Nonetheless, I came home with quite a few images I was happy with.

The plane in the image above is a Grumman Wildcat, an American fighter aircraft used by the Navy in World War II.  As I arrived at the show, the Wildcat was mock dogfighting a Japanese Zero – for someone who was been interested in World War II aviation since he was a boy, this was great stuff!    I photographed the aerial acts, and the static displays on the ground, including some HDR which I will post later in the week.

The image below was one of the light aircraft on display, these machines are as lovingly painted and polished as any car at a car show.