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