2006/06/17-18 NAS Willow Grove Air Show


I went to NAS Willow Grove Airshow on June 17th and 18th.  NAS Willow Grove is located just outside Philadelphia.  It was about five hour drive from Pittsburgh.  It was the first airshow of 2006 for me.

The Air Force Thunderbirds flew in the airshow.  This year is a historic year for the Thunderbirds team because the #3 airplane is flown by the first female pilot of Thunderbirds.  I believe it's the first female pilot flying a jet fighter of an military aerobatic team.  I'm not particularly a feminist, nor antifeminist.  But, anyways, I wanted to witness the history, and Willow Grove airshow was the first chance for me.

NAS Willow Grove has a runway stretching north and south.  Ramp area was east of the runway.  In the morning, the sun was behind us, and the condition was good for taking photos.  But, in the afternoon, the sun was behind the airplanes from the ramp.  It was not a very good condition for photography when the Thunderbirds took off.  In addition, the wind was blowing from the west, and the smoke trail of the airplane flew to the ramp area, and sometimes the airplane was obscured by the smoke.  The condition was sometimes not very good.  Nonetheless, my first digital SLR, Pentax *ist DS2, did a good job, and I managed to take some good shots.

The following photos are from the first day of the airshow.

L-39.  I see this airplane very often in airshows around Pittsburgh.
Sean D. Tucker's Oracle Challenger.  Sean survived the accident early this year, and returned to the airshow!

In the morning of the first day, the sky was covered by a high cloud.  It was not a problem for flying, but not very good for photos, and I didn't get good shots.

The show stopper was Thunderbirds!
Convergence of the four airplanes after Bomb Burst Upward.  Perfect timing like last year.  By the way, the second day's convergence was not as perfect as this one, maybe due to wind.

The following photos are from the second day.

Jurgis Kairys.  Nice aerobatics!
F-15 taking off for the aerobatic demonstration.
This type of fly-by (high speed high bank turn, exposing the top side of the airplane to the audience) is apparently called "the dedication pass."  It is a good photo opportunity, although the speed makes it difficult to take a good shot.
F-15 landed.
I was never expecting B-2 to come to the show.  It would have been better if it had banked a little deeper.
Pennsylvania Air National Guard's A-10s showed a mock ground attack.
F-4U Corsair.  It flew with F-18F later.
I tried again to take a shot of the surprise pass after trail-to-diamond roll.  I just missed a wing-tip.  Almost a good shot.
Thunderbird #3 flown by the first female Thunderbird.
A shouting (?) sparrow taken in Amish Villege in Lancaster.  We stopped by Lancaster on the way back to Pittsburgh.

Next airshow will be July 8th and 9th in Pittsburgh!

Comments are welcome.  Send E-Mail to: 

Back to http://www.ysflight.com