I went to the annual Cleveland air show in the labor-day weekend.
The air show is held at the Burke Lakefront airport next to the downtown
Cleveland. It is an airport mainly used by general-aviation
aircrafts, and it is very convenient because I can just park an airplane
and walk straight to the downtown. It has two nice runways.
It might have been a main airport for Cleveland used also by airlines,
but I am not sure about the history of this airport.
There used to be a similarly convenient airport in Chicago called
Meigs field. Meigs field used to be the default airport of the
Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, a few years ago, a brutal
Chicago mayor violently destroyed the airport and closed it. It
was done in uncivilized way. That dictator mayor secretly brought
heavy machinery in the dark of a night and destroyed runway and taxiway
while general aviation community was trying to talk. Now this
place is used as a park. I visited the park once, but I didn't see
many people. Building a park or a facility is a popular scheme
used by a politician to legally pay money to companies who donate big
An airport is maintained as a part of the national airport network.
Particularly, if the airport has a wide and long enough runway to allow
an airliner to land, the airport plays an important role for aviation
safety. One mayor doesn't have a jurisdiction of destroying it
without consulting the Federal Aviation Administration. What
Chicago mayor did was a clear violation of the Federal Aviation
Regulation in a broad daylight. Chicago lost the economic benefit
from the airport, lost airport-related jobs, and ended up paying big
fine to the federal government. I heard that the infamous Chicago
mayor finally resigns this year. I was surprised he was still in
charge after giving that damage to the city. That mayor leaving
the office is a good news for us, and we are hoping to re-build Meigs
field. If AOPA spends money to lobby for re-building Meigs field,
I will pitch $100 for it. What I wanted to say here is I wish long
live the Burke Lakefront airport. And, I hope I can occasionally
fly in to the airport and can visit for an air show every year.
This year, I visited there for the last two of the three days of
the air show. It was my second chance to take Blue Angels with my
new camera. My first day there was the best of the best weather
condition for an air show.
| Super Hornet
taking off. I used full-length of my tele photo. But,
due to heat haze, details are not clear.
|| During the
heritage formation with F-4U Corsair.
|| B-17 appeared
nice in the clear blue background.
Since this camera is relatively new, I didn't have a good sense of
how long focal length I should use. Previous lens was 170-500mm
and the cropping factor was 1.5x, which is converted to 255-750mm
35mm-film equivalent. Now, I am using 50-200mm plus 2X tele-converter,
and the cropping factor is 2X, which is converted to 200-800mm 35mm-film
equivalent. I didn't have an intuition of how long I should extend
for different airplanes.
I just made a rough guess and tried, but....
| Air-rescue demo
of the Coast Guard.
|| Knife-edge pass
of F-15E Strike Eagle in the perfect condition! But, I missed
the tip of its nose. I should have shortened the lens just by
a little bit....
|| 270-degree roll
before pitch-up. I missed the tail....
Oh no! I missed potentially once-in-lifetime opportunity of a
F-15E picture...... twice.
OK. I still have Blue Angels. I
shouldn't miss good shots.
| Solo taking off.
With 800mm tele photo. It came out very nice.
|| With 800mm, I can
take a nice close-up look of Bonton roll. From now on, I will
go for it.
|| Opposing maneuver
of the solos. I suppose everyone tries to take this shot.
Anyway, I feel lucky if I get two airplanes in one picture.
| This is a kind of
shot I've been avoiding. My previous digital SLR cameras
didn't have any defense against dusts sticking on the sensor.
I hesitated to aim high because it tends tolet the dust blown by the
mirror movement settled on to the sensor. But, now I trust
anti-dust of my Olympus digital SLR, and I tried this.
Although I had nice Blue Angels pictures, I had a mixed feeling since
I missed two very good chances of a F-15E picture. I came home,
and I started reviewing my past pictures. I have all the
information of focal length of each picture. Every year, they use
same reference in the same air show. Most of the low-altitude
fly-by is over the runway. I should have calculated what focal
length I should use based on that. I wrote down all the
appropriate focal length in a piece of paper and prepared for the next
Next day, I came to Cleveland with the memo of what focal length
I should use. I was ready to try again with F-15E, but....
| These guys were
flying through class D airspace of the airport without communicating
the tower! Hey! You are violating the federal aviation
|| The clear blue
sky was gone....
|| Very dark
compared to the day before.
In such a condition, I was hoping to see big shock cone around F-18E
during the high-speed pass, but I didn't see to big a cone this time.
So, it was really dry, but just dark. When the airplane is not
exceeding the speed of sound, the air flow around the airplane may be
accelerated slightly above the speed of sound that's when we see shock
cone made visible by water vapor around an airplane. If the
airplane go beyond that point, we see a news on the next-day newspaper
talking about broken window by the sonic-boom.
The weather forecast
was predicting a dry weather. At least it didn't rain, but I
didn't have a nice blue sky like the day before.
| A signature of
the F-15E Strike Eagle is its conformal tank, which is visible in
|| I trimmed this
picture quite a bit, but I was able to read the serial number before
scaling it to 1200x800. I wish the sun was out.
|| The focal length
was perfect. But, it was dark.
| Despite my memo
of the focal length, I missed a bit of tail.
Maybe yesterday was really my once-in-lifetime opportunity.
didn't come out before Blue Angels. The condition got
substantially better though.
| I aimed with
800mm again. I like this shot.
|| Double farvel.
All four pilots are visible in this picture.
shutter of my new camera is almost twice as fast as my old one.
It is much easier to take this type of shot now.
I couldn't take an eye-popping nice picture this time. But, I'm
getting used to my new camera. I hope I have a perfect weather
condition next year, and F-15E Strike Eagles flies in front of the clear
blue sky next year (and I don't choose a too long or too short focal