09/11-09/12/2010 Wings Over Pittsburgh


Wings Over Pittsburgh air show is an annual event, but it was cancelled last year due to bad economy.  I was worried when I saw Chrysler, GM, and other auto manufacturers in the list of sponsors.  And, unfortunately my worry turned out reality.  But, this year, Wings Over Pittsburgh was back.  They scheduled the air show for September 11 and 12.  As you all know, September 11th is an anniversary of the terror attack at NY, Washington DC, and Summerset.  Coincidently, the airlift wing based at the Pittsburgh Air Force Reserve Base is the 911th Airlift Wing.

Clearly, one of the goals of those cowardly terrorists was to make people fear the airplanes.  To let people think airplanes are scary.  To let people hate airplanes.  The air power is the foundation of the strength of the U.S. and allied forces.  The military aviation, airlines, and general aviation have been pushing the envelope and have created the air dominance hand in hand.  If people stop flying airlines, if general aviation is decimated, the military aviation alone cannot maintain this level of air power.  That's exactly the terrorists targeted.  And, here's the answer to them.  We cerebrate the aviation on the anniversary of the terror attack!  The aviation never dies!

In this year's Wings Over Pittsburgh, I was looking forward to seeing Thunderbirds, or course, but I was also looking forward to seeing the demonstration of a Sea Harrier.  I have seen U.S. Marines version, AV-8B Harrier II, many times.  But, I have never seen a Sea Harrier in action.  I have seen them in museums, that was all.

Sean. D. Tucker.  Morning practice flight Mass Class-B violation of unidentified traffics!

I have checked my pictures from previous Wings Over Pittsburgh air shows to find the ideal focal length for each airplane  And....

I captured a knife-edge pass of F-15E perfectly.  If only the sun had been behind me.... F-15E returned from the demonstration. Parachute jump by the 911th Airlift Wing.

Wings Over Pittsburgh air show is not ideal for photography since the sun is behind the airplane, not behind me, almost all day.  The airplane becomes darker than the background.

I wish the sun was behind me. High-G pull up A B-2 showed a fly-by on the first day only.

After a B-2 showed a fly-by, there came Sea Harrier!  This Sea Harrier belongs to Nalls Aviation and is the world only civilian-owned Sea Harrier according to them.

A Sea Harrier appears slimmer compared to AV-8B.  I suppose it has smaller wings.

Sea Harrier took off. Dedication pass.  I had to stretch my 800mm tele photo all the way to capture this. Bow to the audience.
Bow to the audience (continued) Came back after the demo. a

Although I have seen Sea Harrier many times in museums, it is nice to see one in flight.  An airplane is the most beautiful when it is flying.

I was able to take the moment Sean D. Tucker cutting a ribbon.  My previous camera was too slow to capture it, but now my E-30 takes 5 pictures per second, and I have much better chance of capturing ribbon cut.  I was not able to take good pictures of Thunderbirds on the first day.

Ribbon cut Ribbon cut Airplanes converging after bomb-burst maneuver

Day two.  I reviewed my pictures from the first day, and was supposed to be prepared even better.  But, the weather didn't cooperate.  It was much cloudier than the first day, and the wind changed.  So, my memo of the focal lengths didn't really work for this condition.  I tried my best though.

F-18F taking off for the demonstration And, came back. Again, I captured knife-edge pass of F-15E perfectly.  If only the sun had been behind me, not behind the airplane....

Sea Harrier taxing for the demonstration. Dedication pass.  You can see how darker it was compared to the first day.

Surprise pass.  It was not too bad, but due to the dark condition, the 1x photo is a bit blur. This came out nicely.  I like it.

Although it was a difficult air show for photography as always, I enjoyed much.  I was able to see Sea Harrier flying.  That was amazing. 

The rumor is the next year's Wings Over Pittsburgh will be again on September 11th.  I'm very much looking forward to it.

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