What summer means might be different for a person to person.
But, to me, the summer means Hummingbirds
and air shows. We have visited Dayton air show 07/23 and 07/24.
I haven't been taking much pictures of static display recently, but
this time B-1B on static display was extending its wings and showing the
mechanism of how a part of the wing is retracted into the fuselage at
high speed. I took a picture of that.
B-1B Lancer. Close-up look of where the
variable-geometry wing is retracted into the fuselage.
Another interesting static display was NASA's Super Guppy, which
was used for carrying huge cargo, in particular, a lot of historic
rockets. This airplane was used by Airbus before they had their
own huge cargo.
NASA's Super Guppy.
The official air show web site was also talking about static
display of QF-4s, but I didn't see any.
U.S. Army Golden Knights started the flying part of the show.
The first day was in a clear blue sky. I didn't make a good
guess of the focal length, and missed some nice photo opportunities
during the A-10 aerobatics.
Mock ground attack of A-10.
Wing walking by Tombstone Riders.
Tora Tora Tora
A B-2A Spirit made a fly by on Saturday only. It flew high,
and I could only see the belly. To capture at least markings, I
chose +1 Exposure Compensation, which made the background almost plain
white. Since B-1B made a fly by following the B-2, it would have
been nice if they flew in a formation. Maybe B-2 was too busy to
go around many air shows during summer weekend and didn't have enough
fuel to form a formation and come back in to the air show. Some
day I want to go to Whiteman AFB air show where B-2s are based.
One of the things I wanted to capture with my Olympus E-30 was the
moment when Sean D. Tucker's Oracle Challenger cuts a ribbon hanging
between the poles about 15 to 20ft above ground. My previous
camera K100D was too slow to capture the moment. This time I
finally was able to capture the moment.
Sean D. Tucker. I was able to capture the moment
when his Oracle Challenger III cut the ribbon (left).
Below is from an aerobatic of Red Bull aerobatic team. For
the first time I saw a manned helicopter making loops and barrel rolls.
According to the air show announcement, this helicopter was the only one
that is certified to perform aerobatics in the U.S. Of course
excluding military helicopters, I suppose. UH-60 and AH-64 must be
able to perform aerobatics.
There was a small mishap during during F-18F aerobatics. He
was supposed to make a high-speed pass over runway 26R, in front of the
spectators, but he did over 26L. I wondered if he made a mistake
or he was trying to make a high-speed pass from the other direction, but
I heard on radio "That's a wrong runway." So, I guess that was his
mistake! The air space was closed for this aerobatic flight, and
there was no danger.
Then came an aerobatic flight of Melissa Pemberton. She made
an impressive 13 inverted flat spins in a row.
A B-25 Mitchell "Panchito" flew. Actually I see this
particular B-25 in many places. It was also in a mini air show at
Butler county airport last month. It is a great point I like about
this country that such a historic airplane is seen in many places.
The last and best performance of the day was Air Force
Thunderbirds. They flew a high show in a clear blue sky.
Finally, I captured a decent shot of a surprise pass that comes
after Trail-to-diamond roll.
The first day of the show was very nice under the clear blue sky.
I found all radio frequencies. I took notes of camera settings I
used to prepare for the second day:
- First pass 110-120mm F8-F9
- Continous Roll 200mm F7
- Slor Roll 800mm 200mm F7
- Dedication pass 150mm F7-F8
- First 2 passes 65mm
- Boom & Zoom (3rd pass) 70mm
- Surprise pass 130mm
The focal lengths are direct reading from my lens. I am using
2x tele-converter, and the crop factor of Olympus E-30 is 2x. So,
to convert them to 35mm film scale, the numbers should be multiplied by
four. Since numerous missed opportunities in
the last year's Cleveland air show,
I decided to study closely the camera settings from the past air shows
to get better shots with less mistakes. This time, too, I carried
a memo of the camera settings that I used in the past Dayton air shows.
So, I didn't miss too much. But, by calibrating with the newest
settings, I was going to be able to get a lot more successful shots on
the second day. That was the plan, at least.
.... Despite my preparation, the second day was a lot more cloudier
than the first day.
This one came out very well. I can read markings
like "NO STEP"clearly.
B-1B Lancer. I wish they flew slightly lower.
By the time F-18F took off, the sun was utterly hidden by a cloud.
I could shift exposure compensation to the positive side to make the
airplane brighter, but if I do so, the background will become plain
white. The best background would be blue with little cloud.
Plain white background doesn't look good. In this condition, it is
impossible to take an impressive shot.
I can read markings, but it was dark.
Due to the high humidity, vapor along the shock cone was visible for a
fraction of second during the high-speed pass. Even before the
airplane itself reaches the speed of sound, the air flow around the
fuselage gets faster than the speed of sound and makes a shock wave.
If the airplane further accelerate, the shock wave grows bigger and
finally reaches the ground, and you would see a news next morning about
broken window of the nearby houses. But, if you see a shock cone,
it is an indication that the air flow around the airplane is faster than
the speed of sound.
Vapor along the shock cone.
aerobatics, F-18F flew a heritage flight with a F-4U Corsair. The
pilot who flew F-18F on the first day was struggling to stay stable
behind slow-flying F-4U. But, the pilot who flew this time
maintained the very stable formation. F-4U was flying almost at
its top speed, and F-18F was flying at its nearly lowest possible speed
at which it could maneuver. Maneuvering while flying at its almost
slowest speed requires a very high skill of flying. To be fair,
the pilot who flew on Saturday was not particularly poor at the
formation flight. Rather, I should say the pilot who flew on
Sunday had a very good skill of the formation flying.
Heritage flight of F-18F Super Hornet and F-4U Corsair
The sky was cloudy, but the weather lasted marginal for flying until
Panchito flew. But, when the Thunderbirds was about to fly,
numerous thunderstorms were in the vicinity of Dayton international
airport. We could see numerous lightning shots, which was a
spectacular view, but not a good weather for an air show. I
thought Thunderbirds was going to cancel the flight at all. But,
to my surprise, they took off!
Precipitation of a thunderstorm was visible to the
east of the Dayton International airport
Diamond pass. Soon after this pass, they decided
to cancel the show.
But, before long into the show, the
thunderstorm moved in to within 5nm of the airport. The safety was
priority, and Thunderbirds decided to cancel the rest of the show.
So, Thunderbirds brought real thunder to the air show. But, they
were flying F-16s which can withstand continuous 9G loading factor.
A F-16 is supposed to have a mechanism that dissipates electricity when
a lightning strikes the airplane so that the avionics, especially
fly-by-wire computers, survive. There were multiple airports that
they can divert in case a thunderstorm come directly above the airport,
including Wright-Patterson AFB, and Springfield airport where F-16s of
Ohio National Guard are based at. I wondered if they canceled the
show because the airplanes were in danger or because spectators on the
ground were in danger of a lightning strike.
aerobatics suddenly turned into a autograph session of the Thunderbirds
pilots. I usually don't go for autographs because anyway I cannot
get autographs from all the pilots. But, this time, all but two of
the twelve main members (six pilots and six other support members) were
lined up for autographs. I went for it. For some reason
Thunderbirds #8 and #10 were not there. I'll try to get them in
Cleveland air show.
Usually I get some extra brochures and send them to my airplane-fan
friends in Japan. Many of them are living near Matsushima air
base, which was substantially damaged by the tsunami this March 11th.
None of my friends had a serious damage like losing a house.
Nonetheless, I suppose if I could send a brochure with all autographs to
them they would be happy. Well, but it's too personal. I
didn't ask for extra copies with all the signatures.
I had to
drive through a severe thunderstorm on the way back from Dayton.
The visibility momentarily came down below 1000ft or so. I was
happy not to be in a Cessna then.