Latrobe Air Show 2012 was held at Latrobe Arnold Palmer airport,
just 45 minutes drive from my home. It is a nice cross-country
destination from Beaver County airport, and I have flown to this place
several times. In the most recent one,
I shot an ILS
approach in actual IMC for the first time there.
I visited there one day before the show to see practice flights.
NOTAM (NOTice to Air Men) indicated that the airport was going to be
closed from noon to 4:30pm for the air show practice. My plan was
getting there early, taking pictures of Blue Angels flying in, and then
watching the full show practice.
But, when I got there around 10am, Blue Angels' F-18s were already
parked at the ramp. According to a person at the airport, Blue
Angels flew in on Wednesday, and did one practice on Thursday already.
I missed their landing. Anyway, I parked my car at the terminal
parking and stayed there to watch the practice flights all afternoon.
Soon, C-130 from 911th Airlift Wing flew in. In fact, this
C-130 did a high-speed low pass before landing. But, unfortunately
I could not see it behind the passenger terminal until it came close.
I didn't have time to adjust my zoom.
C-130 of 911th Airlift Wing.
Airbus 320 of Spirit Airlines
911th Airlift Wing is scheduled to close. They received one
year extension before closure, and now senators and politicians are
trying to overturn the decision of closure. I personally want them
to stay and host Wings Over Pittsburgh for the coming years.
Then an airplane called the tower on the radio and asked if he
could fly in the airport during the break between 1:45 and 2pm.
The tower refused the request because it is too closed to scheduled Blue
Angels practice. Since I heard that on the radio, I believed that
Blue Angels was going to fly a little after 2pm.
Then, civilian aerobatic teams flew for practice, and F-18C flew
some maneuvers, and finally it was the turn for Blue Angels. It
was close to 3pm.
F-18C model is getting rare.
We had some rain drops. Also Convective Sigmet (caution for
thunderstorm) was in effect over south western Pennsylvania, and Latrobe
was on the edge of the Sigmet. Despite the weather warning, the
sky over Latrobe was cleared up by the time Blue Angels took off.
Blue Angels flew all full-show maneuvers.
If you want to take a close-up of a single Blue Angels
airplane, aim at #6 after take off. It does half cuban-eight and
then makes a right turn toward the spectator area.
The next day. I left home around 9am. Even with a hard
traffic jam, I expected to get there by 11am. It usually takes 45
minutes. It shouldn't take 2 hours. But, something was wrong
when I came close to the airport. My GPS indicated I was 1.1 mile
from the airport. But, it took 30 minutes to move only 0.2 miles.
It was already 10:30am. It should take some time to walk from the
parking to the air show ramp. It would take more than 3 hours if I
was stuck there.
What appeared stranger was that cars from US-30 Eastbound was not
moving, while cars from the other roads were moving. Was there an
accident? I couldn't tell from my location, but I decided to pass
those cars, drive beyond the intersection of US-30 and US-981 and turn
back. It worked. I was able to get in the air show parking
soon. I didn't see any disabled vehicle or an accident.
Apparently, a moron was not able to join the incoming flow of the
traffic and blocking all cars behind.
But, it was so clear that most of the traffic was coming from the
intersection of US-30 and US-981. Someone should have been
directing the traffic there. I saw no police officer at the
I missed some of the opening flights. The first flight I saw
was B-25 Mitchell "Panchito". I see this particular B-25 in almost
all the air shows in this area. It's one of the familiar faces of
an air show around here.
B-25 Mitchell "Panchito"
P-51 Mustang "Cincinnati Miss"
Until I came to the U.S. I never imagined that I could see B-25 and
P-51 flying in front of me so many times. I am so lucky.
Almost every time I come to an air show this feelings comes to me.
Alabama Boys showed a truck landing as they did last year.
For some reason I was not able to get a good picture of the demo.
When F-18C took off for the aerobatics, scattered clouds moved in
to the area. One chunk covered the sun and cast the shadow over
the airport. I took some pictures anyway, but the airplane
appeared dark. I don't think there is a magic (other than later
image processing) to take a crisp and clear picture in this condition.
The shadow was only over the airport, and the background (sky) was
bright. Unless I increase the exposure compensation to +1.0 or
maybe even +2.0, the airplane appears dark. But, if I do that, the
background will become plain monotonic white.
F-18C. The timing was ok. But, we didn't
Then came Sean D. Tucker. I go to an air show that hosts Blue
Angels or Thunderbirds and end up with watching him also. His
aerobatic flight was still outstanding. I was happy go see him
Sean D. Tucker's Oracle Challenger.
Aeroshell aerobatic team.
The Blue Angels' show starts with a demo of C-130 "Fat Albert"
demo. But, for some reason they used Normal Marines C-130 for this
part. The rumor is that Fat Albert is down for maintenance.
C-130 in a normal Marine corps marking flew substitute
for Fat Albert.
It was followed by 6 F-18Cs. Due to the scattered clouds,
they flew a low show. Which excludes some vertical maneuvers.
Surprise pass. Such a low altitude!
Line abreast loop became line abreast low pass because
it was a low show. I should have selected positive EF to make it
It was a nice air show. I enjoyed and wish they are going to
do it again next year. If they can, I wish they hire a police
officer to direct the traffic at US-30 and US-981. The traffic jam
was out of control. Also, there were too few food stands.
Other typical air show had bunch of hamburger and hot-dog stands.
In this one, there was only one place we could get a hamburger.
This time my wife got some food for lunch, but if I had been by myself,
I probably didn't eat anything because I didn't want to get stuck
in a food line and miss some flights. If possible, I want them to
put more food stands next year. Or, maybe I would carry a lunch
box next time.