2012/07/07-07/08 Dayton Air Show (Last part - the 2nd day)


(<<Click here to read the previous part - the 1st day)

The second and the last day.  After this day, I will not be able to see A-4 Skyhawk again for a while.  (Actually, I may have one more chance this year in Wings over Waukegan.)

Since heat haze prevented me from taking a crisp picture of A-4 Skyhawk, I came up with a counter measure.  Which is simple.  Just walking 20 or 30ft closer to the front line when A-4 Skyhawk takes off.  If the distance to the subject is the same, disturbance from the heat haze becomes the maximum when you are shooting horizontally or lower.  It is because the heat haze is the result of the turbulent air close to the ground.  The effect becomes less if the subject is closer to the camera because there is less turbulent air between the subject and the camera.  If I move forward by 20ft, I will be closer to the A-4 Skyhawk, and the angle I look up the airplane will be higher.  So, it could ease the blurriness from the heat haze and help taking a crisp picture.  The question was if it makes a visible difference, but this was all I could come up with.

Since getting a good parking spot was not at all difficult on the first day, we left hotel a little later.  I believe we left the hotel around 8:30am.  When we arrived at the air show parking, I saw more cars than the first day.  But, lucky to us, we were guided to the location next to the pedestrian crossing that leads to the ticket booths.

Basically the air show program was same as the first day, except there was no B-52 fly by.  Maybe because of that, the show-opening parachute jump was 30 minutes later on the second day.

Before the opening, AH-64 took off and returned to its base.  You can see that heat haze was already very bad.

AH-64.  Returning base.

F-16 based at Toledo took off before the opening.

According to the air-show announcement, Blue Angels #2 had some maintenance done, and took off for testing if the issue was fixed.  The airplane took off and flew for a few minutes, and came back.  It was also before the opening.

Blue Angels #2 taking off for a test flight.

Opening Parachute Jump.

After F-16 from Toledo, "Stingers", and Gene Soucy, the box was for A-4 Skyhawk!

As you can see, the heat haze was as bad as, if not worse than, yesterday.

As soon as A-4 Skyhawk took off, I ran forward by 20ft or so as planned.  The Skyhawk took off runway 24R from the left to right, went around to the right, and then came back in from the right.  It rolled 90 degree into knife-edge position!  I could see the back of the airplane clearly!

It appeared bigger than the day before.  I tried to hold my camera as stable as possible, but the result was, so-so.  It didn't come out sharply.  You may not notice with 1200x900 size, but if I go up to the 1x size, it was not sharp at all.  It is difficult to get a crisp picture with 800mm lens.

Nonetheless, I had one crisp picture of a dirty low pass.

It came out crisp!

I was able to get this one sharp.  I could see rivets and detailed marking.  It was my first time to take a close-up picture of the A-4 Skyhawk.  I should be satisfied with it.  I'll have another chance and try again.  I'll soon receive my new laptop.  I'll use this picture as my background picture.

It was a nice air show.  I finally saw a flying A-4 Skyhawk up close.  I wish they invite this Skyhawk again next year.  I'll come back.


Oops, it was not over yet.

Tora Tora Tora.

Unlike the first day, only one of the two QF-4s flew.  I tried to use longer focal length than the first day, but I could have used maybe 10% longer length.

It also performed a heritage flight with P-51.

Sea Harrier flew closer than the first day, but there was no chance of taking the back side of the airplane.

P-15 Mustang did some aerobatics before Blue Angels.  I was curious how many P-51s are still flyable.  According to the air show announcement, only 80+ Mustangs are flyable today.  80+ flyable P-51 is impressive enough to me.  There are only handful of flyable Japanese Zeros in the world.

Then came Blue Angels.  As usual, I tried to get a nice close-up look of the #6 on take off.

This time I tried to get a close up of the formation.  My success criterion is to be able to see all the pilots.

I missed #4 pilot.

I missed #1 in this one.

So, I didn't have a successful shot.  By the way, I've been thinking why they don't do a photo pass with all 6 airplanes in a delta formation.  That would be an impressive shot.

Same attempt of the echelon parade was somewhat successful.  I can see all four pilots.  I tried to take the surprise pass with full focal length.  I used the same strategy that I used on the first day: aiming at the nose to get it center.

This came out impressively crisp.  I actually could read "Boeing F/A-18 Hornet" on the fuselage.  I should have used a little shorter focal length though.

It was really the end of the Dayton Air Show 2012.  It was a good air show despite the last-minute cancellation of the Brazillian Air Force's aerobatic team the "Smoke Squadron."  I was really excited to see A-4 Skyhawk flying.  It was indeed a beautiful airplane.  Although I missed a sharp crisp picture of the back side of the airplane, I'll have another chance and try again.

I'm always impressed by the mentality of the United States that keeps retired military airplanes flying.  I wish they keep A-4 Skyhawks, F-4 Phantoms flyable as long as possible.

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