Sunday, April 29, 2018

Aviation


Aviation has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I wanted to be a pilot in my adult life, specifically a fighter pilot. I knew everything about jets. I read books, watched videos ( no internet existed at that time ), built models and collected model planes. When computers became more widely available, the only computer games I was ever interested in were flight simulators. My favorite movies to this day are Top Gun and Iron Eagle!

As I approached high school graduation, my interests shifted somewhat and I decided that rather than just fly these machines, I wanted to really understand them, build and design them. I opted for a career in aerospace engineering, so when I'm not clicking my shutter and making photographs, I am designing jet engines.


My passion for flight never went away though. While in college I did learn to fly and got my private pilot's license. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I have not had the opportunity to fly since I graduated 20 years ago. Someday though, I know I will be back on the left seat looking down at the world again.

Meanwhile, airshows are where I get my aviation fix! I love them! I never get tired of them.


My first experience at an airshow was back in the late '80s when I went to an airshow in Homestead, FL. Times were different then and they had a lot of the military jets doing demos. I was already a fan but had never been so close to the action. I was in awe! When the F14 Tomcat took the sky I almost cried. That sound of the afterburning engines that you can actually feel in your bones is what I love about these machines.


The military demonstration teams are especially exciting. Not only do you get to see the capabilities of the extraordinary jets, but also the skill of the pilots in tight formation and individual precise aerobatic maneuvers. The navy has the Blue Angels flying the F18 Hornet and the air force has the Thunderbirds flying the F16 Falcon. Both are outstanding and always worth watching.



The two teams do very similar maneuvers but also have their unique trademark passes.




It's not just the US armed forces that have demonstration teams, the Canadia Snow Birds are also an excellent show to watch. This was my favorite maneuver from them, called The Battle of Britain.  I suspect it's designed to show the intense dogfighting over the skies during that particular battle.


After a few years of nearly no military aircraft at airshows due to budget cuts, it was refreshing to start seeing some of the stars of the military back in action. Here is an F22 Raptor at the Stuart Air Show back in 2014.


And the classic Brittish import, the Harrier at the same airshow.


No air show would be complete without the few "unusual" aircraft which are always a treat like the jet augmented biplane: The Screamin' Sasquatch.


Or the tiny microjet.


Of course, most air shows also have the static displays, which are also very exciting and give you the chance to get up close and personal with the aircraft.






Check out the aviation gallery under "Other Work" on my website for more aviation images from air shows.