Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Screamin' Sasquatch at Jones Beach, New York

Jet Waco Biplane piloted by Jeff Boerboon

An Airshow, Air Fair or Air Tattoo is a public event at which aviators display their flying skills and the capabilities of their aircraft to spectators, usually by means of aerobatics Air shows without aerobatic displays, having only aircraft displayed parked on the ground, are called "static air shows". Attending airshows is a great way to get within lens reach of a great many aircraft at a time.

Pitts Special Aerobatic Biplane

What Goes Up Must Come Down

P-51 Mustang "Ferocious Frankie" and Spitfire MH434 Flying Together 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed and is manufactured by a consortium of three companies; BAE Systems, Airbus Group and Alenia Aermacchi, who conduct the majority of affairs dealing with the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, which was formed in 1986. The project is managed by the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, which also acts as the prime customer.

Eurofighter Typhoon
Development of the aircraft effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Due to disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to independently develop the Dassault Rafale instead. A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.
Eurofighter Typhoon
Political issues in the partner nations significantly protracted the Typhoon's development; the sudden end of the Cold War reduced European demand for fighter aircraft, and there was debate over the cost and work share of the Eurofighter. The Typhoon was introduced into operational service in 2003. Currently, the type has entered service with the Austrian Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the German Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the Spanish Air Force, and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Royal Air Force of Oman has also been confirmed as an export customer, bringing the procurement total to 571 aircraft as of 2013.

Eurofighter Typhoon Displaying At An Airshow With  A Spitfire
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be an effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft; later production aircraft have been increasingly more well-equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment. The Typhoon saw its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, performing reconnaissance and ground strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air defence duties for the majority of customer nations.
Eurofighter Typhoon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Falcons Parachute Team

RAF Falcons Parachute Team

Display parachuting is one of the most difficult types of parachuting and requires hard work, a high level of skill and most importantly, trust in other Team Members and their equipment. This is why the RAF Falcons are Britain's premier Parachute Display Team.

The team will exit the aircraft individually between 5,000 - 9,000 ft. Once in free fall, the team will create an echelon formation, falling at speeds of up to 120 mph before deploying their parachutes on a signal from the team coach.

Once the canopies have opened safely, each team member will position himself above the person below to form the famous Falcons canopy stack.

RAF Falcons Parachute Team

Friday, June 19, 2015

The GEICO Skytypers

The World Famous GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team is a flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft performing precision flight maneuvers at select airshows across the US. The diverse flying expertise of the team members aligns perfectly with the unique components of their overall performance.

In 1940-1941, North American Aviation designed the SNJ as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. These planes served as the classroom for most of the Allied pilots flying in WWII. This aircraft has been recognized by many names; the T-6 Texan (Army Aircorp) and the Harvard (RAF), but was most affectionately known as the “pilot maker” by crew members.

While made famous as a trainer, the SNJ won honors in WWII and in the early portion of the Korean War.   A total of 15,495 planes were manufactured training thousands of pilots across 34 different countries.

The GEICO Skytypers fly the SNJ-2 version of the aircraft. This model has an enlarged 180 gallon fuel tank allowing the aircraft to operate for more than four hours.  Other unique design elements of this particular aircraft include: a decrease of eight inches in the overall length, a larger round rudder,  and a fixed tail wheel. Each plane weighs 5500 pounds and utilizes a 600hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1, 9 cylinder radial engine.

The Breitling Jet Team

The Breitling Jet Team
The Breitling Jet Team is made up of seven L-39C Albatros aircraft, Czech-made twin-seater military training jets that can also be used for passenger flights. These magnificent planes represent an excellent compromise between performance, aesthetics, reliability and operating costs. They were widely used in all former Soviet bloc countries. The Breitling Jet Team planes were acquired in exceptional technical condition. To accentuate their powerful, taut and dynamic appearance, Breitling has equipped them with a black, anthracite gray and metal gray livery perfectly reflecting their spectacular feats – while also improving the visibility of the breathtaking feats they perform. A bold, high-impact design in which each pilot’s number appears in an extremely original way, tightly framed and cropped to follow the shape of the wings and ailerons. Another spectacular detail lies in the dark shade of their fuselage, which creates a vivid contrast with the metal gray of the underside of the wings and sometimes makes the jets look almost like missiles when viewed from the ground.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Vought F4U Corsair

Chance Vought F4U Corsair 

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was an American fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and Brewster-built aircraft F3A. From the first prototype delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1940, to final delivery in 1953 to the French, 12,571 F4U Corsairs were manufactured by Vought,in 16 separate models, in the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history (1942–53) The Corsair was designed as a carrier-based aircraft. However its difficult carrier landing performance rendered the Corsair unsuitable for Navy use until the carrier landing issues were overcome when used by the British Fleet Air Arm. 

The Corsair thus came to and retained prominence in its area of greatest deployment: land based use by the U.S. Marines. The role of the dominant U.S. carrier based fighter in the second part of the war was thus filled by the Grumman F6F Hellcat, powered by the same Double Wasp engine first flown on the Corsair's first prototype in 1940. The Corsair served to a lesser degree in the U.S. Navy. As well as the U.S. and British use the Corsair was also used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the French Navy Aéronavale and other, smaller, air forces until the 1960s. Some Japanese pilots regarded it as the most formidable American fighter of World War II, and the U.S. Navy counted an 11:1 kill ratio with the F4U Corsair. 

After the carrier landing issues had been tackled it quickly became the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of World War II. The Corsair served almost exclusively as a fighter-bomber throughout the Korean War and during the French colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Avro Lancaster

Thumper and Vera, The Last Canadian and English Lancasters Flying
Under the cover of darkness, on May 17,1943, nineteen Lancaster heavy bombers of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, flew over the coast of occupied Europe on a most secret mission. The crews were specially trained and the aircraft specially prepared to carry barrel shaped bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. As the targets loomed closer, the designated aircraft initiated their attack runs at very low altitude. The first Lancaster released its bomb, followed by the other aircraft in its group, and as each pulled away the crew could see the bomb bouncing along the surface of the lake towards its concrete target, striking it and finally sinking and exploding. Back at base the news broke—Lancasters of 617 Squadron had breached the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe dams in northwest Germany, and had caused major flooding of the vital Ruhr Valley industrial area. The floods had drowned some 1,200 German workers, but the cost was high with the loss of eight RAF Lancaster bombers and their crews. This daring venture, and the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord in 1944, are the best known of all the exploits of the Lancaster, yet it was as the ceaseless night-time destroyer of German industrial centers and cities that it did most to bring the war to a close. 

Night Flight - Photo Chris Lord
The Lancaster bomber holds a special place of affection mingled with a great deal of pride in the hearts of British and Commonwealth citizens—feelings which perhaps find their parallel in the hearts of Americans toward the B-17 Flying Fortress. Just as the Spitfire epitomized the Commonwealth's supreme spirit of defiance in the face of seemingly irresistible defeat, so the evening sight and sound of streams of Lancasters "heading out" toward the heartland of the German Reich was the ultimate translation of a war weary people's will to see the Nazi military and industrial machine—the source of colossal suffering for so much of the world—battered into oblivion. 

The Lancaster flew for the first time on January 9,1941 as a four-engined development of the Avro Manchester. The RAF began to equip with Mk Is in early 1942, and used them first on March 10th against targets in Essen. Altogether, more than 7,300 Lancasters were produced in Britain as Mks I to VII and Canada as Mk Xs, and they dropped more than 608,000 tons of bombs on 156,000 wartime missions. Some Lancasters were still flying with the RAF in the early 1950s as maritime-reconnaissance, photo-reconnaissance and rescue aircraft.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

De Havilland

De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited was a British aviation manufacturer established in late 1920 by Geoffrey de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome Edgware on the outskirts of London. Operations were later moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire. De Havilland Aircraft Company was responsible for the Moth biplane (see elsewhere on this blog for the Tiger Moth) which revolutionized general aviation in the 1920s, the 1930s Fox Moth which was the first commercial transport aircraft able to operate without government subsidy, and the Comet which was the first passenger jet to enter service, along with other innovative and important aircraft. In 1960 de Havilland became a member of the Hawker Siddeley group but lost its separate identity in 1963. Today it is part of BAE Systems plc, the British aerospace and defence business. In September 2003, this former British aerospace site became the de Havilland campus of University of Hertfordshire.

de Havilland Dragon Rapide

In late 1933, the Dragon Rapide was designed at the de Havilland company as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon. It was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the four-engined DH.86 Express. It shared many common features with the DH.86 Express, including its tapered wings, streamlined fairings and the Gipsy Six engine, but it demonstrated none of the operational vices of the DH.86 Express, and went on to become perhaps the most successful British-built short-haul commercial passenger aircraft of the 1930s. 

At the start of World War II, many Dragon Rapides were impressed by the British armed forces and served under the name de Havilland Dominie. They were used for passenger and communications duties. Over 500 further examples were built specifically for military purposes, powered by improved Gipsy Queen engines, to bring total production to 731. The Dominies were mainly used by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy for radio and navigation training. Postwar they were used as communications aircraft by Royal Naval air station flights. 

A de Havilland Dragon Rapide, the Sky Gypsy, appears in "Out of Time", an episode of the BBC science fiction television series Torchwood, in which one is accidentally flown through a "transcendental portal" and travels from 1953 over fifty years into its passengers' future. Aircraft registered as G-ACZE appears in the 1990 ITV production Agatha Christie's Poirot, "Peril at End House". Dragon Rapides appear in several films including The Maggie, The Captain's Paradise, Fathom, and the 1995 film adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III. A Dragon Rapide was also seen in the 2004 movie, A Good Woman, starring Helen Hunt. A 1986 Spanish film, Dragon rapide,covers its historical use by Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly

The de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly was a 1930s British twin-engined luxury touring biplane built by the De Havilland Aircraft Company at Hatfield Aerodrome.The Dragonfly shared a clear family resemblance with the Dragon Rapide, but was smaller and had higher aspect ratio, slightly sweptback wings. The lower wing had a shorter span than the upper, unlike the DH.89, and the top of the engine nacelles protruded much less above its surface because the fuel tank had been moved to the lower centre section. Structurally, too they were different: the Dragonfly had a new preformed plywood monocoque shell and strengthened fuselage. It was designed as a luxury touring aircraft for four passengers and a pilot, with provision for dual controls. The first aircraft, G-ADNA, first flew on 12 August 1935. The Dragonfly achieved maximum performance on low power, by using the new construction methods developed for the de Havilland Comet racer, and therefore was expensive to buy (£2,650). In modern terms, it was an executive transport, aimed at wealthy private individuals, often via the companies they owned. 

DH 90A G-AEDU (c/n 7526) (This image) has been registered in the United Kingdom since 1992, owned by the Norman Aeroplane Trust. Originally delivered to Angola in 1937, it flew as CR-AAB and later as ZS-CTR in South Africa. When it was returned to England in 1979, it used a British registration (G-AEDU) that had been allocated to another Dragonfly but not used. It was exported to the United States in 1983 as N190DH but it was returned to England in 1992 in a damaged state and rebuilt to flying condition as G-AEDU.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Messerschmitt BF 109 Part Two - Dawn Raider

Messerschmitt BF 109 Dawn Raider

“Maschine ist klar zum Start Herr Hauptmann. Vorgesehene Abflugszeit Punkt 6!” 

Hispano Aviación HA-1112-M1L "Buchon" painted to emulate a German "Luftwaffe" Messerschmitt BF 109 Photographed at Shoreham Aerodrome in West Sussex, UK 2013

Friday, October 31, 2014

Messerschmitt BF 109

Two Messerschmitt BF 109s prowl the cloud layers

Actually, although painted to emulate German "Luftwaffe" fighters the aircraft in these air show images are Hispano Aviación HA-1112-M1L "Buchon" aircraft. A Spanish built version of the BF109 from 1954 - the final variant fitted with a RR Merlin engine and armed with two Hispano HS-404 20mm cannon and 80mm rockets. Used operationally. 172 built.

The Messerschmitt BF 109, often called ME 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, a retractable landing gear, and was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine.
Originally conceived as an interceptor, later models were developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter-bomber, day-, night-, all-weather fighter, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft. It was supplied to and operated by several states during World War II, and served with several countries for many years after the war. The BF 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced from 1936 up to April 1945.

The BF 109 was flown by the three top-scoring German fighter aces of World War II, who claimed 928 victories among them while flying with Jagdgeschwader 52, mainly on the Eastern Front, as well as by Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign. It was also flown by several other successful aces from Germany's allies, notably Finland, including the highest scoring non-German ace Ilmari Juutilainen, and pilots from Romania, Croatia and Hungary. Through constant development, the BF 109 remained competitive with the latest Allied fighter aircraft until the end of the war.

ME 109 at Takeoff