Well, I don’t know if that is what they call it but that seems to make sense. Taken at the Grand Junction Airshow last month, the two solos come together and perform a flyby with their landing gear and tailhooks down. Number 5, however, seems to have lost orientation and was inverted. ? In all seriousness, the maneuvers these pilots execute really are impressive.
Jumping back to the Grand Junction Airshow last month and this way cool airplane so let’s call it #ThunderboltTuesday. More affectionately called the Warthog, the A-10 is the United States’ primary Close Air Support (CAS) plane. Its exploits (and its 30mm autocannon) are legendary and they hold a special place in the heart of troops on the ground, oftentimes called in to support soldiers and Marines under attack.
You will notice two different paint schemes in these pics. The Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team brought two jets with the traditional gray paint being flown in practice and the heritage camo scheme flying during the official airshow.
The patch you see me holding is part of a fun story. At the airshow my wife and I were sitting right next to the A-10 demo team’s publicity tent. Before the show started, I had mounted up my solar filter on my camera to take pictures of the solar eclipse that was going on. The team’s photographer kept looking at me, taking a keen interest in what I was seeing. That prompted a conversation and I then let him borrow my solar filter to take pictures of the celestial event, something which they shared on their social media page.
He and I had a great time chatting about the eclipse, photography, aviation and, of course, a bit of Navy versus Air Force banter. 😉 In the end, he gave me a team patch which now sits proudly among other pieces of military memorabilia from when I served.
Let’s call it #WingsWednesday featuring the Blue Angels’ solo pilots and the inverted opposing pass. Flying nearly head on at 1,000+ knots of closure isn’t something I would opt to do, let alone inverted as these two are doing! The opposing maneuvers of the soloists are the most thrilling of the Blue Angel’s show but getting pics of those passes is extraordinarily difficult. With each one I did my best but this is the only one that I captured the penultimate moment. I’ll take it!
Last week I gave a sneak peek of the Blue Angels during their practice for the Grand Junction Air Show. These images, taken during the actual show on Saturday, give you a closer look at the four-ship formation during the performance.
It is nothing short of amazing the precision that is displayed by these four pilots as they maneuver their F/A-18E Super Hornets at hundreds of miles per hour and mere feet from each other.
It is worth noting that this year’s team features Lieutenant Commander Amanda Lee in the #3 left wing jet. Commander Lee is the first female demonstration pilot to serve with the team. Bravo zulu, shipmate!
Of all the aircraft at the Grand Junction Airshow, this was probably my favorite.
Entering service during World War II and quickly gaining a reputation as a fearsome fighter, the Corsair is legendary in naval aviation. It achieved an 11 to 1 kill ratio against the Japanese, the highest of any fighter during the war. Production continued into the 1950s and it saw action again in the Korean War.
You may remember the plane from the 1970s TV show, “Black Sheep Squadron,” and more recently, the 2022 movie, “Devotion.” This particular plane is owned by the Erickson Aircraft Collection and has been painted in honor of Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, the first African American naval aviator killed during the Korean War and the subject of “Devotion.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. It is an amazing story of what Brown overcame to become an aviator and that of his wingman, Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who purposefully crashed his own plane in a valiant effort to try to save Brown. Taking a cue from some other photographers, I gave the images an ‘old time’ black and white treatment, fitting for images from the period in which the Corsair served in combat.
Oh sure, we have seen the traditional ribbon cutting with a big pair of scissors and lots of talking heads. But, if you really want to put on a show, ask this stunt pilot to do it. 😉
Taken this past weekend at the Grand Junction Airshow, I had too many folks in front of me to track him as he approached only about 10 feet above the ground. I did, however, have a clear shot of one of the ribbons he was going to cut so I did my best to squeeze the trigger and capture the action as he arrived on target. Purposefully keeping the shutter speed slow while holding the camera in one position shows the speed of the plane as it moved through and performed this impressive maneuver.
Fun stuff and an impressive display for sure. I know this isn’t the usual type of ‘bird’ you expect to see on this page, so I ask you to indulge me for a few days while I share of my favorite shots from this cool event on Colorado’s Western Slope.
One of the coolest things about the airshows in Grand Junction is the backdrop. I don’t think there is another show anywhere in the country that can compete with the view. The Book Cliffs with Mount Garfield serve as a focal point and make for some unique scenes. Here, the Blue Angels’ cargo plane, a C-130J Super Hercules nicknamed ‘Fat Albert’, banks hard with the mountain in the background. Fat Albert is flown by a crew of U.S. Marines and carries support equipment and personnel between show sites for the Blue Angels. This image was taken this past Friday during the teams’ practice.
For good measure, a hint of fall foliage back on that mountain too!
A timely image taken yesterday afternoon. I figured I had to share this today, the U.S. Navy’s 248th birthday. This old sailor is pretty excited that the Blue Angels opted to visit our fine state for the Grand Junction Air Show this weekend.
We arrived yesterday and were just checking into our hotel when I heard the familiar roar of afterburners. My wife and I raced out and headed over to the airport just in time to catch some of their practice. It was a way cool scene to see them with the snow-covered Book Cliffs in the background. Airshows here always benefit from the spectacular scenery but yesterday was certainly unique.
Happy birthday to the United States Navy and to all my shipmates! Non sibi sed patriae!
The town of Erie’s balloon festival is normally in May but this year all of the rain we had turned the field into a muddy mess so it was postponed to this weekend. About 20 balloons were inflated with most taking to the skies making for some very colorful scenes. I don’t usually post pics the day I take them but I figure some locals may want to go check out this event as it continues tomorrow. Head over to the Erie Chamber website for details. Thank you to the town of Erie, the chamber and the balloonists for putting on a fun show!
Not one of the birds I was expecting to photograph yesterday. ? While photographing a wide variety of feathered friends, I heard the sound of a small engine growing closer. Soon, this guy appeared, flying over the state park, sometimes as low as 30 feet above the ground. It was fun to see but I don’t expect many of the campers enjoyed the noise on what was otherwise a quiet Sunday morning.