Saturday, August 16, 2008

McChord AFB Air Expo 2008 - Saturday and Sunday

The airshow proved to be another world class event. The organizers put on a fantastic airshow featuring a wide diversity of acts and everything semed to flow very smoothly.
Here are some pics from the actual airshow:
Team McChord. McChord AFB is home to two squadrons of C-17 Globemaster III's
This C-17 just emerges from the low clouds on Saturdays airshow

The B-2 Spirit only flew by on Saturday

Tora! Tora! Tora! taxis out to the runway to begin their 20 minute show.
The sky was full of these amazing warbirds, smoke, and giant fireballs as the airplanes simulated the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The F-18F Super Hornet pulls sharply into the vertical
Rhino high speed pass.
The F-15 creating some beautiful vapor as it climbs into the moist air.
F-15C Eagle

The Thunderbirds Diamond climbs high into the sky.
Knife Edge Pass
Thunderbird Six in full afterburner.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Practice and Arrival: Friday, July 18th

One of the things I love most about airshows is the arrival and practice day. This is when you get a chance to see some more rare aircraft that will be on static display. Also the teams practice earlier in the week and provides many more opportunities to get great photographs.
Friday was no exception.

This is how my day began:

KC-10 Extender on very short final.

This C-5A Galaxy seemed to just stop in mid air. As the jet was overhead it was so close all I could see through the viewfinder were individual tires. At 50mm!! It felt like a hurricane after she passed over.

Eagle West turning sharply overhead.

This is where I was for landing. As you can see, I'm just a few hundred feet from where the jets were touching down. Try to imagine that C-5 Galaxy where this F-15 is.

Thunderbird number one coming in to land.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet doing the high speed pass.

This was one of two F/A-22 Raptors that flew in for the static display.

HH-65 Dolphin

P-51D Mustang

C-130J Herculese

A-10A Thunderbolt II, Warthog


T-38 Tallon

RC-135 Rivet Joint

F-16C Fighting Falcon

McChord AFB Air Expo 2008

If you've read previous posts, you know I was waiting a long time for this show. Unfortunately, at the last minute many changes were made to the show, some major. For example, the MiG Fury Fighters team that flys a MiG-15 and MiG-17 against a FJ-4 Fury canceled a week before the event due to fuel costs. Later all of the other warbird jets backed out as well. For a show that was going to be mainly a jet warbird show, it ended up not having ANY jet warbirds. :( Bummer. But maybe in 2010 it'll work out.

Also, the event brought in record crowds! On Saturday the record was broken as 150,000 people attended the airshow. The next day 227,000 people showed up!

The linuep included the US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet demo, USAF F-15 Demo, USAF Thunderbirds, a B-2 Sprit flyby on Saturday, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Bud and Ross Granley, Tim Webber (I love your flying, but do you honestly have to sing about being high?), Air Force Reserve Jet Car, MiG-17 from Classic Aviation in Oregon, the C-17 single ship demo, Wings of Blue jump team, and the McChord Airfield assault with three C-17's.

Great show, everyone! There were no awkward pauses, except for the usual 45 minutes it takes the Thunderbirds to taxi out to the runway, twiddle their thumbs, then take off. But that's just how the Thunderbirds roll.

The next posts will feature photos from Fridays practice and arrival day, and the show on Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th.

Arlington Fly-In and Airshow 2008

Instead of posting a bunch of pictures from this event, I decided to record some video. I hung out with the friendly folks at the IAC Chapter 67 tent for most of the time throughout the week and for the airshow made it out to the front of the crowdline.

First up is a video I put together of a friend and fellow IAC 67 member, Terry Burch! He always puts on an incredible airshow routine in his beautiful Zlin 50LA. Sit back and enjoy:

Next up is a video showcasing all of the acts that participated in this years 2008 Arlington Fly-In and Airshow! Celebrating the 40th annual Arlington Fly-In! The Arlington Fly-In takes place at Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington.

Performers Shown In Video:
Kent Pietsch - Interstate Kadet
Ken Fowler / Eric Hansen - Rocket Aerobatics - Harmon Rocket
Renny Price - Su-29
Bud & Ross Granley T-6 Texan/ Yak-18/ Yak-55
Frank Donnely - Dr. D's Old time Aerobatics
Red Eagle Air Sports - Christen Eagle II
John Mrazek - Harvard Mk IV
Dan Buchanan - Hang Glider
Terry Burch - Zlin 50 LA
Kathy Hirtz - Wolf Pitts
Julie Clark - T-34 mentor

P.S. Youtube left out the last 6 seconds of the video, which provided time to pause and read the performers list. It's originally 4:08

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2008 Aerobatic Season - Pt. II

Alright, I have judging school out of the way now. I've been attending all of the local IAC meetings and getting to know the great people of IAC Chapter 67. Finally, I have found a group of individuals that I fit in with. The passion each person brings to this type of flying is incredibly contagious and makes me want to get out and experience flying every waking moment.

Another seminar I attended a month before the Judging School had to do with emergency parachutes and safety. It was hosted by the owner of Silver Parachutes, Allen Silver. ( I highly suggest visiting his website and checking out the articles section. The seminar was very informative and mentioned several scenarios I never would have thought of before. I was very pleased to hear that everything my instructor briefed me on regarding emergency procedures and how to use the parachute was taken directly from what was mentioned in this seminar. This is one of those things that reall helps build extra confidence in your instructor.

Now, what are my plans? I'm the kind of person who always needs a plan to get things done. There are a number of events being hosted by IAC Chapter 67 such as "Patch Day," "Acro Camp," and two other official contests later on in the year. Right now the goal is to try to attempt patch day (May 17th at Ephrata, WA). This has to do with IAC's rewards program to help promote aerobatics as a recreation and perhaps a teaser to get more people involved in competitions. The reward? A fancy little pin and a patch stating your accomplishment and your name being on a list of others who have done the same since the programs inception. (Which is pretty cool to have your name on the very same list as aviation legends!)

Next I hope to be able to attend the Apple Cup also held in Ephrata later in June. This would be my first actual contest and I'm hoping things can come together to make that happen. I would also like to be an assistant judge for this contest so that next season I may be an official regional judge.

Following that there are some more smaller events I'll be attending and one HUGE one (Advanced World Aerobatic Championship 2008) in August. However, I will not be flying at this one but will be there to photograph the event and meet some of the greatest aerobatic pilots around the world.

Next September(ish) will be the Apple Turnover, also to be held in Ephrata, WA. This one I will work really hard to make it to, especially if I'm unable to attend the Apple Cup.

At this point I'm thinking I may fly Primary for the Apple Cup and then Sportsman for Apple Turnover, provided I am able to get enough practice in.

So there you have it! My fool-proof plan for 2008!

Wish me luck, please!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

2008 Aerobatic Season

Long time no blog! It's been a cold and cloudy winter here in the Pacific Northwest, hence the lack of posting activity.

Two weekends ago I attended IAC Judges School up at Arlington Municipal Airport. This was a two day seminar that covered the official IAC contest rulebook and the Aresti Aerobatic Catalogue. It was very informative and especially useful for first time pilots. Not only do I know how to judge maneuvers, but that also means I know precisely what they're looking at while I'm in the hot seat flying the sequence. Here is a quick rundown of how the weekend went:

Day 1

Went over how IAC contests are organized and the positions required to hold the contest. Each position was explained. One thing that I learned from this is that there are often 5-7 grading judges, each of which has their assistant judge, and recorder as part of the "team." The grading judge keeps his/her eyes on the airplane, the assistant announces the upcoming figure, and keeps an eye on both the aircraft and the Form A/B sequence card. In case the grading judge had a question about a maneuver they will go to the assistant. (ie. a pilot only stopping at 6 out of 8 points in an 8 point roll) Then there is a recorder who only looks at the grade card and recordes the grading judges grade and comments for each figure and does not watc the airplane. Pretty cool! All positions are REQUIRED and require very high concentration and precision. Then we got to dive deep into contest rules and regulations. Pretty intense and technical stuff. Once I take my written test and pass (80% or better out of 50 questions) I'll be responsible for inspecting and signing off pilots "free" programs. I have to know the many rules regarding constructing your own free program. Also I have to be able to find the specific maneuevers in the Aresti Catalogue to ensure they have the right figure drawn AND proper "K" value. There are several instances where a pilot may accidentally write down the wrong K value for a figure due to positively or negatively loaded rolls on vertical lines.

Day 2 is where you guys may be a bit more interested in, and that is the actual judging criteria. This has to do with which maneuvers are to be wind corrected and those which are not. Which ones require all pitching movements to have the exact same radii and those which do not require all pitching movements to have the same radii. Also, how much to deduct for barrelled rolls, wheels up/down on a vertical line, improper heading/roll/pitch on a maneuver, etc. So that's all I have the energy for now... perhaps you can pick and choose what you want more information on. I know a lot of you are like myself on here and try to fly things as close to the real thing as possible. Knowing some of this stuff can really help give you an extra challenge and/or just be something interesting to think about... especially when watching a buddy from tower view.