Monday, June 27, 2016

A Wednesday Night Airshow

As I posted last week, I went to an air show on Wednesday night.  It seems very unusual to have an air show on a Wednesday night but if I were to guess, that's when the Yankee Air Force could get the Snowbirds to appear in Ypsilanti.  Something tells me that they were between Air Shows and Ypsilanti was on the way for them.
 This Bell Helicopter pilot was offering helicopter rides around the airport grounds.  I was tempted to check out how much it was but I decided that pictures of the helicopter were a better idea.
 The helicopter coming in for a landing.  For some reason, "Suicide is Painless" popped in my head.
 The helicopter flying around.
 One of the other attractions of the show was the Canadian CF-18 (officially CF-188) Hornet demonstration aircraft.  In 1978, the Canadian Government determined that they needed to find a replacement for the CF-104 Starfighter, CF-101 Voodoo and the CF-116 Freedom Fighter (F-5 to the United States).  The candidates included the F-14, F-15, Tornado, the Dassault Mirage F1, the F-16 and the F-18L (the de-Navalized version of the F/A-18 Hornet).  In 1978, the competition was reduced to the F-16 and F-18.  The F-14, F-15 and Tornado were too expensive and the makers of the Mirage dropped out.  The Canadian Air Force liked the F-18 because of it's two engines.
 In 1980, the F-18 won the competition and a total of 138 were delivered to the Canadian Air Force.   It has served in many of the conflicts that Canada has served in since then.  It has also been modernized in that time.  In 2010, the Canadian Government announced that it would be replaced by the F-35.
 The Yankee Lady coming in for a landing.
 Another shot of her.
 The Snowbirds lined up before the show.
 The Yankee Warrior coming in for a landing.
 A DC-9 preparing to take off. 
 the B-25 taxiing towards the staging area.
 A Shorts 360 coming in for a landing.  I used to see these all the time.  It seems like they are becoming rarer.
 Snowbird #2 preparing to take off.  Officially known as the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron.  They are Canada's equivalent to the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds.  The Snowbirds were first formed in 1971 and are stationed out of Moose Jaw.  Like the other groups, they have a number of different shows depending on the weather conditions.  Last year, they celebrated their 2500 official air show.
 The group taxiing towards the runway.
 The Snowbirds started out in a formation of three diamond formations of three planes.
 And then they transitioned into this formation.  They fly the CF-114 Tutor which is a training aircraft built by Canadair.  The aircraft first flew in 1960 and was used as a primary jet trainer until it was replaced by the CT-155 Hawk in 2000.  It has a maximum speed of 486 miles per hour.  They are currently looking into a replacement aircraft for the Snowbirds.
 I'm not sure if they are better than the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds because they perform a different kind of show.
 It seems like more of their maneuvers are about finesse and grace versus raw power.  I think that is one of the reasons why they use a training aircraft rather than a fighter.  It was certainly a more graceful air show.
 In fact, some of their shows are set to music.  I have to believe that would be a sight to see.
 If I had one complaint about the air show, it's that we were shooting into the sun.  I think if the Yankee Air Force does another evening show, they should consider the other side of the airport.
 I kind of liked this weaving maneuver.
 The planes are really nice looking.
 The line abreast formation.  I think they were within 10 feet of each other.
 Maybe closer.
 The planes become one plane.  It seemed like many of their stunts emphasized close formation.  In many of the stunts, the group of planes flew as one.
 Upside down and rightside up.
 Another peeling off formation.
 They called this the kilt formation.
 A high speed pass.
 This was pretty cool.
 Another pass.

 I really like this one.
 I forget what they called this one.
 A fly over the Willow Run tower.
 Another closeup of the plane.
 A final fly by.
 The planes return to the staging area.
 A shot of Snowbird #1.
 The next part of the show was the Canadian Skyhawks.  This is the Canadian parachute demonstration group and they were also formed in 1971.  Their members come from throughout the Canadian forces.
 This was pretty neat.  They are three parachutes.
 These two are connected by pure leg strength.
 They called this the candy cane.
 And a pinwheel.  I'm not normally a fan of parachute teams but I'll have to say that these guys were really good.  They did some really cool maneuvers.  There were many things that I didn't realize you could do with a parachute.
 They fly a Shorts Skyvan.
 The Skyvan coming in for a landing.
 I really liked this shot.
 The show finished off with the CF-18 Demonstration Hornet.  Amazingly, this one plane has more power than the entire Snowbirds.
 The CF-18 taking off.
 A turn.
 Pulling up.
 A nice pass.
 Afterburners going.
 Another pass.
 A tight turn and afterburners.
 Coming in for a landing.
 I kind of liked it that the guy was flying an American Flag.  It shows just how close our two countries are.
 The pilot waves to the crowd.
 The B-17 getting ready to take off.
 another shot of that.  I kind of wish I would have brought my other lens with me.  I didn't realize I would get some nice golden hour shots of planes.
 And the B-25 getting ready to take off.
And the B-25 taking off.

I really enjoyed this air show.  I hope that there were enough people there that the Yankee Air Force would consider this type of thing again.  It was kind of nice.