Sunday, April 12, 2009

Airfest 2009-Ditto

One of the things I look forward to at these airshows is the performance of Ditto. Ditto is no ordinary stunt airplane. Sure, he does the same aerobatic maneuvers as many of the other planes at the show, and he leaves a smoke trail like many of the other planes, but the smoke itself is what's different. It's somehow more cohesive than whatever the other planes emit, and it comes from the wingtips, not the exhaust. So as he flies through the air, he leaves intricate patterns. And those patterns aren't static, they don't just tell you where he flew or what sort of pattern he's flying. The smoke seems to come alive, twisting and turning in the turbulence left behind by the plane. It's amazing to watch and very hard to photograph. I've had to work on all these pictures to make them a little bit presentable, but they are still only an approximation of what you would see if you were there. Often, the two smoke trails converge in two spots, then split apart into rings. Whenever Ditto spots one of these rings, he tries to fly back through it. Even though the wind was high at Airfest this year, he still managed to thread the needle quite a few times. The shots above and below show him as he approaches a ring and flies through it.

These two shots just show some of the amazing formations left behind as Ditto flies around. Try to imagine these serpentine smoke trails in motion as they twist and turn in the sky above. It's amazing!

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