Friday, April 14, 2006

Corsair (Not Corvair)

Remember Black Sheep Squadron, the show about Pappy Boyington and his motley crew of fighter pilots in the South pacific during WWII? Well, this is the plane they flew. I always liked those bent wings. I always wondered what the deal was with those, and I still don't know.

Better Bottom

Wait, I found a better shot of the underbelly of an F-14. It lacks the cool rings of flame, but you get to see the landing gear instead.

This Side Down

I don't know why I like the pictures of the undersides of these planes so much. Above you have the bottom side of the F-22 Raptor. It bugs me that there is a little Air Force star on only the one wing. It looks off-balance, but I guess it's supposed to be that way. It's the same way on the underside of the P-51 I showed you the other day, too. The F-14 below doesn't seem to show any logo at all on the underside, but it does have the really cool rings of flame in the afterburner exhaust.

Triple Threat

Now that I've shown you all three of these planes individually over the past few days, how about some views of them together? No photo trickery here, they actually had the F-14, the F-22 and the P-51 in the air at the same time flying in formation. The two jets were pretty close to stall speed, and the P-51 was flying as fast as it could to keep up. This is what they call a heritage flight, where they get new planes and old planes together in the air so that it's easy to see how far military aviation has advanced in the years since WWI. Those old biplanes can't keep up too well, but at least they can get these fighters into the air together.

There's something soul stirring about seeing these planes in the air together. It never gets old. I first saw such a display back in 2004, and I shared the photo from that day here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Not The Red Baron

All this week I've been bringing you pictures from the Sun N Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Florida, this past weekend. And you may think this blimp is from that show, but it's not. I spotted it down in Bradenton as I was leaving to go to the airshow. I don't know what it was doing flying over the interstate, but there it was, using Snoopy to sell mutual funds.

Tight Focus

Any idea what this might be? Turns out that it's the very absolute tip of an F-16. Yep, the point at the very front of the nose. I guess those little tiny holes are for air sampling or something, I'm not sure. The diameter of the tip is about half an inch, if you're curious.

Pony Plane

If the fighter jets were your speed yesterday, you might also like this WWII fighter plane. You might not recognize it from this angle though. This is the bottom side of a P51 Mustang. I caught it in mid-roll during the airshow last Friday. I'll get some more pictures up later so you can see the top side, too, but I always like to bring you pictures from angles you've never seen before.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

America Rules More!

If the F-14 below isn't powerful enough for you, how about this brand-new F-22 Raptor? It's big, it's bad, it's nationwide! This was the first or second appearance (depending on who you believe) of the Raptor at a civilian airshow, so it's still a rare sight. You saw one earlier in the week here on the blog when I teased you with a shot of the back end of this plane while it was still on the runway.

America Rules!

I think the coolest part of air shows is when they bring out the most powerful planes on the planet, then put them through their paces. This F-14 had just taken off (you can see the landing gear is still in the process of being retracted) and the pilot was pouring the juice to the goose. You can't watch a demonstration like this and not be impressed. It makes you proud to be an American.

The Artist As Model

Here's a fun little picture from the airshow showing my own reflection in a polished engine shroud. I'm so goofy...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Something about the grill on this plane reminded me of a giant chrome smile. I guess cars weren't the only vehicles to go a little over the top in the fifties. Even the instrument panel on this plane looks like an auto dash from the period.


I think the next time I go to one of these airshows, I'm going to spring for a ride in a plane. Or in the case of these tourists with deep pockets, a helicopter ride.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Red & White Into The Blue

Here's another shot from the airshow this weekend. I have no idea what sort of plane this is, or who's flying it, or why it's important, but here you go. Look close and you can see the pilot in the cockpit, pressed into his seat by the g-forces.

April Marches On

It's a new week around here, and that means a new calendar page! Today you get a nice view of the skyline of Sarasota, Florida. This one is from a different spot than the night view I shared last week. I shot this from the bridge to Siesta Key. All I can say about this view is that those are an awful lot of condos.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Uglier Than Ducklings

Here's another shot from last weekend that I neglected to blog. These three anhinga chicks are nothing but ugly! I hope I didn't ruin your breakfast by posting this.

One Piece Of Flair

I meant to post this last weekend, but I forgot amid all the hullabaloo of the eagles and the osprey. I spotted this red-winged blackbird on the little island at the Venice Rookery. I see them there all the time, but never out in the open, and never showing off their red-capped wings. In a couple of weeks I'll get my longer lens, and I hope to get more shots of smaller birds like this. Wish me luck!