Thunderbirds opposing solos perfect symmetry (it's also a matter of observer's point of view)

The following picture, taken by contributor Giovanni Maduli, were not Photoshopped. They show the Thunderbirds opposing solos F-16s performing their famous mirror passes (belly-to-belly calypso pass and inverted one) at Jesolo Air Extreme 2011. From his very unique point of view, slightly different from mine (read my previous reports Thunderbirds condensation clouds, rehearsals and airshow to compare pictures), he got a picture (the first one) seemingly showing the two solos touching each other with the top of their tails.

Here’s the same pass, taken by me from a slightly higher spot, showing how the opposing solo have to arrange their respective positions to appear aligned to the spectators’ eyes observing the flyby from the ground.

People that are not used to see a USAF demo team display always wonder why Thunderbird 5 has its number painted on upside down: as these pictures show, in mirror flybys, the inverted F-16s is always number 5. Since that solo flies inverted most of the routine, its “5” almost always appears in the correct position to observers on the ground.

About David Cenciotti 3730 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.