Tag Archives: airshow

The F-4 Phantom II, in the QF-4 Aerial Target variant, performs final display before retiring from USAF

After more than 50 years of service, the F-4 Phantom II is about to be retired by the U.S. Air Force.

The final F-4 Phantom appearance at an airshow while in USAF service occurred during Nellis Air Force Base’s Aviation Nation air show, on Nov. 12 and 13.

QF-4E 74-1638, piloted by Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King and Jim Harkins, pilots from Holloman AFB, New Mexico, flew at the show on both days, making several passes in afterburner to the delight of more than 295,000 spectators from around the world.

The photographs in this post were taken by our reader Ken Lilly at Nellis AFB during Aviation Nation 2016.

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“[The QF-4 retiring] is bittersweet,” said King, 82nd Aerial Target Squadron Detachment 1 commander in a U.S. Air Force release. “It’s been a phenomenal workhorse for our country for years. When the military revitalized the aircraft after retiring them in 1997, it gave them a second lease on life.”

The aircraft have flown as unmanned aerial targets for several DoD and foreign military sales customers testing next generation weapons.

“Just as service members come and go in their military careers, unfortunately so do aircraft,” said Harkins. “It’s getting harder and harder to do the job that it’s supposed to do [based on new technology].

“It’s too old to go as high and as fast or as many [gravitational forces] as the customers need it to so they can proper test equipment,” he added.

Air Combat Command declared initial operational capability for its replacement, the QF-16 full-scale aerial target, that has been flying with the 82nd ATRS, based at Tyndall AFB, Florida, since September 2014,, on Sept. 23: therefore the QF-4 flown by the 82nd ATRS Det. 1 at Holloman AFB is being retired on Dec. 21.

Whilst unmanned operations ended in September, the last unmanned mission in a threat representative configuration was flown on Aug. 17, 2016, “against” an F-35 Lightning II.

During that sortie, the Vietnam-era remotely piloted aircraft was shot at by the F-35 Lightning II with two AIM-120 AMRAAMs (advanced medium range air-to-air missiles). However, the aircraft was not destroyed in the test (read more about the final sortie “against” two AIM-120Cs fired by a Joint Strike Fighter here.)

A QF-4 Aerial Target lands on the flight line at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during the Aviation Nation air show on Nov. 11, 2016. The QF-4 was piloted by Lt. Col. Ron King, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron Detachment 1 commander, at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kevin Tanenbaum/Released)

A QF-4 Aerial Target lands on the flight line at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during the Aviation Nation air show on Nov. 11, 2016. The QF-4 was piloted by Lt. Col. Ron King, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron Detachment 1 commander, at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kevin Tanenbaum/Released)

Interestingly,  Oct. 25 two USAF McDonnell Douglas QF-4E Phantom II’s made an appearance through the famous “Star Wars Canyon” (Jedi Transition) in Death Valley, CA, during in transit from NAS Point Mugu, CA to Hill AFB, UT.

The aircraft, piloted by Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King and by Lt. Col. (Ret) Jim “WAM” Harkins, made a couple of aggressive passes through the canyon before continuing their journey to Hill.

The F-4 is one of the most successful multi-role fighter aircraft ever produced. Over 5,000 Phantoms of various models were built and served in combat with a variety of Air Forces around the world. In the U.S., the F-4 served with the US Navy beginning in 1961, followed by the USMC and the USAF.

The aircraft remained in service with the USAF through 1996 when it was retired.

Many Phantoms were converted to service as manned and unmanned targets for weapons training with various USAF and DoD programs, including the White Sands Missile Range.

But the final chapter in a long and successful career in the U.S. Air Force is approaching. At least, other air arms around the world still operate the mighty Phantom, including the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, that has also used the F-4E in the Air War in Syria; the Turkish Air Force, whose F-4s have had a role in the coup attempt last July; South Korea’s ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force), that has also employed the Phantoms to stage Elephant Walks “against” the North; and the Hellenic Air Force.

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Image credit: Ken Lilly unless otherwise specified.

 

Salva

Take a seat aboard the “Papyrus Hunter” flying through the Alps with this magnificient video

Fantastic footage from aboard the “Papyrus Hunter” during its display at the Zigermeet 2016.

The “Papyrus Hunter” is a Hunter F.Mk.58, built in 1956 and delivered to the Swiss Air Force on May 29, 1959 as J-4040.

The aircraft served with the Swiss Air Force until Nov. 26, 1993, when it was retired after logging 2,700 flight hours and 1,490 landings. After a period of storage the Hunter was brought back to flight with the new civilian registration HB-RVS on Aug. 19, 2000.

Since then the aircraft has taken part in airshows across Europe, wearing the “Papyrus” white with black newspaper lettering scheme much similar to the livery sported by the Hunter J-4015.

The following footage was filmed in August 2016, when the aircraft took part in the Zigermeet, at Mollis, flying also in formation with the Patrouille Suisse in the Swiss Alps.

Enjoy.

Papyrus Mollis Higher Qualität 343 MB from Hans Rudolf Schneider on Vimeo.

 

Here are some crazy cool shots of a Polish F-16 performing a “sunset display” at the Leszno airshow

F-16 Block 52+ releasing plenty of flares and all the other highlights of the Leszno Air Picnic.

On Jun. 17 and 18 we visited the Leszno Aeroclub airfield, in collaboration with Foto Poork, during the 10th edition of the Leszno Air Picnic, which is organized annually by the city of Leszno.

The event, strongly focused on gliders and non-powered flight, includes evening/night displays that have become Leszno’s peculiar feature. During this part of the event, the aircraft perform a number of flying displays involving spectacular pyrotechnical and light-based special effects, creating a truly unique and marvelous show. It is the only sunset/night air show organized in Eastern Europe, and one of the two air shows of this kind in Europe in general, besides the Sanicole Show in Belgium.

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Obviously, even though the night section is the main highlight of the show, it is complemented by a rich daytime flying program: some of the teams usually present their skills twice, both during the day, as well as during the night and sunset segments.

This year’s edition of Leszno Air Picnic was unique also due to some “firsts,” including the display of the Polish Air Force F-16 “Tiger Demo Team.

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Flying an interesting “sunset” programme that included the release of several flares, Captain Robert “Bluto” Galązka aboard its “clean” F-16 Block 52+ took the stage during the Leszno airshow.

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Another unique highlight was a dynamic display of two WW2 fighter aircraft – P-51 Mustang and Yak-3. These warbirds, besides the individual show, also carried out several formation flypasts.

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The Air Picnic also involved aerobatic teams, including “The Flying Bulls” aerobatic team, performing a new program with four aircraft; the Czech “Follow Me” Formation Flying Team, flying the Zlin aircraft, that showcased a unique team flying skill set maitaining minimum distance between the airframes.

Obviously, the Air Picnic would not be complete without involvement of glider aerobatics.

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Here, “The White Wings” team hailing from Romania was one of highlights. Their show created almost a romantic atmosphere, demonstrating the beauty of engine-less flying. Additionally, Johann Gustafsson attended the show, presenting his aerobatics program.

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The night portion of the show belonged to two main actors: AeroSparx and FireFlies. Besides the gliders that have displayed awesome light and fire show, the teams mentioned above have brought the display to a whole new level.

This year’s edition of the show was successful also organization-wise. When it comes to the photographing – it is done against the sun during the day. Thanks to the courtesy of the organizers and Foto-Poork team, we also had a chance to take several shots on the other side of the airfield area, and realize an air-to-ground photoshoot from a Cessna 172.

Non-powered flight bears some degree of romanticism and primal nature, it constitutes an amazing “different” thing, which allows you to get some rest during the long air show season, filled with the sound of the afterburner.

We would like to highly recommend the Leszno Show: the organization and program constitute a pleasant surprise of the 2016 season and the event cannot be rated highly enough.

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Image Credit: Jacek Siminski and Aleksandra “Alex” Kuczyńska

Watch an epic Blue Angels low take off from an awesome point of view

It must have been quite loud.

Pretty cool video showing Blue Angel #7 taking off from Runway 23L at Willow Run Airport for the Thunder Over Michigan airshow.

As usual, the low transition is followed by a high performance climb.

H/T Emiliano Guerra for the heads-up

 

"Are you sure to be able to take off with the closed air intakes?": Yakovlev Yak-130 anti-FOD system disorientates Farnborough Tower

During a media briefing held at Farnborough, Irkut‘s vice-president Konstantin Popovich recounted a funny episode that had occurred during the Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer first flight at the Airshow 2012.

The Russian aircraft is equipped with shields that close the air intakes for FOD (Foreign Object Damage) prevention. The system is intented to enable the Irkut-built Yak-130 to operate from unpaved/unprepared runways.

“You can not taxi because the air intakes are closed” Farnborough ATC controllers told the Yak-130 aircrew. Even after explaining that the engine-shields were a normal feature of the plane, the Tower asked if they were sure to be able to take off with the closed intakes.