Tag Archives: P-51 Mustang

Stunning photos of the warbirds flight that took part in the U.S. Air Force birthday celebrations

A special formation took the sky on Sept. 17 to celebrate the U.S. Air Force’s 68th birthday.

Among the aircraft involved in the flypast over Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, during the United States Air Force Tattoo held to commemorate the U.S. Air Force anniversary, there was also a warbirds flight, which consisted of a P-51 Mustang, two B-25 Mitchells and two P-40 Warhawks.


The ceremony saw also the participation of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demo team and of an F-22 Raptor which was part of the Heritage Flight along with a P-51.

However the warbirds formation was the real highlight of the celebrations as you can see by looking at the following awesome pictures: indeed these images are really unique since they have been taken from the cockpit of these legendary aircraft right before the sunset, a mixture that has yielded spectacular results.


Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Wings over Atlanta: the Dobbins Air Reserve Base airshow

In the last few weeks readers of this blog have had the opportunity to read articles and watch pictures taken at airshows all around the world: in September, with a series of posts, I described the 50th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori airshow in Rivolto; then, I reported about the RAAF Williamtown airshow thanks to the pictures and report provided by Ed Armstrong and a few days ago, I wrote a post about the famous Axalp airshow, attended this year by Simone Bovi. The “world airshow tour” completes with another interesting report, this time by Moreno Aguiari, a former Italian commercial and Cropduster pilot living in the USA, who attended the Wings over Atlanta airshow, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, that among the others, featured the interesting displays of the US Navy Blue Angels and Canadian Snowbirds, a rare sight outside America. Moreno sent me the following pictures and wrote an interesting detailed report of the Dobbins airshow for the readers of this site:

In the Oct. 16-17 weekend, like previous years, the skies over Dobbins ARB in Atlanta were filled with aerobatics during the 2010 “Wings over Atlanta” airshow. Aerial feats were performed by noted military teams like the Navy’s own Blue Angels and the Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue elite parachute team. International guests, like the Canadian Snowbirds were also in attendance, offering thrilling examples of advanced aerial skills and tricky formations. Along with the performers, the audience enjoyed static displays, food, and opportunities to talk to pilots, civilian and military personnel about their professions. After the 2008 air show became a traffic issue for many visitors, this year’s organizers reached out to area transit providers and lot owners for help. In response, 127 busses were contracted and used to transport nearly 200,000 spectators, free of charge, who arrived for the show both on Saturday and on Sunday. Parking space was provided by Lockheed Martin, located on the Dobbins base. Organizers were pleased with the results as crowds gasped and applauded at the many thrilling aerial exercises provided by the experienced pilots and their support teams. Other performances by Red Eagle, Dan Buchanan, Gary Rower, Bill Braak and his Smoke-N-Thunder Jet Car, F/A -18 Hornet Demo, Kent Pietsch Jelly Belly, Dobbins C-130 Airdrop, “Otto” The Helicopter (a favorite, especially among children), Georgia State Patrol Helo Demo, Viper East F-16 Demo, Sean D. Tucker/Oracle and others provided even more excitement for the day.
The organization of the air show was handled by the 94th Airlift Wing, that is organized into a headquarters element, three groups, and a medical element containing 11 Squadrons and 4 Flights (1,800 personnel) and whose mission is threefold. The primary mission is to train C-130H aircrews for the United States Air Force — active duty, guard and reserve components. The second mission is to maintain combat ready units to deploy on short notice to support contingencies anywhere in the world. The third mission is to support all agencies and tenants at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

The highlight of the show was, without a doubt, the performance of the US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18s and their support plane, the C-130, affectionately known as “Fat Albert”. The aerial demonstration begun by exhibiting the jet’s maximum performance capabilities during a ten-minute performance. Shortly thereafter, it was the time for the graceful aerobatic maneuvers of the four-jet Diamond Formation, in concert with the fast-paced, high-performance maneuvers of its two solo pilots. Finally, the team illustrated the pinnacle of precision flying, performing maneuvers locked as a unit in the renowned, six-jet Delta Formation.

The Blue Angels, although less aerobatic from a pure jet handling point of view than the USAF counterparts, the Thunderbirds, showed off some incredible precision flying, considering the size of Hornet.
The Blue Angels were scheduled to fly 68 performances at 35 airshow sites in the United States during the 2010 season as the team celebrates its 23rd year of flying the F-18. The Dobbins Airshow was the 66th of the season, and the Angels still have one more show in Homestead, FL before of the Homecoming show in Pensacola, Florida on November 11th and 13th.
This year’s show also hosted the Canadian Snowbirds. Officially known as the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, they fly the CT-114 Tutors that were designed and built by Canadair. The Canadians are well known for their precise flight program that includes different formations composed by 9 or 7 planes, as well as solo flights.
Another amazing show was performed by flying legend Sean D. Tucker, flying his custom built Oracle Challenger III biplane which produces more than 400 horsepower, weighs only 1,200 pounds, and is considered the most high-performance aerobatic aircraft in the world. The Challenger III is equipped with a unique set of wings that use 8 ailerons instead of 4. The tail on the airplane is modeled after the tail used on high-performance radio control airplanes. What Sean does with his plane seems beyond the all laws of aerodynamics.

The power of the Oracle’s engine allows Sean to “hang” vertically in the skies without losing altitude. Sean D. Tucker’s “Sky Dance” daytime performance begins with an unbelievable sequence of events. One second he’s tumbling the 330 HP Randolph Sunglass Challenger end-over-end, and then all the sudden flying it tail-first, straight towards the earth for 500 feet at negative airspeeds of up to 90 MPH while rolling his aircraft counter-clockwise! Before the first spiral of smoke begins to fade, Tucker plunges into a powerful and complex aerobatics sequence that demonstrates the talent that won him the coveted U.S. National Advanced Aerobatics Trophy in 1988. Tucker’s spectacular sequence includes original, adrenaline-pumping maneuvers like “The Centrifuge,” “The Son of Edwin,” “The Spiraling Tower,” “The Tucker Upper,” “The Harrier Pass” and the heart-stopping finale “The Triple ribbon Cut.”

The static display, whose centerpiece was the F-22 Raptor with its incredible engines strictly covered, was very impressive this year with some of the greatest warbirds, such as P-51 Mustangs, the P-40, the mammoth Grumman TBF Avenger and many more. As usual the planes were open cockpit and from the giant planes like the C-5, C-17, and KC-135 it was possible to enter in the cargo bay and climb up into the cockpit.
Delta Airlines flew one of its B-757’s to Dobbins, promoting the fight against cancer.

Without a doubt this year’s Wings over Atlanta was another successful airshow for the 94th AW.

Farewell Aussie F-111: RAAF Williamtown airshow

A week after the two days event held in Rivolto to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori, an extremely interesting airshow took place Down Under, in Australia, where the RAAF Williamtown airshow saw the last public appearance of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) F-111s and the first public show for their replacements, the F/A-18F Super Hornets (or “Rhinos” as they are widely known). The Australian airshow was at the antipodes of Rivolto, not only under a geographical point of view: while Rivolto saw the display of many aerobatic display team and a few solos (those of the ItAF Test Wing), the RAAF Williamtown one was more focused on operative aircraft and solos and just one display team attended the event: the RAAF Roulettes. Ed Armstrong, an Australian aviation expert (and reader of this blog), attended the show and sent me the following interesting report and pictures.

The Annual Defence Force Airshow took place at RAAF Williamtown on Sept. 18 and 19. Williamtown is Australia’s largest fast jet base and home to the RAAF’s fighter force. The show marked a number of significant events. Both Nos.1 and 6 Squadrons based at Amberley are transitioning to the F/A-18F Super Hornet – “Rhinos” in place of the long serving F-111C. The first of the new jets arrived in country in March and 1 Sqn currently has 11 of its planned complement of 12. IOC is set for years end. Williamtown was the type’s public debut. 1 Sqn brought 4 jets; A44-208 for the static, A44-204 & A4-207 for the flying display and A44-209 as spare.
After 37 years of Australian service the F-111C will be retired at the beginning of December and 6 Sqn, the last user of the type, currently has 7 to 8 serviceable jets. Williamtown was the last ever public show for the “Pig” and 6 Sqn crew Flt Lt Leon Izaat and Flt Lt Matt Michel did not disappoint with a spectacular, fast and noisy, flying display finishing with a steep climb out from a touch and go whilst performing the trade mark “dump and burn”. The display jet, on both the Saturday & Sunday, was one of the unique RF-111C jets: A8-126.
All types that the RAAF is currently flying were represented at the show either static or flying. 2 Sqn had their new Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft in the static, the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) displayed their Agusta 109, Sea King, Seahawk and Squirrel helicopters. The latter two types attended the flying display also. Temora Aviation Museum contributed their Meteor F.8, the world’s only flying example, Spitfire VIII, Hudson and CAC F-86 Sabre, the only Avon powered example flying. Also present were 4 of Australia’s 7 P-51 Mustangs and HARS brought along their Catalina and Neptune for the flying and Super Connie and C-47 for the static.
Whilst the F-111 was the star of the show, Williamtown’s based units put on some superb flying, a crisp display by a Hawk 127 from 76 Sqn, the specially formed “Purple Cobras” of 3 Sqn flying four F/A-18A Hornets, lead by the unit CO Wing Commander Terry Van Harren. And 77 Sqn provided the Hornet solo. “Ackers” putting on a stunning display. The Sunday was his last show before stepping down as Hornet display pilot.
For the display rehearsals in the week ahead of the show, 6 Squadron favoured F-111A/C A8-109 (that can be seen in the first pictures below while practicing over its home base of Amberley on Monday Sept. 13).

Special tail markings to mark the retirement of the F-111 featuring a stylised “dump and burn” seen here on F-111A/C A8-113 in the static at Williamtown. Two other jets are known to carry these special marks are A8-126 and A8-135.

The Roulettes display team

Italian Air Force Museum (Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare) – Vigna di Valle

Located some 25 kilometers to the North East of Rome, the Museo Storico Aeronautica Militare – Italian Air Force Museum, is the most important aviation museum in Italy. The collection of Italian pieces is hosted inside 4 largeBrochure Vigna di Valle hangars built on the Western side of the Bracciano Lake, next to the ItAF sports complex, in the old seapane station of Vigna di Valle, the oldest Italian aviation site, a place that became the first Experimental Aviation Shipyard. It was here that the first Italian military airship, the N.1, was built in 1908 by Crocco and Ricaldoni. Later, the airport served as the Experimental Seaplane and Naval Armament Centre up until 1945. It was the headquarters of the 88th Maritime Fighter Group and after the war it became the Search and Rescue Command, home for the 84th Seaplane Group. Vigna di Valle hosted an Italian CRP (Reporting and Control Center) that was later moved to Poggio Ballone (“Quercia Radar”). Information The large exposition follows the history of Aviation in Italy, from the origins of flight (with the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci regarding flight), passing to the monoplanes used in WWI and WWII until the present time. Particular sections are devoted to airships (and in particular to Gen. Umberto Nobile who flew over the North Pole with the “Norge”); to the history of the flight gear; to the period of Balbo Cruises, when Italian seaplanes crossed the Atlantic Ocean in formation to reach the US or S. America or flew to the Far East; to the Schneider Cup competition, with the MC.72 the hydro-racer that in 1934 fixed the absolute speed record (still unbeaten for this category) at 709.202 km/h. The Padiglione (Pavilion) “Troster”, is the first of the four pavilions of the Museum whose surface (1200 sqm) hosts models going from the pioneers of flight to the beginning of WWII. Interestingly, this hangar is the oldest of Italy: it was built by the Austrians during WWI and given to Italy at the end of the war. It was widely used for the launch and recovery of the seaplanes from the lake. The Padiglione “Velo” was built in only 200 days between January and May 1977. It has a surface of 3600 sqm and hosts planes of the WWII like the MC.200, the MC.202, the MC.205 and the Fiat CR32 and CR42. The Padiglione “Badoni” (from the company which built it in 1930), is a 60×66 mt hangar that was used until 1959 by the 84th Gruppo’s CANT Z. 506S, when the squadron received the Grumman HU-16 and moved to Ciampino. An “Albatros” is currently displayed outside this hangar hosting also a DC-3 used for transportation and Radio Calibration tasks and a P-51D “Mustang”, the best WWII fighter. The Padiglione “Skema” is a hangar with 2 floors (3000 and 1000 sqm) that was built by the Skema company and was opened in 1986. In this large hangar (80 x 40 mt) F-104, G-91R and Y, MB.326, Tornado F.3, S-2 “Traker”, Agusta AB-47 and Lockheed RT-33 (and many other aircraft) are exhibited. For more information about the museum, I suggest visiting the official website: http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/Sitoam/default.asp?idnot=23029&idsez=3347&darg=&idente=1404. The following is a 360° panoramic picture of the Italian Air Force Museum: These are some of the pictures I made during my visit to the Museo Storico on Sept. 16 2007: From now, the latest information and pictures about the Museum will be available at the following page: Italian Air Force Museum.