Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

Oregon International Airshow in Hillsboro, Oregon

Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve been fascinated by planes. This is something my father, my brother and I all share…our passion for planes. It was refreshing to step out of wedding mode and point my camera towards a new subject. Photographing a jet breaking the sound barrier requires a whole different set of skills. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from that rainy Saturday in September.

F-15C Fighter

This is an F-15C fighter that is flown by the Oregon Air National Guard, stationed at the Portland International Airport. I live close to the airport and hear these fighters take off daily on their routine missions patrolling the coast. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them ripping up the skies.

F-15C Afterburner

There is nothing quite like the sound of a jet fighter’s afterburner. Look at the pulsing exhaust coming out of the jet and onto the runway.

Low Pass Oracle Biplane

It’s easy to be enamored by the loud and fast modern jet fighters, but I have to admit this pilot (Sean D. Tucker) was easily one of the best at the airshow. His plane is a custom built Pitts S-2 Special called the Challenger II and this guy really put it through it’s paces.

Some interesting facts about his airshow routine. More than half of Sean’s maneuvers are original and have never been duplicated by another aerobatic pilot. Twice, during every air show, Sean will fly the Oracle Challenger-II backwards at a speed of more than 100 mph!

The G-forces exerted on Sean when he is flying are greater than those on the pilots in modern fighters like the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels. From his normal weight of 175 pounds, Sean will weigh nearly 1,700 pounds while pulling 10 positive G’s and will resist the 1,200 pounds of force pulling on his head as 7.5 negative G’s tries to pull him out of the cockpit!

Red Baron Cross

The Red Baron acrobatic team was also on display at the airshow. Who knew pizzas could pay for a vintage aerial acrobatic team? This aerial near miss always makes my heart skip a beat.

Wing Walker

Talk about a vintage airshow from the 1930s! When was the last time you’ve seen a wing walker, outside a movie?

P-51 and A-10

Two of my favorite planes flying together. The A-10 Warthog and the P-51 Mustang. Just the sound of the P-51 brings back memories of days gone by. There is nothing like the sound of that engine as the plane passes at treetop level.

Air Force Thunderbirds

The Air Force Thunderbirds were the finale of the airshow. Unfortunately, there was a large thunderstorm in the area and it was rumored that the routine would be cancelled, but they showed up in the end. Their routine was a low level, shortened routine, but the Thunderbirds are the best of the best.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Les McClain

    The DVD of this movie has a history of the aircraft on it. The striking thing to me is how quickly they cobbled them together. Compare that to the reconstructed Wright flyer for the 2003 anniversary which seemed to take years.

    You’ve got an interesting site here.

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