Unauthorized Civilian Drone Brings South African Airshow To Sudden Halt

posted in: Airshows, Miscellaneous | 0
Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team
Photo courtesy of the Silver Falcons

The Silver Falcons, the aerial demonstration team of South Africa, were forced to cut their performance short at the Rand Show in Johannesburg, South Africa two weeks ago when an unauthorized drone was spotted in the airspace. The entire airshow was put on hold while the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) searched for the drone pilot, and the situation was put into the hands of the proper authorities. The drone itself was described as flying higher than 200 feet above the grounds of the show as the operator sought to take photos of the performance.

One of the pilots talked about the danger that a drone could cause in such a situation: “The Silver Falcons fly at approximately 500 kilometers per hour. Besides causing damage to the plane, the debris could hit people. The plane could even crash”. It is illegal to fly such a device in South Africa without authorization.

This may be the first instance where a rogue UAV has interrupted an airshow, but with small quadcopters and other UAVs becoming increasingly popular among consumers this may not be the last time it happens. Here in the United States, the FAA is already struggling to develop effective rules to keep such drones away from manned aircraft that are already tightly regulated. Other countries have been quicker to respond and many do have established rules for UAV use, but unfortunately operator stupidity cannot be prevented in all cases.

Fan Submissions: Theme Week 17 – P-51 Mustang

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 1

Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our P-51 Mustang theme week! Another week with over 100 submissions and some of the best pictures we’ve seen from our fans yet! We posted some of our favorite P-51 Mustang photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Harriers! Got a great shot of an AV-8B or a Sea Harrier? If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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Fan Submissions: Theme Week 16 – Military Heavy Lifters

posted in: Community, Military | 1

Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our Military Heavy Lifters theme week! Once again we had over 100 submissions from our fantastic fans. We posted some of our favorite military heavy lifter photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is P-51 Mustangs! Got a great shot of a P-51? If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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Fan Submissions: Theme Week 15 – Formation Flying

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Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our Formation theme week! We had over 100 submissions in this theme week, one of the most popular yet. We posted some of our favorite formation photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Military Airlifters! Got a great shot of a C-17? C-5? Maybe even an AN-225? If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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Fan Submissions: Theme Week 14 – F4U Corsair

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 0

Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our Corsair theme week! With over 100 fan submissions, this week’s theme had a great turn-out. We posted some of our favorite Corsair photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Formation Flying! If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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EAA AirVenture 2015: Exciting Announcements

posted in: Airshows, Military, Warbirds | 0

USMC AV-8B Harrier

EAA has made some exciting announcements recently regarding featured aircraft and performers at AirVenture 2015. Of course AirVenture is always packed with special things, but here are some of the biggest unveils of late.

USMC Harrier Demo

AirVenture will be getting some additional jet noise thanks to the inclusion of the US Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier demonstration. The vertical takeoff and landing jump jet will perform at just nine total events in 2015, so it is a rare treat and a change from 2014, when the Marines brought a CV-22 Osprey to perform in Oshkosh.

PB4Y-2 Privateer

Maybe the most exciting news, given its rarity, is that the world’s only flying PB4Y-2 Privateer, a naval patrol variant of the B-24 Liberator, will be appearing at AirVenture in 2015. The aircraft was supposed to make the trip from Arizona to Oshkosh last year, but engine trouble canceled the trip. However, 2014 did feature the B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil”, one of only two flying B-24s left.

Avro Lancaster - Canadian Warplane Heritage MuseumB-25 Mitchell "Hot Gen" - Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Avro Lancaster and B-25 Mitchell

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario has announced that their Avro Lancaster and B-25 Mitchell will be appearing at AirVenture this year. The Lancaster is the only one flying in North America, and one of only two in the world. The other is based in the UK. This is the Lancaster’s third appearance at AirVenture, following previous visits in 2006 and 2009.

The F-22 Raptor Returns

The USAF’s F-22 Raptor demo team will return to Oshkosh, but will be prevented from putting on a full display due to the limited aerobatic box. You may remember that several changes, such as pushing the crowd line back, had to be made last year in order for the USAF Thunderbirds to perform. The Raptor will instead perform a Heritage Flight with at least one warbird at AirVenture, although you can probably expect a ‘mini-demo’ of several non-aerobatic passes. It will be based in Milwaukee and fly its full demonstration routine for the Milwaukee Air and Water Show there. The appearance in Oshkosh will be a homecoming for Raptor demo pilot Captain John “Taboo” Cummings, who is a native of nearby Appleton, WI.

F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang - USAF Heritage FlightB-29 Superfortress "Fifi"

B-29 Superfortress “Fifi”

No stranger to AirVenture in the last few years, but a special guest nonetheless, the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress “Fifi” will return to the show in 2015. Making this especially tantalizing is the possible appearance of what would be the second flying Superfortress, “Doc”. “Doc” is currently completing a lengthy restoration in Kansas and may be flying by the time AirVenture rolls around. Needless to say, getting the would-be only two flying B-29s in the world together would truly be amazing.

As you can see, there are a lot of special reasons to attend AirVenture in 2015!

Fan Submissions: Theme Week 13 – Stealth

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Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our Stealth theme week! With nearly 100 fan submissions, this week’s theme had a great turn-out. We were also very happy to see the F-35 photos from our fans! We posted some of our favorite Stealth photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is F4U Corsair! If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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Fan Submissions: Theme Week 12 – General Aviation

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Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our General Aviation theme week! We really love seeing the turn-out each week and the fantastic photos you’re all submitting! We posted some of our favorite General Aviation photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Stealth! If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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Hornets in Green Bay! Packers/Cowboys Flyover 1/11/15

posted in: Flyovers, Military, Miscellaneous | 1

F-18 Hornets preparing for the flyover in Green Bay

Back in December, we brought you some coverage of four F-22 Raptors that visited Green Bay, WI to perform the flyover for the Green Bay Packers. On the weekend of January 11th, Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport hosted more military jets, this time a pair of F-18 Hornets from VFA-131 “Wildcats” at NAS Oceana. Like the Raptors, the Hornets were in town to perform a flyover for the Packers as they hosted a playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. In the week before the game, Green Bay’s WBAY profiled one of the pilots, a Green Bay native and Packers fan who previously lived one mile from Lambeau Field. What a homecoming!

Check out our photos and videos of the Hornets with an extra bonus at the bottom:

The airport was busy with game traffic as the Hornet pilots got readyOne of the Hornets fires up its engines before the flyover
A VFA-131 F-18 Hornet takes off for the flyover at Lambeau Field

As a special bonus, we went for a flight around the area after the Hornets landed. Ordinarily airspace near stadiums is restricted during games, but since Lambeau Field is so close to an approach path to the airport landing aircraft can get fairly close to it even during the game. This is a view similar to what the pilots would have had as they approached for the flyover!

Lambeau Field during the Packers/Cowboys Playoff game

Raptors in Green Bay: the Packers Veteran’s Day Flyover

posted in: Flyovers, Military, Miscellaneous | 0

F-22 Raptors in Green Bay

On November 14, 2014, four F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base flew into Austin Straubel International Airport for the flyover of the Green Bay Packers versus the Philadelphia Eagles that following Sunday. With the restrictions on military flyovers being somewhat lifted, military aircraft have been flying over stadiums more frequently in the past few weeks. On the Sunday afternoon, approximately two hours before kickoff, business jets from around the country were flying into Green Bay carrying VIPs anxious to watch the football game. The ramp was full of parked King Airs and Gulfstreams, but four imposing F-22s sat front and center in a coned off section of ramp.

F-22 Raptors in Green Bay

While arriving guests checked in at the front desk of the FBO, the two flyover Raptor pilots geared up on a couch in the lounge. Ground crew also walked in and out, grabbed gear from a pile of rucksacks in the corner of the room. Many visiting pilots stopped to chat about the jets. About an hour before kickoff, the pilots and crew gathered at their jets. The famous Green Bay weather was brisk, with a strong wind making it feel even colder. One of the jets howled to life quickly, but the other coughed and sputtered and refused to get going. Luckily the pilot was able to slide into one of the other jets and start it up.

F-22 Raptors in Green Bay
F-22 Raptors in Green BayF-22 Raptors in Green Bay
Once they warmed up, they taxied out, gave the onlookers a wave, and proceeded to the runway. With a deafening full afterburner takeoff, they were airborne very quickly. Feeling the power of an F-22 Raptor taking off is an absolute treat.

F-22 Raptors in Green Bay

F-22 Raptors in Green BayF-22 Raptors in Green Bay
The stadium is only a few miles from the airport, and while we were able to see fireworks for the national anthem we didn’t see the jets go over. Low overcast may have prevented the flyover from happening, but they soon returned with a break to land over the airport and landed. The pilots got out, gave each other a high five, returned to the lobby, and grabbed a ride to the stadium. After all, even the pilots want to see the Packers!

F-22 Raptors in Green Bay

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