Its been a few years since I’d been to an airshow, so you could imagine how excited I was to attend “A Century of Air Power” at the Westfield International Airshow. Many air demonstrations and static exhibits were on display, with the USAF Thunderbirds the main event. This blog is about my first day at the airshow. Hope you like the photos.
For this photoshoot took a Canon 1Dx Mark II and a 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Only took one camera and prime lens as a way to restrict myself and force me to look for different angles and try different things. Also, for some reason I seem to work better with only one camera and lens. Guess its because it removes one of the variables from my photography.
Map credit – Google
Left home around 7.00 am and arrived at the Westfield International Airshow around 9.00 am. The airshow was held at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in conjunction with the 104th Fighter Wing.
Map credit – https://www.westfieldairshow.org
Parked the car at the reserved parking lot C, which cost $15 per day, but was well worth it, since you were very close to the center airbase entrance. Also general admission was free, and the parking cost goes to help offset the cost of the airshow and supports local charities. Upon entering the airbase, walked to the flight line where the GEICO Skytypers were located, to get my bearings and ideas about site-lines for the air demonstrations. It should be noted that most of the planes took-off from the south-end of the airfield, except for the F-15’s and C-17, which took-off from the north-end.
The overcast skies produced a soft diffused light on the Douglas A-1 Skyraider.
Walked along the flight line past show center towards the southern-end of the airfield where the Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcons were parked. Once again the soft diffused light from the overcast skies made the F-16 “pop” from its background.
Then headed over to the static displays in the aircraft hanger area. There were three hangers, each containing aircraft, as well as plenty of space to rest in the shade from the sun later in the day. I think this was a Russian fighter-jet, and really liked its deep red paintwork and yellow numbering.
Walked behind the hangers and couldn’t believe my eyes. A Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor was on display. This was the first time I’d seen an F-22, and naturally spent a lot of time checking out the angles and curves of this fifth-generation tactical fighter.
To the left of the F-22, was a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, with its flight crew demonstrating weapons loading.
A Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was also in the static display area, with the end of its massive 30 mm GAU-8 avenger rotary cannon under-wraps.
Around 10.30 am headed back to the flight-line. At the southern-end of the runway a pair of A-10’s were getting ready to take-off, so headed down to the north-end to get into position for the 11.00 am airshow.
Parked at the North end of the runway was a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. It always amazes me how maneuverable this aircraft is, as well as the short amount of airfield it needs for take-off or landing.
Got into position just in time to catch one of the F-15s taking off.
The F-15s and A-10s got together for a formation fly-over (sorry I missed the other A-10 in the photo).
Jason Flood Aerobatics in the the red and white Pitts S-1S.
As the show in the sky continued, headed back to the south end of the airfield so I could get shots of the planes landing and taking-off. In-bound with a pair of A-10s.
After the A-10s landed, what looked like a Special-Ops helicopter flew by.
After the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III air demonstration, Warbirds from WWII including the North American P-51D Mustang took to the sky. The pilot demonstrated the maneuverability, speed, and performance of this fighter plane. Still remember being amazed seeing the P-51D climb vertically, dive, and doing low level fly-bys. The plane above is known as the “Quick Silver P-51D Mustang, The Resurrected Veteran”, which was built by a father and son team from the parts of many P-51s.
Next up was the “Acemaker” Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star flight demonstration. Here’s a shot of the T-33 making a low high speed pass which reminds me of “technicolor of speed”.
After the T-33 demonstration, went to the vendor area to get some food and sat inside one of the aircraft hangers to have lunch in the shade. After lunch walked back towards the static displays behind the hangers and noticed the sun was reflecting of the green HUD of the F-22 Raptor.
For the Thunderbirds went back to the flight line at the south end of the runway so could watch the pre-flight routine. Was great to see the swearing-in ceremony for new recruits of the USAF.
Thunderbird pilots and crew.
A lot of heat-haze and noise was being generated by the F-16 engine.
Into the blue sky and back down again with Thunderbirds 1 to 4.
Seeing the Thunderbirds in the diamond formation really makes you appreciate how close they fly to each other.
Flying through the sky with one of the opposing solo’s.
Inbound with Thunderbirds 1 to 4.
Had a great day and will be back on Sunday to see the airshow again. Thanks for spending the time to read Day 1 at the Westfield International Airshow.