Friday pictures: Eurofighter Typhoon

Taken last Saturday at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), this Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon image by Flickr user Andy in Oxford is simply tremendous. I must admit that the Typhoon leaves me cold most of the time – I do not know why. Yet the combination of vapor and afterburner and sunlight on the dark sky here makes for a powerful, dynamic representation of this formidable fighter. My thanks to Andy for the many, many terrific images found in his Flickr photostream.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: Folland Gnat

Continued apologies for how erratic these have become. I resume the series today for the simple reason that I came across a terrific shot of a wonderful plane that is hardly seen anymore, making it a perfect candidate for the series. I try hard to favor airplanes here that follow the “middle school study hall rule” (examples here, here, and here), and for whatever reason I do seem to keep returning to Britain’s early jets. I suspect my early exposure to my father’s Dinky Supermarine Swift, Hawker Hunter, and Gloster Javelin explain that.

With no further ado, then, here is this week’s wonderful shot by Flick photographer andys1616.

gnat

For more information on the Gnat, please start here.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures resuscitated

It has been quite some time since I last filed an entry in the Friday pictures series, and for all of my many loyal readers, I wanted to apologize for the unanounnced hiatus. Holidays and life clobbered the habit, and I will try to climb back in the saddle and resume what has been, I realize, a popular feature here at QES.

While I understand today is not Friday, I figured I would include a quick bonus picture here as a taste for the items to come.

The following image comes from Flickr user Moving Pictures Photography, and is taken of a Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR4 rolling inverted as it flies low through Cad West over Wales. There are several Flickr photographers who haunt this training area for the RAF, and collectively their pictures document the skill and power dejmonstrated by the RAF as they refine their low-level flying skills. Many of the shots seem as if they could only be taken air-to-air, but are in fact simply shot down from the valley ridges at the planes below. Most impressive – I would love to see this in person, and hear it, too, of course.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: RAAF F-111 Aardvark

In keeping with some recent installments that focus on the pure form of a plane, today’s update captures a very clean Royal Australian Air Force/General Dynamics F-111C Aardvark. The Aardvark dates to the TFX competition of 1961. Kennedy’s Defense Secretary Robert McNamara sought to replace a variety of Air Force and Navy jets with one versatile design. This is the same illusion America and her allies appear to be chasing today with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, although the TFX sought to encompass an even broader set of roles than the F-35 aims for today. The resulting Air Force variants entered service in 1968 as a part of a deployment called Combat Lancer. After severe teething problems with many systems, chief among them the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engine, the F-111 ultimately emerged as a very capable bomber, serving in the role of deep-penetration interdiction. Its substantial payload combined with very high speed to make it a formidable weapon, and it next saw action against Libya in 1986 (as part of El Dorado Canyon) and Iraq (in Desert Storm). The USAF retired the type in 1998. As a naval fighter, the F-111B was a disappointment, although portions of the F-111B program were repackaged as part of the far more successful Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

Australia ordered two-dozen F-111C bombers in 1963, took delivery in 1968, and had to wait until 1973 to see them in service due to unanticipated structural issues. Since 1973, the Australian F-111 force has seen an additional four airframes delivered in 1982, while 18 further F-111G aircraft were delivered in 1994. In that time, the F-111 has never seen combat in Australian service. Wing cracks in the fleet have triggered its planned retirement in 2010, although there is a great deal of politics surrounding this decision (including the RAAF decision to purchase the F-18 as a stopgap until the F-35 is ready).

Operational histories aside, the swing-wing F-111 has always looked like a fast jet – with the lines I associate with a middle schooler’s study hall doodles. In this picture by flickr user obLiterated, to whom I extend my thanks for this handsome shot, we see an Aardvark banking hard during a tight left turn, afterburners engaged. Note the long-span wings. Just about perfection.

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If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: Vulcan into a stormy sky

Back in July, I featured a whole series of pictures of the Avro Vulcan that returned to flight for this summer’s airshow season. Vulcan XH558 delivers amazing performances by all accounts, and I very much wish to see it in person, but until then I rely on the photographers at Flickr to capture its appearances, and they do not disappoint. For more background on the Vulcan, her V-bomber sisters, and this one’s return to flight, please click here.

Avro/RAF Vulcan XH558 takes to stormy skies at Farnborough
Avro/RAF Vulcan XH558 takes to stormy skies at Farnborough

This week’s shot is by mjenner10, and he has many more aviation pictures in his stream. I encourage you to take a look for yourself.

Update: Oh no! They’re running out of money. Agh!

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: F-86 & MiG-15

Fifty-eight years ago, the North American F-86 Sabre and the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15 fought remorselessly for control of Korea’s skies, giving no quarter as they tangled in MiG Alley. Even though the skies over the Yalu River remain unwelcome to American aircraft today, times have changed sufficiently that these former foes now find themselves reunited in far more peaceful circumstances. I think it’s useful, as we look at the uncertainty in the world around us, to realize that the passage of two generations is enough time to witness profound changes in the world, and sometimes it’s change for the good.

Regardless of such thoughts, the two planes in this week’s picture are timeless examples of the first jet vs. jet combat ever. It is wonderful to see them in such perfect condition, and my thanks to Mark Von Raesfeld for his wonderful photography. As always, follow the link for a larger view.

F-86 Sabre & MiG-15 at Chino
F-86 Sabre & MiG-15 at Chino

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.

Friday pictures: Red Arrows

This should have been posted yesterday, but a four hour meeting steamrolled that plan, so here it is a day late.

This week’s Flickr photographer goes by robdigphot, and he just posted a set that includes a bunch of great images. Many of them deserve to be seen, but the one that caught my eye was a picture of the Royal Air Force team the Red Arrows, taken from directly ahead as they all prepare to break from formation. Just stunning.

The Red Arrows fly the British Aerospace Hawk (the last plane with a distinctive Hawker Siddeley tail) and their team home page is here.

If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.