Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Blue Angels 2011


They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

I can't stand the military. There, I said it. Any situation or person who demands I not think I simply have no use for and is a threat to my survival. Don't put your own limitations onto me. I ask you: is there any endeavor of mankind that isn't ultimately about either his desire for love or insecurity thereof? I think not.

Training for war

That said, I always get along with military people better than with the average civilian. People without self-awareness are reckless by nature but military training forces you to face yourself to a certain degree as opposed to the plastic princess without a clue. So when I go to an event of military worship, I'm generally uneasy with a lot of conflicted feelings.


On one hand I want to meet and greet with every military person there, scratch their surface and find out their story. True, I know how every story ends but hearing of the journey is a hunger I can never fully sate. On the other hand, the whole "Hooray for our side" bit makes me wince unbearably. We're all in this together, folks. Pretending otherwise is suicide. The Age of War has passed and yet we stubbornly refuse to let go.

Ah well, that sort of self elimination is Nature's way to purification.

Hawk Trainer

But when it comes to doing something with a high level of skill, there's always a moral component to that. Become out of touch with reality at 600 knots in close formation and you will make the news - and not in a good way. I'm interested in almost anyone who's a master at their craft. So despite the blind worship of a military air show, I love the professionalism on display along with, yes, the trinkets of war that explore the human mind.


"When I was 19, I did a guy in Laos from a thousand yards out. It was a rifle shot in high wind. Maybe eight or even ten guys in the world could have made that shot."
Martin Riggs, "Lethal Weapon"

I have a mountain of air show photos from over the years but I wanted to wait until I got some Blue Angel footage to start posting. Little did I know how hard that would be! Shooting while standing on a rickety chair in a gusty high wind with planes flying by at 1,000 mph across the sun on maximum zoom took some precision of my own. I easily lost over 50% of what I shot due to shakiness and, uh, putting my hand in front of the lens to shield me from the sun. Ouch!

Yes, it was VERY loud

Some air shows are more about vintage planes and I love those too. The Alliance show is more about modern aviation with American Airlines and Fed Ex having their commercial aircraft open for tours. It's a unique opportunity to see inside these beasts.




But of course, the big draw is the Blue Angels show and all that it entails. Here's a short Wiki on them:

The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team. The squadron's six demonstration pilots currently fly the F/A-18 Hornet in more than 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year, where they still employ many of the same practices and techniques used in their aerial displays in 1946. Since their inception, the "Blues" have flown a variety of different aircraft types for more than 427 million spectators worldwide.

Here's a few shots I captured:







Click here to see the whole set

But the main thing I came for was the video. I don't know enough about tripods if they have the range to move up and down as necessary for capturing this kind of footage. Maybe I'll do some research and find out for next year. Until then, enjoy what I did get!

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