Alliance Air (9I) PhotosThe photos of Alliance Air planes and live planespotting feed

One of the problems that always plagued the legacy F/A-18 Hornet (A, B, C, and D variants) was it was relatively short-legged on account of its origins as a light weightfighter competitor to the F-16. Even though the production F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets are bigger than the original Northrop YF-17 Cobra, the size increase was modest at best. When the Navy decided to go forward with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, it was their chance to address this weakness with whats essentially a new aircraft thats 40% larger than the legacy Hornet. Selective radar cross section reduction features were added but only where they were considered cost-effective- the new intakes help reduce the RCS of the Super Hornet with radar absorbing material lining the intake duct along with some serpentine curves to further shield the engine compressor face from enemy radars. Along with other features, the Super Hornet has a lower RCS than the legacy Hornet as a result. The intakes, however, are not as efficient in the transonic regime as a result. In the Mach 0.85-1.2 range at 35,000 ft, the legacy Hornet is actually faster. But the Navy didntspecify faster for the Super Hornet- they wanted range, endurance, and payload without sacrificing the Hornets legendary maneuverability and high-alpha capability. The intakes and enlarged LERXs provide that same high-alpha maneuverability as the legacy Hornet.  May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 28 | Boring Grey Jet |

One of the problems that always plagued the legacy F/A-18 Hornet (A, B, C, and D variants) was it was relatively short-l...

by @JP Santiago

A partial view of our display set up at the 2014 Fort Worth Alliance Airshow, held every fall at Alliance Airport in far North Fort Worth. We have been bringing displays out to share with the public since the very first airshow held there 26 years ago! (Ok ok we were unable to do 3 or so due to schedule conflicts with real world work or certain weather predictions showing eminent rain). This tradition has been a special one to me as the folks at Hillwood who run the airport in a professional manner, also designed it to be a well laid out, clean and modern facility that just lends itself to great airshows. Many of my friends who were core volunteers or involved in the restoration work of the collection were critical to me being able to pull off taking so many fragile and HEAVY objects out to the sprawling ramp and participate in answering questions (and prevention of damage or theft of the artifcacts) have all gone on to amazing careers in aerospace, the military as Pilots, and AWACS Air Contol Officers, Program Mangers in multiple Aerospace companies, offical airborne photographers for Lockheed Martin Flight Test and on and on...Having friends

A partial view of our display set up at the 2014 Fort Worth Alliance Airshow, held every fall at Alliance Airport in far...

by @Chris Woodul

Although the MiG-17 was long out of frontline service with the Soviet Union by the time of the Vietnam War, the agile little fighter proved to be a fearsome adversary to American pilots in the skies over Vietnam. With quick acceleration, a tight turning radius and a hard-hitting set of guns (two 23mm cannon and a 37mm cannon), many American fighter pilots who flew much more advanced jets thought the MiG-17 was a more fearsome opponent in a dogfight than the more capable and supersonic MiG-21. In fact, this obsolete fighter spurred on the development post-Vietnam of two American fighters of unparalleled dogfighting ability in their day- the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. In fact, one of the design criteria for the F-16 was the ability to match or exceed the agility of the MiG-17 in a dogfight. At slow to moderate speeds (300-350 knots), the MiG-17 was a ferocious adversary that could easily pull a 7G turn on a dime to get its 37mm and twin 23mm cannons pointed at you. But as speeds increased, the increased airflow over the elevators increased control loads to the point that over 450 knots, it was impossible to overcome the control loads and the agile MiG became a missile bait lead sled. Hydraulically boosted controls would have solved this issue but the MiG-17 lacked them. The control stick was taller than most aircraft and this was to give the MiG driver more leverage at higher speeds. In the secret US flight tests of the MiG-17, pilots dogfighting the 17 were told to keep the speed up over 400 knots because if you slow down below 350 knots, the 17 *will* kill you. Flight trials showed it was possible for the old MiG-17 to prevail against the F-16 in a low speed dogfight.  May Aviation Photo Challenge |  | Day 25 | Top Side Pass |

Although the MiG-17 was long out of frontline service with the Soviet Union by the time of the Vietnam War, the agile li...

by @JP Santiago

The Northrop T-38 Talon was developed in parallel the F-5A/B Freedom Fighter. Both were derived from a common design that had the Northrop internal designation N-156. The N-156T became the T-38 and the N-156F became the F-5A/B. Interestingly the original N-156 design was initially planned to be a light jet fighter to operate off the Navys escort carriers but when the CVEs were retired during the 1950s, the N-156 found new life as the basis for the USAFs need for a supersonic trainer and a low-cost fighter for export to friendly nations. The legacy of that original naval requirement is the wide-set main landing gears which prevented tipping to one side upon landing on the deck. That wide set layout also made the Talon stable on the ground, ideal for neophyte pilots to high speed jets.The development nearly got canceled due to problems with the GE J85 engines. At the time, the J85 was used for the Quail decoy used by the B-52 Stratofortress and the small size of the J85 made it an ideal choice in a twin installation on the Northrop design. However, what was designed as a disposable jet engine for the Quail decoy didnt translate smoothly to the rigors of routine use along with the addition of an afterburner. Northrops team didnt want a different engine as any alternative was bigger and heavier and would require a costly redesign. The USAF was losing its patience and gave GE and Northrop a deadline- the T-38 had to fly by 11 April 1956 or the program would be canceled. Northrop persevered in its commitment to the J85 and GE worked at redesigning components and ruggedizing the engine for routine use. The afterburner installation continued to cause issues, so the YT-38 prototype would fly without the afterburner. The maiden flight was made with a day to spare on 10 April 1956- despite not having its afterburner, the Talon prototype easily hit Mach 0.9. May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 21 | Trainer |

The Northrop T-38 Talon was developed in parallel the F-5A/B Freedom Fighter. Both were derived from a common design tha...

by @JP Santiago

The Navy Tailhook Legacy Flights is the USN counterpartto the USAFs Heritage Flights and both have been popular at air shows. The Tailhook Legacy Flights were suspended in 2013 due to the government budget sequester and spurred the establishment of the Navy Tailhook LegacyFlight Foundation which aim to have civilian private funding to prevent future suspensions of the Tailhook Legacy Flight due to Congressional dumbassery. This photo is from the 2012 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show and I thought itd bedifferent to show these unusual formations from a different angle not often seen at air shows- directly below! What was remarkable to me is that the size difference between the Wildcat and the Super Hornet isnt as big as I thought it would be. I had thought in my head that the Wildcat wouldhave been much smaller. Fifty years separates the last active duty Wildcats leaving service in 1945 to the first flight of the F/A-18 Super Hornet in 1995.  May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 19 | Unusual Formation |

The Navy Tailhook Legacy Flights is the USN counterpartto the USAFs Heritage Flights and both have been popular at air s...

by @JP Santiago

When Embraer announced their new regional jet at the Paris Air Show in 1989, it was called the EMB-145 Amazon and was basically a stretched EMB-120 Brasilia with the Allison AE3007 turbofans in over wing nacelles on a straight wing. Wind tunnel testing of the configuration showed higher than anticipated drag. Shifting to under wing jet engine nacelles was considered, but it would have required a tall landing gear that entailed a significant weight penalty. From 1990 to 1992 Embraer refined the design until arriving at the current configuration with rear podded engines and a modestly swept wing. First flight came on 11 August 1995 and in 1997 Embraer redesignated the jet the ERJ-145 (though the type certificate still says EMB-145), the Amazon name long since dropped during the development process. The nose section and fuselage cross section is all that remains of the ERJ-145s Brasilia heritage.

When Embraer announced their new regional jet at the Paris Air Show in 1989, it was called the EMB-145 Amazon and was ba...

by @JP Santiago

In 1967 the USAF and the US Navy issued a joint engine requirement for an advanced turbofan for the F-15 Eagle and F-14 Tomcat then in development.The program was called the Advanced Turbine Engine Gas Generator (ATEGG) Program and had a goal of a thrust to weight ratio of 9 (the J79 that powered the F-4 Phantom had a thrust to weight ratio of 4.6). In 1970 Pratt & Whitney wasawarded the contract. The USAF engine would become the F100 and the Navy version which had a larger fan (42 in vs. 36.5 in on the F100) and more power became the F401. The F100 would go on to power the both the F-15 and F-16, but after flight testing in an F-14, the Navy decided to stick with the troublesome TF30 for the Tomcat at the time. The only other use of the F401 was on the canceled Rockwell XFV-12A V/STOL fighter. The F-15E Strike Eagle pictured here is just about to finish closing up the gear doors as it executes a maximum performance climb. The F100 engines on the Strike Eagle are the latestversions with about 6,000 lbs more thrust than the first production F100s from the 1970s. This is the same engine used on some late production F-16s as well and there have beenenhancement packages for the F100 that incorporate advances from the F135 engine used on the F-35 and the F119 engines used on the F-22.  May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 16 | Up |

In 1967 the USAF and the US Navy issued a joint engine requirement for an advanced turbofan for the F-15 Eagle and F-14 ...

by @JP Santiago

If youre a bad guy and were to check your six oclock and saw a Raptor turning in for the kill, odds are you never saw it coming especially if the F-22 decided to pick you off beyond visual range with an AIM-120 shot. In a combat scenario, Raptors can silently operate at high altitudes andsuper cruise speeds, sharing sensor data with other Raptors with the F-22s Intra-Flight Data Link. In several past Red Flag exercises, small groups of Raptors easily dominated the air combatarena. But oneweakness has always been that the Raptors sensor data couldnt be shared with other platforms, just other Raptors. Beginning in 2008, tests began on a variety of networking options that allowed F-22s to share their data with not just other platforms but also ground stations as well. In exercises with the equipment, the Raptors became a sort of stealthyAWACS that would use its advanced sensors to identify targets and then pass that information on to other non-stealthy aircraft. Ineffect, the Raptorswithout firing a shot became force multipliers for other combat aircraft.  May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 12 | CanYou See Me? |

If youre a bad guy and were to check your six oclock and saw a Raptor turning in for the kill, odds are you never saw it...

by @JP Santiago

The original USAF plans were for a force of 750 F-22 Raptors, but even before the first production F-22A made its first flight in September 1997,force reductions were already cutting deep into the Raptor program. The first of manyrestructurings came in January 1993that resulted in the reduction of flight test aircraft from 11 to 9. Three years later in 1996, the two-seat F-22B variant was cut from the program and another 4 aircraft were cut from the flight test program. I had readsomewhere that the loss of the F-22B variant wasnt too much of an issue as the sim phase of the Raptor training course is so extensive and realistic, but the time a new Raptor pilot steps into the cockpit for their first flight, they havevirtually flown the F-22 many times. However, in somecircles, a two seat F-22B variant would open the door for more specializedversions of the F-22 like electronic warfare (similar to the Navys EA-18G Growler) or strike (a stealthy replacement for the F-15E Strike Eagle).  May Aviation Photo Challenge | Day 4 | My Countrys Air Force |

The original USAF plans were for a force of 750 F-22 Raptors, but even before the first production F-22A made its first ...

by @JP Santiago

Even though production of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawks ended in 1944, it was still the third-most produced American fighter of the Second World War after the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt. Despite the availability of more capable fighter aircraft like the Mustang, the P-40 remained popular as it was cheaper to build/acquire than either the Mustang, Thunderbolt or Lightning and it was very structurally tough with a five-spar wing (though it wasnt five spars that made it tough, but it sure helped). P-40s could be operated from far more primitive air strips than most late war Allied fighter aircraft thanks to its structural toughness not to mention it was also relatively easy to maintain in austere conditions.

Even though production of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawks ended in 1944, it was still the third-most produced American fighter...

by @JP Santiago

 of this  767-223(ER) on taxi to depart for a test flight during the 2012 Fort Worth Alliance Airshow. Sadly this was the only AA 762 I ever captured and she was retired on March 16, 2014.

of this 767-223(ER) on taxi to depart for a test flight during the 2012 Fort Worth Alliance Airshow. Sadly this was th...

by @Caulun Belcher

Another shot in the series of CDR. Brandon Ray's last flight as boss of a T-45C Squadron at NAS Kingsville. He brought this Goshawk up to Fort Worth Alliance Airport (close to his old hometown) a special place to both he and I. In the early 90s we became friends when he was a college student at the 93 Alliance Airshow, along with his friend Andy Wolf (who younger, but a great aviation photographer and now is a photographer for Lockheed Martin with hundreds of hours flying in fighter jets capturing Raptors, Vipers, and Lighting II's in the air) Both became part of our crew taking the escape systems and cockpit collection out to exhibit at many subsequent Alliance Airshows over the years. I am proud of all of these guys, including Maj. Mike Frazier another young man (then) who went on to do amazing things with the USAF, and Aerospace Program Management for several aerospace companies (I also hired him for the Aerospace Company which I ran the Simulation Division for). I  owe my E-3A Sentinel AWACS flight in several years back to him- He was a veteran Air Combat Director. ) The point is that 25 years ago, we were ALL kids and this picture taken at least 6 years ago shows Brandon as  Commander's right before his Change of Command to move on to his next senior assignment in the United States Navy. Time flies faster than you can ever imagine. The good news is that I still think I am a 20 something despite being just a tad bit older in reality. The passion has never left me. Aviation Addiction is a serious affliction.

Another shot in the series of CDR. Brandon Ray's last flight as boss of a T-45C Squadron at NAS Kingsville. He brought t...

by @Chris Woodul

I really miss this compact swiss army knife of an ASW jet these days, anyone else?The Lockheed S-3B Viking wasn't the Tomcat in anyway but it still looked beautiful and served its purpose well. Have heard rumors that South Korea may purchase some from the US out of the Boneyard for refurbishment and use against certain unfriendlies in and around their waters. It would be nice to see that happen!

I really miss this compact swiss army knife of an ASW jet these days, anyone else?The Lockheed S-3B Viking wasn't the To...

by @Chris Woodul

A P-51 makes his way out for the Alliance Airshow last year!

A P-51 makes his way out for the Alliance Airshow last year!

by @Justin

Osprey Cockpit Detail. Fort Worth Alliance AirShow 2015. USAF Boeing/Bell CV-22 Osprey. I am always drawn to the interesting lines of the V-22. I learned to fly the summer of 1987 at Arlington Municipal Airport, where Bell Helicopter has their flight test center (now called the XworX. Sharing the airspace and runways with the XV-15 and V-22 Prototypes was thrilling and always interesting. On several occasions VFR returns to the then uncontrolled airport saw outbound V-22 flights coming head on to the south as I would return from the practice areas. A face full of those huge twin rotor discs made for an unforgettable 'visual' a time or two!Its nice to see the Osprey doing well in the field after so many years of development, especially with some of the early mishaps that drew so much attention.

Osprey Cockpit Detail. Fort Worth Alliance AirShow 2015. USAF Boeing/Bell CV-22 Osprey. I am always drawn to the interes...

by @Chris Woodul

Nothing like a perfect CAVU Showday to lose your voice, get a sunburn and get absolutely worn out tired talkin' airplanes to everyone else who wants to as well, all with good friends helping out. This is what I wait all year for every year, like an airplane version of Christmas.

Nothing like a perfect CAVU Showday to lose your voice, get a sunburn and get absolutely worn out tired talkin' airplane...

by @Chris Woodul

N856AE in the predawn light on a quiet ramp before the 2015 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show.The Rolls-Royce AE3007 turbofan engines of the ERJ-145 are also used on the Cessna Citation X and the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4 Triton. The engine core itself is common to the T406 turbo shaft engine of the V-22 Osprey and the AE2100 turboprop engine used on the Saab 2000, C-130J Hercules, C-27J Spartan and the Japanese US-2 flying boat. The shared engine core of all these engines is itself based upon the Allison T56 turboprop with modern improvements based on Allisons other engine work; since 1995 Allison has been a division of Rolls Royce. Thats quite a pedigree for a gas turbine engine!

N856AE in the predawn light on a quiet ramp before the 2015 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show.The Rolls-Royce AE3007 turbofan...

by @JP Santiago

The Douglas A-26 Invader was the companys successor to the A-20 Havoc. There were originally two versions, the A-26B which had an all-purpose nose fitted with a variety of gun packages from 50-caliber M2s, 20mm to 37mm cannon, even a 75mm howitzer, and the A-26C which had a glass nose for a bombardier. Only the six-gun nose made into widespread production but it was soon replaced with the harder-hitting eight-gun nose. Some A-26s even had three 50-caliber guns in each wing, giving the aircraft *fourteen* guns! The first A-26s went into action in the Pacific in June 1944 but results were mixed at best. Far East Air Forces commander General George Kenny was less than impressed with the Invader. The European theater got its Invaders in September 1944 and the Ninth Air Force was more than happy with the A-26s, wanting more the replace its A-20 Havocs and B-26 Marauders. Because more gun-nose A-26Bs were built than bombardier-nose A-26Cs, many Invader units were composite units that kept their bombardier nose A-20 Havocs for use in strike packages with gun-nose Invaders. The Twelfth Air Force got its A-26s in January 1945 and used them to good effect in the Italian campaign. The Invader would come into its own during the Korean War as a night interdictor and later in Vietnam as a special forces aircraft flying with the Air Commando squadrons.  February Aviation Photo Challenge |  | Day 8 | 8 for Eight 50-caliber guns |

The Douglas A-26 Invader was the companys successor to the A-20 Havoc. There were originally two versions, the A-26B whi...

by @JP Santiago

Dowty Rotol introduced the six-bladed R391 composite propeller for the C-130J variant of the iconic Lockheed Hercules family in 1996. Compared with the four bladed prop used on earlier variants of the Hercules, the R391s blades are swept and thinner with a carbon fiber shell and a polyurethane foam core. The very first R391 prop built is now on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museums Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. The R391 is also used on the Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan transport and the Shin Meiwa US-1A Kai rescue amphibian flying boat. Dowty Rotol started out as Rotol Airscrews in 1937 when both Rolls-Royce and Bristol Engines spun off their propeller businesses as they felt the market was too small for two competing propeller companies in the UK at the time. Rotol came from ROlls and BrisTOL. Rotol prop designs in the Second World War were always considered cutting edge and they were the first to produce a production five-bladed prop for the late model Spitfire. Rotol was then sold to the Dowty Group in 1959. They introduced the worlds first production fiberglass propellers in 1968 and has since become one of the world leaders in advanced carbon fiber prop design.  February Aviation Photo Challenge |  | Day 6 | 6 for Six-Bladed Dowty R391 Propeller |

Dowty Rotol introduced the six-bladed R391 composite propeller for the C-130J variant of the iconic Lockheed Hercules fa...

by @JP Santiago

The Blue Angels solos in the opposing pass. This is always one of the more challenging photos for me to try to get at air shows where theres an opposing pass. The winds that day were quite calm, so the smoke from the previous maneuver didnt quite clear out so when the solos made their opposing pass, their shadow was visible through the lingering smoke, making for a cool effect I didnt notice until I was going through my photos later on!

The Blue Angels solos in the opposing pass. This is always one of the more challenging photos for me to try to get at ai...

by @JP Santiago

The late, great Dennie Darnell's Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star (T-Bird) on the ramp at Fort Worth Alliance (KAFW) during last years Alliance Airshow before the gate opened. Dennie was most known as the para-rigger to the warbirds community. The world lost him to Cancer late last year and he is surely missed.

The late, great Dennie Darnell's Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star (T-Bird) on the ramp at Fort Worth Alliance (KAFW) during ...

by @Chris Woodul

Compared to the C-1 Trader COD that I posted yesterday, the successor (though they actually served in the fleet together until the C-1 was retired in 1988), the Grumman C-2 Greyhound, was developed roughly in parallel to the E-2 Hawkeye. The Greyhound made its first flight in 1964 with the first C-2s going to the fleet in 1966. Part of the reason the C-1 Trader lasted so long was that in 1966, there still plenty of Essex-class aircraft carriers that the C-1 Trader was better suited for carrier flight operations. Compared to the C-1, the Greyhound is much more capable and bigger, carrying 10,000 lbs of cargo compared to 3500 lbs for the Trader, 39 passengers compared to the nine passengers on the Trader, but more importantly, the C-2 Greyhound has an aft loading ramp and integrated power winch to speed cargo handling. Compared to the Hawkeye, the Greyhounds empennage lacks he marked dihedral as there is no aerodynamic interference from a rotodome to compensate for in the C-2. Only three of the four vertical fins have rudders. Having the outermost rudders in line with the prop wash gives the C-2 good low speed handling characteristics as well. The aft loading ramp also means the C-2 can perform air drop missions and as such, is also used to deploy Navy SEAL teams.  February Aviation Photo Challenge |  | Day 2 | 2 for C-2 Greyhound |

Compared to the C-1 Trader COD that I posted yesterday, the successor (though they actually served in the fleet together...

by @JP Santiago

A derivative of the Grumman S-2 Tracker (S2F prior to 1962), the C-1 Trader COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) took the Trackers empennage, wings and cockpit and mated it to a deeper fuselage to provide more space under the wing spar for up to 3500 lbs of cargo or nine passengers. Prior to the 1962 tri-service rationalization of aircraft designations, the C-1 Trader was designated TF-1. The more spacious fuselage of the Trader formed the bases for the E-1 Tracer AEW aircraft. In service the C-1 proved to be very reliable and robust. In fact, the C-1 Trader was finally retired from fleet service in 1988, well after its successor, the C-2 Greyhound, had been in service. It was the last piston radial aircraft to be operated not just by the US Navy but by any operational US military unit. Interestingly this isnt the end of the Trader story. In 2010, the Brazilian Navy laid out plans to purchase eight C-1s from storage at Davis-Monthan AFB to be modernized by Marsh Aviation with turboprop engines and air refueling packages for the Skyhawk squadron embarked on their aircraft carrier So Paulo, whose catapults and arresting gear aren't strong enough to handle the C-2 Greyhound. The program got delayed when Marsh Aviation got into some legal troubles for violating the Arms Export Control Act when it violated the Venezuelan arms embargo to supply engines for the FAVs OV-10 Broncos. Now that Marsh has made amends and cleared things up, the KC-2 Turbo Trader program restarted in 2014 with the first conversion slated to fly next year.  February Aviation Photo Challenge |  | Day 1 | 1 for C-1 Trader |

A derivative of the Grumman S-2 Tracker (S2F prior to 1962), the C-1 Trader COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) took the Trac...

by @JP Santiago

The Eagle's Nest needs some love too. Vipers always get so much love!

The Eagle's Nest needs some love too. Vipers always get so much love!

by @Chris Woodul

The F-4E Cockpit on display at the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow in 1996.

The F-4E Cockpit on display at the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow in 1996.

by @Chris Woodul

Osprey Prop-Rotor

Osprey Prop-Rotor

by @Chris Woodul

David Martin takes his CAP 232 mount over the top in a loop. Based out at Possum Kingdom Lake west of Fort Worth, David Martin comes from a Texas aviation family and few F-4s and F-16s of the Texas Air National Guard. He has competed in aerobatic competitions both at the national and world level.

David Martin takes his CAP 232 mount over the top in a loop. Based out at Possum Kingdom Lake west of Fort Worth, David ...

by @JP Santiago

The cockpit canopy of the F-22 Raptor is the largest single piece of polycarbonate ever serially produced. Made of a special polycarbonate called Sierracine, it combines stealthy features in its manufacture combined with remarkable optical quality throughout and not just straight ahead through the HUD. Compared with most combat aircraft canopies that are made of laminate sheets (this gives them better bird strike protection at the cost of optical quality and weight), the Raptors 3/4-inch thick canopy starts out as 2 3/8-inch polycarbonate sheets that are melded together through heating and fusion bonding to create a single piece thats essentially like a giant eyeglass lens. To minimize the chance of the pilot colliding the canopy in an ejection, the canopy frame is weighted on one side so that when its blown off, it immediately rolls off to the right to clear the ejection seat trajectory.

The cockpit canopy of the F-22 Raptor is the largest single piece of polycarbonate ever serially produced. Made of a spe...

by @JP Santiago

As Sean D. Tucker nears to top of his corkscrew loop, an outbound American MD-80 passes high overhead..

As Sean D. Tucker nears to top of his corkscrew loop, an outbound American MD-80 passes high overhead..

by @JP Santiago

Corsair photo pass! Note the 20mm cannons in the wings instead of the usual six 50-caliber machine guns. There were only 200 cannon-armed Corsairs built during the Second World War as the F4U-1C variant which was optimized for ground attack. The machine guns were replaced with four M2 cannons which were license built versions of the British Hispano Suiza Mk.II cannon. Each gun had 261 rounds. The Navy had wanted to go to all-cannon armament through the war, but the M2 and other cannon types proved unreliable. For most of the Pacific War, the much more reliable six 50-caliber machine guns were more than enough against the lightly armored Japanese fighters. But on the Corsair in the ground attack role, they were hard hitting and the F4U-1C made its combat debut during Operation Iceberg, the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945. The cannon-armed Corsairs were nicknamed the Sweethearts of Okinawa by the ground troops appreciative of their heavy hitting guns.

Corsair photo pass! Note the 20mm cannons in the wings instead of the usual six 50-caliber machine guns. There were only...

by @JP Santiago

While the P-51 was the first aircraft to be designed with a laminar flow wing, in reality the wing never demonstrated laminar flow despite whats often said in aviation literature. Yes, laboratory and wind tunnel studies did demonstrate laminar flow- but small manufacturing imperfections, camouflage paint, dirt, and dings from operational use pretty much prevented laminar flow from taking place. But a laminar flow airfoil has other benefits and this is where the Mustang got its advantage. Because the thickest part of the airfoil is further back from the leading edge, compressibility and shockwave formation is delayed- this feature is beneficial even at lower speeds as it reduces drag and while laminar flow would have been great, the drag reduction in practice was still significant enough to give the Mustang outstanding performance.

While the P-51 was the first aircraft to be designed with a laminar flow wing, in reality the wing never demonstrated la...

by @JP Santiago

Heres a USAF Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Bell/Boeing CV-22B Osprey at sunrise. In December 2013 on a mission in South Sudan, three CV-22Bs were raked with gunfire, injuring four Navy SEALs who were in the lead Osprey. In only 179 days, a removable protective armor kit was developed and field that consists of 66 armor plates that fit inside the cabin to protect the occupants in high risk combat environments. They can be installed/removed in only a few hours and cost the Osprey an 800 lb penalty. Called the Advanced Ballistic Stopping System, the kits cost $270,000 and right now are used exclusively by the AFSOC Ospreys though I have read the Marines have shown interest in the kits for use in their MV-22 fleet.

Heres a USAF Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Bell/Boeing CV-22B Osprey at sunrise. In December 2013 on a mission in S...

by @JP Santiago

The Klimov VK-1 engine that powers the MiG-17 was also used on the MiG-15 and the Ilyushin Il-28 light bomber. It was the first Soviet jet engine to reach full production. In 1946 in a bid to try to improve relations with the Soviet Union, British prime minister Clement Atlee authorized Rolls Royce to export to the USSR 40 Nene centrifugal flow turbojet engines under the conditions they not be used for military applications. Stalin had the Nene reverse engineered by Vladimir Klimov's engine design bureau and this was the Klimov RD-45. However, Klimov's engineers had metallurgical problems with the RD-45 so a redesign was done that improved reliability and performance and this improved engine went into production as the Klimov VK-1.

The Klimov VK-1 engine that powers the MiG-17 was also used on the MiG-15 and the Ilyushin Il-28 light bomber. It was th...

by @JP Santiago

Beautiful  195 at the   last year.

Beautiful 195 at the last year.

by @Jon Fischer

Extra 300 during acrobatic routine.

Extra 300 during acrobatic routine.

by @Anthony Boyer

When a radar beam paints an aircraft, there are two types of reflected energy- diffuse and specular. Diffuse reflected waves are usually low power signals that are caused by scattering of the radar energy in all directions by the material properties of whatever the beam hit. Radar systems look for specular reflections- a big pulse of returned energy that returns in the same direction as the incoming beam. In non-stealthy aircraft, there are usually more than enough spots on the airframe that provide a nice big specular return pulse from any angle. On the F-22A Raptor (the B-2 follows the same principle as well as the F-35), major leading edges, trailing edges, flight surfaces, even access panels and doors (like landing gear doors, weapon bay doors) are all grouped into a very small set of common angles, the fewer the better. Note on my photo of the Raptor that even the doors that cover the air refueling receptacle on the spine have the same angle as the leading edges of the wings. This also explains why the radome edge is serrated- each of those angles follows one of the main airframe angles. Note even the formation lights and APU exhaust follow the same angles. What happens is that radar can detect the Raptor, but it gets a single big return pulse for brief moment and thats it. A radar system therefore has a very difficult time tracking the Raptor because return pulses can only happen from very specific angles. Mission planning even takes these angles to account to minimize detection.

When a radar beam paints an aircraft, there are two types of reflected energy- diffuse and specular. Diffuse reflected w...

by @JP Santiago

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor flies along side a North American P-51 Mustang at the 2015 Alliance airshow in Fort Worth, Texas.                                F-22 tail number 05-4091P-51 'February' tail number N351MX

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor flies along side a North American P-51 Mustang at the 2015 Alliance airshow in Fort Worth, T...

by @Anthony Boyer

This ventral view of the F-22A Raptor shows all the various panels and doors on the underside that follow similar sets of angles to minimize radar return spikes. Even the intakes diamond shape follows the same set of angles. If you look closely, the engine bay doors as well as the mounting points for external pylons all follow the same set of angles. During the F-22s development, Lockheed Martin used a very detailed full scale model that was tested on a RCS (radar cross section) range. One of the USAFs requirements was that routine maintenance on the Raptor had be able to take place outdoors like any other aircraft, the Air Force wanting to avoid the maintenance headaches of the B-2 Spirit which needed a lot of indoor work to avoid compromising its RCS integrity. Work using the detailed full scale model showed many initial RCS problems that were solved by a combination of consolidating panels, combining or reshaping any apertures (like drains, access ports, etc) and going with serrations with bigger and fewer teeth than what was initially planned. Lockheed has an advanced RCS test range in Henendale, California, where the full scale model is tested. The model is mounted on a retractable pylon. Whenever USAF Space Command has someones reconnaissance satellite flying overhead (or even a commercial imagery satellite), the pylon with the Raptor model retracts into an underground housing away from view.

This ventral view of the F-22A Raptor shows all the various panels and doors on the underside that follow similar sets o...

by @JP Santiago

Feeling  AC-47 Spooky at the

Feeling AC-47 Spooky at the

by @Jon Fischer

Grounded but dreams of flying free.

Grounded but dreams of flying free.

by @Jon Fischer

Realized it's been a while since I've thrown an  shot into the mix. We'll fix that right now.

Realized it's been a while since I've thrown an shot into the mix. We'll fix that right now.

by @Jon Fischer

I believe Jim Cavanaugh, the founder of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, periodically flies the Museums Avenger at air shows but Im not sure thats him in the cockpit of this TBM-3E Avenger. Today's Thanksgiving, and there were two Navy airplanes that had the nickname Turkey- the Grumman F-14 Tomcat (on account of all the moving flight surfaces as it was on approach to the carrier) and the Grumman TBF Avenger on account of its large size that could be cumbersome to move about the decks of the escort carriers of the Second World War. Until the arrival of the Grumman AF Guardian post-WW2, the Avenger was the heaviest single engine plane operated off carrier decks by the US Navy. Cavanaughs Avenger is painted in the colors of Marine Torpedo Bomber Squadron 132 (VTMB-132) which was embarked on the Commencement Bay escort carrier USS Cape Gloucester (CVE-109) during the Battle of Okinawa. Interestingly, the fighter squadron embarked on the Cape Gloucester with the Avengers was another Marine squadron, VMF-351 which operated F4U Corsairs at Okinawa. Im not sure which plane would have been more challenging to bring aboard an escort carrier- an Avenger or a Corsair! That being the case, though, the Commencement Bay class escort carriers were quite a bit bigger and the longest escort carriers of the war at 577 feet (the Essex class fleet carriers were about 888 feet long).

I believe Jim Cavanaugh, the founder of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, periodically flies the Museums Avenger at air shows...

by @JP Santiago

The Trent engine of the Boeing 777 represents the renaissance of Rolls Royce after its privatization in 1987. At the time GE and Pratt & Whitney dominated the commercial engine market with Rolls having only 8% market share. Using the three spool RB.211 as the basis, the Trent engine emerged as a family of engines based on a common core with various sections scaled up or down as needed. The success of the Trent has now made Rolls Royce the number two engine maker after GE with a nearly 40% market share. A variant of the Boeing 777s Trent engine adapted for marine use will power the Royal Navys new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.|Day 28 |  November challenge | Around the Back |  |

The Trent engine of the Boeing 777 represents the renaissance of Rolls Royce after its privatization in 1987. At the tim...

by @JP Santiago

Back at the 2009 Alliance Air Show, there was a superb C-17 Globemaster flight demonstration that in a lot of ways was more spectacular than a fighter demo. A fighter aircraft you sort of expect to be maneuverable in a flight demo, but to see an aircraft the size of the C-17 getting flown around on a dime as if it were a small Cessna was quite impressive. This photo is of the C-17 making a slow flight dirty pass with the externally-blown flaps (EBFs) fully deployed. Basically the jet exhaust blows onto double slotted flaps, dramatically boosting their effectiveness. The massive externally blown flaps on the C-17 are titanium skinned for heat resistance from the exhaust of the Pratt & Whitney F117 turbofans (military versions of the PW2037 used on the 757). Now get our your AvGeek School of Knowledge notebooks. The lift coefficient relates basically three factors for a wing- the lift force, the dynamic pressure, and the wing area. The lift force is the amount of force that a wing has to create to overcome weight. For a plane to takeoff, the total lift force has to be more than the weight. The dynamic pressure is the force created by a wing in motion. Its one-half times the velocity squared. So a wing generates more lift with more speed since the dynamic pressure is higher. Thats why wings stall at slow speeds. And the wing area is obvious- more wing, more lift. On the C-17, the exhaust from the F117 engines and those big externally blown flaps deployed nearly doubles the lift coefficient of the C-17s wing! The exhaust blowing across the flap system increases the dynamic pressure which in turn increases the lift force- the flaps basically think theyre going faster than they really are and thats the key to the outstanding field performance of the C-17.|Day 20 |  November challenge | Dirty Pass |  |

Back at the 2009 Alliance Air Show, there was a superb C-17 Globemaster flight demonstration that in a lot of ways was m...

by @JP Santiago

Heres the Breitling Jet Team at the top of a formation loop. When the team began flying the Czech-built L-39 Albatros, their sponsor was the Algerian businessman Rafik Khalifa and the team was known as the Khalifa Jet Team from 2002 to 2003 when Breitling took over sponsorship. Khalifas sponsorship allowed the team to convert from the Pilatus PC-7 turboprop to the L-39 jet. | Day 16 |  November challenge | Because I Was Inverted |  |

Heres the Breitling Jet Team at the top of a formation loop. When the team began flying the Czech-built L-39 Albatros, t...

by @JP Santiago

Need me one of these, the   accessory.

Need me one of these, the accessory.

by @Jon Fischer

A little different shot of the Blue Angles diamond break, I focused on the Slot, Blue Angel 3, as everyone else made their break from the diamond formation during their overhead pass of the air show center. The Blues have been flying the legacy F/A-18 Hornet since 1986.| Day 13 |  November challenge | Break Break Now |  |

A little different shot of the Blue Angles diamond break, I focused on the Slot, Blue Angel 3, as everyone else made the...

by @JP Santiago

Up close and personal with a USAF Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk. Back in 1981 the USAF selected the UH-60 Blackhawk as the basis for a new CSAR (combat search and rescue) helicopter to replace the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green Giants. The new helicopters were produced in a two step program called Credible Hawk. Those helicopters after the first step of upgrade had limited operational capability but were still useful. The second step of the program added the systems for full day/night/adverse weather operations in hostile airspace. Designated MH-60 Pave Hawk, the new CSAR birds were used by the USAF Special Operations Command. Following Desert Storm, Special Operations Command standardized on the larger Sikorsky MH-53J Pave Low as it was more capable with more growth potential than the smaller Pave Hawks. Redesignated HH-60G, the Pave Hawks went to Air Combat Command-gained units of the Reserves and Air National Guard. While still fully capable of the CSAR mission, since then the Pave Hawks have flown many humanitarian and civilian rescue operations. Having been built in the early 1980s and flown hard by SOCOM, the Pave Hawks now are tired birds, many of them with structural issues that limit their flight envelopes. The troubled CSAR-X program that resulted in the Boeing HH-47 Chinook was to replace the Pave Hawks, but that program was canceled on account of a host of issues Boeing and the USAF were having. In 2012, the new CRH (combat rescue helicopter) program moved ahead for a Pave Hawk replacement, only Sikorsky won it by default because no one else entered the competition. Should the CRH get funded to go ahead to production, the helicopters will be designated HH-60W or Sixty-Whiskey. | Day 18 |  November challenge | Rotorcraft |  |

Up close and personal with a USAF Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk. Back in 1981 the USAF selected the UH-60 Blackhawk as the b...

by @JP Santiago

Go follow him!  with Blue Angels breaking it out at Alliance a couple weeks ago. Hope you guys are have fun at Miramar!

Go follow him! with Blue Angels breaking it out at Alliance a couple weeks ago. Hope you guys are have fun at Miramar! ...

by @😜

The Raptor opens up its weapons bays on an air show pass- the two center bays can accommodate either six AIM-120C AMRAAMs (staged in three in each center bay), two AIM-120Cs and two 1000 lb GBU-31 JDAM GPS-guided munitions (one JDAM and one AMRAAM in each center bay) or two AIM-120Cs and eight 250-lb GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bomb; four GBU-39s and one AIM-120 in each bay). The side bays each accommodate a single AIM-9M Sidewinder. The Raptor only this past May finally fired its first AIM-9X which is a damn embarrassment that our most advanced fighter is only now getting our most advanced dogfighting missile. Theoretically the side bay could carry two AIM-9Xs, but it doesnt appear that sort of funding to modify the bays is in the books for the Raptor. | Day 14 |  November challenge | Current Frontline Jet |  |

The Raptor opens up its weapons bays on an air show pass- the two center bays can accommodate either six AIM-120C AMRAAM...

by @JP Santiago

Heres something you dont see all that much here in North Texas- a Royal Air Force Hawk T2 from 4 Squadron at RAF Valley at the 2011 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show- and it gave a flying demonstration, too! In 2011 (the same year as the air show), the RAF renumbered the tactical weapons training unit at RAF Valley from No. 19 Squadron to No. 4 Squadron. I believe this was done to restore the numberplate of one of the most historic units of the Royal Air Force as 4 Sqn was formed in 1912. The squadron also operated the Harrier from 1970 to 2010.

Heres something you dont see all that much here in North Texas- a Royal Air Force Hawk T2 from 4 Squadron at RAF Valley ...

by @JP Santiago

Blue Angels coming from behind!

Blue Angels coming from behind!

by @Jacob Remmel

A member of the All-Veteran Parachute Group flies the22 A Day flag at the opening of the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show back in September. The22 A Day subject is an uncomfortable subject on this Veterans Day, but it reflects that 22 American veterans a day commit suicide. The psychological burden of combat cannot be underestimated, and as a physician and someone who has a veteran family member who is grappling with PTSD, this is a subject that hits close tohome for me both on a professional level and a personal level. And it goes beyond the 22 suicides a day here in the United States. The transition back to live at is often difficult and it can come with significant disruption of the veterans life and that of his/her family. About 12% of the homeless in American are combat veterans. 1.4 million American veterans are at high risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support, and poor housing. Each night, there are over 50,000 veterans homeless on the streets of America. 1 in 6 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan alone have post-traumatic stress disorder which I can assure you as a physician is one of the greatest mental and emotional burdens any human being can shoulder. Our veterans require a comprehensive,well-funded set of social programs that have bipartisan political commitment. Its not just improving the VA system, they need aid and assistance if weregoing make any headway on improving any of those statistics. We thank our veterans not with ribbons and ceremonies. Thats window dressing. We thank them with an unflinching social, economic and political commitment. And sadly, in my career thus far, I have not seen that to be the case, even with my own patients who are veterans.          Day 11 |  November challenge | Lest We Forget |  |

A member of the All-Veteran Parachute Group flies the22 A Day flag at the opening of the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show ba...

by @JP Santiago

The Beech T-6 Texan II is a development of the Pilatus PC-9 which in turn is a development of the PC-7. Facing competition from the Embraer Tucano, Pilatus improved upon the PC-7 to create the PC-9. Essentially an enlarged and heavier PC-7, the scope of improvements means that the PC-9 only has 10% parts commonality with the PC-7. After the first flight of the PC-9 in 1984, the PC-9 Mk.II was introduced in the mid-1990s and features a dorsal fin extension for improved handling, modernized avionics and an onboard oxygen gas generator. It was the PC-9 Mk.II that formed the basis of the T-6 Texan; a more powerful PT6A engine, pressurized cockpit, beefier structure, a separate windscreen, and upgraded avionics result in the T-6 having only 30% parts commonality with the PC-9 series. Beech used two PC-9s in the T-6 development which were progressively modified until production standard T-6s were ready. A royalty is paid to Pilatus by Beech for every T-6 built thanks to its PC-9 roots.| Day 6 |  November challenge | Six |  |

The Beech T-6 Texan II is a development of the Pilatus PC-9 which in turn is a development of the PC-7. Facing competiti...

by @JP Santiago

This was from the bitterly cold 2012 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show (the Snowbirds of course were quite comfortable). During a pause in the show as the Snowbirds were getting ready, an American Airlines Boeing 767-200ER landed, pretty much photobombing the scene. This was before American closed their wide body heavy maintenance base at Alliance and this was before the 767-200s were retired from Americans fleet. This particular 767-200 is N338AA, delivered to American on 2 December 1987 and retired from American on 16 March 2014. American (prior to the merger with US Airways) used 33 Boeing 767-200s total, with only 10 of them being the shorter ranged 767-200 and the rest being the -200ER. They were used primarily on the transcontinental runs, so they were a rare sight here in North Texas unless they were being worked on at the Alliance maintenance base. Interestingly N338AA is the next to last 767-200ER American took delivery of as the rest of the 767s that followed were the 767-300ER. Day 2 |  November challenge | Photobomb |  |

This was from the bitterly cold 2012 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show (the Snowbirds of course were quite comfortable). Duri...

by @JP Santiago

While the best kill ratio in the Second World War amongst American aircraft belongs to the Grumman F6F Hellcat at 19:1, second place belongs to a tie between the North American P-51 Mustang and the Vought F4U Corsair at 11:1. The Corsair, however, was in production longer than either the Hellcat or Mustang with examples still rolling off the product line to support the war effort in Korea. The last Corsairs to be produced were in 1952 and were the F4U-7 variant for the French Aeronavale. Many smaller nations still used the Corsair well into the 1960s (like El Salvador and Honduras, for example), making the Corsair the longest-serving propeller-driven fighter built in the United States as well as the longest-produced American prop fighter.

While the best kill ratio in the Second World War amongst American aircraft belongs to the Grumman F6F Hellcat at 19:1, ...

by @JP Santiago

Only 12 days had elapsed from the attack on Pearl Harbor when the 1st American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers went into action over China against Japan. While 1941 was a dark year for the Allies especially in the Pacific, the exploits of the Flying Tigers against a numerically superior Japanese force boosted American morale. The leader of the 1st AVG, General Claire Chennault, rigorously trained his men to capitalize on the strengths of the P-40 Warhawk against the more maneuverable Japanese fighters. The Flying Tigers avoided a turning fight and used the Warhawks speed and sturdiness in slashing attacks at high speed.Flown in the right way, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk could effectively battle the vaunted Mitsubishi A6M Zero. The Flying Tigers in China astutely realized the P-40 had a climb and speed advantage and used their P-40s in slashing attacks, avoiding the turning fight with the more nimble Zero. Later in the Pacific campaign, USAAF pilots would use a low yo-yo, trading altitude for an increased rate of turn which dropped the nose into a turn and done right, the P-40 could cut inside a Zeros turn. The bigger ailerons of the Zero that gave it outstanding roll maneuverability were also a liability as Warhawk pilots would keep their speed up during dogfights- the higher speeds put higher dynamic loads on the Zeros ailerons, making the aircraft sluggish and less maneuverable. Similar tactics were used in Vietnam against the nimble MiGs- lacking boosted controls, at the higher speeds the MiG-17 lost its maneuverability advantage and American pilots used the speed advantage of their bigger jets against the MiGs.

Only 12 days had elapsed from the attack on Pearl Harbor when the 1st American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers went into a...

by @JP Santiago

Jacques Bothelin, the Breitling Jet Team leader in Breitling 1, leads the team out for their aerial performance. At 61 years of age, Bothelin first started flying aerobatics in a two-ship team in 1980 called the Apache Team (named for his dog at the time, Apache) with Mudry CAP aircraft. Now with over 12,000 flight hours, Bothelin was approached by Breitling in 2003 about forming a four-ship jet demonstration team that over time has grown to its current seven jets.

Jacques Bothelin, the Breitling Jet Team leader in Breitling 1, leads the team out for their aerial performance. At 61 y...

by @JP Santiago

Locheed T-Bird, head on detail.

Locheed T-Bird, head on detail.

by @Chris Woodul

Angels in the sun. US Navy Blue Angels over the Alliance Airshow 2015.

Angels in the sun. US Navy Blue Angels over the Alliance Airshow 2015.

by @Jon Fischer

Rob Holland in the

Rob Holland in the "MXS Window World"!

by @Jacob Remmel

F-22 Flying over my head!

F-22 Flying over my head!

by @Jacob Remmel

Blue Angel number 5 recovering from his minimum radius turn.

Blue Angel number 5 recovering from his minimum radius turn.

by @Jacob Remmel

Mr. Sean D. Tucker in the Oracle Challenger III with

Mr. Sean D. Tucker in the Oracle Challenger III with

by @Jacob Remmel

A little MiG-17 in the morning light for your Friday.

A little MiG-17 in the morning light for your Friday.

by @Jon Fischer

F-22 Starting his performance with a 1000 foot climb.

F-22 Starting his performance with a 1000 foot climb.

by @Jacob Remmel

"because I was inverted" Some more action of the

by @Jacob Remmel

Only one weekend separates me from watching the USAF Thunderbirds and the rest of the performances at the Houston Airshow.  Getting my hands on a longer telephoto lens to get some close ups of  and the entire team. Photo from last year's Alliance Airshow

Only one weekend separates me from watching the USAF Thunderbirds and the rest of the performances at the Houston Airsho...

by @Jon Fischer

Blue Angels breaking it out at Alliance a couple weeks ago. Hope you guys are have fun at Miramar!

Blue Angels breaking it out at Alliance a couple weeks ago. Hope you guys are have fun at Miramar!

by @Jacob Remmel

US Navy Blue Angels 2015. Sorry guys ig been really busy lately. I'll try to keep the aviation up though!

US Navy Blue Angels 2015. Sorry guys ig been really busy lately. I'll try to keep the aviation up though! ...

by @Jacob Remmel

F-22 Raptor doing the

F-22 Raptor doing the "minimum radius turn" at the

by @Jacob Remmel

"Ready hit it!" Blue Angels showing the precise maneuver as they complete a 360 degree roll at the same time. ...

by @Jacob Remmel

F-22 Getting ready to perform an amazing 1000 foot climb at the  over the Blue Angels!

F-22 Getting ready to perform an amazing 1000 foot climb at the over the Blue Angels!

by @Jacob Remmel

Sean D Tucker finishing his performance at Alliance.

Sean D Tucker finishing his performance at Alliance.

by @Jacob Remmel

Blue Angles blending in with that BEAUTIFUL Texas sky at the

Blue Angles blending in with that BEAUTIFUL Texas sky at the

by @Jacob Remmel