Probably the most exciting part of the entire day was the air power show. We not only saw the F-18s and Super F-18s flying loops, making dives, and breaking the sound barrier, but saw actual landings and take-offs from the flight deck. Impressive defense operations included bombing imaginary enemy submarine targets and air defense fire power to defend land troops.
Here are some photos and, again, I love-love-love my Canon 40D! Having my own burst power of 6.5 frames per second helped me to get many of these shots.
This jet was just lifting off the deck on take-off.
After the flight deck demonstration the crowd was encouraged to move port side for front row seats for the rest of the air show. Yes, they are dangling their feet over the edge, about 90 feet over the open sea. In some areas of the perimeter are catwalks with equipment and stairs to the lower decks. In other areas there are heavy metal nets. Those spectators are dangling their over the nets.
In flight fueling is a critical operation and requires precision.
I don't know the physics involved, but the vapor cloud was so clear on the high-speed fly-bys.
Beautiful, isn't it? The sound barrier has not yet been broken.
This is my favorite photo and I am a little proud of it (a lot). This jet had broken the sound barrier and at this moment we heard only silence. Very eerie --- then BOOM!
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all those pilots who have the skill, dedication, courage and guts to land a jet on a piece of tarmac that looks like a postage stamp from their altitude. Add to that the speed of the ship and the swells of the sea and each flight operation is no less than a calculated miracle. Thanks, guys! Go Navy!
There are a couple more segments of this adventure I'd like to share. So, coming up are some interior shots and candids of people on board.