Thursday, September 4, 2008

USS Eisenhower Family Day -- Air Show

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.

With the bleachers already full, my son and I stood near the bow for the air show. There were thousands of people also standing, so I was not able to see the actual landing and take-off operations, of which there were four. In the photo above an approaching F-18 is visible. The flight deck is 1,092 feet long so that jet is not even a quarter mile away when it catches the arresting cables.

This jet was just lifting off the deck on take-off.

This is another jet taking off. I got it a little higher this time.

Another successful launch!

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.

For aircraft that routinely break the sound barrier, soaring at only 100 mph is a near stall. That's what this pilot was doing as he flew past the ship. It seemed to be in slow motion and very quiet.

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!

In formation are the planes that participated in the air show. They flew out to the ship from the Oceania Naval Air Station in Norfolk.

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.


Carol said...

WOW Barb! I have goosebumps looking at these photos... the same thing happens whenever I go to see the Snowbirds... your photos are great.... and look at all those people... dangling their feet over the edge, you say?... haha, were you one of those people, Barb?

I love the one in formation... it's impressive... all your photos are fabulous. Go Navy, for sure!

Heidi said...

These are CRAZY AWESOME!!! (I just could not come up with better words!!!)

What an experience!!! So glad you are enjoying all of this! (And sharing with us is our added bonus!)

me said...

1)soooo cute (your boy of course, and this comes from someone who knows cute boys)
2) that sonic photo is the BOMB!!!! OMG words can't express how freaky deaky cool that is
3) dangle

Baba's Blog .. Babies Are Special said...

Hi Barb, wow... I have enjoyed your shots of the air show and flight deck...this would be very exciting to see it in person..Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs, Baba

Carmi said...

I regularly read the Navy's Eye on the Fleet web site to see the latest pictures of naval ships and aircraft. I've been doing it for a while because I love the Navy and what it represents, and the photography has always been unbelievably good.

These pictures would not only fit perfectly alongside them, they would serve as an example to the Navy's own photographers. You outshot them all.

Don't believe me? Go here and see. They should be fighting to have you on staff. These photos are insanely great.

Barb said...

Wow, what high praise --- thank you! Carmi, you actually brought tears to my eyes; this is the encouragement I needed right now. Also, I appreciate your support of the fleet.

Carol, I did indeed dangle my feet, but only when there was a catwalk underneath them, not the net. I myself get goosebumps as I process these photos; heck, I'm still processing the whole day.

Heidi, crazy awesome just about sums it up!

"Me", yep, my boy is pretty cute!

Baba, I'm happy to share and glad you are enjoying these.

lisaschaos said...

Looks like a great day!! Love all the airplanes. :)