The big bird at the Air 2 Air workshop is the B17, and it’s obvious as to why. B17’s aren’t common, there are only a handful left flying in the world and the cost to fly them isn’t cheap. The B17’s burns through hundreds of gallons of fuel an hour which makes the 30 minutes of time we spend with it very precious. The afternoon we had with it was quite than the first time. We flew about the same distance off the deck 2500-3000 ft but this time we had an overcast day, strong winds and high clouds. We waited for a while for an opening to appear, there would be no flight in bad weather. Thankfully around 430 we had that break and at 443 we were off.
We flew in left turn orbit for 30 mins with the B17. The six students and three instructors were in a Shorts Skyvan, which acted as our photo platform. There are many types of planes that could be used for photo ships, Bonanza’s, B25’s, C130, and the Skyvan for a few examples. With the amount of people that we had for this workshop, space was a little tricky to negotiate. The six students were in the far back closest to the door and the B17. The third row consisted of myself, Dad and Richard. Knowing that i would be in the back i tried something a little different this time. Last time i used the 70-200 VRII as my primary with a 24-70 on a second body. It worked great. However being further back i though i might have needed more lens so i used the 70-300 Vr which worked equally as well. I do like the wide shots but in this case closeups were not only better but easier to get having to shoot around people’s heads.
The guys did an amazing job flying that bird. With the strong wind we had it was apparent that they were working to keep that plane with us. At one point they had that B17 so close the only thing i could see through my lens were there faces. It was right up there in that open door. None of us could believe they would get the plane that close to us. That’s Reed on the right, he was pilot 1 that day. Towards the end of our time with Sentimental Journey the little buddies came in, Cripes O Mighty and Stang. The resident P51’s at the Museum, but you’re gonna have to wait till later to see them.
The last thing we did with that beautiful bird was to “drag it” along the runway as we pull up from it. By doing this we create that look of speed with the plane which is a big part of why we photograph them. Up in the air it might not look like we are going fast, but it is going 125mph, if not faster. The other great part of shooting along a runway is it gives the plane a sense of realitivity as to where the plane came from. Plus it just looks cool.
Images captured with Nikon D3, 70-300 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film