Watching History Fly

Back in July I got a call about this particular F-86 Sabre going up for test flights for the first time in 3.5 years. You can read the story of how that all came about here. Well this past week I got another call about the plane going back up for some more test flights. Well naturally I got the camera and headed down to the airport to go see this plane fly. It’s only the second time in years and if you’ve ever seen a Sabre fly then you know it’s worth the wait.


I get there and start talking with Bob and Stu, owner and pilot, about the Sabre and what not. That’s the great thing about working with planes, everybody is just so nice. After a little, Stu starts up the Sabre and slowly rolls down the taxiway. By this point a crowd had gathered around after hearing that the Sabre would fly that day. We all loaded up the cars and drove down to the end of the field where we waited and watched the Sabre takeoff.


Now the point of these test flights are to takeoff, fly for a while at various altitudes and make sure everything is running smooth. It usually takes about 30-40minutes and then the plane comes back. Well that’s pretty much what happened. After the F-86 took off we stood around talking before Stu came back around and landed. Now if you’ve ever read my blog then you know I love clouds. Well we didn’t have any clouds that afternoon so the sky is a little boring and if look closely you can actually see the heat shimmer coming off the ground as the Sabre taxi’s by, needless to say it was hot.


Shooting with the D4 and 200-400 VR, my basic setup for ground to air photography, makes it real easy to work with a moving subject. Of course when you’re out at the end of a runway with that lens you get a few looks. After touching back down Stu was quite happy with the flight.


As for myself I was happy to get another chance to photograph this plane. Not only is the F-86 just a huge part of our Aviation heritage but this particular example is such a great photographic subject because it constantly is changing with the light. That all polished aluminum and candy apple paint job is just magnificent. It’s days like that one that me glad to be a photographer.

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