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The Los Angeles County Air Show

At long last I have managed to scrape out a half hour of free time to bring you some samples of a marvellous event. Although it was the LA County Airshow, it was no where near LA the city. LA County is probably the size of some small countries and certainly contains more environments.

The Bitcoin L-39 shows they are doing well and are my kind of people!

The Bitcoin L-39 shows they are doing well and are my kind of people!

The BitCoin L-39 pilot seemed to have a penchant for flying upside down and spent a lot of his time in that attitude.

The BitCoin L-39 pilot seemed to have a penchant for flying upside down and spent a lot of his time in that attitude.

Teresa Stokes also seems to prefer looking up at the ground.

Teresa Stokes also seems to prefer looking up at the ground.

The US Marines are still flying Harriers and gave a lovely display of it hovering, floating down the flight line, slowly pirouetting and in general showing off.

The US Marines are still flying Harriers and gave a lovely display of it hovering, floating down the flight line, slowly pirouetting and in general showing off. The DOD will have to pry them out of their cold dead fingers, something that will not be at all easy with a Marine.

The F/A-18 pilots did not want to be left out. This fellow showed off high alpha flight at 100 knots down the flightline. Quite a feat but part of what a Super Hornet does for a living.

The F/A-18 pilots did not want to be left out. This fellow showed off high alpha flight at 100 knots down the flightline. Quite a feat but part of what a Super Hornet does for a living.

Every one got into the odd attitudes act, but this one had me so shocked last year that I missed the photo. This year I got it. The airplane is flying sideways. The smoke shows the direction of the runway line and his direction of travel... while facing the crowd. For aviators, note the full rudder deflection.

Every one got into the odd attitudes act, but this one had me so shocked last year that I missed the photo. This year I got it. The airplane is flying sideways. The smoke shows the direction of the runway line and his direction of travel… while facing the crowd. For aviators, note the full rudder deflection.

The U-2 is a bird rarely scene in its element. The NASA Armstrong/Dryden modified model showed off its climb abilities. It goes up like an elevator. A fast elevator. A VERY fast elevator.

The U-2 is a bird rarely seen in its element. The NASA Armstrong/Dryden modified model showed off its climb abilities. It goes up like an elevator. A fast elevator. A VERY fast elevator.

This formation was a pretty jaw dropping one. A P-51, P-38, P-40 and a Yak-3.

This formation was a pretty jaw dropping one. A P-51, P-38, P-40 and a Yak-3.

There are a few Avengers around, but not a lot. This is was George Bush the Elder went to war in. Flying Torpedo bombers in the Pacific was not a longevity enhancing career option.

There are a few Avengers around, but not a lot. This is what George Bush the Elder went to war in. Flying Torpedo bombers in the Pacific was not a longevity enhancing career option.

The Dauntless is even rarer I believe. These are the type that took out the Japanese carriers after the torpedo bomber force was wiped out at Midway.

The Dauntless is even rarer I believe. These are the type that took out the Japanese carriers after the torpedo bomber force was wiped out at Midway.

If you love those old interwar airliners, this Beech-18 was a treat just sitting on the ground. I never expected to see one doing an aerobatic display complete with loops though.

If you love those old interwar airliners, this Beech-18 was a treat just sitting on the ground. I never expected to see one doing an aerobatic display complete with loops though.

The USAF Thunderbirds put on quite a show.

The USAF Thunderbirds put on quite a show.

And this was the shot I did not expect to get. It took fast camera work and blind luck to get the 6 plane break with all 6 in the frame. Pure unadulterated luck.

And this was the shot I did not expect to get. It took fast camera work and blind luck to get the 6 plane break with all 6 in the frame. Pure unadulterated luck.

I hung around after most of the crowd had left and was rewarded with sights I knew had to be coming: the departures. This was another fast reaction shot of two of the Harriers taking off together.

I hung around after most of the crowd had left and was rewarded with sights I knew had to be coming: the departures. This was another fast reaction shot of two of the Harriers taking off together.

That is probably more than enough. I took over 700 photos between 9am and 5pm and many of them are just as worthy of being seen as the few I have posted above. I hope you have enjoyed viewing them as much as I enjoyed being out there amongst these wonderful aeroplanes.

Oh, and other than use by Samizdata, all photos above are Copyright Dale Amon, All Rights Reserved. I sometimes get my photos in magazines, so I have to be careful.

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22 comments to The Los Angeles County Air Show

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    PS: If someone knows how to ‘hide’ part of the article to make less of it visible on the front page, please let me know. The interface has changed greatly since the last time I did a long post.

  • Paul Marks

    This will probably the last time an air show, of this quality, will occur in L.A. County – I am glad you got to see it Dale.

  • Mr Ed

    Marvellous, thank you. #6 reminds me of seeing the Fieseler ‘Storch’ at Shuttleworth drifting sideways along the runway. That airshow has more airpower than the Royal Navy.

  • George Atkisson

    Good to see a Douglas Dive Bomber still around. My dad was a Marine Aviation Ordnanceman and worked with those planes on Guadalcanal in 1942. He spoke fondly of the aircraft, but little of anything of his wartime experience otherwise.

  • If I win the National Mockery in a big way how does an L-39 compare with a T-38? I only ask because the USAF is seeking to replace the ageing T-38s so a lot will wind-up on the market soon-ish. On a trip to Southern Poland had an excursion to the Czech Republic. They had a T-34 on static display and someone had an L-29 on static display in their front yard. I dined on deep-fried cheese and fine Pilsner. A good day.

    An aside. On the the exact border there was a most peculiar property for sale. It had been the Polish/Czech border house and straddled the border so with a clever accountant… If you don’t mind Madame I shall take payment in the drawing room…

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    L-39 upkeep is cheaper. T-38 is supersonic capable I believe.

  • Tedd

    …how does an L-39 compare with a T-38?

    The edge on speed and acceleration goes to the T-38. Better thrust to weight ratio, higher wing loading, and afterburners. But the edge on manoeuvrability would go to the L-39, I’m sure, particularly in the lower speed range.

    The T-38 was designed to train pilots to fly supersonic fighters, but with a reasonably economical engine (i.e., not a lot of thrust), so it needed quite small wings. As a result, low-speed handling is not great, but that was probably considered a feature, not a bug, for a jet that was intended to prepare pilots for century-series fighters.

    The L-39 is more of a general purpose trainer, somewhere mid way in performance between more modest trainers, such as the T-37, and something like the Hawk.

    As a point of reference, a standard training loop in a T-38 is about 10,000 feet in diameter. I can’t quote the figure for the L-39 but, based on experience with similar aircraft, I would estimate it’s about 3,000 feet.

  • Tedd

    NickM:

    I missed an important part of your question. The L-39 is a jet you can afford to buy, fly, and maintain without an insane amount of money. A decent lottery win would put you in the neighbourhood you need to be in. I personally know someone who owns and flies one and, while he is somewhat more well-heeled than I am, he’s not crazy rich. I would imagine that a T-38 would be quite a bit more expensive to operate — perhaps verging on an order of magnitude more. Plus, they’re not readily available to buy, whereas L-39s are.

  • Plus the L-39 is so pretty, much like the women from that part of the world 😉

  • Fred the Fourth

    Sigh, I missed it.
    I actually have a family connection to the Harrier – my old man, Fred the Third (Col. USMCR), was a development and test pilot on the P-1127 Harrier prototype.
    T-38 story (sort of): Senior NASA pilots had access to T-38s for transport. Except there was one pilot at Edwards (Manke, IIRC) who somehow kept his mitts on an F-104 for his personal ride. When he’d come up to Ames at NAS Moffett, you could hear him coming about 100 miles away, because of the organ pipe moaning and howling produced by the variable geometry engine outlet as he came down from cruise.
    Sometimes I’m glad my dad died before he could see what happened to Ames.

  • Tedd

    I think the T-38 is just about the prettiest jet ever made. But I agree that the L-39 is a looker, too. In a way it’s not a fair comparison because the trapezoidal wing planform that is so much a part of the T-38s appeal would be meaningless on the L-39, it being subsonic. And the T-38 has that sexy area rule. But the L-39 is fast enough to benefit a little bit from area rule, and it does seem to have some.

  • Cynwulf

    Sometimes I’m glad my dad died before he could see what happened to Ames.

    Ames? Is this an anthrax reference?

  • Now, I’m gonna start. In roughly the same class there is the Folland Gnat. The original LWF.

  • AKM

    Tedd: I agree with you about the aesthetics of the T-38. It’s all about that thin, curvy area-ruled fuselage. Those stumpy little subsonic trainers just can’t compete!

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Slightly OT, but I just stumbled across (via Wikimapia) the Castle Air Museum near Atwater, California. It’s on the old Castle Air Force Base. They have about fifty military aircraft on static display, including some real rarities like a Canadian CF-100, a B-29, a B-50 and a B-36. It’s most conveniently visited via Google Maps, Google Earth, or Wikimapia (my preference).

  • And I must say picture 13 is an absolute scorcher! Dale should have bought a lottery ticket that day!

  • Fred the Fourth

    Cynwulf:
    “Ames” is NASA Ames Flight Research Center, at Moffett Federal Airfield (formerly a Naval Air Station). Fred the Third spent most of his career there, when he wasn’t driving A-4s for the Marines.
    Now, according to some of his former colleagues, it’s mostly overrun by Google’s arrogant private security, busy guarding their little airline.

  • pete

    I took over 700 photos between 9am and 5pm and many of them are just as worthy of being seen as the few I have posted above.

    Once you’ve seen two or three small planes you’ve seen them all.

    As for large planes you only need to see one.

  • Dale Amon (Belfast, Northern Ireland/Laramie, Wy)

    Google is doing some of its secret stuff in the old airship hangar. Is there reason to believe they are leasing more than that? T’was a far better fate for that monstrous old hangar than getting torn down.

  • Mr Ed

    Once you’ve seen two or three small planes you’ve seen them all.

    Ah, but the context was the relative ranking of the pictures wrt each other, not the entire collection. Your critique is fallacious, Dale was not suggesting posting a wider selection, and some photos of small ‘planes are worth seeing, like two Avro Ansons landing together

  • Fred the Fourth

    Dale, I have no first-hand knowledge of what is going on in Hangar 1, and my remarks about Google security guards were paraphrases of comments from some of my dad’s ex-colleagues who still work in and around the old Ames facility from time to time.
    On balance I am happy to see that Hangar 1 is being restored and is in use. There’s a lot of Bay Area history centered around Moffett and Ames that most folks are not aware of.
    Saddest thing I saw last time I was there, was the big shack labeled NASA Flight Operations, which apparently contains the last few fragments of a once-prime research operation.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Dale, I am insanely jealous of you. If the dog hadn’t needed the car that day….

    What I say is, why not post the other >686 (counted w/ socks on) photos. What a wonderful excuse to stay off the streets and out of the bars! 😉

    Thank you.