Arctic Thunder Part 3

At the heart of the Arctic Thunder air show is the theme of showing the American public (and everyone else) some of the capablities of real combat ready aircraft flown by pilots trained to fly combat maneuvers.
The F22 Raptor demonstration provided both of these things, and was simply one of the most awesome sights I have ever seen.
The F22 Raptor is the latest and most advanced fighter aircraft, and is designed for speed, maneuverability, stealth and survivability. They are currently stationed at the 3d Wing, Elmendorf AFB as well as in Virginia, Florida and New Mexico
 IMGP3165 a Arctic Thunder 2008, F22 Raptor

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It’s tight turning capability at speed produces a signature vapor cloud at negative pressure areas.

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In order to maintain stealth capability, the Raptor has internal bays for missiles and bombs,

although other configurations are possible.

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For the final show each day, the Air Force Thunderbird team did their demonstration.

I found the whole thing interestion, including the pre flight drill, here it is.

The F16 Thunderbirds lined up

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The pre flight walk around.

There are 12 officers and 120 enlisted personell assigned to the Thunderbird team in total.

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Pilots into cockpits

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A symbolic point to the sky, then dropping the arm in perfect sequence

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Pilots seated ladders down

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Taxiing out in pairs

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A salute and thumbs up as each passes by.

Note the names on this side of the aircraft are personell responsible for keeping the aircraft flight ready.

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Now the flight demonstration

IMGP3359 a Arctic Thunder 2008, The Thunderbid flight demonstration

Inverted pass

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Steep bank

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The Diamond

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Tight 4 formation

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Arrowhead with all six

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The low speed, high angle of attack pass

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Symetric Break

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Aileron Roll

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Standing on a wing tip

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During the demostration, a poem was read over the loudspeakers.

It was written by Father Dennis Edward O’Brian, USMC

The reading had a modification in that instead of saying "soldier" each line it specifically called out each branch of service, a nice touch I thought. Here is the original poem.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

All photos of flight during this event were taken with my Pentax K20D, a Sigma 50-500mm lens outfitted with a rotating polarizing filter, and using a monopod for stability. The static displays in Part 1 were with an 18-55mm lens, handheld.

The final estimate of attendance was 152,000 people for the two day event.

The most people I have been around that’s for sure, can hardly wait to go back for the next show in 2010!

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15 Responses to Arctic Thunder Part 3

  1. Kenneth says:

    Brilliant   Steve… it must have been a great day out for you, these  photos are worth looking at again. I am going back  up.

  2. Lyn says:

    These pictures are so awesome I dont know what to say. I cant wait to show them to my nephew who is Very interested in this sort of thing. He is almost 17, a Straight A student, on his way to Wasington D.C. for an FFA convention. Recently informed me he is thinking of the military for schooling after he graduates. Scares the hell out of me, but these pictures are so great I have to show him. Thanks so much, the poem made me cry.

  3. JoAnn says:

    Ah, I\’ve been waiting for this one – saved the best for last!  Your photography, the F22 Raptor and Thunderbird team are all magnificent!  To say I\’m impressed with all 3 would be an understatement!  Great work, Steve! Thank you for sharing this event.  Have a safe and happy  4th of July!

  4. Horst says:

    Hi Steve,
        Fantastic photos of the planes. That lens you have does a real good job for you. Keep those great photos coming. I also really enjoy your nature photos. Take care and talk with you later.

  5. Arctic says:

    great experience and great photos, espicial some F22 ones, it seems you were overviewing when they were in flight by stonishing speed!

  6. Beth says:

    I saw the Thunderbird team several times when I worked at the AFB.  Your photos are great!

  7. REDEEMER WORD says:

    Haven\’t been to an airshow in a long time.  The planes are super and I love the designs on the planes to look like birds.  WOW!
    They must give a better air show up there because the people are excited about it.  Thanks..ELZA

  8. Sue says:

    This poem i have read before, it is so true,
    One of the things it life that get me bloody mad is the burning of a flag, no matter what country it belong too,
    as the wife of a Nam Vet, i know how hard it is for some of our soldier
    Great pic\’s, brautiful poem, good blog
    Take care

  9. Jacque says:

    Hi Steve,
    This is great!  I would love to watch an airshow some time.  I loved the poem…  it is so true.
    Have a great 4th of July weekend!

  10. Vieille Ourse says:

    Really beautiful  … "birds" … caught in flight !
    Thanks Steve.

  11. JaeElle says:

    Air shows are so exciting.   Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. 

  12. Cindy says:

    Just about as good as being there.  Excellent pictures as usual.  Thanks Steve. 
    Hope you\’re having a beautiful 4th of July up there.  Isn\’t it always nice in Alaska on the Fourth?

  13. Flo says:

    What gorgeous, clear pictures. Wonderful, as always! 🙂
    Happy 4th!

  14. Amanda says:

    Hello stranger !
    I was so happy to see you left me a comment, and i am so happy to be back on line again. 
    How are you ?  I have missed you and so many others too.  I can\’t wait to have a chat on msn.

    Things are all ok with me and Woody still.  I am very happy and very much in love with him, and we intend to marry when we can afford it. 
    As always, i love your latest pics.  In particular the yawning tree.  It reminded me of the tree i took a pic of, with the face on it, if you remember it ?
    Anyway, i have many friends to catch up on, so i will be back soon ok.
    You take care my friend
    Hugs to you from a dreary mix of wet, windy greyish England !
    Love Mandy Marie xx

  15. Anita says:

    Happy 4th of July, Steve!  What an AWESOME way to celebrate the holiday.  Some of the greatest photos I\’ve seen.  Was going to wish you an "interesting" holiday, but I\’m too late.  So just have a great one!<p><p><a href="; target="_blank"><img src="; border="0" alt="happy 4th"></a>

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