Warbirds Over Monroe Airshow

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wet year in the South.  I was spoiled early on with blue skies and sunshine, but the later part of 2015 was incredibly wet.  I’m beginning to understand how it must feel to live in the UK.  Learning to photograph in all weather is becoming very important.  While I’ve learned that photographing in full sun is not ideal, photographing in full rain and cold is even more challenging.

Helio Courier
Helio Courier

We didn’t have to worry about crowds for a change, but it was indeed wet and cold.  The Saturday show didn’t get in the air due to the weather, so we toured the planes on the ramp and went inside a couple of the static displays.  I finally saw the inside of Tinker Belle, the C-46 based at Monroe.  She’s a beauty, inside and out.  I hear she’s quite complicated to fly and that there aren’t many pilots left that can fly her.

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C-46 Cockpit
C-46 Cockpit

Touring the Spirit of Freedom, a C-54 that’s a flying museum was impressive.  It’s beautiful preserved, and still flying with educational information about the history behind her story adorning the walls.

C-54 Cockpit
C-54 Cockpit

This is my first visit to the Monroe show and for me, it will be the last show of the season. It’s right in my backyard and although I used to fly from Wilgrove to practice landings here, I’d never been to the airshow.  I was excited as some of my favorite planes were on hand and a few that I haven’t seen before will be flying.

Tinker Belle making a pass.
Tinker Belle making a pass.

I love seeing Tinker Belle in the air.  She’s big, beautiful and yet graceful moving across the skies. This is the first time seeing her without jumpers.   With so few of these left air worthy, it’s an honor seeing her perform.

Temco 'Buckaroo' T-35
Temco ‘Buckaroo’ T-35

The Temco Buckaroo is another rare trainer plane to cross my path. A lovely looking tandem plane that didn’t do much historically.  The USAF only purchased 3 and those were sent for scrap after limited use.  There are only 5 listed as survivors.

Obsession and Angels' Playmate P51D Mustangs
Obsession and Angels’ Playmate P51D Mustangs

The best part of the show was when two of my favorite P51D Mustangs took to the air together, Angels’ Playmate and Obsession along with two Corsairs.  My two favorite WWII planes together to grace the skies.  The sounds coming from those engines can bring tears to a grown man’s eyes.  The distinct purr and hum of piston engines roaring across the skies delight even the smallest fan. I know that every time I see and hear them, I can’t wipe the smile off of my face while watching them perform. They’re some of the most beautiful planes to ever be built.

Corsair F4U's
Corsair F4U’s
Stearman Biplane
Stearman Biplane
C-45F Expeditor
C-45F Expeditor

I’m always fascinated by the variety of planes that make up an airshow, from older trainer planes to the newest jets.  You can enjoy a full range of heart thumping, engine pounding, ear piercing, adrenaline rushing thrills that will delight any on-looker.  If you want a taste of what it’s like to fly in one, you can usually find a seat being sold for your riding pleasure.

Two Corsairs
Two Corsairs
P51 on Takeoff
P51 on Takeoff

While the skies were gray and the day was cold, it didn’t dim my enthusiasm.  The show got in the air on Sunday, and I was front line mid-field on the taxiway to photograph the lovely ladies that passed. I had a fantastic view, and probably didn’t get as many quality pictures as I’d like to have gotten, due to shaking in the cold, but what a show to see and capture!  I can’t imagine any place I’d rather be even on a cold, wet day.

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