Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thematic Photographic 74: "Red" v.1.0 - Red Eagle

"Express Elevator"
Winston Salem, NC - September 2009 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

This week's Thematic Photographic theme is "Red", and being a regular on I sort of feel like I'm cheating. Be that as it may, I figured there wasn't a better way of opening than a "Red" week than with the team from . This shot is of the eponymous Red Eagle aircraft, piloted -- and at least partially designed -- by Buck Roetman. In addition to holding virtually every rating the FAA has as a pilot, Roetman is also a licensed Airframe & Powerplant mechanic (which, trust me, is not an easy credential to get) and has a long history in auto racing as well. Both he and his wingman Dan McClung (pilot of the Talon Eagle, which is just barely visible at left) are certified as Air Show Competency Evaluator (ACE) for the International Council of Air Shows. These two don't measure their experience in flight hours, they measure it more in flight years. Acording to his bio on the team website, McClung has over 35 years as a professional pilot flying everything from this stunt biplane to a Boeing 767, including over 400 "traps" (carrier landings) while flying A7 and A4 aircraft for the US Navy. Roetman's bio didn't give this kind of detail on his flight experience, it was more focused on his design and fabrication work.

I had the opportunity to see the team in action at the 2009 Winston Salem Air Show and the one thought that kept circling in my head was "You have really got to trust your wingman" to do some of the things these two were doing. Bubble-to-bubble passes with the canopies nearly touching, multiple loops with the landing gear nearly touching (tricky since one must perform an inside loop and the other must match his speed in an outside loop -- meaning they can't actually see each other). It was precision flying on a level to rival the Thunderbirds or the Snowbirds or the Blue Angels. Not the same kind of precision, and while I'm sure the pilots would argue over which requires the greater skill to those of us on the ground that's sort of like arguing the relative merits of a Ferrari over a Rolls Royce.

Stumble This!


snowelf said...

You know about hockey AND airplanes!
I don't think you could possibly get any cooler. :)


Lynn said...

Wow, neat picture. That must take some kind of skill to fly these planes.

I love the quote in your header, by the way. Who is D. Blagdan? Someone famous? Great quote. I love it.

Mojo said...

@Lynn: D. Blagdan is Donna Blagdan, and she may be famous in certain circles, I'm not really sure. We had a couple of coffee dates and that was abotu it. But I came away with this gem and when I was looking for something to put in my header, it seemed a natural fit.

I'll tell her you said so. said...


Here is Mine

Marie Höglund said...

Awesome Mojo!

PastorMac's Ann said...

What a terrific shot! The red bi-plane makes me think of Snoopy and the Red Baron. :-)

Enjoying your red photos for Carmi's Thematic Photographic this week.

Carmi said...

What I wouldn't give to break bread with these two. I think we'd all run out of breath before I'd run out of questions.

I need to find another air show. Soon. It's been, what, three months since my last one? Too long...

Catherine said...

Great shot, since most planes are silver or grey it is nice to see a bright red one