Where? Tsuiki AB, Kyushu, Japan
Wow, amazing... already in the darkness at 6am people were streaming into the airshow ground, only to be stopped by the numerous souvenir and food stands - and the famous rope blocking off the static display area.
The opening formation started taking off around 7:30am, and did some fly-bys in bad weather, even before the public was actually allowed to get in - exactly at 8am. What happens there is hard to describe: my Japanese friends call it the "Airshow rush". The whole crowd (hundreds of people even at that early time) waiting for more than an hour starts running towards the fence to secure the best places, no matter what or who is in their way. So this is not the place where you would stumble and the running gets especially challenging if you have your heavy photo equipment on your back or track a card with your stuff - all that for about 600-700m.
Fortunately most Japanese see a spot in front of "Blue Impulse" as the best option, but I did otherwise standing a bit more to the side in order to get some nice taxi shots of the participating aircraft. The masses of people at the show can be roughly estimated from the next photos:
The actual flying program started with a SAR demo of U-125 and UH-60, followed by a JGSDF AH-64D Apache, which was very high on my wish list. Unfortunately the sun stayed behind the clouds during this period of time, as it was also the case for most of the morning. It only started clearing up during the afternoon.
The F-4EJ Phantom came in once again directly from Nyutabaru and did some fly-bys. Nothing special due to the weather - however it was a Phantom display! - and I did not press the trigger very often.
The F-2 solo display was also 'blessed' with a grey sky as was the two-ship of the F-15J 'Igru'.
The latter was very interesting with fly-bys over the crowd, tight turns around the static display area, thus not comparable to the demonstrations that are usually shown around Europe with dedicated aerobatic parts and photo fly-bys for the public.
The rather long lunch break was used for some (many hundreds yen of...) shopping and catching up the fabulous atmosphere, before the SAR demo started another time, followed by arming up two F-15s, directly in front of my camera lens.
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- Category: 2010
- Published: 23 November 2010
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