ISnAP Dec 2017

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Michael Pliskin

WELCOME TO THE DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF ISNAP! NAF El Centro Larry Grace , Jeff Krueger, Brent Blue, Craig Swancy, Gary Edwards, Hayman Tam, Michael Pliskin, Peter Keller, Michael Bellinger, Andy Lay, Paul Csizmadia, Sammuel Dammers, Scott Kelby Central Air Force Museum Mike Green Exercise Maple Flag 50 Steve Biggs Dropping Out of a B-17 Kevin Hong A Very Chilly Alliance Air Show Paul Csizmadia Tanking Talisman Saber 2017 John Freedman Ranger Fly-In Craig Swancy Army 2017 Kubinka Mike Green Meet Our Member Robert Sliger Aviation Week Contest Review John Slemp

FRONT COVER PHOTO: Larry Grace Blue Angel 7 at Sunset BACK COVER: Jim Wilson Thunderbirds line up ISAP’s goal is to bring together our members who share a love of aviation, and want to preserve its history through their images. Through our organization, members can seek to enhance their artistic quality, advance technical knowledge, and improve safety for all areas of aviation photography while fostering professionalism, high ethical standards, and camaraderie. ISAP continues to help our members to better their photography skills, workflow, and set up resources to help with business questions that our members have. Updates are being made to the ISAP website and member portfolio section, and we are showcasing ISAP members’ images and accomplishments on our social media pages. In this issue we are continuing to highlight ISAP members. I’m sure you will enjoy learning how your fellow ISAP members got started, as well as seeing some of their images and learning some tips. Remember that ISnAP is your publication to share your images, stories and tips with other members and the public. We look forward to each member sharing his or her stories with all of us. Enjoy this issue of ISnAP! Sincerely, Larry Grace, President Kevin Hong, ISnAP Editor International Society for Aviation Photography •

Kevin Hong

w e l c o m e

n e w

a n d

r e t u r n i n g

i s a p

m e m b e r s

Jessica Ambats

Scott Dworkin

Paul Millsaps

Nigel Bowles

Joe Barranco

Mike Green

Joe Paul

Xinyi Xu

Brent Blue

Arnold Greenwell

Brent Ovard

Ara Balian

Charles Burin

Ian Grove

Charles Raimond

Mike Miley

Marcelo de Barros Camargo

Tomislav Haramincic

Wes Roberts

Keith Charlot

Raymond Cervantes

Jennifer Jensen

Chad Slattery

Brent Ovard

Dave Chng

Andrew Madden

Robert Sliger

Joe Barranco

Mike Collins

Marji McNeely

Bryan Stevens

Andrew Madden

Richard Depinay

Larry Melby

Vince Yarbrough

James Woodard

The ISnAP is a periodic publication of the International Society for Aviation Photography and is used to communicate news, functions, convention information, and other information of interest on the local, regional, and national scenes. The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and should not be construed as the views or opinions of the International Society for Aviation Photography.

Welcome to the fall photo call at NAF El Centro. Twice a year the PAO Kris Haugh and the men and women of NAF El Centro invite photographers to a photo call of naval air operation. This opportunity allows photographers to capture images of flight ops up close and personal. ISAP members and photographers from aviation photography clubs and international photographers took part. For this photo call, I asked 16 ISAP members to attend a two-day workshop. On the first day, we had a classroom discussion on aviation photography with tips on cameras, settings, lighting, problems we each have had capturing images at airshows and other locations. At these discussions each member showed images for a review and from this, each person learned from each other and shared ideas, correcting images and tips on post-processing. For part of the workshop we headed over to NAF El Centro to photograph afternoon training flights and to give the photographers the opportunity to work on some of the ideas discussed that morning. In past trips to NAF El Centro not far from the base is Imperial County Airport, county-owned public-use airport in Imperial County, California.

Also known as Boley Field, it is mostly used for general aviation, but has scheduled passenger service from one commercial airline. Also, they receive and fuel military aircraft. One can spot outside the airport and watch Osprey and USMC helicopters. This allowed the group to see and capture USMC aircraft. Then we headed back to our hotel to continue our meeting. The discussion for the rest of day was even more enjoyable. We had to stop early evening (8pm) to allow everyone to get dinner and prepare for the next day. I found the interaction among the members attending enjoyable and to watch new friendships start, this is what ISAP and these workshops are all about. The next morning we gathered for the day and Scott Kelby came out. I invited Scott to join us since he was teaching one of his classes in San Diego. He was close by and this was a great opportunity for him to capture aviation images and spend some time to hang out and have fun with other ISAP members and photographers attending.

NAF EL CENTRO FALL 2017 Article and photos by Larry Grace

All photographers met at the front gate and were transported to our briefing area, where we had lunch and briefed by the Base commander, our host and Public Affairs Officer Kris Haugh. For this photo call, 100 photographers were attending so two groups were selected and each group was bussed to the flight line for an afternoon of photography. The photographers were greeted by T-45 Goshawks, EA-18G Growlers and USMC aircraft doing hot loads and refueling their helicopters giving the photographers additional photo ops. Half way during the afternoon, the base fire department brought two of their vehicles to the runways and we watched them practice waterspouts from their trucks. Members submitted images and a write up of their experience for you to get a feel of their visit to NAF El Centro and workshop. Please enjoy their outstanding images and their stories on the visit. Each person

shared their personal viewpoint of the trip and what they learned from each other and from the other photographers attending the photo call. On behalf of the ISAP membership, I would like to send our sincere thanks to the men and women of NAF El Centro, The pilots and flight crews of the T-45 Goshawks, EA-18G Growlers, USMC helicopters and to the NAF El Centro fire department. May our images show off your hard work and dedication to keeping America strong and to NAFEC PAO Kris Haugh and his staff for accommodating the photographers attending this photo call and giving us the opportunity to capture naval air power in action.

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Hayman Tam

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Larry Grace

Jeff Krueger

I had attended a photo call or two before the latest NAF El Centro photo call on November 16th but this one turned out to be a bit different than expected. I knew something was up when Larry sent an email stating we needed to be in El Centro Tuesday night and to bring a flash drive with some of our photos. We would be meeting in the hotel conference room at 9am Wednesday morning. Once we gathered on Wednesday morning, we began a peer critique session that led into a significant amount of information sharing on everything from ISO and exposure settings to back button focusing and composition. As there was a great mix of professionals, advanced hobbyists and new shooters, I’m pretty sure everyone got something out of the session. From there, we went over to the NAF for some afternoon shooting outside the gate. We had an opportunity to “warm up” and I got some practice with back button focusing we talked about earlier. Back at the hotel, we got back together and finished up our critiques. Dinner was late…

After assembling in the morning, with unexpected guest Scott Kelby joining us, we went back out to the field Thursday morning. We shot outside the facility until it was time to assemble for the afternoon photo call. This time there were around 100 photographers present and in two groups we went out to the flight line where we shot until about 1630 hours. Along with the usual jet operations, we were able to photograph a number of USMC helicopters, something I hadn’t done much of in the past. We were also treated to a demonstration by the Facility fire engines which I really thought was pretty cool. In my opinion this was not only a really good photo call at the NAF, orchestrated perfectly by our PAO, but the additional day of critique and information exchange was outstanding. I learned a lot and I know everyone else came away with new and usable information. Thanks to Larry for putting this together and it was great seeing those I know and meeting a bunch of members I didn’t know.

Jeff Krueger

Jeff Krueger

Jeff Krueger

Jeff Krueger

Brent Blue

Brent Blue

The El Centro photo call was a great learning opportunity as well as a wonderful experience. The first day critique session was a major help to me and the improvement in my photographs the next day showed it. Getting to know the other photographers and learning the wide range of techniques and opinions was refreshing and collegiate despite a wide range of expertise and experience. I highly recommend participating in future photo calls and symposiums.

Brent Blue

Brent Blue

Brent Blue

Craig Swancy

It’s always a privilege to be asked. It’s an even greater honor to be selected to attend the Fall Photo Call at NAF El Centro. It is always great to meet new friends and see old ones. The camaraderie among Aviation Photographers is strong. Their mutual respect for the Military is unquestioned. The above mentioned that have chosen Aviation Photography have made a commitment to the multitudes in Military Aviation both past and present to provide the very best support possible to tell the story. Kristopher Haugh, the PAO for NAF El Centro explains his rules; which are indeed strict, but designed for our own safety. His brief on Air Field Operations is to the point and his way. Content of which is stressed and followed to the letter. We as photographers understand and adhere to these rules because of our close proximity to an active runway.

with each other. Later we ventured to the far east end of the Airfield and took position about 1/4 mile east of the runway. We were in that perfect position whereby T-45’s and a few EA-18G’s made the transition from base leg to final. The light was great and the aircraft angles just perfect. A lot of really great banking shots on the slightly slower T-45 Goshawks made for an excellent warm-up for the next day full of faster EA-18G Growlers. Personally I carried the new Nikon D-850 along with my Nikkor 200500mm f/5.6 Telephoto Lens for this year’s duty. I find the new D-850 much faster to focus, quiet in operation, the focus area more responsive, all yielding much more sharp photos. This picked up my game somewhat. Finally the first thing I did was set up the back button focus.

Thursday yielded a good brief by PAO Kris Haugh. With 100 Photographers in attendance we divided into two groups and bused our way to the Airfield. Temps in the 60’s and low 70’s, a little dust in the air, made for some haze, but comfortable shooting temps. A long session of McDonnell-Douglas T-45 Goshawks from Meridian, Mississippi were doing their “Touch and Gos” for the day. Capturing a great collection of aircraft, crew, and smoking tire shots. Then the Boeing EA-18G Growlers from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ 129) did not let us down either. A lot of “Touch and Gos” with an ample supply of afterburner for this great departing shots. They even sent their “CAG bird” for the exercise. Lastly we had several great opportunities to capture the Bell AH-1Z Viper and the UH-1Y Venom now in use by the United States Marine Corp. Several take offs, landings, passing shots made for a fun time and a few really good close in shots. The NAF El Centro Fire Department taxied out two Crash Rescue trucks for our groups and displayed their Fire Steam Capabilities and their ability to “Pump and Roll” as they would move up on a crash/rescue incident. As alway the Kids enjoyed the Firetrucks.

All ISAP Photographers wear their Safety Vests and Hearing Protection for their own benefit and safety. We as ISAP Members can also self police ourselves. Flight Line Safety is paramount. This being said, Kris is indeed a fine PAO and a good friend but pay attention to what he says. A mistake can and will shut down all Air Operations. (Sorry, that is the Old Fire Captain in me stressing safety. My job was to make sure my shift crews went home to their families.) ISAP President Larry Grace, with his trusty staff, work long hours to coordinate with Kris Haugh to make our portion of the Photo Call to come off flawlessly. Again proper thanks are in order. Now to the business at hand, that of Aviation Photography at NAF El Centro. This year we met on Wednesday in the hotel for some Q&A, photography discussions, tips, critique, and a good time visiting

Both groups returned to our designated facilities for pit stops and hydration before being driven off base to our vehicles. It is now sundown and you have 100 tired, thirsty Aviation Photographers. In proper order, a single file parade of autos formed and made their way down to downtown El Centro to the customary “Burgers and Beer” for refreshments and good conversation. Thus ended Photo Call 2017 at NAF El Centro. Peace and harmony prevailing.

Craig Swancy

Craig Swancy

Hayman Tam This was my first El Centro Photo call and I was looking forward to the experience, having seen many great images from fellow ISAPers on previous visits. Advice from ISAP friends, and the PAO information via Larry, did ensure that I packed the right gear for the visit. I brought my D500 with 18-200 and my D7100 with 80-400 which turned out to be a good combo for the event. On the day before, and the morning of, our base visit, we did go to an off base location for some shooting and that’s when I would’ve preferred my 150-600mm (but you can only pack so much gear when flying). I’m quite pleased with the images I returned with. As nice as it was to have a fairly constant stream of Goshawks, Growlers, and Cobras. The repetitious traffic meant that we could get creative with different settings, go wide/tight, shoot video, etc. I did enjoy seeing the Federal Fire Dept El Centro vehicles come out to play for us. The Hampton Inn was a good place for the ISAP seminar the day before. The small group size made for a more intimate setting that allowed new and old members to get to know each other. I thought the image review/critique session went very well.

Hayman Tam

Hayman Tam

Hayman Tam

Hayman Tam

Gary Edwards

Another chance to shoot at NAF El Centro! I made plans as soon as the invitation went out - good thing I was selected! This would be the third time I’ve joined one of El Centro’s photo calls. They are always a great time and a unique opportunity with absolutely great access to close-up shooting along the runway. We are very fortunate that El Centro Public Affairs Officer Kris Haugh and his team of volunteer Sailors appreciate the exposure we can provide to get the word out on the job that the Navy does there, and are willing to put in all the effort it takes to run a safe and productive photo call. Craig Swancy and I drove out together and as on a previous trip we stopped in Yuma, Arizona to see if the Marines were flying. Once again we were rewarded with a variety of aircraft we don’t often see at home: STOVL F-35Bs, Harriers, Cobras, F-5 aggressor aircraft, and even a pair of BAE Strikemasters (which managed to surprise us enough we missed the shots).

In addition to the target-rich shooting environment at the Naval Air Facility, this time ISAP organized a day for members to get together and talk of all things aviation photography. We went through work chosen by the members present to show what they are doing these days. The day reminded me a lot of my very first ISAP experience. I was able to attend the slide show/discussion at the first ISAP Symposium in Fort Worth, in 2001. As at that event we spent hours talking about images and how they were made with old and new friends. This fall’s shoot was with the biggest group ever - around a hundred photographers. It was a good group and there were no problems. The shoot lasted four hours and predictably the flying tempo varied. But the shooting was good and we had plenty of passes to try different ideas. It was a great day and I look forward to my next chance to visit NAF El Centro and the great folks there.

Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards

Michael Pliskin It was not just photographing EA-18G Growlers from 60 feet away as they kicked in the afterburners while practicing touch-and-go landings. It was not just watching the pilot trainees in their T-45 Goshawks taking off three-planes-at-a-time. It was not just the splash-and-dash demonstration by the huge Oshkosh crash trucks. It was not just watching pairs of Marine Corps AH-1Z Vipers and a UH-1Y Venom come in for refueling. The best part of the ISAP November photo call at NAF El Centro was doing it all with twelve other ISAP members.

shooting professionally for over 35 years, I am always eager to learn something new.

They came from all over the country – all with one primary goal in mind: to take some great aviation photos from a very unique access point. They also came together to spend time with, and learn from, other fellow aviation photographers to share techniques, tips, and ideas.

On our second day in El Centro, we went out to the base perimeter early so we could catch some more photos before we had to report to the parking lot outside the main gate. Our IDs were checked as we boarded the vans that took us to the briefing room where we had barbecued chicken kebabs for lunch and met photographers from several other groups.

We met at the Hampton Inn in El Centro the day before our trip to the flight line and spent the day looking at each other’s images and getting to know one another. I love seeing what other photographers are doing. Their techniques and perspectives inspire me to explore the limits of my own shooting boundaries and try something new. I enjoyed looking at everyone’s images and participating in the discussion of each one, where we offered suggestions and comments. It is such a great way to broaden one’s horizons and learn from others. Although I have been

In late afternoon, as the sunlight was getting that nice golden, autumn hue, we drove out to the air base and positioned ourselves just beyond the approach side of the base perimeter so we could photograph the T-45s and Growlers as they came in to land. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to look at more photos and continue the discussions.

After a welcome from the Base Commanding Officer and a safety briefing from NAF El Centro PA Officer Kris Haugh, we again boarded the vans that took us to the airfield. We had to stay at least 60 feet from the active runway, which afforded us a very unique perspective that is not available at your everyday public air show.

Even though we all had ear protection, it is very LOUD when those jets rev their engines for takeoff, or when they fire the afterburners while doing touch-and-go landings. It doesn’t matter whether you are wearing good quality ear plugs or shooter’s ear muffs, or both. When those jets throttle up, your entire body feels it! For the next four hours, we photographed groups of student pilots in their T-45 Goshawk jet trainers taking off, landing, doing touch-and-go landings, group take-offs, or flying in formation. There were also three EA-18G Growlers, the electronic warfare version of the F/A-18EF Super Hornet, doing touch-and-go landing practice. These training flights were also great training for us photographers as we practiced different techniques for shooting aircraft. I finally mastered rear-button focus as I had multiple opportunities to use it. Because NAF El Centro is a transitory base, where all kinds of aircraft come in for pit stops while on their way to other destinations, we also had the opportunity to shoot several pairs of Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and a UH-1Y Venom gunship as they stopped in for refueling. This gave us all practice in shooting with slow shutter speeds to get rotor blur in our images of the helicopters. Around mid-afternoon, there was a lull in the action on the airfield. At that point two big Oshkosh crash trucks came out to the taxiway near us and put on a short demonstration. I called it the Splash-and-Dash.

I am grateful to NAF El Centro’s Public Affairs Officer Kris Haugh and his crew for inviting us and hosting this opportunity. I also give my thanks to ISAP President Larry Grace for organizing this great ISAP event. As always, he did a fantastic job! I look forward to many more ISAP photo ops and get-togethers in the future. To me, the opportunity to meet and get to know other photographers who share my passion for aviation is just as valuable as the access we get to take great aviation images.

Michael Pliskin

Michael Pliskin

Michael Pliskin

Michael Pliskin

Michael Pliskin

Peter Keller I’m still a relatively new member to ISAP. I’ve been around cameras from a young age and have always had an attraction to military aircraft. When I received the newsletter with the Photo Call for the Naval Air Facility El Centro, I thought WOW! That would be such an incredible experience. Being relatively new and inexperienced in aviation photography I thought what are the chances? Well, the next thing I know I’m jumping onto a plane after work on a Tuesday for a flight from Minneapolis to San Diego followed by a 2-hour drive in the dark from San Diego to El Centro, filled with anticipation for the next 2 days. Even if I never get a shot off, just being close enough to feel the thunder and smell the jet fuel would be thrilling enough! Having a camera in hand would be just that much better and allow me the opportunity to capture the experience to share with others.

What began to unfold that next morning was an experience I could not have hoped to gain without being part of ISAP. That first day was invaluable. I learned a lot about aviation photography and my own photography in general. I learned tips about composition, post processing, and even simple little key-stroke short cuts in Adobe Lightroom. Even more, I got to rub shoulders with some of the best aviation photographers in the field. I met some absolutely fantastic people, and developed valued friendships. The next morning, we all packed up and headed toward the facility, stopping outside for a while and captured T-45 Goshawks circling overhead. I didn’t know until I got home that in one of my better shots from this vantage point, the instructor in the back seat was giving us all a friendly wave!

I really didn’t know what to expect I just knew we were supposed to be 60 feet off the runway while thunderous jets would be taking off and landing. That was enough. What I didn’t know at that point was how much I’d eventually learn from the trip.

We then headed to the facility entrance and gathered up with the other photography groups. There were close to a 100 in total. They bussed us inside and served up some really good kebabs grilled up by staff there (and Larry even bought!). After the safety briefing by the PAO, we boarded the buses again and headed out to the air strip.

I had set myself some pretty high expectations for what I might experience. Perhaps a little too high in terms of what I’d see, having read an archived newsletter from a previous El Centro Photo Call. As a “first timer” I also faced a lot of anxiety about the full day meeting before the photo call with a bunch of really good photographers that I had never met before.

I’ll say up front that we didn’t exactly get the variety that I had hoped for, but there was still plenty of activity. A squadron of four EA-18G Growlers were doing almost continuous Touch-and-Go practice, which meant plenty of good photography practice and provided an exceptional opportunity to exercise timing, camera settings, and shooting positions. There were also squadrons of T-45C Goshawks

continuously launching and recovering from bombing practice. I counted sixteen different T-45’s over the two days. We saw two pairs of Cobra’s coming in for armament, as explained by one of the escorts, a gal who when asked why she chose munitions for her field said that she picked it because she wanted to do something “Badass!”. Finally, they brought out a couple Oshkosh fire and rescue vehicles and gave a demo of their operation during a lull in aircraft activity, which gave yet another photo opportunity. After all this was over we eventually found ourselves at what seems to be the must-go-to place, Burgers and Beer. And yes, the burgers were awesome, beer selection was good, and the end of the day discussions by all of the group capped off an overall great event! Friday morning, departure day. After returning from an early morning sunrise excursion I returned to the hotel in time to meet up with others in the group for breakfast and some continued, impromptu discussion. In the end, it was an incredible experience. I expect my ability and certainly my experience level will benefit. I will admit though that there were a few points in time that photography did take a back seat to the excitement of the overall experience.

I might mention that I’m shooting with a camera different than most, which can be a little intimidating. I’m using the Olympus E-M1 and an E-M1 Mark II with the PRO series lenses. It’s not full frame, but the smaller sensor and mirrorless design give me extra features and let me shoot extremely fast (18fps continuous focus, 60fps with single focus) with less than half the weight. Focus capability was excellent. The only challenge was learning the correct settings to tell the camera to ignore the power lines as the jets flew behind them. The moral is though, I think it’s not so much the camera as it is the photographer. And that’s the part I’m still working on, and that’s one reason I joined ISAP! A big Thank You goes out to the El Centro staff for hosting us. And also, a big thanks to Larry Grace for all the arrangements and the opportunity to join and learn. Finally, thanks to all of you that I met there; For your instruction, tips, and most of all, the friendship and camaraderie! I look forward to seeing you all again at a future event. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of ISAP!

Peter Keller

Peter Keller

Peter Keller

Michael Bellinger

Michael Bellinger

Michael Bellinger

Michael Bellinger

Michael Bellinger

Andy Lay

2017 El Centro Workshop One of the highly valuable aspects of the ISAP organization is the sharing of experiences, skills and talents among its members. The workshop conducted at an area hotel on the day prior to the El Centro 2017 Fall Photo Call was a prime example of this interactive collaboration. Larry Grace facilitated two 4-hour discussion sessions using a number of images brought by the members as spring boards to cover a variety of topics related to aircraft photography. In this particular group of a dozen or so fellows, the majority were not professional aviation photographers so the discussion was lively and full of questions and answers. Topics included technical aspects such as camera settings and lighting, post-processing images as well as information on networking with other photographers, internet resources, flight line behavior and lots of tips on how to get great shots. Between the morning and evening sessions, Larry led us, via carpool, to an area near the Naval Air Facility that provided ample opportunity to photograph the aircraft on final approach to the primary runway. This helped to familiarize us with the aircraft, the flight patterns and the weather conditions in preparation for the Photo Call the next day and provided a chance to get our equipment setup for the shoot. Although I thoroughly enjoyed photographing

the low-flying jets, I especially appreciated the time we spent sharing in the discussion sessions as I was able to get to know the other members a lot better and learn from the more experienced ones. 2017 El Centro Photo Call One of the main challenges and frustrations of aircraft photography is actually getting close enough to the aircraft operations to get high-quality images with clean, clear backgrounds. This is especially true when it comes to military aircraft due to the restricted nature of their facilities. That’s what makes the El Centro Photo Call such an awesome experience. Being able to photograph high-performance military aircraft taxing, taking off and landing while being a scant 20 yards from the runway is a real thrill. Thanks to the El Centro Public Affairs Office, this rare access is granted to select groups and individuals twice a year. ISAP is one of the select groups and together we attended the fall photo call with a total of about 100 photographers from around the world. On my shuttle bus rides to and from the Naval Air Facility, I met photographers that had traveled to southern California from both Holland and Hungary. That made my 3-hour flight from Texas seem insignificant.

The official activities on the NAF began just before lunch so our ISAP group used the morning hours to catch a few aircraft landings from a location well outside the military perimeter fence. About 11 am, we carpooled to the visitor parking lot and boarded the military shuttle buses after a quick ID check. All the photographers were gathered in one of the training facilities on the installation for a welcome from the Commanding Officer and a review of the operational rules of the day. After another shuttle bus ride to the runway, we were quickly donning our ear protection and grabbing our cameras for several hours of up close take-offs and landings. The most frequent aircraft in operation were the E/F-18 and T-45s as they practiced their carrier landing profiles. The primary runway is equipped with a Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (FLOLS) and a lighted carrier flight deck landing area so pilots can simulate aircraft carrier landings. This provided a near continuous stream of touch and go landings that allow us to photograph from many different locations up and down the runway. We were also able to photograph a number of helicopters as El Centro is the home of the British Joint Helicopter Force (US). In the slower portion of the afternoon operations, two of the fire rescue trucks came out to the

nearby ramp and gave a short demo of their truck-mounted water jets. One of the special opportunities that accompanied the fine aircraft operation was meeting the US Navy personnel that were assigned to host and escort the photographers. Is was great to be able to hear about their experiences in the military and to express our appreciation for their service to our country. The day wrapped up near sun down and we were shuttled from the runway to the El Centro Main Navy Exchange where we were able to buy snacks and souvenirs. After leaving the facility, the ISAP group, as is their tradition, made their way to the El Centro Beer and Burger restaurant for dinner and conversation about the day’s highlights. The Photo Call was truly a unique and valuable opportunity as it provided both access to the aircraft on the NAF as well as camaraderie with other like-minded photographers.

Andy Lay

Andy Lay

Andy Lay

Paul Csizmadia

2017 El Centro Workshop El Centro Photo Calls are wonderful opportunities to attend. Even better is getting in a few days early to meet and greet fellow ISAP Members. Such was the case with the recent Nov 2017 Photo Call. As attendees we agreed to be at the hotel in time for a full day mini symposium of sorts which was held on Wednesday, the day before the photo call. We brought images to share and discuss. We all assembled for a full day reviewing images, topic discussion, and good old fun regarding our favorite passions ISAP, aviation, and photography. Great opportunity to meet new friends as well as follow up with existing ones. A chance to ask questions and discuss techniques from ‘Back Button Focus’ to ‘Auto ISO’ and a few things in between. Even a little bit of discussion regarding composing a photo for Editorial vs Print. With our ‘Fearless Leader’ Larry at the helm the day was filled with a lot of activity which included a break for lunch as well as a ‘photo field trip’ to the base perimeter to catch a little bit of the afternoon traffic. After the field trip it was back to the hotel to continue on with the meeting to which went till about 8:00 pm. A great way to spend a day!

2017 El Centro Photo Call As an Aviation Photographer being invited to attend a Photo Call is a really cool opportunity. A chance to photograph aviation a mere 60 feet from the active runway for an entire afternoon along with the sights and sounds that make it all happen. The opportunity to capture images and share the mission and the story. Such was the case with the recent Photo Call held at NAF (Naval Air Facility) El Centro in El Centro, CA on November 16th, 2017. NAF El Centro hosts 2 photo calls every year, one in November as well as one in February courtesy of the US Navy, the Base Commander, and the Public Affairs Officer/PAO As a member of ISAP we have the rare opportunity to be considered to attend one of these events. Having submitted my information after the newsletter announcement, I patiently waited to hear back. The number of slots available is limited and it’s definitely an honor to be selected. Then comes the confirmation, you’ve been selected. In my case this would be a return trip, having been selected to attend in Nov 2016. With fond memories of my first Photo Call I made the necessary travel arrangements. Living in Ohio, the trip would be a little bit more than a few hours drive and would entail flying from Cleveland to Phoenix and a 3.5 hour drive from Phoenix to El Centro. This year would also include an ISAP Meeting/Mini Symposium the day before the photo call. A great opportunity to meet up with fellow ISAP Members to share and learn as well as have fun doing what we love.

Finally the travel day arrives. The 4.5 hour flight to Phoenix, followed by a few hours of plane spotting and photography with a fellow ISAP member based in Phoenix and then the 3.5 hour drive to El Centro. The following morning we gather to hold a full day of meeting, sharing photos, and discussing techniques as well as a field trip to catch some of the afternoon traffic around the base perimeter. The next day arrives and we gather at 8:00 am in the hotel lobby to group into cars and head over to the base. Since we aren’t due at the base till 10:30 or so, we head over to do a little perimeter spotting and catch morning flights of T-45 ‘Goshawks’ as they return to the field. Then it’s on to the Photo Call. Once ID’s are checked and verified and loaded with our gear approximately 100 photographers from around the world board the buses that will take us on base for lunch and the safety briefing. Safety is first and foremost and everything is covered along with a greeting from Capt. Alfonzo, USN the Base Commander. Then a chance for last minute ‘Pit Stops’ board the vans and it’s out to the runway. Our photo zone will be 60 ft from the runway with 3,000 ft of runway to roam. As a Naval Air Facility, El Centro does not have it’s own aircraft based on the field but rather acts as a facilities host to Naval and Marine Squadrons wanting to take advantage of the great year round flying weather for training and skill refinement.

Paul Csizmadia

The Photo Call Patch from 2016 says it all ‘closer than you ought to be’. The afternoon proves to be full of a lot of activity. With a number of

T-45 ‘Goshawks’ performing ‘Touch n Go’ landings along with pattern work. VAQ-129 ‘Vikings’ with their Boeing EA-18G ‘Growlers’ including the CAG ‘Color Bird’ working the pattern as well. And of course not to be forgotten were visits from Marine ‘Rotary Wing’ Units. In the lull between activity a chance to reflect on where we are, share stories, and chat with some of the Naval Personnel that are out on the field with us. And then all too soon the day comes to end, in the time before sunset - as the horn to board the buses sounds and we make our way back to the base center. A chance for ‘Pit Stops’ and visits to the Base Exchange for souvenirs and swag. For those of us in ISAP as well as a few other groups we’re headed to ‘Burgers and Brew’ for a chance to get a bite to eat and share stories of the day. The following morning finds us meeting up for breakfast and a chance to exchange cards and contact info before heading our separate ways on our journey home. A wonderful experience to get ‘closer than we ought to be’, meet up with fellow ISAP Members – attending at least once should be on every ISAP member’s list. Many thanks to the US Navy, CAPT Brent Alfonzo USN - Commanding Officer and Kristopher Haugh – Public Affairs Officer at Naval Air Facility El Centro for making the Photo Call a reality. Also thanks to Larry Grace ISAP President and ISAP for selecting us to attend.

Paul Csizmadia

Paul Csizmadia

Sammuel Dammers

The recent ISAP workshop provided a foundation and a point of departure for the November Photo call at NAF El Centro. ISAP members conducted a general meeting on Wednesday. This meeting, which served as a springboard to the photo call, provided an opportunity for fellowship and portfolio review and critique. The afternoon included an informal photo call outside the boundaries of NAF El Centro. Through the auspices of the Public Affairs Office, photographers are granted access to photograph flight operations at NAF El Centro. “Access to flight operations� is an understatement that fails to capture the physical reality of being positioned adjacent to an active runway while military aircraft are launched and recovered. Photographers receive a visceral exposure to the sound, tempo, temperature, and yes, even the smells of naval aviation. Aircraft departures are signaled by the dense drum of afterburners followed by a wake of superheated air and uncombusted kerosene. Landings are announced with the (somewhat) muted sound of engines, chirping tires, noises of protest as landing gear are compressed, and the smell of burning rubber. And the photography? Just being there is all you need.

Sammuel Dammers

Sammuel Dammers

Scott Kelby Check out Scott Kelby’s blog ( and his weekly webcast “The Grid”. On (Episode 310) Blind Photo Critiques, Scott gives his review and additional images he took during this photo call.

Scott Kelby



Article and photos by Mike Green

Located at Monino, a disused airfield about 50km east of the capital, Moscow, the Central Air Force Museum is renowned as one of the best and most famous aviation museums in the world. I don’t normally find myself wandering around aviation museums, as I much prefer to photograph active military aircraft; but having a little spare time during a trip to the Russian Federation to photograph the ‘Army 2017’ event at Kubinka, I found myself at Monino. Formerly the site of the Gagarin Air Force Academy, the museum house’s an impressive collection of ‘Cold War’ and post-‘Cold War’ aircraft operated by the Russian Federation and former Soviet Union. Some of the aircraft displayed are prototypes of aircraft that never went into production, or types that were rarely, if never seen outside of their homeland. As I already mentioned, museums are not my thing, but Monino is impressive! It has to be said that some of the airframes are not kept in the best of condition, but nevertheless, you cannot fail to be in awe of some of the types that are displayed here. Thanks to our guide Oleg, we managed to get permission to cross the barriers, making it easier to get decent angles of some of the aircraft. With the numerous aircraft on show it would take pages to show you everything, so I’ve just got a little taster for you, which hopefully gives you an impression of what it’s like.



This MiG-23 is another example of the ever popular MiG production line that dominated the skies during the Soviet era.

Mike Green

Entering Monino, the first attraction is the worlds largest helicopter, the record breaking Mil-V12 which could carry 196 passengers.

A recent addition to the museum, the Tupolev Tu-95MS is still in service with the Russian Federation. The Bear has been around as long as the B-52 Stratofortress.

Another type still in service is the Mil Mi-24 Hind.

Flying soon after the first flight of the B-52 Stratofortress, the Myasishchev M-4 was displayed to the public on May Day, Only a few of the original production M-4s were actually put into service.

Mike Green

Seen on MiG-row is this MiG-21. An example of most of Mikoyan’s fighter aircraft are on display at Monino.

Superseded by the huge Mil Mi-26, the Mi-8 was nonetheless impressive in terms of size and carrying capacity.

The 100% Titanium-built Sukhoi T-4, or Project 100, was designed as a high-speed reconnaissance, anti-ship and strategic bomber that did not proceed beyond the prototype stage.

The Ilyushin Il-28 is a jet bomber of the post-war period. It was the Soviet Union’s first such aircraft to enter large-scale production.

Mike Green

The Mil Mi-8 helicopter is still in production, be it all in a much upgraded version to that seen here.

The Myasishchev M-50, four-engine supersonic strategic bomber never attained service. Only one prototype was built, which was believed to have first flown in 1957.

The Soviet Union’s first attempt at a shipborne VTOL aircraft was the Yak-38. Two of the type are displayed at Monino.

The Tu-22M2 on display is an earlier version of the current Tu-22M3 Backfire, which is still in service.

Mike Green

The Tupolev Tu-22 Blinder was an early example of the Soviet Union’s strategic bomber force.

The Tupolev Tu-28 Fiddler was a long-range interceptor built in the 1960s. It was the largest and heaviest fighter aircraft ever built.

The Yakovlev Yak-28 was manufactured in reconnaissance, electronic warfare, interceptor, and trainer versions, known by the NATO reporting names Brewer, Firebar, and Maestro respectively.

There is an impressive collection of most Cold War strategic bombers, an example is this Tupolev TU-16 Badger.


MAPLE FLAG 50 A PREMIER FLAG EX THAT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER WITH AGE Article and photos by Steve Biggs, Locked On Photography

The mesmerizing sensation of staring into the green blur of the boreal forest tree tops as they flew past just 50 feet below the skids of our CH-146 Griffon helicopter disappeared when I heard the radio call “Phantom 01, bogey, 11 o’clock high”. The message came from a French Air Force E-3F Sentry AWACS Command and Control aircraft high overhead and had broken clearly through the mission’s radio chatter. Ivan 03 and his wingman, a two-ship section of hostile Alpha Jets, had found us and they were on their way to stop us. Our mission was to escort two CH-147F Chinooks and their Special Forces cargo as they searched for and recovered the pilot that Ivan’s comrades had shot down the day before. Flares, heavy jinking and flying even lower to use the forest for cover were enough to evade Ivan 03 until friendly fighters could “manage the threat”. While Ivan went from hunter to prey, our troops on the ground emerged from the tree line with “the package” and moved to meet with their Chinook transport for extraction and the flight home to safety. But the troops and recovered pilot weren’t the only things brought home after the mission. Everyone involved were headed for the mission debrief with new insights and lessons learned about how best to plan and execute a complex coalition mission like the Joint Personnel Recovery (JPR) mission I had flown on. “The package” hadn’t actually spent the night evading the enemy, the Special Forces role was actually filled by members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal 22e Regiment from Valcartier and the mission hadn’t been run in a hostile conflict zone but at the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) 4 Wing Cold Lake in Northern Alberta. Just another mission at the 50th iteration of Canada’s premier multinational large force air combat exercise, Maple Flag (MF).

Hosted by the RCAF for the first time in 1978, MF was originally run twice a year but is now run yearly only having been canceled a handful of times in its history, mostly due to conflicting international operations. This year aircraft, aircrew, ground crew and troops from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Singapore, the United States of America and the host nation Canada participated in the exercise held in two sessions of two weeks each from May 29th to July 23rd. Eighteen other countries joined the MF International Observer Program or simply visited to observe the exercise and prepare for future participation or learn how the exercise is run to take away best practices and generate innovative ideas to apply to their own exercises. 4 Wing is home to three CF-18 Hornet squadrons; 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron along with 401 and 409 Tactical Fighter Squadrons. To meet these squadrons’ ongoing training requirements the Wing develops and operates one of the world’s largest and most technically advanced air combat ranges, the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR). Colonel Paul “Puffy” Doyle, the Wing Commander at 4 Wing in Cold Lake stated, “We deliver this level of training capability for the RCAF for our own ongoing tactical training but during MF, having allies and other coalition members here in an operation together provides our RCAF crews with an increased capability and understanding of what it actually means to do coalition operations.” This high level of coalition training is what attracts allied air forces from around the world to participate. Col. Doyle “This is not an easy exercise. We’ve scripted it to show participants the value of teamwork, of integration, and what they can actually accomplish

Steve Biggs when they focus in on very specific things. Flying around in a helicopter at 50ft above the trees and inserting Special Forces as you go into a threat area; that gets your blood pressure up. It requires that you rely on the support of the other aircrew in the mission package and maintain a very high focus of attention.” To tap into the benefits of that level of training, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) brought 8 of their Block 52 F-16s and over 100 pilots and support crew to MF 50. Detachment Commander for the RSAF, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Stanley “Stealth” Meng Huat Selva said “Multinational large force training is our primary goal, to train with combined nations so we understand how each other works. The real learning opportunity here at Maple Flag is in the details of how you conduct missions as combined forces. Each air force operates differently. Maple Flag allows us to see how others execute these large force missions so we can understand what to expect when we work with the USAF or the RCAF for example. It allows us to take away best practices to integrate into our own procedures and tactics and of course we strive to provide the same opportunities to the other participants.” The operational pace at MF is fast and starts with the mission planning for Monday’s AM launch on Sunday afternoon. For each of the two 1.5 hour missions flown each day (one AM and one PM launch), there’s 3 hours of planning, 1 hour of package briefing that’s followed by unit level briefing and mission preparation before crews walk to the aircraft. After the mission has been flown and the jets are shut down, there’s unit level debriefing with HUD tape and Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) data reviews before a two-hour package “shotval” and debriefing. Shotval stands for shot evaluation. Held immediately prior to the debriefing the shotval includes an

animated run through of the entire mission using ACMI recordings at 4 times speed. During the playback pilots call out when they made an air-to-air missile or gunshot which is then evaluated and determined to have resulted in a kill or not. Add in the time to move between locations on the base and fuel themselves, participants put in roughly twelve hours a day for each sortie they fly during the exercise. Maple Flag missions are conducted around a scenario that presents a complex, non-permissive threat environment. Participants fly missions developed to present aircrews with an enemy that projects both advanced air and ground based defenses to allow them to be immersed in a realistic threat environment that’s representative of what they can expect to see on real world operations. Red Air is the term used to refer to the adversary air threat during missions. The RCAF use Discovery Air Defense Services (DADS), formerly known as Top Aces, to provide Red Air adversary aircraft and crews for training CF-18 pilots and has them participate at MF. DADS have a permanent detachment of eight Dornier Alpha Jets at 4 Wing. They’re equipped with Electronic Warfare pods capable of jamming radars and radio communications as well as generating emissions like those of an enemy radar stationed at 4 Wing. In addition to the DADS aircraft, CF-18’s are assigned to the red air team to provide an even more advanced threat to the mission. LTC Meng Huat Selva pointed out that “At some exercises, participants take turns in the role of red air which of course means we aren’t able to spend 100% of our sorties on our training. One of the benefits of MF that we have to thank the RCAF for is the way it provides a dedicated, professional and effective Red Air to support realistic and high end training for the RSAF. “

If all is going well, the Red Air assets are shot down early during a mission by Blue Air, the MF participants. But having no opposing force doesn’t provide the training MF is meant to deliver. To address the issue, a pilot on the ground referred to as the Range Training Officer (RTO) watches the fight in real time via the ACMI system and they listen to the radio calls pilots make as fight is ongoing and make assessments about the validity of the shots fired. If the shot is valid, they announce the callsign of the “downed” aircraft which heads back to hold above a pre-determined geographic location that represents their red force air base until the RTO gives them the ok to re-enter the fight effectively controlling the Red Air threat during the fight to ensure the training objectives can be met. But the adversary force at MF is not just well equipped in the air. The CLAWR consists of a wide spectrum of surface to air threat systems, from older legacy threats to more advanced ones that are very potent and require advanced tactics to defeat including the ever-present threat to low flying transport or rotary wing aircraft of a shoulder mounted man-portable surface to air missile systems. The range has 5 sophisticated remote threat emitters that produce the kind of signals that enemy air defense systems use to find, target and attack incoming aircraft. Major Christopher “Chester” Horch, the Officer-In-Charge of the RCAF’s Air Force Tactics and Training Center (AFTTC) said “The big advantage of the emitters is they generate the kinds of signals that trigger aircraft warning systems and allow aircrew to train against realistic threats.” The fully immersive threat environment of MF missions is so realistic that even though air crew know the threats are simulated, they still admit to experiencing an adrenalin rush when they fight against the threats on the range. There are roughly 90 target complexes, including 8 mock airfields spread around on the CLAWR. AFTTC

are responsible for the facilities on the range. Major Horch said “Our CLAWR engineers get fairly creative at putting together sea containers in various shapes to replicate hangars, aircraft revetment positions and other buildings. The engineers also do an excellent job of building plywood mock ups of military vehicles like aircraft and tanks. They’ve created more than 600 individual targets to make up the target sets on the range.” Creating a highly representative air and ground based threat environment and realistic targets isn’t very useful though without having an airspace to fly in. Combining all of the airspace available to MF on the CLAWR including live drop and fire ranges, target set locations, low flying areas and unlimited use airspace, results in an area slightly larger than all of northern Europe. The ability to train in such a large area without needing to accommodate civilian traffic is a major attractor for participants, especially countries like Singapore. Operating in a small airspace that borders on the highly contested territorial waters of the South China Sea makes the kind of training that can be done on the CLAWR impossible for the RSAF to do at home. For perspective, the portion of the CLAWR over which MF missions are flown covers more than 13,000 square miles; a space roughly 47 times larger than the country of Singapore itself. The necessity to train abroad and the advantages of a range the size of the CLAWR are obvious. The CLAWR provides for training with very long “radar looks” of up to 300 miles allowing the fighters to enter the fight at realistic distances and utilize their aircrafts radar and sensor technologies to their fullest capability. The goals of participating in MF50 were as wide ranging as the aircraft present. For example, the United States Air Force brought an E-3B Sentry AWACS and eight Block 30 F-16’s. France brought both an E-3F

Sentry and it was the first time they had participated in a large force multinational exercise with their A400M strategic airlifter. Canada also had a first-time participant, their new CH-147F Chinooks. MF has included rotary wing aircraft for several years but in keeping with the RCAF’s AIR Power vision of an Agile, Integrated air force with the Reach, Power to accomplish it’s goals, the MF team worked with 1 Wing to integrate their Advanced Tactical Aviation Course (ATAC), held to qualify senior CH-147F and CH-146 Griffon pilots to plan and execute combined arms aviation missions, into MF50. Colonel Jeannot Boucher, Commander of 1 Wing said “The RCAF is trying to break down stove pipes. Mobility, fighters, aviation, maritime, all branches of the Canadian Forces have their own unique culture and there’s few opportunities for us all to train together to understand how each branch does their job. But integrating a course like the ATAC with MF is a great example of how these communities can come together and benefit jointly from the kind of high level training that can be achieved here. ATAC previously focused on the ground integration aspect of tactical aviation and lacked the challenges of a non-permissive air environment which is what we have here at MF. With SAM’s and shoulder mounted man portable air defense systems, land based and airborne electronic threat emitters and hostile fighters fighting you against your objectives, the course has a huge opportunity to learn about force multiplication and integration.”

Steve Biggs

It has long been recognized that the pure fighter jet vs fighter jet air war which MF started out as in 1978 is not what conflicts look like anymore. Col. Boucher continued “Presently and for the foreseeable future, conflicts will involve the integration of many capabilities together from a

coalition of nations and the opportunity to integrate 1 Wing’s ATAC into MF reflects that. It’s a perfect example of how the flexibility of MF’s format is the key to producing an exercise that provides real value to the participants.” Col. Doyle commented that “It’s been an interesting experience for us to integrate that many helicopters into an ex scenario and we’re looking forward to having them back next year.” 1 Wing tries to run the ATAC once a year but it’s been a challenge recently with RCAF helicopter assets deployed on operations. As an alternative, simulated exercises have been used some years. This has had some advantages because mission execution can be stopped at any point to debrief the mission progress. The simulation option also allows for development of more complex scenarios than can be developed for a real-world exercise like MF. At MF50 the ATAC was running on both MF missions daily. Col. Boucher: “I think if we run one mission a day we could actually better integrate with flying the kinds of complex missions you see at MF. Doing one mission a day would better allow for the courses Aviation Mission Commanders (AMC) to experience and absorb the complexities of commanding coalition missions that not only include the RCAF’s rotary wing tactical aviation assets, but also other aircraft from the RCAF and coalition nations including Hercs, Cobras, Apaches, Black Hawks, UAV and AWACS. Current and future conflicts require this highly integrated level of complexity and the integration of the ATAC course with maple flag will provide mission commanders with the experience they need to execute these missions on real world operations.” As an example, on real world operations it has happened that aircrews find themselves on the ground in enemy territory. So it’s no surprise

that recovering a downed pilot is one of the ATAC missions that was integrated into MF. The potential for successfully recovering a pilot by launching a lone helicopter to fight its way into enemy territory, find and pick up a pilot and return to base is low enough that it’s not an option. Instead, forces plan and execute Joint Personnel Recovery (JPR) missions, with the key word being “Joint”. The Army needed to provide troops to be dropped by CC-130J Hercules to help secure the general area of operations. Other troops were inserted by CH-147F Chinooks close to the assumed position of the downed pilot to find them and bring them to the extraction point. The Chinooks had a flight of Griffons to escort and protect them throughout the mission; during ingress, while the troops located the pilot and return to the Landing Zone (LZ) and for the flight home. Several flights of CF-18’s secured the airspace, a French E-3 watched from above and a simulated United States Marine AH-1W Super Cobra to secure the LZ from the air was added to the plan to increase the complexity of the list of “joint” resources necessary for the JPR mission. The AMC for the JPR mission I had the opportunity to join was Captain Ian Wookey from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS). Captain Wookey was commanding the mission from the Chinook while his Deputy AMC, Captain Antoine LaBranche of 438 THS was in the lead Griffon I flew in. The experience gained by planning and executing a complex mission like this JPR mission with 3 different air forces, the army and a virtual marine squadron is a classic example of the core purpose of being at MF. The planning process starts with an initial meeting where all the required unit level players are present. Ops, logistics and maintenance outline what they expect to need for the mission. Then the ACM and DACM meet with the other package elements: fighters, transport, simulated Cobra, Griffons, and AWACS to discuss the key aspects of the mission and their roles. The AMC then develops a mission plan with clearly defined individual courses of action for all units involved. As further questions arise and units are consulted, feedback is provided to the AMC for guidance. The AMC briefs his commanding officer with his recommended course of action and, once approved, the D/AMC and the rest of the team helps generate the orders. The orders are then issued to everyone and a Rehearsal of Concept Drill is held. The RoC Drill is a run through of the mission with all the mission players present to make sure everyone clearly understands the plan. Almost more importantly, contingency plans are discussed for various potential scenarios that would require a change to the plan. Experienced leaders have gained firsthand knowledge through participation at exercises like MF and in real conflicts, that a mission plan typically only survives until first contact with the enemy. They understand the importance of anticipating the likelihood that changes will be made to the plan during its execution and having rehearsed appropriate contingency options in advance will go a long way to making command of the situation manageable. This year the ATAC had nine students, six were 1 Wing pilots and three were from the Canadian Army Infantry and Mechanized brigades. Including the army has the cross benefits of both the air force and army students being able to bring their experience to the learning thereby giving each other a better insight in their operational requirements making them better able to formulate mission plans with the highest potential for success. The benefits of this kind of cross arms integrated training is shaping the future of MF. Col Boucher shared the following thought, “In the future we may want MF to become an incubator for a yearly tactics concentration event where every community can send their best and brightest tacticians so they get to plan and execute these complex missions and learn from each other

how each community works so they’re better able to plan and execute to achieve their mission goals.” MF50 was certainly not the largest MF in the books but with air forces from only 4 countries participating, including Canada, some of the statistics after the four-week exercise are impressive: 1108 sorties flown, 458,600 pounds of fuel transferred, 1897 hours flown, 76 live munitions and 300 inert or simulated munitions dropped. The fighter tally at the end of it all was 760 coalition vs 106 opposing force kills. Given the caliber of aircrew that come to fly at MF the 106 losses speak volumes to the intensity of the training provided at the exercise. I never asked if “Phantom 01” was one of the 106. I think I’d rather not know. But it was plainly obvious that although Capt. LeBranche had the skills to execute his role as the DAMC of our mission, the scenario pushed him so he could learn to do his job even better when he’s called upon. June of 2018 seems far away but the planning for MF51 has already begun to ensure a new group of aircrews and their teams from around the world have the same opportunity as Capt. LeBranche to benefit from all that MF has to offer. Maple Flag 50 Participant Nations and Their Aircraft: Canada: CF-18 Hornet fighters, CH-147F Chinook helicopters, CH-146 Griffon helicopters, CC-130J Hercules transport aircraft, CC-130T Hercules air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft, and contracted Dornier Alpha Jets France: A400M heavy tactical airlift aircraft and E-3 Sentry airborne command and control aircraft Republic of Singapore: F-16 Falcon fighters United States: F-16 Falcon fighters and E-3 Sentry airborne command and control aircraft

Steve Biggs

Steve Biggs

Patrick Sullivan

DROPPING OUT OF A B-17 BOMBER! Article and photos by Kevin Hong

In 1994, the 98th Flying Training Squadron became the official home for the United States Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team. The 98th Flying Training Squadron traces it’s roots back to the 98th Bombardment Squadron of the 1940’s. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Squadron flew B-17E’s in the Pacific Theater. During the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Kelly Field in San Antonio, TX, the crew of the Commemorative Air Force B-17 Texas Raiders were able to bring the lineage of the 98th and the B-17 together for a historic jump with the Wings of Blue Parachute Team. For a skydiver, it’s not every day you get the opportunity to drop out of a B-17 so for the Wings of Blue it was another item on their bucket list. I have yet to find a skydiver who was not willing to jump off or out of anything they could leap from in the sky. The Kelly Field Airshow started off with gloomy overcast skies and low ceilings throughout the day. For those who don’t know about the parameters of airshows, there has to be a certain distance for visibility and a minimum cloud ceiling must be in place in order for anyone to fly. Since we couldn’t drop the jumpers we had to wait until Sunday for their jump of a lifetime. When we first met the crew it was like watching kids at the candy store. They could not wait to see inside the bomber and start planning for their jump out of the World War II B-17 Bomber. Their excitement for the jump

carried over to me and the rest of the crew as we introduced ourselves to one another. In the 80s, the US Army Golden Knights dropped out of Texas Raiders out the back but this was one of the rare occasions the team would drop out of the bomb bay. We walked the team through the entire B-17 inside and out. These guys were able to look into the bomb bay and figure out the best position to set up before their drop. During our time together we talked about the B-17’s history and how the bomb bay doors would automatically open if anything over 100 pounds fell on the doors as a fail safe precaution during World War II. Sunday morning arrived and the skies cleared. It was time for the Wings of Blue to drop out of our B-17 for the National Anthem. The sun was shining and the winds calmed down to perfect weather conditions for skydiving. I was excited after I gave the briefing and finally said there will be skydiving today. The guys climbed aboard and the cheering began as we started the 4 radial engines. It was hilarious to see one of the guys breathe in the Avgas fumes and give me a thumbs up. While we were climbing the Wings of Blue Twin Otter jump plane flew beside us keeping track of weather conditions. The gear was being checked by all from the parachutes to the Go Pros mounted on their helmets and wrists. After the equipment checks everyone got into position before the bomb bay doors opened. Night became day as the bomb bay doors opened and the incredible view of the ground could be seen from the reflections of their helmets. As we sat there for a minute if felt like an eternity waiting to see the airfield below. When the first jumper went out it was wild to hear a rush of wind go out followed by the others going out. It always amazes me when skydivers go out because you always have to keep in mind you now have less people on board when you left the airfield. My other guys on the plane felt the same way. I asked my Flight Engineer what he thought about the drop since he had never done it before and summed it up by saying, “You know I will never understand why some people do what they do. But I can tell you I’m glad it’s them and not me.”

I’ve been on board many planes dropping skydivers but I have to say this was a great experience I’ll never forget. It was a great honor to have the men and women of the United States Air Force Wings of Blue onboard the B-17 Texas Raiders and participate during the National Anthem.

Kevin Hong

Kevin Hong

Kevin Hong

A Very Chilly Alliance Air Show Article and photos by Paul Csizmadia

Great chance and opportunity to meet up with fellow ISAP Members to review images, exchange ideas and catch the Bell Helicopter Ft. Worth Alliance Air Show Practice Day from the Photo Pit. Thursday’s meeting included a break to catch the Blue Angels afternoon practice from a vantage point on the West Side of the airport to take advantage of the lighting. Then back to the meeting to finish up some discussion and image reviews. The Friday morning show practice was met with air temps in the mid 30s, winds gusting around 30 knots, along with a touch of rain and

sleet at one point. Great way to challenge our photo skills. After the day’s show we had a chance to enjoy some welcome coffee and conversation while waiting for the evening’s Sunset Tour in conjunction with Ft. Worth Camera and Photo. The tour provided the opportunity to try our hand at a little light painting with Blue Angel #7 after sunset. Fortunately for those that attended the show on either Saturday or Sunday, the weather did get a bit warmer than Friday.

Paul Csizmadia

Paul Csizmadia

Paul Csizmadia



The Australian Defense Force media put out expressions of interest for covering the Talisman Saber 2017 exercise. Held every two years at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and off the Queensland coast, it involves 33,000 US and Australian military. 220 military aircraft from the RAAF, Australian Army, US Navy, US Marines, USAF and RNZAF flew a combined 1355 sorties; 1140 hours and 51 missions. After requesting everything, I was offered to cover aerial refueling, which operated out of Brisbane Airport and RAAF Amberley. 33 SQN used two KC-30A MMRT based on the Airbus A-330 airliner. The USAF brought down two KC-10A Extenders from the 9th Air Refueling SQN, Travis AFB in California. Also operating out of Amberley was an Omega Corp. ex-RAAF Boeing 707 tanker. Let me start by saying, I am not trying to tell you I am an expert, there are many people with a lot more experience in photographing from tankers, and photographing military aircraft. I am happy to impart my experiences here, and let you see the images I was lucky enough to get! I have been lucky to have been invited onboard a KC-135 and Boeing 707 tanker in the past, but every airframe is different. Aerial refueling operates using a set of standard procedures. Fighters will arrive on the left (port to you military or navy types) and will then proceed to the refueling points. Once they finish they will either leave of formate on the right side till the whole flight is done. Larger receivers come in from the rear, and they use the boom, which is located on the centerline of the aircraft. On the KC-10A it is right in front of you, just perfect! The crew is in contact with the arriving aircraft and will happily give you a heads up when they are coming. For this exercise they had some pre-arranged receivers, but that might change, so you never know what you will get or miss, it is a fluid situation.


S M A N SAB E R 2017

Article and photos by John Freedman

Two F/A-18F from VFA-102 Diamondbacks pose next to the KC-30A. The KC-30A is fitted out with a standard airline interior, which makes it comfortable to ride in; they even had stewards on board to bring us snacks and lunch!! The boomers station is in the cockpit behind the pilots, and the refueling is done via video cameras, so you cannot get the head on photos that aerial refueling can provide. There are windows along the length of the aircraft, so everyone can get their own, but the last five windows are the optimal ones, but due to the swept wings and length of the refueling hose, the receivers are well aft of the window. You have to try and jam your camera as close to the window as possible. You get the window frame in many of your photos, and there is little you can do about it. The smaller the camera the better. I used a compact camera, and got to get the whole aircraft, but there was a definite quality loss. The KC-10A has only one window down the side of the aircraft, but has seats in the boomers station in the tail of the aircraft. I was advised by the crew to get the right observers seat as it is a better angle, and there is more room there, as the stairs are next to the left seat. What you will find is that due to the hose coming out of the fuselage the receivers sit very high. Thus you need to put your camera as low as possible, so on the bottom of the window, and if you lean in you can get it more centered. Shooting this way I used live view, which worked great. I shot lots of images, as I did find that not being able to look through the viewfinder, it occasionally focused on the wrong spot. I had three still bodies along; the D500 with the 10.5mm, great for confined space like the cockpit images. The D750 had my 28-300mm which was perfect for this assignment. I had my D800 with a 24-85mm, which gave nice images for the daylight flights, but certainly did not go as well in the dark. The 24-85 was a little short for some of the situations. The RAAF KC-30As performed 19 tanker sorties during TS17, offloading 115,424 liters of fuel. The KC-10As also did 19 sorties during Talisman Saber 17 offloading 1,766,700 lbs and 706,000 lbs as part of the Ultimate Reach 17. Ultimate Reach involved four USAF C-17 Globemaster IIIs flying from Alaska to Australia non-stop with aerial refueling. Two B-1B Lancers were flown from Guam non-stop as part of the US Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission.

There were some awesome backgrounds while the aircraft were tanking, as they passed over the reefs off Queensland. During the flights most of the receivers were F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers, as both the USS Ronald Reagan and RAAF operate the types. Other types in the exercise were Australian Army 3 X CH-47F Chinook, 6 X ARH Tiger, 5 X MRH-90 Taipan; US Army 4 X AH64D Apache, 6 X UH-60M, 3 X HH-60 Blackhawk, 3 X Gray Eagle, 4 X US Shadow, and RNZAF 2 X NH-90. RAAF F/A-18A/B/F, E/A-18G, C-130J, C-17A, KC-30A, E-7A Wedgetail; USAF C-17A, KC-10A, B-1B; USN F/A-18E/F, E/A18-G, C-2A COD, E-2C. I am sure happy to shoot digital, as it gave me the opportunity to change the ISO, get live view, and to review what I got. I would not have gotten anything much of the night refueling using film, and having a newer body let me use the incredible low light capability that these cameras now have. I shot the C-17A at 16,000 ISO and 25,600 ISO. My exposures varied from 1/3 second to 2 seconds, although few of those worked out, I did get a couple at 1 second exposure that worked!! One lesson I found, if I ever get another opportunity to fly a night refueling mission, I will tape the pop up flash down, NO, I did not set it off, but a couple of times I accidentally opened it, and realized before I made myself real unpopular!! I did not vary my shots much on the C-17s, there just was not enough light to get too creative, I used the 10.5 and the 28-300 and just did them wide. Next time (please!!) If you have not used live view much, one thing to consider is that it burns the battery, I have the battery grips on all my cameras, which helped for leaning on the boomers console, and it also gave me two batteries use. Probably the biggest advice I can give is; to ask the crew to request every receiver to pose for photos, they were more than happy to do so, and that is how come I have such imagery of the aircraft, especially the pairs. It never hurts to ask, and ask!! And if anybody reading this wants to take me flying, I say yes please!!

The 10.5 is great in cockpits; here is a nice portrait of the flight crew for the B-1B tanking flight.

John Freedman

Getting ready for the morning flight; the crew boarding ladder, and on the other side the VIP stairs.

John Freedman

B-1B pair 1: The two B-1B Bones from Dyess AFB flew from Guam to Australia for a bombing run, and returned non-stop thanks to tanking.

B1B tanking 1: The Bone on the boom; the B-1B sits on it for about 20 minutes while receiving 110,000 lbs of fuel.

B-1B boomer 1: The KC-10A boomer’s view of refueling a USAF B-1B Lancer. He flies the boom using the two sticks.

Landing 3: KC-10A landing back at Brisbane Airport after the morning’s mission.

John Freedman

2AM and the USAF KC-10A from the 9th Air Refueling SQN sits ready for today’s mission.

You really have no idea just how dark it is during the night refueling, you can barely see the boomer as the C-17 comes into view.

It was a great test of the low light capability of modern DSLRs, there was a lot of grain at 25,600, but it managed to make an image.

The KC-10A comes into land at Brisbane Airport after refueling the C-17s on the night mission.

John Freedman

A RAAF KC-30A takes off from RAAF Amberley to meet up with receivers as part of Exercise Talisman Saber.

The cockpit of the RAAF KC-30A from 33 SQN, it is based on the Airbus A-330 airliner.

The boomers station on the RAAF KC-30A uses TV cameras and monitors to see the receivers.

Using a compact camera you can get the whole aircraft in, but you certainly tell the difference. Nikon Coolpix S9900 1/1000 f4.2 5mm 125ISO.

A pair of USN E/A-18G Growlers pose over the reef after refueling.

John Freedman

John Freedman Our first customer, RAAF F/A18F from 1 SQN receives fuel at dawn.

In North Central Texas lies the small Texas town of Ranger. Located between Abilene and Fort Worth in northeastern Eastland County, derived it’s name from the Texas Rangers. Ranger rose to fame as a part of the Texas “Oil Boom” as oil was discovered there in October 1917. Predating the Oil boom the earliest documentation by the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division says, on November 24, 1911, a pilot by the name of Robert G. Fowler landed his Wright Flyer in a grassy field at the edge of town. The Aviation Division list’s this field as the third oldest operating Air Field in the state. Today Ranger Municipal Airport still has a single grass runway “19” and lies just north of Interstate 20. A small Office and a single medium sized hangar occupy the Airfield grounds.

On October 17, 2017 a huge variety of aircraft “Flew In” to Ranger’s small grass field. Yes all the major Brands of Aircraft were represented. From Pipers, to Cessna’s, on to Beechcraft, Ercoupe and Travel Air, then several Pitts, a Fairchild from WW II and a variety of Stearman’s painted in civilian and military colors. A beautiful old Luscombe, a Stinson, a Howard, a few North American AT-6’s, a bevy of homebuilt’s, Replica’s and finally the Experimental’s successfully landed and parked. All told there was at least 200 aircraft on the ground and circling above. It seems like this must be an annual event as many pilots and their wives had brought folding chairs and groups of friends were talking about their personal aircraft. A really good ground crew was getting everyone on the ground and taxiing to the parking areas. Seems just

Ranger Fly-In Article and photos by Craig Swancy

a few handheld radios handled all the air traffic control as the small group managed the Field well. At noon all the pilots, families, and attendants lined up for a Texas BBQ Lunch. The smell of pit BBQ far out weighed the fragrance of AvGas and Oil that normally permeates most small airports. Spending several hours photographing many of the older aircraft, at least 100 modern aircraft parked on the grass waiting to be seen and photographed as well. This “Fly-In” would be great for the first time beginner and novice aviation photographer because you can get rather close to the parked aircraft plus those that give rides do not fly too high or too far away for the average photographer’s equipment.

It was fun. The drive wasn’t long and the BBQ was good. Note: A ISAP Safety Vest is an absolute must for your safety. Safety and supervision will prevent incidents from happening.

Craig Swancy

Craig Swancy

Craig Swancy

Army 2017 Kubinka Article and photos by Mike Green

A Tupolev Tu-95MS in service with 184 TBAP/6950 AvB from Engels Air Base, took part in the static display at Kubinka. Much like the American B-52 Stratofortress, the Tu-95 is a Cold War warrior that is still relevant today as a long-range strategic bomber. TheTu-95 will continue to probe NATO air defenses on a regular basis well into the 21st Century.

The Russian Defense Ministry held the ‘ARMY-2017’ International Military-Technical Forum 22-27th August 2017, the third such large scale event held by the Russian Defense Ministry. With the aircraft participating in the event flying from Kubinka Air Base, some 70 km southwest of Moscow, I felt it was time I ventured over to Russia for the first time to see the flying activities and report on the myriad of frontline aircraft types to be seen during the event. Prior to the event it was announced that the Tupolev Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers would be involved, together with a range of combat helicopters, fighters and transport aircraft; and it’s not often that you get the opportunity to get this close to frontline Russian military hardware, so I had to be there to take a closer look at the latest in Russian equipment. With the first two days open only to Press and invited dignitaries, followed by three public days, I chose to spend the first three days at Kubinka. This would hopefully give me the best chance

to shoot the action without any large crowds, as the first Public Day was a Friday and I expected the weekend to be the busier days. As it turned out, there was nowhere near the amount of flying I had expected and not a huge number of visiting aircraft either. However, there were still some notable attendees, such as Sukhoi’s PAK-FA (soon to become the Su-57) and Mikoyan’s latest version of the ‘Fulcrum’, the MiG-35. Alongside these were most of the current frontline aircraft operated, together with some veterans such as the Antonov An-12 and Tupolev Tu-134. Unfortunately rain showers plagued the whole event, making for extremely difficult conditions at times and so it was very much a case of waiting for what little sun could be taken advantage of and praying for some flying in between the rain. Despite all of this, it was great to see so many types I’ve never seen before, many I’ve not seen for a long time, and without doubt it has made me hungry to return to Russia in the future.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

2) The ultimate strategic bomber in the Russian inventory is without doubt the Tu-160 Blackjack. Wearing the standard white color scheme applied to all Tu-160s, #RF-94114 carries the name ‘Vasili Senko’. A total of 40 Tupolev Tu-160s were built before the collapse of the Soviet Union, with just 16 currently remaining in service. With plans now in place for a new, more advanced Tu-160M2 version to be built, it is unclear whether the original aircraft will be upgraded. Whilst in many respects it looks similar to the American Rockwell B-1B Lancer, it is a much faster and larger aircraft. Designed primarily to deliver a nuclear strike, the aircraft also retains the ability for low-level penetration. The Tu-160’s primary armament has always been long-range cruise missiles like the Kh-55MS andKh-102, but the Russian Federation has also used the aircraft to deliver the conventional Kh-555 cruise missile and the stealthy Kh-101 cruise missiles against targets in Syria.

3) The Tupolev Design Bureau has long been recognized as the main player as far as Russia’s strategic bomber fleet is concerned. Even before the break-up of the Warsaw Pact Alliance, the Soviet Union relied heavily upon Tupolev to provide the backbone of its heavy bomber contingent. Capable of almost Mach 2, theTu-22M3 is the ultimate version of Tupolev’s strategic bomber.

4) There were only a small number of Navy aircraft at ‘Army 2017’; one being this anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Ka-27PL which has all the usual ASW equipment such as dipping sonar and sonar-buoys, together with an Osminog search radar. It is planned to upgrade the fleet with the more capable and modern Kopye-AA radar, developed by Phazotron NIIR.

5) You don’t realize how big the Mil Mi-26 is until you get up close to it. With a cargo hold larger than a C-130 Hercules, the helicopter is capable of lifting the CH-53 Sea Stallion, the largest helicopter the west currently has to offer. #RF-95570 was one of two at Kubinka.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

6) The Sukhoi PAK-FA remained somewhat elusive at Army 2017. Tucked away in a hangar alongside a MiG-35 and a Su-35S, access was only permitted to specified dignitaries. It was towed to the far end of the flight-line early on 24th, later departing the exhibition in dramatic fashion, getting airborne very quickly and quite high when it passed the photographers who had keenly waited to shoot its departure.

7) Believed to be operated by 968 IISAP at Lipetsk, #RF-81746 was one of eight Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E s at Kubinka. The Su-35S is the Russian’s ultimate multi-role air superiority fighter aircraft.

8) This Ilyushin Il-20M ELINT aircraft is based at Kubinka with 226 OSAP. The aircraft has an interesting history, having been once based at Sperenberg, East Germany during the Cold War. It still retains its Soviet-era configuration and color scheme and makes regular detachments to Kaliningrad, where it continues to monitor NATO activity in the Baltic area, much as it did back in the 1980s and 90s when assigned to the 16th Air Army.

9) Easily identifiable from early versions by the huge dorsal hump, the MiG-29SMT’s up-graded weapons management system ensures the application of high precision weapons of the ‘A-S’ class; Kh-29T, Kh-31A, Kh-31P missiles; and guided bombs such as the KAB-500Kr and KAB-500-OD. Utilizing the aircraft’s target designation pod or external illumination targeting system, it is also possible to drop laser-guided bombs.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

10) Having been unveiled at MAKS in July, the MiG-35 is Russia’s latest 4++ Generation multi-role fighter, being an advanced version of the naval MiG-29K/KUB and the MiG-29M/M2 strike aircraft. The MiG-35 has improved flight performance, improved avionics, and carries a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons. Seen departing Kubinka in spectacular fashion, the new MiG-35 is capable of firing laser-guided weapons such as the short-range R-73 air-to-air missile, six of which are seen on its underwing pylons. The aircraft also carried what appeared to be a T-220 targeting pod.

11) The A-50U Airborne Early Warning is a variant of the Ilyushin Il-76. #RF-50602 is believed to be operated by 144 DRLO/6955 AvB at Ivanovo. Often known as the Beriev A-50 rather than the Ilyushin A-50, the aircraft is equipped with the Shmel mission avionics suite built around a 360 degree Pulse-Doppler surveillance radar. The A-50U is an improved version with new radar, increased maximum take-off weight and an increase in range and mission time performance.

12) Another aging type in the Russian inventory is the Tupolev Tu-134. #RF-93949 is a Tu-134UBL version, designed as a crew trainer for Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ strategic bomber. The giveaway to its purpose is the five meter extension of the nose, which houses the same radar as the ‘Blackjack’.

13) There are currently 28 active Il-38s in service and all are expected to be upgraded to the Il-38N, with five already delivered and a further five on order. The upgrade will allow the aircraft to operate in the ASW, ELINT and SIGINT roles; the first upgraded aircraft was #RF-75355, which was delivered to 859 TsBPiPLS at Yeysk on the Caspian Sea.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

14) Whilst this Antonov An-12 looks much like any other, a closer look at the bulbous tail fairing in place of the rear gunners turret gives it away as an An-12PPS, the SPS-100 Rezeda self-protection equipment being housed in the fairing. It is unclear whether the aircraft still operates in the ECM role as only a handful are known to still be in service. It could be that the aircraft has been de-converted and operates as a standard transport aircraft, the squadron badge on the nose being unknown to us and so not helping with the identity of the operating unit.

15) The Antonov An-30 was developed to perform aerial photography, with five such aircraft based at Kubinka with 226 OSAP, operating ‘Open Skies’ missions under the 2002 Open Skies Treaty. Black 05 appears to be a new addition to the fleet as it has not been reported before. It is noticeable that it lacks the chin-mounted radome that adorn the rest of the fleet.

16) This Mil Mi-8 #RF-19032 was photographed arriving at Kubinka, presumably bringing in VIPs. It is believed to be based at Chaklovsky.

17) An example of Mikoyan’s mighty MiG-31BM supersonic interceptor is seen in the static display at Kubinka. #RF-92369 is from the 3958 AvB at Savasleyka.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

18) The aging Su-24M Fencer is designed to penetrate hostile territory and destroy ground and surface targets in all-weather conditions, both day and night. It is now nearing the end of its career with the Russian Federation, the more advanced Su-34 and Su-35 slowly replacing it in frontline service.

19) The Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback entered service with the VKS (Russian Aerospace Forces) in March 2014. Built at the Novosibirsk production facility, Russia has deployed the Su-34 to Syria to shore up the besieged regime of Bashar Al-Assad against ISIS, marking the aircraft’s first overseas combat deployment. The Fullback carries a formidable self-defense capability; with the shortrange R-73 air-to-air missile and the long-range radar-guided R-77, the Su-34 is able to conduct long-range strike missions without the need for fighter escort.

20) In October 2016, four MiG-29Ks from the 100th Independent Shipborne Fighter Aviation Regiment (100OKIAP) formed part of the air group aboard the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, as the ship deployed with its battle group to the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Russian air campaign in Syria. The aircraft is slowly replacing the aging fleet of Su-33s in Russian Navy service.

21) This Su-30SM from 43 OMShAP based at Saki in the Crimea, recovers after its display at Kubinka. Note the large dorsal air brake indicative of the ‘Flanker’ family.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

22) Another aging ‘warrior’ in the static display was this pristine-looking Su-25 Frogfoot. 121 Aviation Repair Plant (121 ARZ) at Kubinka is currently upgrading some of the Su-25SM fleet to Su-25SM-3.The first five examples are believed to have entered service with the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in 2016 and have already seen action in Syria, where they have replaced the Su-24M.

23) The Ilyushin Il-76MD is the VKS’ primary strategic transport aircraft. Designed as a commercial freighter, the Il-76 was designed to replace the aging An-12. With over 900 examples built buy Ilyushin, the aircraft has also seen aerial refueling (IL-78) and AWACS versions (A-50) produced.

24) The latest jet trainer entering Russian service is the Yakovlev Yak-130. Designed as a combat trainer, the aircraft is replacing the Aero L.39 and is capable of carrying a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

25) The Ansat-U helicopter is produced by the Kazan company as a light utility and trainer.

DenisGreen Mike Rouleau

26) Produced by Kamov, the Ka-52 reconnaissance and combat helicopter is designed to destroy armored and non-armored vehicles, enemy troops and helicopters. The Ka-52 can operate in all weathers and can also provide target acquisition and designation for helicopter teams and ground troop command and control centers.

27) The Mi-8AMTSh is a dedicated armored assault version of the Mi-8AMT helicopter. Nicknamed the Terminator, its armament is derived from the Mi-24 gunship. The first helicopters were delivered to Russian Air Force in 2009, with around 200 expected to enter service with the VKS.

28) The Mi-28N was a product of the Cold War, designed as an anti-tank platform, similar in scope to the Boeing AH-64 Apache. The Mi-28 features an armored tandem-seat, stepped cockpit for a pilot and weapons officer, a chin-mounted cannon and stubwings for various munitions options, including rockets and anti-tank missiles.


Robert Sliger

My name is Robert, and by day I am the Director of Operations for the Monroe Regional Airport (KMLU) in northeast Louisiana. Before that I spent four years working at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE) in Airport Operations. When I’m not ensuring safe flight operations, I am spending time with my wife and kids, chasing airplanes or editing photos. My father is a helicopter pilot in South Louisiana, so I grew up reading Aviation Week & Combat Aircraft instead of the usual kid magazines. Annual trips to the Barksdale AFB open house and later the Blue Angels Homecoming show, as well as various aviation museums were my field trips. I started photographing on these trips before digital cameras were common and really got into it after getting my first good digital camera as I started working at various airports. Working in the Airport Operations field of the aviation industry has given me access to areas that other photographers and plane-spotters dream about, and I take advantage of that when the regulations allow. Recently I was able to volunteer to work the active ramp areas at a couple of small airshows in north Louisiana, which provided another opportunity during the lulls in activity. I would classify myself as an “advanced amateur”, simply because I have no formal photography studies/training background. Most of what I “learned” came from simply looking at the work of others in the field and then I would try to replicate until I found what angles/”look” I liked. Aviation Photography and plane-spotting is a great hobby for me, and I would enjoy making it a part-time secondary/side career in the future. I have been a Canon user since I was a kid. Currently I have a T2i and an 80D in my stable, along with Canon 18-55mm, 70-300mm and a Sigma 150-600mm lenses. Both cameras go with me to the Airshows I attend. My preferred combination would be the 18-55mm on the T2i for static/ wide shots and the 70-300mm on the 80D for the demonstrations and close-ups. The 150-600mm gets used selectively, due to its size, weight, and any anticipated bag restrictions that a particular show may have. My Apple iPhone 7+ gets used on occasion as well. I shoot exclusively JPG. I briefly got on the RAW wagon, but after doing a comparison of both types recently and not seeing any difference I went back to what I was comfortable with. Instead of Photoshop and/ or Lightroom, I use MS Office Picture Manager and GIMP to tweak and watermark my work.

I found ISAP through a Google search several years ago, and my wife surprised me with a membership for my birthday in the fall of 2017. Up until now I have not had any affiliation with any other photography organizations, and I thought by joining ISAP I would be able to network within this field, learn a few new tricks and teach others what I know. Even though I do not have all of the technical aspects of photography memorized, I do try to pass on what I do know to others who are getting into aviation photography and plane-spotting. This includes how to approach shooting at/near/on non-military airports, especially with all of the security concerns we now face in the post-9/11 world. Boil everything down to the simplest form. Not everyone started knowing “f-stop” this or “ISO that”, so don’t be overwhelmed when you read or hear those terms being thrown around. Invest in a good camera/lens combination, play around with the settings, and go have fun developing your personal “look”. Once you’re comfortable with your setup, then you can start doing the more advance stuff.

Denis Rouleau Robert Sliger

Denis Rouleau Robert Sliger

Aviation Week Contest Article by John Slemp

Recently, Aviation Week’s yearly photo contest just ended, but before it did, I wrote a blog post about it, strongly objecting to several items in their Terms and Conditions. Several days later, I responded to a one of their online news posts that had a blurb promoting the contest, and was surprised when I was contacted by the magazine’s Director of Editorial Content, Michael Lavitt.

As a matter of course, the American winners are required to submit a W-9 tax document. prior to payment. This is processed through the Aviation Week Accounts Payable department and is handled like any other invoice. Electronic payment is the preferred method of payment. Now that the company is owned by a British firm, any European winners may be liable for paperwork/taxes in their own countries.

We scheduled a time for a phone call, and much to my amazement (and frankly, joy…), the conversation was civil, professional, and productive. We went over the points I objected to, and Michael listened. At the end of it all, several changes are to be made, which will be reflected in next year’s rules. They are outlined below. Please read my blog post first, so you’ll have the context for the following remarks.

The conversation was most cordial, and I believe productive. Once the proposed changes have been reviewed internally by their legal counsel, it is hoped that they’ll be in place for next year’s competition, which Aviation Week would like to promote to the ISAP membership.

1. The contest is actually a money loser for the company. Advertisers shy away from the Photo Contest issue, as they feel that it has limited value in reaching their target audience. 2. AW has never used an image outside of promoting the contest. Any such use would be negotiated with the photographer, and a licensing fee paid, prior to any publication. 3. The clause about photo manipulation is to be reviewed, as it has proven to be a sticky subject with the judges in the past. 4. The clause about syndication is to be removed. 5. The language that could be interpreted as a copyright grab is to be removed.

In all, I’m not sure a more frank or productive conversation could have been held between two parties. I found Michael to be pleasant, forthcoming, and truly interested in solving the sticking points. My hat is off to him personally, and to the folks at Aviation Week for their efforts in making this a win/win for everyone.








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Scott Dworkin to speak at ISAP XIV Symposium

Scott Dworkin is a freelance aerial photojournalist based in Los Angeles, California. He’s had a lifelong passion for aviation and photography, and after honing his skills as a photographer, he decided to combine his interests in 2010. Since 2010, his work can be seen in numerous international aviation publications. As a freelance photographer and writer, Scott has flown with every branch of the military, as well as many civilian aviation outfits and law enforcement aviation units. He has traveled to Afghanistan with the United States Air Force, as well as around the United States documenting various military and civilian units in action. Scott is one of only a handful of civilians in the world that is privileged to fly in high performance military aircraft. His freelance work led to him being hired by the United States Air Force-Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. While there he provided aerial multimedia, both air-to-air

and air-to-ground coverage, including still photography, high definition videography, high-speed video, and post production. He routinely flew in various Air Force aircraft to provide documentation of ordnance and weapons testing, drop tests, aircraft flight performance, and other operational missions as required. He delivered his final products to the Flight Test Center, the Department of Defense, and various other contract customers. While at Edwards, Scott was trained in accordance with Air Force Instruction Flight Aircrew rules and regulations, and holds a valid altitude chamber card. In addition, Scott holds the designation of United States Navy Project Specialist, and with that carries Aviation Physiology Training and Aviation Water Survival Training Program qualifications. Scott also works as a contract aerial photographer/videographer for The Naval Air Warfare Weapons Division, at Pt. Mugu and China Lake. The creation of Mach 91 Aerial Photography is the culmination of Scott’s dream and passion to deliver the finest quality, dramatic aerial photography possible, to bring the aircraft to life in their natural environment and tell the story of the men and women who serve.

Jim Koepnick to speak at ISAP XIV Symposium The International Society for Aviation Photography is pleased to announce that Jim Koepnick has been confirmed as a speaker at the upcoming ISAP XIV Symposium. The event will be held March 15-17, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. Koepnick is one of today’s leading aviation photographers, shooting for Cirrus Aircraft, Flying magazine, Plane and Pilot, Air & Space Smithsonian, AOPA, EAA, and Sigma. He also shoots for the USA Today Network-Wisconsin in the Oshkosh area, specializing in sports and action. His freelance clients include Ripon College and Our Wisconsin Magazine. He is a Sigma Pro photographer. Previously, Koepnick served as the Experimental Aviation Association’s chief photographer for 28 years. In that role, he photographed more than 1,000 aircraft during air-to-air missions, landing more than 500 covers on various EAA publications.

Koepnick’s photography has consistently won awards from Aviation Week and Space Technology, Wisconsin Imaging Photographers Association, American Advertising Federation, and Calendar Marketing Association. His photojournalism has been recognized by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Press Photographers Association, and Inland Press. He received ISAP’s prestigious George Hall Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. Koepnick’s presentation will emphasize his recent career transitions, shifting from a staff photographer position to freelancing, and evolving his aviation photography to emphasize people, lighting, and other elements instead of focusing primarily on air-to-air imagery.

George Hall Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient


The International Society for Aviation Photography (ISAP) has announced that Jay Miller of Fort Worth, Tex., has been selected to receive the organization’s 15th George Hall Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, which will be presented at the ISAP XIV Symposium in Tucson, Ariz., March 15–17, 2018, recognizes outstanding individuals whose initiative and dedication to aviation photography throughout their careers have improved the profession and positively influenced others. Miller began photographing aviation subjects nearly 50 years ago and, in addition to countless shoots for a wide variety of editorial and commercial clients; he has authored or co-authored 36 books and more than a thousand magazine and newspaper articles; and has served several aviation museums in a variety of roles, including as the director of both the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum and the Flying Heritage Collection, amassed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and today displayed at the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum.

Denis Rouleau

Over the years Miller assembled one of the world’s most significant aviation and aerospace reference libraries, consisting of approximately 10,000 books dating to 1765, more than 100,000 periodicals, and some 1.2 million photographic images. His collection was acquired by the Aerospace Education Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1992, and was transferred to the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 2015.

In addition, Miller co-founded ISAP in 2001 and led the organization until 2013. ISAP established the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize outstanding individuals whose inventiveness and dedication to the field throughout their careers have improved the profession and positively influenced others. They are, quite simply, aviation photographers’ role models. The award is presented to professionals, living or deceased, in the fields of photography, publishing, aviation, or space technology who have had a significant impact on the photography of aviation or space subjects. In 2006, the ISAP board voted to name the award in honor of George Hall, a widely respected aviation photographer who had served on the ISAP board since its founding, but passed away in 2006 just two days before he was to receive this same recognition. In naming the award, the board said Hall “exemplified the very best our profession has to offer. He was talented, bighearted, and a mentor to all of us who aspired to be an aviation photographer.” Jay Miller built his own legacy of mentorship and dedication to the history of the aviation industry, and to the images that preserve that history. That legacy continues and the ISAP board, on behalf of the organization’s members, is proud and pleased to honor him for it.



Name the plane silhouettes. Answers are on bottom of the Kenyon Ad Gyro page








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The Air Squadron playing cards are designed by LIOE Design and printed by the United States Playing Card Company. Made in the United States. One deck has 56 uniquely designed playing cards plus custom tuck box and seal. LIOE Design is a product company that manufactures their own product designs. Located in Seattle, WA all their products are aviation inspired from their Aero Ti Chopsticks (successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2013) to the Stealth Pen. LIOE Design decided to create a deck of custom cards to showcase their passion for aviation. Through the Air Squadron deck of cards their designer John Lioe is able to explore the artwork of airplanes. Each aircraft has its own unique bodylines which are highlighted in the cards. This deck of cards has artwork of modern jets and aircraft. The inspiration was to create a deck of cards unlike other cards, the Kings and Queens are B-2 Bomber and SR-71. The Jokers are the A-10 and F-22. Joker #1 is the A-10 Warthog, has a legendary 30mm Gatling-type auto cannon that makes a very distinct sound on the battlefield. When the A-10 shows up for air support it is no joke. Joker #2 is the F-22 stealth fighter. The F-22 has many trick up its sleeve, one of them is taking on 5 or more F-15's in training exercises and wining. Aces are the main attractions, inspired by patterns formed in kaleidoscopes. The F-117, F-14, Osprey and X-29 have beautiful lines that are showcased. When combining the 2 aircraft shapes together it makes up a new interesting shape of its own. For the index cards they wanted to go against the conventional suits representing numbers. Instead they wanted to find modern day aircraft's that would look close to the suits shape. For the spade they chose the F-117, the hearts is the F-14, clover is the Osprey and the diamonds is the X-29. The planes look like they are flying in formation, with exception of the number 2 card all the aircraft are flying in the same direction. Underneath the planes are geometric line patterns representing them flying over abstract topographical landscape. Air Squadron is now available on Kickstarter if you’re an aviation enthusiast or like uniquely design original items this maybe be the playing card deck for you.

Special Offer for ISAP Members

Special OFFER Codes ISAPSHIP – Free shipping in the USA ISAP20 – 20% off any order

©Kevin Hong/Sector K Media, LLC

These coupons can be used one at a time. Both expire at the end of 2018.

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ISAP Member discount on Moose Peterson book Book publisher Peachpit Press is offering ISAP members a special 40 percent discount on Moose Peterson’s recently published aviation book, “Takeoff: The Alpha to Zulu of Aviation Photography.” In the book, Peterson takes readers from the basics of aviation photography and using light to creating the illusion of flight and speed. He talks about photographing air shows and shooting ground to air, working up to air-to-air photography. The book is available in print and digital versions. The discount code was emailed to all ISAP members and in the member’s section of the website. If you did not receive the discount code you can email us at Peachpit website Members can view a video on Scott Kelby’s blog on this new book about aviation photography.










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