(Reading time: 5 - 9 minutes)

F-117A NighthawkWhere? Holloman AFB, NM, USA
When? 26-28/10/2007

2008 will be the last operational year of the unique F-117A Nighthawk. Last year 25 years in service of this remarkable Lockheed construction and an accumulated 250.000 flight hours were celebrated at Holloman AFB, NM in partnership with the X-Prize Foundation. This years Holloman Air and Space Expo (HASE) was most probably the last possibility for the public to see several F-117s before their retirement in April 2008. During the event an estimated crowd of 85.000 visited Holloman AFB.

Scheduled for the week-end of October 26-28, 2007, HASE was build up around the X-Prize Competition at Holloman F-117 in the Static DisplayAFB and seemed to be the perfect starting point for my trip to the US, of which more will follow later in the 'Trips' section.

The F-117A Nighthawk was the aeronautical highlight for the fans and its presence dominated the show, let alone that a 3-ship formation of this aircraft is surely not a common sight at other airshows. This was unfortunately only presented on Saturday, as only 2 aircraft took off on Sunday for the role demonstration. During this display the aircraft took off, showed several formation fly-bys and then splitted up to cross the show center at exactly the same time from different direction. A tactic commonly applied during combat and an impressive sight to see this precision.

Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk - Static Display & Details

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unique photo opportunity in front of F-22 and F-117Compared to aircraft developments nowadays the one of the Nighthawk unbelievable fast. After the contract award to Lockheed Martin in 1978, their Advanced Development Projects, the "Skunk Works," brought an aircraft based on completely new technologies to the first flight after only 31 months on June 18, 1981. Deliveries of 59 aircraft then took place between 1982 and 1990.

The first sorties were flown during operation desert storm, and afterwards it saw action in nearly every other war the USAF was participating in. And its history of action might not have been finished yet, as the airshow commentator mentioned each day during the show that "you never know when this aircraft will strike again for our nation"...
This, however, remains highly unlikely, as the first 10 aircraft have been flown into storage to Tonopah in 2006, and the last ones followed on April, 21st 2008, bringing the Nighthawk's era to an end.

F-117 Flight Display & Role Demonstration

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recently published

O-1E Bird Dog

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Cessna O-1 Bird Dog air-air photography
Where? Hahnweide, Germany
When? September 2016

Flying low over the jungle on tree top level the exploits of the Cessna O-1E Bird Dog in South East Asia are legendary. However, this venerable warbird is maybe one of the lesser known and unglamorous aircraft types flown during the Vietnam War, being manned by USAF and South Vietnamese pilots. Nevertheless some of the Bird Dog’s relive a renaissance today, as they are a cheap and affordable warbird, and a joy to fly!

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Aeromiting Batajnica

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Aeromiting Batajnica 2012
Where? Belgrade, Serbia
When? 02/09/2012

The flight back from the 100th anniversary Air Show of the Serbian AIr Force from Batjanica was with mixed emotions. There were some very rare and unique aircraft and presentations to see, as a 'dogfight' between a MiG-21 and two MiG-29s, or local build and rare types such as the Orao and the Super Galeb.

 

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HA-200 Saeta

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HA-200 Saeta

Hispano Aviacion HA-200 "Saeta" D-IWMS

The Hispano Aviacion HA-200 "Saeta" ("Arrow") is one of the last designs fully developed by Willy Messerschmitt. It had its first flight on August, 12th 1955 in Sevilla.
50 years later I have been invited to do an air-air photo session with the only remaining airworthy HA-200 in Germany. It is part of the impressive collection of the "Messerschmitt Stiftung" and operated by EADS from their site in Manching.

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