tips for airshow watching

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by pbfoot, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Apr 14, 2005
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    niagara falls
    Firstly biggest is not always best
    Secondly arrive early and we always have my trusty Radio Flyer wagon on which I put my beer laden cooler and using bungee cords attach our lawn chairs have predetermined where I want to sit without to many (none) visual obstructions to the flight line and promptly declare that area mine. At this point you should do the flight line and with any luck its a good time for static pix as its not to crowded and sometimes you'll be able to get to see some of the performers (aircraft) before they chase you away. Then I usually find my wagon and have a good day listening smelling and hearing airplanes I'd like to improve my experience and any hints would be appreciated

    Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 9, 2005
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    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Colorado, USA
    Go on e bay and invest on a VHF receiver (I bought an old tranceiver for about $140.00, it works great!) - you could hear ground and tower frequencies (something I know you're familiar with) ;)
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
    Staff Member Administrator

    Sep 17, 2004
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    Network Engineer/Photographer
    Moorpark, CA
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    Some of those items may not be permitted in some shows. It is always good to check with the air show website or flyers to see what is and what is not permitted. For example, the website for the March Field Airfest states:
    Further, depending on the show, some do not allow backpacks either. Always check your pockets and bags for anything that can be an item that could be questionable like pocket knives and leatherman tools. You will definitely be searched for military shows. Some civilian airport shows do bag searches, some do not. Taking questionable items out of pockets and bags ahead of time could save a long walk back to the car to put them there. You will get plenty of walking at the show!

    Leaving items unattended, especially at military base shows, could cause a problem with the security folks, plus it also invites theft. I have streamlined my operation for travelling light with the necessities. Here is what I bring:

    I have a medium sized camera bag that works very well to carry almst everything I need. In the bag, these are the must haves:
    camera and flashcards
    extra battery for camera
    lint free lens cloths
    backup camera
    2 x 1 liter water bottles, plastic with the safety cellophane already removed to prevent FOD
    Band-aids (just in case)
    Beef jerky and/or snack foods

    Fanny packs can be used as well to carry any additional items

    Additionally, a wide brimmed hat is a good idea to shield from the sun
    light jacket or sweatshirt (mornings can be chilly). Folding chairs are nice to have, but I found that I have not had time to sit and it just added weight to carry that was unnecessary.

    Definitely arrived early if you want to shoot static aircraft and get the layout of the show. Make a mental note of closest bathrooms and get a show program so you know what is going to happen and when. This way you can plan a restroom stop or meal break if possible. Some shows have non-stop action, so that is why I pack snack food for the short intervals. Having to stand in line for a burger or other food could lead to missed photo ops.

    When the show ends, don't leave yet. Why? One, you will be stuck in a crowd of traffic to leave and most importantly, you get a great opportunity to catch the aircraft departing the show. Sometimes, depending on the time and the weather, you can catch the most dramatic shots after the show as the sun is starting to set.

    Scope out your place on the line early and be prepared to be there well before the action starts. I travel with a mob of photographers and we typcially grab a spot early then we keep a couple of people to watch over the bags and items while the others go off to shoot, then we trade off bag watching.

    Other than that, enjoy the show!

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