Fifteen Fantastic Photos… Ken Kula

KAL-B748-AT-LAX

A Korean Air Boeing B-747-8 freighter departing LAX airport. I’m not an engineer, but the engines (thrust), wings (area and camber), flaps, slats and retractable landing gear all contribute to the aircraft lifting off towards Seoul, South Korea.

Here are fifteen photos of aircraft, aviators, or anything aviation oriented. Twice each month, one of our aviation photographers will present a self-chosen set of fifteen photos for your viewing pleasure. It might be from a favorite event, or be a special photographic composition or even just a colorful memory from our past. I’ve been taking “airplane pictures” since the 1980s; my collection began with color negatives, then slides, and finally digital photography. Each photo has the subject, location, and a few words about each particular image. Keep coming back to this digital aviation magazine for more photos and articles chronicling aviation past and present!

Sean D. Tucker in his Pitts S-1S Challenger at an EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show. Mr. Tucker seemed to be smiling most of the time wherever I saw him perform!

Osan South Korean-based USAF A-10C Thunderbolt II departs Eielson AFB in Alaska during a Red Flag Alaska large scale exercise. This was taken from the old air traffic control tower, which contained the second tallest elevator in the state at the time. During another visit, we had to use the stairs for the entire climb and descent from the top – it was worth it. The old tower is now replaced with a newer version. 

A USAF B-1B bomber blasts off from the Avalon, New South Wales Australia airport during one of the previous decade’s Australian International Air Shows. The single runway there sets up a great photo opportunity, depending upon the wind direction.

A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorski CH-53E Super Stallion lands on the ball field at the Kiwanis Park in Yuma, Arizona. Twice a year, the park becomes a staging area for a WTI exercise at dusk into the night. Pretty close to a city neighborhood too.

A now-retired Delta Airlines Boeing B-747-400 series jumbo jet departs Los Angeles International Airport. This photo was taken from Clutter’s Park on East Imperial Avenue, a small sidewalk area with benches on a rise south of the airport, and a great place for photographers with a telephoto lens. Delta got their B-747s from the merger with Northwest Airlines 

David Martin spins a tale about aerobatics in the clear blue Pensacola, Florida sky during a Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. The annual event contains the Blues’ final flight demonstrations of the year, as well as many of the additional performers at the show too.

An Everts Air Cargo DC-6 “on the go” (-around) at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. Anchorage is one of the last bastions for large piston-engined aircraft, mainly freighters. 

A DeHavilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver fast-taxis down a water lane towards Lake Hood in Anchorage, Alaska. The lake to the right of this lane is the main seaplane waterway next to the international airport in Anchorage. The Alaska Department of Transportation has an office building, complete with a picnic table and parking lot nearby, that offers fantastic viewing.

This historic heritage flight contained a USAF Boeing C-17A and Douglas C-47 warbird. The event took place at Eglin AFB’s 2010 air show. The C-47 was trimmed nose down for speed, and the C-17 flew nose high to match the speed. In actuality, the two aircraft were further apart than this photo leads on to, but it was still a great dissimilar formation treat.

The Collings Foundation’s Vought F4U-5N glows during the dawn before the 2010 Westfield International Air Show. I like sunsets much better than sunrises since I’m not a “morning person”, but this was worth getting up and driving the two hours to experience this sunrise. 

A Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15J Eagle lifts off from Eielson AFB during a 2014 Red Flag Alaska mission launch. The Eagle always throws out a liberal amount of flame when in afterburner mode.

U.S. Air Force F-22A Raptors and an F-15C Eagle await their turns to launch during a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Access to the air base is restricted, and opportunities afforded by the base Public Affairs officials to photograph the action this close are greatly appreciated and helpful to tell the story of Red Flag.

NASA Super Guppy arriving at Lawrence G. Hanscom Field in Massachusetts. The Super Guppy is one of a handful of aircraft worldwide which can carry outsized cargo… ones with out-of-the-ordinary dimensions. This aircraft began life as a KC-97 military refueler in 1953, and was enlarged and reengined three decades later.

N3761M is a 1947 Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser departing the Lake Hood Seaplane Base. There’s a mix of technologies at work here that span the 75 years since the airframe was built… the aircraft is covered in fabric, not metal, and a tie down rope is trailing the tail. There’s a Venturi-style airspeed indicator intake below the cockpit, small strakes on the wings, and the floats have their rudders retracted.

Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 32 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site, and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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