Fifteen Fabulous Photos… Ken Middleton

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509th Bomb Wing B-2A Spirit “Spirit of America” takes off on a Red Flag 22-1 mission from Nellis Air Force Base, North Las Vegas, Nevada, on 10 February 2022. Catching photos with the moon eluded me all week until 10 February when it all aligned perfectly. Red Flag 22-1 was the first Red Flag I attended since 2017.

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 a special photographic composition or even just a colorful memory from our past. 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!

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“That’s All Brother” DC-3, painted to represent a C-47, sits at Oxford Airport, Connecticut, as a reenactor peddles by, on 18 May 2019. I gave the photo the sepia treatment to give a nostalgic feel. This aircraft was part of a large gathering of DC-3s and C-47s at Oxford Airport.

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104th Fighter Wing F-15C Eagle takes off at 7:48 PM on 14 April 2014 from Westfield Barnes Regional Airport, Massachusetts, as it heads out for night training. Night photography is one of my passions, and when I can combine with afterburners, though very difficult, it all comes together perfectly at times.

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Randy Ball and his privately owned MiG-17 makes a pass at the evening show, at Narragansett Beach, as part of the Rhode Island National Guard Airshow and Open House, on 19 May 2017. It was my first time shooting at the evening show and I had a really good time at such a unique venue.

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A 157th Air Refueling Wing KC-46A Pegasus of the New Hampshire Air National Guard makes an approach to Pease International Tradeport on a frigid 7 December 2021. It was my first time spotting at Pease, and first time there in 10 years. It was also my first time capturing a KC-46A Pegasus.

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On my very first air-to-air shoot, on 26 August 2005, during the Westfield Airshow, 3 civilian aerobatic performers join up on a C-47 that we were flying in. Front to back are John Klatt, Mick Goulian and Ed Hamill. If I remember correctly, we didn’t know they would be joining us when we boarded the C-47 – it was a great surprise!

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The 75th Anniversary David R. Kingsley F-15C Eagle sits in the hangar at the 173rd Fighter Wing, at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Oregon on 4 May 2021. The field is named after Kingsley, who perished in a B-17 crash during World War II. A visit to the 173rd FW, the only home to F-15 Eagle training, had been a long-time goal of mine, and the folks of the 17rd FW are world-class!

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On 1 August 2015, a New York Army National Guard CH-47F Chinook works the orbit during Leapfest 2015, the largest military parachute competition in the world. The event is held annually at the University of Rhode Island. Participants leap from CH-47s and try to land as close as possible to a large X. This photo was taken from a Rhode Island Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk, as we shadowed the Chinook.

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A 63rd Fighter Squadron F-35A Lighting II makes a hard bank as it departs Luke AFB, outside Phoenix, Arizona, on 7 May 2019. It was my first visit to Luke in over 20 years, and is a great location for spotting outside the base. There was a plethora of both F-16s and F-35s, from the US and foreign countries as well.

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102nd Fighter Wing F-15C Eagle pulls out of the alert barn at Otis Air National Guard Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on a simulated scramble on 24 January 2008, for the last time. It was a demonstration that included 2 jets, and this one was piloted by then-Wing Commander Colonel Tony Schiavi. A couple years prior to this, the Base Realignment and Closure commission slated the 102nd FW to lose its Eagles and flying mission.

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Flying at a frigid 10,000 feet, 2 US Army Golden Knights members depart the aircraft over Westfield Barnes Regional Airport, on 26 August 2005. I must admit, this shot was pure luck, as I had zero experience shooting the Golden Knights and was unsure of the routine, on top of literally shaking I was so cold. I was not expecting to fly with them, and thus, was not fully prepared with proper clothes, but it was worth it!

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During my first and only visit to Skrydstrup Air Base, Denmark, a Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM Viper, painted in anniversary colors, makes a climb during its demo on 6 June 2010. I had to be in Denmark for work during the week leading up the airshow, and it all came together to make the visit and see an international airshow.

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A 74th Fighter Squadron A-10C Warthog makes a gun pass over the Grand Bay Weapons Range, next to Moody AFB, in southern Georgia. Taken on a blistering hot and humid day on 18 August 2015, you can see the round exiting the aircraft’s GAU-8 gun. The first pass literally scared me as you see the gun smoke first, and then a second later, hear the noise.

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At NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, the East Coast Super Hornet Demo Team makes a fast pass using the F/A-18F Super Hornet, creating amazing vapor due to the rainy conditions, on 25 September 2011. This was my first, and only trip to far, to NAS Oceana. It was great to meet up with other Photo Recon contributors at this show.

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A 104th Fighter Wing crew chief salutes “Sherman”, a 131st Fighter Squadron pilot, pulling out of the hangar, on his last flight (also known as a fini flight) on 25 February 2021. Shooting fini flights is such an honor and pleasure, as it captures the emotions and activity of a pilot’s final flight, be it for retirement, or moving onto another aircraft or base.

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