And what has happened since
Back in May of 2017 my wife and I attended the Fort Lauderdale Air Show which is held right along Fort Lauderdale Beach off of the Atlantic Ocean. We had kind of stumbled upon it, but were glad we did. I had my Nikon D500 with me and the Nikon 300 f/4 PF, and shot over 5,000 images at the show. At the time that was the most photographs I had ever taken at one event. When I sat down to process the images it took me quite awhile to get through them, and I vowed to come up with a better way of processing images from a large shoot like that in the future. I processed what I could and was happy with the results.
Recently I have been shooting events with the Nikon Z9, which is capable of capturing full resolution images up to 20 frames per second. Out of necessity I have developed a much better workflow for processing images, and recently turned around a large shoot of over 11,000 images in about a week’s time. When I finished I decided to go back to the Air Show shoot and use the new workflow to select and remaster the images from that shoot. Software has evolved since that time, and I was especially interested in using the new Denoise feature in Lightroom, along with Topaz Photo AI where necessary. I was pleased with how the images came out.
I was also interested in learning more about the story behind each one of the planes that flew that day, and in the process of pulling the images together actually learned a great deal. So I thought I would show these images in groups, and then talk about what I had learned about each one.
The GEICO Skytypers
The GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team was an aerobatic team that performed at airshows around the United States using six SNJ-2 World War II-era planes. The team was most recently sponsored by GEICO.
Sadly, the team suffered 2 major accidents following the 2017 Fort Lauderdale show. On May 30, 2018, a GEICO Skytyper plane crashed in Melville, New York, killing the pilot identified as Ken Johansen. Johansen served as Executive Officer of the team and was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Naval aviator, and a professional airline pilot. The team had finished the annual Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach 4 days earlier.
Then, on August 20, 2021, a GEICO Skytyper plane crashed at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre airport, killing the pilot Andy Travnicek. Travnicek was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and was also a commercial airline pilot.
The Lucas Oil And Oracle Challenger Biplanes
The Lucas Oil Bi-plane was a custom designed biplane built for for competition aerobatics. It was rebuilt following a purchase of a wrecked plane off of eBay. It was piloted by Michael Wiskus, who retired in 2021 after 30,000 hours of flight time.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds still perform and have an active schedule in 2023. They fly mostly in Canada but will be performing at 2 air shows in California in the fall of 2023.