On the previously-described air-to-air shoot at Sun ‘n Fun, nothing went as planned… and the results were still outstanding. On 14 April, we had a chance to try another photo flight. This time, things did go pretty much as planned…and the results were still outstanding. The mission was to photograph two of the Nanchang CJ-6s, each adorned with a shark’s mouth. The CJ in tan camouflage belongs to Ahmed “Med” Ragheb, and it has had its shark’s mouth for quite some time. In fact, it caught my eye at last year’s Sun ‘n Fun. Once I began flying with the Southeast Region of the Redstar Pilots Association and got to know Med, photographing his shark became an illusive priority. The green shark belongs to our fearless leader, Jon “Saber” Blake. In his case, the shark’s mouth was added within the last month. Once I saw these two planes parked side-by-side at SnF, I knew it was just a matter of time until someone photographed them together in the air.
This one was personal for me. I think very highly of both aviators, and I wanted that someone to be me! I mentioned it to Saber a couple of days ago and he naturally liked the idea. Since both pilots were planning to head home today, we decided to give it a shot. Rich Langer kindly agreed to fly the photo ship. This time, our preflight brief was short, and we were airborne at around 0925.
Man, is it nice to fly with pilots who know something about what makes a good flight for a photographer! In this case, all three pilots were outstanding. Saber is particularly aware of what I’m seeing through my viewfinder…and what I WANT to see through my viewfinder. After departing Lakeland on Runway 09, we eventually turned south to take full advantage of the easterly sun, still relatively low in the horizon. Med and Saber took turns leading the element, which gave me an opportunity to photograph them from different. I also photographed each of them separately. This narrative is short and sweet, and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
I was very anxious to photograph the two sharks flying side by side. I was not disappointed!
Med and Saber took turns flying Lead.
The two sharks went together well!
Med certainly looked like he was enjoying himself
I’m guessing that Saber was enjoying himself, as well.
As we headed back to Lakeland after our photo mission, Rich Langer and I agreed that there are most certainly worse ways to start the day!