Aviation

The Horizontal Biplane

One of the by far best performers at Oshkosh was Skip Stewart. He is the only performer that i have seen so far that starts off going horizontal, dragging the tail of his modified Pitts Biplane along the ground. Of course having the right music, Ozzy Ozbourne, playing in the background didn’t hurt. It’s definitely a performance that i have yet to see happen with any Pitts at Reno. Photographically it was a cinch. he kept the plane moving very slowly but the rpm’s and prop blades were gong so fast that it didn’t require lots of fast panning or a super slow shutter speed. For those that don’t know anything under 1/90th shutter speed is very slow for shooting aircraft. Even 1/90th is difficult to shoot at times.

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This guys seemed to do it all. He would go upside down, barrel rolls, loop d’ loops, you name it it would happen. At one point he was so close to the ground that it seemed like he was going to hit the ground or at least skirt along it. Then again between us and him was a knoll and a ditch where the runway was and where he was so in reality we were looking at a mound that he was on the other side of so that it appeared like he was skimming the earth. It’s one of those great times when the mind goes, “What!”

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For me the most impressive part is seeing the plane upside down. The amount of force it puts on the human body is unbelievable and the fact that he could hold it along the runway for so long as he entertained the crowd was amazing. It’s one of those rare attributes that only the best pilots have. I can’t wait to see more of his act in a future air show event.

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Images Captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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