Cleveland Air Show 31 Aug - 2 Sept
Car licence plates proclaim Ohio “The Birth Place of Aviation”.
Apart from the seemingly obligatory T-2s, T-34s, F-16s and A-10s, there was also the T.W.A. L.1049H Constellation N6937C, and a Stinson Tri-Motor NC11153 with American Airways titles. The advertised DC-3 and Martin 4-0-4 were no shows, at least until Sunday morning. Other aircraft included an RAF Nimrod XV240 (different one) Canadian AF F/A-18 in special anniversary markings, US Navy E-2, F-14 and P-3 aircraft, KC-135 and C-130 from ANG units, a Continental B.737, as well as various warbirds, both piston-engined and jets. Apart from military helicopters, there were also choppers used by medical units and television stations.
Also interesting was a Wright Flyer replica, including two NASA gentlemen dressed in period clothing, explaining that momentous event to the public. Nearby was a NASA stand were the public could view and ask questions about space exploration and the Space Shuttle.
Next to it was a tent dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen, that group of American black pilots who fought against the racist attitude of the times to be allowed to fight for their country as well the opportunity to meet the pilots themselves.
Unlike the two previous shows, Cleveland enjoyed excellent weather over the three days it was held (31/08-02/09, did I bring the Maltese sunshine with me?) although I didn’t attend on Monday. I especially appreciated seeing the Stinson Tri-motor display. Other performers included B-25, TBM, P-51, F4U Corsair (with pyrotechnics), F-14, Saeta, DH Venom, Nimrod, Canadian AF F/A-18 and the US AF Thunderbirds.
There is one setback, which photographers should be aware of. If choosing a “box seat”, these are all on the same level, so unless you’re in the front row, photographing aircraft landing/taking off is practically impossible.
Once in the front row, you are confronted with another problem. Banners were placed in the ground some distance from the crowd line, and flags were placed on each side of the banners. Again, these very neatly interfered with photographing aircraft landing/taking off, but not when the aircraft are in the air.
The organisers may very well argue that this is a minor point –- and to a certain extent, it is -- that what the public wants to see are the aircraft being displayed in the air. But given the money spent travelling to America, one would like to get the most value for money. An F-14 or Vampire staying 15 feet above the runway after take-off is not likely to be seen regularly this side of the Atlantic.
This point aside, it was a very good show, with a lot to see. The sun starts well behind you, and doesn’t come abeam to your left until around 3.30pm.