A rare Phantom, assigned to the 4485th Test Squadron of the USAF Air Warfare Center at Eglin AFB (FL). The 4485th operated several Phantom types at that time, F-4Ds, F-4Es, RF-4C and F-4Gs. The latter and so the one on the picture belonged to 4485th TS/Det.5, which was based at George AFB (CA). These birds initially carried the 35th TFW code of 'WW' before switching to 'OT'. During the switch, the birds received a gray checkered pattern on the fin cap, representing a toned-down version of the black and white checkers.
Det.5 Phantoms were rarely seen, so I was happy to photograph a few during a Green Flag exercise at Nellis. Unfortunately, the light was on the wrong during photography (or the Phantom took the wrong runway at Nellis?). Anyway, as the bird was rare, I still enjoy to have seen it (although the picture quality is not the best).
Burner take-off of Lightning II of 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron during Exercise Northern Lightning 2017. It was the first time that this 5th gen aircraft participated in this exercise. The 422nd is normally based at Eglin AFB (Fl).
The Lightning II, I still name it a cameleon... it does not matter from what angle you take a picture of the stealthy aircraft, its grey color, the (sun) glance, the additional Radar Absorbing Material (RAM) lines (that look like duct tape over fuselage panels), the canopy and so on... this all look always different.
Photography jet fighters in their element while they pass fast and low gives you a true adrenaline kick. Their scream through the valley makes you almost forget that this is real military hardware, designed for combat missions. The plane you see was not designed as a model like you see on a fashion catwalk. The pilot inside is having a real tough time, manoeuvring his plane through the canyon: train as you fight, fight as you train! This Dutch F-35A of 323 Test and Evaluation Squadron (323 TES), based at Edwards AFB (CA), buzzed some photographer heads!