11th Annual Warbirds Over the Rockies

On Saturday the 13th of September, I attended the 11th annual Warbirds Over the Rockies radio control airshow.

The Warbirds Over the Rockies website describes the event as:

“An international event that attracts the finest in model aviation pilots and warbirds from around the globe. With more than 150 pilots and 5,000 spectators, the event is a classic showcase of aviation history and camaraderie. The event also features the top vendors from the modeling industry.”

…and I couldn’t agree more with that description.

The event kicked off at 0800. I arrived around 0900 to find the field already buzzing with activity. This RC airshow rivals any airshow of the 1:1 scale full-size varity that I’ve attended. An example of just about every popular warbird was present. A nice assortment of models were there representing the axis birds of WWII. A gathering of Fw190’s were in the pit area, as well as my favorite…the Me262.

And of course the allies were in full force as well with a compliment of P-51’s, P-47’s and the sweetest B-26 bomber that I have ever laid eyes on. The detailing of this bird just simply has to be seen in person to be appreciated.

As an RC modeler myself, on and off for the past 24 years, I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the event. The only suggestion I would have for the event organizers, would be to set up a roped off display area, where between flights, the models could be viewed up close by the spectators. Seeing the detail and effort put into building these machines, can really only be appreciated by getting to see the birds up close. This would also give the pilots and owners a chance to interact with the spectators, giving questions a chance to be answered, and possibly winning over new members to the sport.

With the sport of RC flying, goes its share of rough landings. There were a few collapsed main gear upon landing, as well as busted props and scuffed wing tips. Crashes are all part of the sport, and inevitably have to be reckoned with. As a fellow modeler I’ve had my share. And whether flying myself or as a spectator, it always hurts to see these fine model aircraft crash.

I stayed around the show until about noon, then had to call it a day. I truly look forward to next years event. Here’s a few images from Saturday, with future updates being made as I process images.

Could this be a photo obtained during the capture of the Oberpfaffenhofen Dornier factory in April of 1945? The Dornier 335 “Pfeil”…

Dornier 335 Pfeil

It’s the final days of WWII. Daily, the Allies are advancing deeper and deeper into Germany. As a result, the Luftwaffe is pushed further into southern Germany.

Among those units escaping the advance of the Allies, are Germany’s Me 262 units. Too late to turn the tide of the war, these units operated from the few remaining airfields in Southern Germany and Austria.

From one of those remote airfields, we find this Me 262 pilot in the cockpit of his aircraft, preparing to go up against the latest B-17 bomber raids over the Reich. The Me262…

Me262 Pilot

Is it a A-10 somewhere in the hills of Afghanistan, providing Close Air Support to troops on the ground? Nope! Try a R/C model A-10 doing a fly-by at the 11th Annual Warbirds Over the Rockies!

A-10 Gun Run

The crew and nose art of the B-26 “Flak Bait”. (I tried to do this aircraft justice with my images. The detailing of this bird just simply has to be seen in person to be appreciated!)

The B-26 -Flak Bait

Back from busting Nazi locomotives hauling Third Reich supplies to the front lines, the P-47 Razorback “Miss Behave” touches down.

P-47 Razorback Touches Down

The A-10 Warthog, operating from the type of environment for which it was designed-improvised air strips.


The pilot makes one last check of his gauges, as the co-pilot peers intently out of his windscreen…wondering what this next mission will bring for the crew of the B-26 “Flak Bait”.

B-26 Pre-Flight Checklist Complete

Check back often for updates to this post!


WW2 Gun Camera Footage

This morning I attended the 11th Annual Warbirds Over the Rockies Model Aircraft Show. Lots of simply amazing scale R/C aircraft on display, to include a beautiful Dornier 335 “Pfeil”.

Unfortunately this aircraft had a run of bad luck on take off. After bouncing off the runway for reasons unknown (which resulted in both MLG detaching from the aircraft) the Do 335 stalled and went in off the end of the runway.

I managed to capture the crash sequence and when I got home and reviewed my RAW files, the images immediately reminded me of WWII gun camera footage. I decided to process a sequence of these images shot today, inspired by actual WWII film footage.

I’ll submit a separate write-up covering my time spent at the show. For the time being, here’s my first processed image…

“WW2 Gun Camera Footage”

Note: If you look closely in frame four, you can see the model pilot being ejected from the crash.

WW2 Gun Camera Footage



The Tuskegee Airmen

At the recent Pikes Peak Regional Airshow this past August, I had an opportunity to capture photographs of the CAF’s Red Tail Squadron P-51.

Reviewing various processing ideas, I wanted to utilize one of my images in a retro post-processing style, to pay tribute to these brave soldiers of the Army Air Corps…”The Tuskegee Airmen”.

The result is the image you see featured below, a replication of the opening scenes of a fictitious WWII film featuring the “Tuskegee Airmen”.

Tuskegee Airmen Film Intro

WWII Recruiting Poster-Man Those Guns!!!

I’ve always been intrigued by the 1940’s art style of WWII war bond posters, with their vibrant, contrasting colors, and simplistic, yet direct message.

With the cooler weather in late Summer and Fall, I find myself going back through photo files from the events I’ve attended throughout the Spring and Summer. It’s this time of the year, as the airshow season draws to a close, that I start to get that creative longing to take my images and see what types of WWII inspired replications I can create.

Earlier this Summer I took a trip to a local museum. Among the museum’s outdoor displays, was a WWII Naval Anti-Aircraft Gun. As soon as I laid eyes on the AA gun, WWII Navy recruiting posters started flashing through my head. I set to work, taking photos of the gun at various angles, keeping in mind the posters I’ve seen in the past.

I’ve sat on that RAW image now for going on two months, waiting for just the right spark of inspiration to get me in motion. This morning it all came together. Scanning over actual WWII posters, the spark ignited. And the result of that inspiration is posted below.

My latest WWII poster……”Do Your Part To Man Those Guns!!!”

Man Those Guns

The Norden Bombsight

Designed by the Dutch born engineer Carl Norden, who was educated in Switzerland and emigrated to the United States in 1904, the Norden bombsight was used by the United States Army Air Corps as well as the United States Navy during World War II.

Considered a critical wartime instrument, bombardiers were required to defend its secrecy, and in case their bomber should go down in enemy territory and the Norden survive the crash, the bombardier was instructed to destroy the sight to keep it from falling into enemy hands.

This is a replicated WWII era poster I created, utilizing an image I captured of the Norden bomb sight while visiting an aviation museum. Due to the secrecy surrounding the Norden bombsight, an advertisement of this nature would have of course never existed during WWII…


Shooting Opposite Of The Center Of Attention

We’ve all seen those airshow images- a row of photographers on the center-line, telephoto lenses so long that they almost appear to stretch out across the active. All in a row, moving in unison like the bows of the first row of violins in an orchestra. 15 guys all focused on the same subject, capturing literally the same image.

I’ve been there. I’ve worked my way through the crowd, up to the line…tried to squeeze my way in-between photogs to get my share of the action. It was then that I realized- there’s more going on around me, than the routine that’s presently on the schedule. There’s a whole plethora of subject matter just waiting to be captured at the show, when I focus on…

“Shooting Opposite Of The Center Of Attention”

And when you learn to resist that urge to fall in line with the others, your reward is returning home with images the other guy missed out on.

Air Show At Sunset-1