Category Military

Patrouille de France Crew Members Share Stories in Melbourne

By: Category: AirshowsMilitary

a400 3

This year’s Melbourne Air and Space show was special in that it marked the first American air show performance by the Patrouille de France. I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of the pilots at the take-off party at the Hilton Rialto place Friday night before the show. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events, I highly recommend it. Nearly all of the performing pilots were there taking pictures, signing autographs and sharing stories with fans.

pdf 1

I was slightly apprehensive to “interview” these guys at such a busy event, but quickly realized they were more than happy to answer my questions. I first met Captain William Leroy, more commonly known as Athos 5...

Read More

Patrouille de France 2017 North American Tour Begins!

By: Category: AirshowsLukeMilitaryVisitors

DSC_5717

France’s Armee De L’Air – sometimes known in the United States as the French Air Force – has send some of their most visible ambassadors on a seven week tour across the Atlantic Ocean, to North America. The Patrouille de France, the Air Force’s jet aerobatic team, have embarked with their eight primary Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets, along with two other spare jets, and an Airbus A-400M Atlas support aircraft. A French Navy (Maritime) Falcon 50 tri-jet (a maritime patrol aircraft) led the procession across the chilly ocean, through some amazingly cold weather. Their tour’s logistics are eye opening and their itinerary full of symbolic gestures and historic events; here’s an overview of the early springtime tour.

PHXSpotters representatives were honored to be included in a welco...

Read More

The Robert A. “Bob” Hoover Celebration of Life Ceremony

By: Category: AirshowsEventsFriendsMilitary

Hoover 1 

A pair of F-86s, Hoover’s favorite aircraft, fly formation with an F-22.

Report and Photography by Bob Shane

October 25, 2016 marked the passing of R.A. “Bob” Hoover at age 94. He was one of the most accomplished and skilled aviators of our time. The really good pilots are referred to as a “Pilot’s Pilot.” This characterization is the definition of who Bob Hoover truly was. A fighter pilot, test pilot, flight instructor and air show pilot extraordinaire, Hoover did it all to perfection. Throughout his flying career he played an important role in the achievement of milestone projects such as breaking the sound barrier. He is widely considered the founding father of modern aerobatics...

Read More

A Grand Phinale at Holloman AFB

By: Category: EventsMilitaryWarbird

QF-4E_74-1638_Elvis_9775

Lt. Col. Ron “Elvis” King taxies QF-4E 74-1638 back to the ramp

Photography by Scott Zeno and Alice Leong

The U.S. Air Force retired its final McDonnell Douglas/Boeing QF-4 Phantom IIs on December 21, 2016. The jets were the last of the line… more than four thousand airframes of various versions were manufactured for the Air Force. The first version flew in 1963, and for more than half a century, the jets and their crews performed air defense, attack, reconnaissance, Wild Weasel, and ultimately remote control drone service.

The final QF-4Es in service were operated by Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, based at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. The 82 ATRS reports to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall AFB, FL. Holloman AFB sits close to the White Sands Missile Range, where live fire exercises against unmanned drone aircraft are routinely accomplished. The final unmanned Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) mission was flown there on August 17, 2016, although manned missions, carrying various test payloads, lasted into December of that year.

QF-4E_74-0643_Wam_5632

Lt...

Read More