2021: The Great State of Maine Airshow

Something primitive sparks as the planes approach.  A barely audible hiss transforms into a deafening roar as they pass in perfect formation and turn vertical climbing into the sky in a demonstration of power and disciplined flying. On a perfect fall day in Brunswick, Maine, the airshow was back for the first time since 2017 along with the Blue Angels.

I went to take pictures while avoiding close contact with crowds. With the increased risk associated with the Covid 19 Delta variant I didn’t want to get too close to the folks taking the tours through planes and visiting concessions, so I found a spot along a fence with a clear view of the sky from all directions, set up, and just waited for the action to build. 

Small and Classic Planes

The early demonstrations were performed with high powered single engine planes and a vintage jet trainer. I watched trying to imagine how the pilots could possibly maneuver and recover from some of stalls and unlikely positions where they maneuvered their planes. I was thinking about my flight training as a private pilot and how I really hated the stalls where, climbing nearly vertical the plane would shudder as the stall approached and suddenly a wing would drop, and I’d be pointing directly at the ground, rapidly gaining speed, having to quickly recover. I could only imagine the forces they were feeling in some of the moves.  I admire their skill and steel nerves.

After a short break the Blue Angels rolled out in their F/A-18 Super Hornets for their afternoon show. I hope you enjoy the shots.

Blue Angels

The startup to the F/A-18 demonstrations was the roll out of “Fat Albert”, their support plane. The plane has very short takeoff and landing capability and a lot of carrying capacity. It rolled out, did some steep climbs and turns and landed to make way for the demonstration team.

Fat Albert in flight
Approaching the Crowd at high speed
Precision at high speed. Notice the tail numbers in sequence and only inches apart.
A steep turn and a fast approach
A lucky shot. I was tracking the plane you see on the left across the field knowing that another plane would be closing from the opposite direction. I’m guessing the closing speed of these planes was around 1000 mph.
When the planes come down in formation they sometimes split off to set up the next approach. It happens in the blink of an eye and the next thing you know the planes are coming in from the four corners of the compass.
Another precision move at high speed.
Another power loop
It looks like number 6 ran out of smoke

This was a great show on a beautiful day in Maine. If you have a chance to see an airshow like this it’s worth the trip.

Photo Browser – Makes it easy to browse through the pictures on this post.

3 thoughts on “2021: The Great State of Maine Airshow

  1. I love these photos so much. The one where the Angels are flying close together and in sequence is thrilling! It almost seems as if one airplane was copied and pasted a few inches behind the next. This series of photographs really brings my appreciation for these aviators to a whole other level. I mean, how is the naked eye even able to see that sometimes the planes are flying perfectly upside-down! My goodness.

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  2. Hi Erika, I’m glad you had that response to the photos. In some of the closeups you can see the pilots of the other planes are not looking where they’re going: their heads are turned and they are looking only at the lead plane. It’s the lead pilots responsibility to fly the tight formations. It’s just another detail revealed in the photos. It’s indeed thrilling to see one of the shows.

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