BZ's 2008 CA Capitol Airshow

Photo Gallery

The California Capitol airshow was held at Mather airfield in Rancho Cordova (close to Sacramento). I was only able to attend the Sunday show. The following are some of the better pictures I took that day.

It was windy and cool, with a persistent 25mph or so crosswind. This caused many of the acts to have to cancel due to the unsafe flying conditions. The Army's parachute demo, Dan buchanan's glider act, as well as the Harrier, and P-51 for the heritage flight were called off. The Viper West F-16 demo team stepped up to the plate though, and flew 2 routines to pick up some of the slack!

Pics taken using a Nikon D50, with a 70-300mm Nikkor VR lens, and the 18-55mm kit lens. Hope you like them!



The MC-130 Combat Talon is a modified C-130 with a mission to support special operation forces.


The combat Talon has terrain following and terrain avoidance radars, with an advanced navigation and electronic warfare suites. The guy there asked me why I was interested in taking pictures of the cockpit controls... eh, because it's interesting? Geez, if it was sensitive stuff, put a blanket over it or something.


An F-18B two seater in 'agressor' colors.


NSAWC stands for Naval Strike & Air Warface Center. The Navy's TopGun school.


An F-16B also in agressor paint.


Ah, the dreaded Mig-30 of TopGun fame! Alright, it's actually a F-5. Though they are no longer based out of Miramar, they still play the role of the bad guy. "Talk to me Goose..."


I believe VFC-13 and NSAWC are both based out of Fallon, NV.


The EA-6B Prowler provides electronic countermeasure capabilities for jamming hostile radar and communications.


Used by both Marines and the Navy. Might be phased out soon, to be replaced by a F-18 version called the Growler.


An SH-60 LAMPS Seahawk helicopter. A do everything aircraft including anti-submarine, search and rescue, anti-ship, and special operations.


Don't have any idea what this is...Looks like it's a Huey derivative painted in agressor colors. Simulate the bad guy? Should have stuck around and asked questions!


The HH-60L is used for medivac. All sorts of specialized medical support equipment onboard to provide the best possible chance of stabilizing the patient. This one if from the Army National Guards.


This T-38 trainer is from Beale AFB, CA. Very flashy in gloss black!


The U-2 is also from Beale.


The Dragon Lady is still in use after all these years. It has of course, been upgraded over time.


A Bell 206 Sacramento Police helicopter.


The Sacramento County Sheriff's dept flies the high tech EC 120 Colibri (Hummingbird). Hiding in the cornfield is pointless with that FLIR!


The EC 120 is made mostly from composite material - the light weight and powerful engine makes it a good performer.


The nemisis of highway speedsters; A valentine one isn't going to help you when this guy is in the air! If they marked the tickets they give out like kills, the plane would likely be completely covered with motorist icons...


The heavist lifter this side of the atlantic.


The C-5 Galaxy is quite the big plane! The lines to go up to the upper deck/cockpit area were likewise supersized as well!


The C-5 has 4 TF39 high bypass turbofan engines each capable of 43,000 lbs of thrust.


The crosswinds were too much for the AV-8B Harrier demo... too bad.


Coast Guard and seagulls seem to go together!


The Blues do an engine check and detail the planes before the show.


Is that no-streak Windex they are using?


Gassing up with JP8.


The Coast Guard Auxilary had a display too. I wonder if they drop that out of the C-130? :-)


A P-51 and B-25 side by side. Lots of interest in these warbirds.


Someone else appreciating the nose art of the 'Heavenly Body'.


The Sean Tucker and the 'Collaborators' doing a dry run (with their hands) before the real thing.


The Extra 300L flown by Eric Tucker - painted in that beautiful Oracle red.


Nice and quiet before the show started. Soon, where I was standing would be mobbed by hundreds of people crowding the fenceline.


There was a bit of excitment as the P-51 Val-Halla started its engines and taxied to the display area. Alas, this was the only time I was to hear that beautiful Merlin engine sounds. The Heritage flight was cancelled due to crosswind concerns.


Showing the business end of the P-51 Mustang.


The Marines were very patient in answering all sorts of inane questions from the audience. I could only stand a minute of it before I had to run away! Guess I would be no good at PR. :-)


I was told this P-51D is owned by the Heritage Flight Museum.


Playing of the national anthem. I think these are cadets helping to police the fenceline.


Tim Decker in his Pitts S-2B starts things off.


He puts on a great show, but it was mostly looking into the sun!


A pair of HH-60L medivac helicopters put on a hoisting demo.


It's hard to shoot at a slow shutter speed without blurring the subject. Having a VR lens helps, but still can't go too slow...


Those helicopter pilots did a super job hovering in the strong winds.


Was in a great position for the demo, as they were right in front of me!


Of course, the 2 'patients' were pre-harnessed before the pickup. I was thrilled to see this demo, as this was the first time I've seen the Blackhawk helicopters in action so close. Very quiet for the big helicopters that they are.


The F-16 West Coast Demo team from Hill AFB, Utah!


The F-16 puts out a nice afterburner flame, but can be hard to see against a bright blue sky.


There was an amazing high speed pass very close to the audience. I really need a camera capable of more frames to second, as my shots consisted of too small, followed by too big/close/cropped/OOF!


Humidity wasn't very high, but it was enough for the Viper to squeeze some vapor during some of the high energy moves.


Bill Stein in his Zivko Edge 540.


He has this special paint, which gives it an undefined color (keeps changing). Here I thought it was my camera!


Sean D. Tucker and the Oracle Challenger II! That is a georgous paint job! My wife's car 'could' look like that - if only I wash and waxed it once in awhile! :-)


There's the trademark under the ribbon thing he does.


Followed by cutting the ribbon...


Always an exceptional show!


A most welcomed sight for any mariner in distress.


For a change, this is not Fat Albert, but rather the USCG's C-130.


They did a drop demo, but the packets were pretty small - so was hard to make out. They should have dropped a big inflatable boat instead!


The B-25 did fly that day, which was a treat.


Everything that day was quieter than normal since the wind was blowing all the sound away from the audience.


That's too bad, as I enjoyed listening to those 2 radial engines cranked to the 'loud' setting.


The F-16 takes to the sky a second time that day.


Got a second chance to catch the shots I missed earlier (or a 2nd chance to make the same mistakes again!).


I like this shot...Nice action and movement.


The F-16 like to go high in the sky on afterburner.


Had everybody craning to see where he went!


A parting shot from the Viper West Coast Demonstration team!


Sean Tucker takes to the air again, but this time with the 'Collaborators'.


Ben Freelove in the Extra 300L.


Eric Tucker (Sean's son) in the red Extra 300L.


Bill Stein in the Edge 540.


They flew a great show, and the crowd really appreciated it!


Fat Albert, getting revved up for the show!


The Blues' C-130 is all nice and shiny. Man, I'd hate to have to wax that much plane!


I was happy to be in position to catch his taxiing though. It sounded great!


Meanwhile, the Collaborators were putting on a dazzling show.


The local TV news helicopter makes an appearance. (most) Everyone waved to them.


I have no idea why Fat Albert is lurching so far to one side. Could be the crosswinds.


Here he is on takeoff.


No, no JATO. sigh. They must be saving it up for a really BIG show...


Here's Fat Albert adopting a very scary (but handsome) gunship profile.


This is the quick descend dive to a short landing part.


There was a lot of commotion at the end, where there was a bunch of smoke and the plane lurched to the left. Read later that he blew a tire after landing! Thankfully, nothing else damaged or hurt.


The Blues do their ground show, and test their smoke!


And they're rolling!


Due to the nasty crosswinds, they took off one at a time instead of in formation.


Logically, they did it in numerical sequence...


First one,


then two,


You get the idea... :-)


Number 5 does something different.


He pulls up agressively (almost looked like a tail strike),


then does a gear down roll.


This is a great angle for the light. I should have set up more to the right!


The number 6 plane does something else.



Pulls the gear up, but stays low to the ground the length of the runway.


Pulling up on burners at the end of the runway.


The Blues put on a great show as usual.


Snow capped mountains a bit of a change from the deserts of El Centro.


Took a few crossing shots, but they were usually too far to the right from me.


When they do this, it's time to look out for the sneak pass!


And there he is!


This is my best shot of the pass. It's always a surprise how fast he can cover that distance!


Did the same thing as last show...didn't zoom out and only caught the back half of the plane for the 2 closest shots! Well, at least I'm consistent.

One of the nicer looking crosses I got this show.


This was the only shot I got with the moon in the background. Things either didn't line up, or I wasn't ready. Oh well.


Believe it or not, a lot of people left already! Still, there was a huge crowd straining to get a glimpse of the Blues.


And there they are. Good show guys!


Thanks a lot for the great flying, and a wonderful airshow!





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