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Guest jonthedoors

What's the best thing you've seen in aviation?

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At the age of 18, only having been heavily immersed in aviation as a hobby for 3 years, I feel lucky to have seen some pretty amazing things, regarding my hobby.I've been privileged enough to have been free given access to a long-decommissioned WW1/WW2 Airbase, where I've been up close and personal with a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, and also an Avro Anson (pictures below). I've also seen an A380 do incredible maneuvres at very low altitude, such as 60 degree banks. I've seen a Douglas C-47 do a few low passes, too. (I also had a little fiddle while I was there, too. I span an engine component from the long-dead engine of the Anson with my hand... haha!)One time, I saw an Avro Lancaster practically at knife-edge at no higher than 600ft, outside my bedroom window.(Various reports around where I live say it was doing low passes for a memorial day, a mile from where I live. I've also been told it had to quickly pull up to avoid hitting the chimneys at Stanlow oil refinery! The pilot must have been impatient and wanted to turn around sooner rather than later!!)I think you guys can do way better, though.Feel free to share your sights, sounds and experiences. Anything that you feel as though you've been very lucky to have seen, share it here.Nothing is too rediculous!If you've got pictures, it'd be brilliant if you share them, too.Have fun!

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Nothing's too ridiculous, but some things are too common. Best stuff I've seen is the usual air show fare, though I did witness a Harrier demonstration at the local air show years ago; it's apparently a rare demo, going to less than ten airshows a year. That jet is loud!Beyond that, the only thing really out of the ordinary was the unusually low pass of my neighborhood by nine C-130s on their way to drop parachutists for that year's airshow finale.Sorry I don't have pictures; lost most of them in a hard drive crash a while ago.

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Here's one that comes to mind. At the Shuttle Landing Facility on the Kennedy Space Center there is a structure called the MDD, Mate Demate Device. Basically, it's an overhead hoist structure that's used to lift the Shuttle Orbiter off of the NASA 747 which has carried it piggyback from an off-site landing back to KSC. It's about 110' tall and it's a great place to watch launches. I've watched many, but I think the ones at night are the most spectacular. If you have ever flown over KSC, especially the launch and runway areas, it appears that every thing is very much surrounded by water. So, when you watch a launch from atop something close to 110' tall at night it's nearly indescribable. Imagine the most beautiful sunset colors painted upon water and you'll partially have a picture of its magnificence.Roger

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Flying a low approach at slow speed down the Space Center runway was probably my most memorable experience. They wouldn't allow a T&G without prior permission since it's a Government owned facility.And the time a sudden gust nealy pushed my 172 right off of the runway during a TO run at KCPS.

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The absolute best thing I've ever seen in aviation was the airfield at an altitude that meant I was going to make it back okay after I got caught in a thunderstorm and couldn't climb over the terrain to get back, I'll never forget that. Three aircraft made emergency landings in the wrong direction (downwind) they were in such a hurry to get down (one wheels up) and I nearly did the same thing, being tempted to come in that way, but I saw the windsock had done a 180 and so I did a full circuit and landed in the correct direction in between two aircraft that were already down on the field. I can still see every detail of that flight like it was yesterday if I close my eyes, but when I look in my logbook it was actually many years ago. That was one where I really did kiss the ground when I got out.A pretty close second to that would be the picture of the runway through the windshield when turning onto final on my first solo at the old Wellington bomber airfield at Husbands Bosworth in Leicestershire. I was so nervous on that flight that I was singing to myself all the way through it to keep my spirits up LOL - I was too high and had to sideslip it down too!As far as seeing other aircraft, believe it or not it was a brand new British Airways Boeing 757 at an airshow a few years ago (at Woodford EGCD). I saw it lift off from EGCC Manchester's runway 24 a few miles away and then head over to Woodford and perform a mad airshow routine where the pilot really threw the thing about. I've never seen an airliner flown like that either before or since and it was just really exciting to watch something you never see doing that sort of thing being thrown about by a pilot who was clearly having fun.I once saw a Concorde damn-near do a touch and go on the grass strip at Barton airfield a few years ago too at another airshow. That was a sight to see.Al

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Some of the things that come to mind is seeing St. Elmo's fire once (the wings look like they covered with northern lights or on fire), Taking off early morning in the dark and seeing a full moon set on the left, and a sunrise on the right at the same time, and landing in Santa Fe with a massive thunderstorm to the south and seeing huge lightning bolts striking all over the place.

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Unfortunately all I have is a couple of grainy photos, but the most impressive thing I've seen is a U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight pass by me over Cecil Field. Watching an F-15, F-86 and P-51 flying in formation is a thrill.

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I forgot to mention one of the most impressive things I ever saw was while I was fueling my plane up in Grand Island, Nebraska. A business jet swooped in-and an 80 year old guy popped out of the cabin drinking champagne with 3 beautiful 20 year old women fawning all over him and all of them giggling. They made a pit stop-got back in and then flew off to who knows where. Now that was perhaps the best thing I've seen!

Unfortunately all I have is a couple of grainy photos, but the most impressive thing I've seen is a U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight pass by me over Cecil Field. Watching an F-15, F-86 and P-51 flying in formation is a thrill.
That is a drag about the "grainy photos". The shots never come out even with a digital camera the way it looks!

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I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Air/Space America 88 airshow and exhibited my homebuilt there for American Aircraft while they were still in business. Got to see the Concorde flying there, an AN-124 doing incredibly low level flying, a KC-10 lightly loaded flying like it was a fighter jet. It was an incredible airshow meant to challenge the Paris Airshow but alas it was a financial disaster and never happened again. Saw St Elmo's fire on the windows of my father's Navajo while flying out to the grand opening of DisneyWorld, the heater didn't work too good over 21k feet... we were at 23 to 25 and it was cold! Got to fly in Olive Ann Beech's Baron 56TC when my father almost bought it... it was very, very nice indeed! Got to fly a Royal Turbine, that's a Duke with PT-6 turboprop powerplants and it's a real mover alright. Flying is a special treat and once bitten by the bug I can't imagine it ever going away.

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"Got to fly in Olive Ann Beech's Baron 56TC"Wow-how cool! I just visited the Beech museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee a few weeks ago-wonder if that plane was there?It was one of the nicest museums I have been too.

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"Got to fly in Olive Ann Beech's Baron 56TC"Wow-how cool! I just visited the Beech museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee a few weeks ago-wonder if that plane was there?It was one of the nicest museums I have been too.
I'd love to see that museum. Next time I run across the photos of that 56TC I'll scan them and send you one.

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Just remembered another one which was pretty cool.This was at RAF Fairford a few years ago for the USAF's anniversary airshow. There were aircraft from all over the US, both USAF and ANG on that airfield, literally hundreds of them from B-1s, B-52s, C-5s, all the fighters and bombers you can imagine including the F-117 which was pretty special to see back then.During the show there were a few old classics in the air including an F-86 and a MiG-15. But the thing that I really remember was an F-16 and an Su-27 having a competition to see which could make the tightest sustained turn. The F-16 had to be in full afterburner to stay with the much bigger Sukhoi, which could make the turn without hitting the 'burners. It surprised the hell out of me, and I would not have believed that would be the case if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.Al

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I once saw a Concorde damn-near do a touch and go on the grass strip at Barton airfield a few years ago too at another airshow. That was a sight to see.
That must have been incredible!! Isn't the airstrip at Barton quite short, too? I just can't imagine that at all!

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I forgot to mention one of the most impressive things I ever saw was while I was fueling my plane up in Grand Island, Nebraska. A business jet swooped in-and an 80 year old guy popped out of the cabin drinking champagne with 3 beautiful 20 year old women fawning all over him and all of them giggling. They made a pit stop-got back in and then flew off to who knows where. Now that was perhaps the best thing I've seen!That is a drag about the "grainy photos". The shots never come out even with a digital camera the way it looks!
Strange, haha!! Someone must be loaded full of cash!

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ive never seen it fly but i had the treat of seeing downsviews rebuild of one of my personal favorite planes the AVRO Arrowi love it because its a solid fast plane for its time that almost put canada at the top in military aircraft. im sure im not the only one on this forum that hates deifenbaker for cancelling the project.

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That must have been incredible!! Isn't the airstrip at Barton quite short, too? I just can't imagine that at all!
Yup, Barton is a tiny GA airfield, although it is big enough that it occasionally had Lancaster Bombers divert to it during the Second World War. I'm pretty sure I have a picture of that Concorde fly-by at Barton somewhere. If I can remember where the hell it is I'll see if I can dig it out.Al

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If I can remember where the hell it is I'll see if I can dig it out.Al
That'd be an absolute treat, thanks!

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I live close to a joint civil/military airport, and while it's not the best thing I've seen, I do see the occasional F-4 Phantom coming and going. You can hear those things from miles away.The F-4 is my favorite plane; meanest and toughest looking plane there ever was.

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Yesterday I flew from Orlando to New York (JFK) and back to Orlando in the same day on JetBlue A320s.While at Kennedy I saw the Emirates A380 taxiing and I got my first clear photos of the plane. Also on the return I got to see the mid-air sunset, one of the most beautiful sights there is. When I got to the terminal I saw a JetBlue A320 that was so new that it didn't have a name yet.Also last weekend I went to Sun 'n Fun, and saw a whole bunch of performances including Aeroshell and the Golden Knights. I also got to tour a KC-135.Also a couple years ago I got to see an A4C Skyhawk being restored.

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Nice thread :( The best thing I have seen was during the 07 Le Bourget air show. The weather was as awful as the A380 was amazing :bourget.jpg

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Nice thread :( The best thing I have seen was during the 07 Le Bourget air show. The weather was as awful as the A380 was amazing :bourget.jpg
Very nice I like how it looks like it is emerging out of it's own condensation.

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My best experience was back in around 1984-5 during an airshow at KPTK when I was in 6th or 7th grade and a huge FSII fan on the old apple II.There were rides available in small planes (i think piper cubs?) where you could pay like $10 and have a ride in the pattern around the airport. That was pretty cool and the first time I'd been in a GA aircraft.But.. After walking around for a while we discovered a chap with a biplane of some sort who was giving aerobatic rides for like $35. The pilot strapped me into a parachute and showed me how to pull the cord and how to get out of the plane if something went amiss.Then we took off and headed away from the airport... After a few minutes he asked me if I was ready.. We started slowly with a barrel roll, which was intense. He said "are ya ok?" and I pretty much said "heck yah!!" and it went from there. Did some loops and more rolls.But the best part was the hammerhead stall. I'll never forget flying straight vertical, hanging in space, I could see the Pontiac Silverdome in the distance as we floated there for what seemed like ages and then tipped sideways heading straight towards the ground.It was 100x cooler than any roller coaster I've ever been on! My only regret is that I had eaten a lot of corn dogs and junk earlier and my stomach started to disagree with the positive/negative G changes. After about 15 minutes I told him that we should probably head back if he wanted to keep the back seat clean (I had a little bag to use but didn't want to go there if I didn't have to.)I can't imagine in today's world that it would be nearly as easy to have a ride like this what with insurance costs and things like that.When we got home my Dad caught a lot of trouble from my Mom who was furious that he would let me do anything like that :) But I think he knew it was worth it, one of the coolest experiences in my life!

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The best thing I've seen in aviation, was my first Space Shuttle Launch at the Kennedy Space Center. It was a night launch at 3AM in the morning, and it lit up the sky like it was morning! I seen a few more, as well as Atlas and Delta launches since then and now I watch them from my backyard, since I moved to Florida. The best thing I've done in aviation of course was flying Crazy Horse a TF-51D (Training version of the P-51D) Mustang.

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My best experience was back in around 1984-5 during an airshow at KPTK when I was in 6th or 7th grade and a huge FSII fan on the old apple II.There were rides available in small planes (i think piper cubs?) where you could pay like $10 and have a ride in the pattern around the airport. That was pretty cool and the first time I'd been in a GA aircraft.But.. After walking around for a while we discovered a chap with a biplane of some sort who was giving aerobatic rides for like $35. The pilot strapped me into a parachute and showed me how to pull the cord and how to get out of the plane if something went amiss.Then we took off and headed away from the airport... After a few minutes he asked me if I was ready.. We started slowly with a barrel roll, which was intense. He said "are ya ok?" and I pretty much said "heck yah!!" and it went from there. Did some loops and more rolls.But the best part was the hammerhead stall. I'll never forget flying straight vertical, hanging in space, I could see the Pontiac Silverdome in the distance as we floated there for what seemed like ages and then tipped sideways heading straight towards the ground.It was 100x cooler than any roller coaster I've ever been on! My only regret is that I had eaten a lot of corn dogs and junk earlier and my stomach started to disagree with the positive/negative G changes. After about 15 minutes I told him that we should probably head back if he wanted to keep the back seat clean (I had a little bag to use but didn't want to go there if I didn't have to.)I can't imagine in today's world that it would be nearly as easy to have a ride like this what with insurance costs and things like that.When we got home my Dad caught a lot of trouble from my Mom who was furious that he would let me do anything like that :) But I think he knew it was worth it, one of the coolest experiences in my life!
I fly out of kptk-what a cool story!

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I fly out of kptk-what a cool story!
it's one of my favorite places to fly in FSX because of this heh..(and also, for vfr i know the area since i grew up around there living in rochester and ann arbor for most of my days before i moved out to cali for a job a few years ago. the house i grew up in is right by st. andrews in rochester which is that church that looks like a nuclear reactor cooling tower..)my uncle's father was the postmaster general in pontiac during the 30's and played a role in the early development of the airport as a hub for postal air mail shipments. as a result i spent a lot of time there as a kid, my uncle would often take me to the restaurant in the building near the tower to eat lunch and watch planes take off and land. i don't know if that's still there it's my understanding it's been modernized quite a bit since the 80's.there's a pretty cool article about the history of the airport from the kptk website at http://www.oakgov.com/aviation/news/75_anniversary_pr.htmlcheers,-andy crosby

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