Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oldtimer Fliegertreffen, Hahnweide 2013 - Part 2 of 2

In the second part of the 2013 Oltimer Fliegertreffen series, we will check out some of the other vintage aircraft at Hahnweide like these two Polish built, PZL agricultural aircraft below. If you have missed Part 1, please click here first.

PZL agricultural aircraft starting up at Hahnweide 2013

Mikael Carlson
Even though there are a lot of very interesting people at Hahnweide, one of the most remarkable ones is Mikael Carlson. This Swedish B737 captain, has a beautiful collection of original aircraft from the early years of aviation. I've seen Mikael fly for the first time at the 2008 Al Ain airshow in the UAE. Flying his Bleriot XI from the beginning of the 20th century, with the amazing desert in the background, is something that I'll never forget!

Bleriot XI landing at Hahnweide 2013

Just a few days before the start of the Hahnweide show, he unfortunately had to crash land his Bleriot XI at the Swiss Dittingen airshow after engine trouble. Not wanting to disappoint the German spectators, he made a 3000 km return road trip to Sweden, in order to pick up his second Bleriot XI. That is what I call dedication! 

On Thursday night, the day before the show officially opened, Carlson flew his other aircraft at the show, the Fokker Dr. VII Albatross. I was clearly not the only one that got goose bumps while he flew this original 1918 World War II fighter, for a small audience, right at sunset. Another amazing aviation event that is now engraved in my memory...

Fokker Dr VII at sunset, Hahnweide 2013

On Friday afternoon, he flew his Fokker Dr VII in formation with a Fokker Dr I Dreidecker (Triplane) flown by Thomas Koch. Flying these two WWI airplanes in formation had apparently not been done in over 90 years!

Mikael Carlson after flying his Fokker Dr7 in formation with the Dr1

Junckers JU-52
A brief description of this German WWII transport airplane developed nicknamed, "Tanta Ju" (Aunt Ju) can be found in the Pic(k) of the week 37 post from a few weeks ago. While there are only 4 remaining airworthy JU-52's in the world, all of them made it into Hahnweide. Their formation was accompanied by a fifth Casa-352, which is basically a JU-52 built under license in Spain. 

Ready for taxi, JU-AIR JU-52 at Hahnweide 2013

Beside the Junckers there was also a nice collection of Antonov AN-2's present at the show. This Russian built airplane which is the largest single engine biplane, is known for its short field take-off and landing capability (STOL). 

Antonov AN-2, largest single engine biplane

I'm particularly interested in the rare birds....  Aircraft like this Curtiss Robin J-1 below, which is one of two remaining in the world. Hard to believe this aircraft held the record for the highest number of aileron rolls (400!) without stopping in 1929!

Curtiss Wright Robin J-1 Hahnweide 2013

Or this Swiss registered nineteen thirties Praga E-114M Air Baby which is the only remaining one flying!

Praga E-114M Air Baby at Hahnweide 2013

As Hahnweide is a very active glider airfield outside the show days, it is only normal that quite a few Oldtimer gliders were present as well. The one below is a 1930's Schneider Granau Baby.

Oldtimer glider ready to launch Hahnweide 2013

Smokey Oldtimer glider after landing at Hahnweide 2013

Once of the things that make Hahnweide so special is the fact that the show-grounds remain open till well after midnight. After the daily airshow, which lasts till around sunset time, some of the warbirds are used as the decor for a great sound and light show.

P-38 Lightning during the lightshow at Hahnweide 2013

Overall, the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen in Hahnweide, exceeded all of my expectations. Over the years, I've attended probably more than 50 large airshows and fly-inns worldwide and this one surely comes in the top 5! It is a great social aviation event with a top notch organisation and plenty of variety amongst the participants. 

See you at the next edition of Hahnweide, September 4th to 6th, 2015!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 39: Amsterdam Street Art

After all of the Aviation photography of the last few weeks, it is probably time to blog about some of my other photography facets... 

But before we continue, this the 300 post on the Bjorn Moerman PHOTOGRAPHY blog! Thank you to all the ones that are still here since June 2009 and welcome to all the new readers. The blog readers community has been steadily growing and we hope to keep on doing so for the future. Thank you!

As a travel photographer, I'm always on the go. During my last visit to Amsterdam earlier this month, I was reminded how this city can be summarised in just a few words; "open minded, laid back, tolerant, liberal". 

Beside being open to prostitution and soft drugs, the city is also very open towards graffiti artists! While graffiti is often seen as vandalism and is penalised by law in other cities, the Amsterdam municipality has taken a very different approach which seem to work just fine... They are trying to decriminalise the activity by creating legal opportunities and places to paint and make it into "Street Art".

One example of this was taken in the Spuistraat, where I made the collage of 4 images below;

2013 Pic(k) of the week 39: Amsterdam Street Art

The most interesting graffiti painters are given the status of "artists", sometime even with commissions to paint. Over the last decennia, galleries have started trading in graffiti art and some pieces have been bought by modern art collectors.

I really like the idea of expressing one's vision and ideas by spraying paint on something different than a traditional canvas. As long as it's legal of course!

Image details:
Fujifilm X-E1 (Sexy-1) with Fujinon 18-55
ISO 1600, f6.4, focal lengths between 18 and 24mm, varying shutter speeds
RAW development in Lightroom 5.2
4 image collage made using the Print module in Lightroom 5.2

For the ones using Lightroom, be sure to download the latest 5.2. update by clicking "Check for updates" in the LR menu.

Remember, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up" - Pablo Picasso


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oldtimer Fliegertreffen, Hahnweide 2013 - Part 1 of 2

Earlier this month, I was able to tick off one more item from my Aviation bucket list... After having been to "The Flying Legends" airshow in Duxford, last Summer, there was one more similar event to attend in Southern Germany; The Oldtimer Fliegertreffen near Stuttgart.

Facing East at Hahnweide 2013

Held every two years at the small Hahnweide airfield, this vintage aircraft event has been going for 34 years and this year attracted over 50.000 visitors over the three days. 

After the Flying Legends show at Duxford (UK) and the La Ferté-Alais airshow near Paris, it is possibly Europe's third largest one! I do prefer it to the first two in quite a few ways...

The joy of flying:Brugger MB-2 Colibri taxiing out at Hahnweide 2013

While the grounds open at 7am and stay open until well after mid-night, it is a much more social event than the first two. Irrespective how one comes to Hahnweide, be it in an old glider, beaten up Cessna, a WWII P-51 Mustang or by car; people seem to be just interested in each-others aviation story. While there is no place for large ego's it is a real aviation feast!

I must admit that I was given press credentials and that a few photos could probably not have been taken without it... However, there are plenty of good photo opportunities at Hahnweide with or without the white press jacket.

For the first one, one has to get up early. The gates open at 7am and allow all visitors to freely walk around the whole airport, including crossing the grass runway. At 7am there were literary hundreds of people waiting to get in. The unrestricted access to the public ends at 9am when the days flying starts. During these two hours there are plenty of interesting shots to be made like catching some of the pilots who were still sleeping under the wing of their aircraft. Seeing how the small airfield wakes up while the morning fog burns off, is kind of magic. 

Antonov AN_2 camping at Hahnweide 2013 

Unfortunately the airshow display line is East/West, which means one is facing the sun for most of the day. Therefore before lunchtime, most photographers tend to position themselves on a small hill on the East side. This is a great spot to shoot the arrivals, which especially on Friday (day 1) are pretty much non-stop. 

Dragon Rapide Dh 89 waiting for take-off at Hahnweide 2013


This year, 370 oldtimer aircraft came to Hahnweide. Although the definitions are often mixed, there are three different types of civil aircraft:
  • Antique, constructed before Sep 1945
  • Classic, constructed between Sep 1945 and Dec 1955
  • Contemporary, constructed Jan 1956 and Dec 1970
All ex-military aircraft are classified as "Warbirds".

DH 84 Dargon at Hahnweide 2013

Even though there were a few more large aviation events in parallel with Hahnweide this year, there still were quite a few warbirds present. Red Bull send three from their flying collection at Salzburg; a T-6 Harvard, an F4U Corsair and the shinny P-38 Lightning.

F4U Corsair taxiing in at Hahnweide 2013

Red Bull P-38 Lightning taxying in at Hahnweide 2013

A P-51 Mustang, P-40 Kittihawk, Sea Fury, Yak-11 and a heavily with bombs loaded Skyraider, came from the La Ferté-Alais collection near Paris.

Nooky Booky IV, P-51 Mustang at Hanhnweide 2013

Hawker Sea Fury arriving at Hahnweide 2013

Skyraider taxying in, while AN-2 is taking off, Hahnweide 2013

With the late Summer Duxford airshow being held the same weekend, there were not that many UK Warbird participants present. One that did make it, was this fine World War II Hawker Hurricane. 

Hurricane IIB at Hahnweide 2013

In part 2 of the series which should be out by the end of the week, we will have a look at some of the other participants.

Red Bull P-38 Lightning cockpit (backside)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 38: Those magnificent men in their Flying Machines

Whenever I come back from a photo-trip and I'm able to replace an older image with a new "portfolio" image, I know it has been a success. My portfolio's ( Architectural, Aviation and Travel ) are strictly kept below 30 images and only contain my best work!
This was the case after my visit to the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen in Hahnweide last week.

With the initial image editing now done, I'm in the final stages of writing a three page spread for a large European aviation magazine. I will stick to my initial promise of blogging about this exciting vintage aircraft event, in about a weeks time...

So, the image that meanwhile did make it into my Aviation Portfolio, is this one of a Bleriot XI, flown by its Swedish owner, Mikael Carlson.

2013 Pic(k) of the week 38: Those magnificient men in their flying machines

The Blériot XI, was the first aircraft to cross the "English Channel" with Louis Blériot at the controls. This more than 100 years ago, on 25 July 1909. The French aviator was also the first pilot to cross the Alps and the first to "loop the loop" in a flying machine!

The particular airplane above, is completely original and not a replica like many others around! It is in fact a Thulin A, which is a Blériot built under license in Sweden. The date of manufacturing is not exactly known, but it seems to be built somewhere between 1914 and 1918. Carlson completely restored the airplane and flies it with the original Gnome-Omega 50hp engine. He is what I'll call, " a real aviator"!

Image details:
Nikon D800 with 70-200 2.8 VR2 Nikkor lens
ISO 100, 200mm, f11, 1/400s
RAW development in Lightroom 5
Pro Contrast + Detail enhancement with Nik Color Efex Pro 4
Black and White conversion in Nik Silver Efex 2

For the ones that can't wait for the upcoming Hahnweide blogpost, please have a sneak peek at the images here!

Remember; "You wanna fly, you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down" - Tonni Morrison


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 37: Tanta Ju, 74 year old JU-52 going strong

Last week I travelled to Southern Germany for a large vintage aviation airshow/fly-in near Stuttgart. I will be covering this event extensively on this blog, after I have completed the image editing and have met the deadline for an upcoming article for Piloot en Vliegtuig aviation magazine.

Having said this, it is pretty obvious that this weeks Pic(k) of the week needs to be one from Hahnweide...
2013 Pic(k) of the week 37: Tanta Ju, 74 year old JU-52 going strong

The Junckers JU-52, often nicknamed Tanta Ju, is a German tri-motor transport airplane, manufactured from 1932 to 1945. Although there are a few more Spanish license built look-alike Casa-352's, there are only four "airworthy" JU-52 remaining in the world. 

Three of them, belong to the Swiss "vintage airline" JU-AIR while the last one is owned by  the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin Stiftung . JU-AIR tour their JU-52's and one Casa 352 around the world in order to provide rides to the public at airshows and other aviation events. The voluntary based company was found 30 years ago, when they initially bought 3 remaining Swiss Air Force JU-52's, trying to protect this vintage aircraft from extinction. 

HB-HOS, is a 1939 built Tanta Ju (Aunt Ju) and unfortunately has had a few mishaps since the start of JU-AIR. In 1987 it was severely damaged on landing into Koblenz (Germany), while it touched a snow wall in Samedan (Switserland) early 1998. Nobody was injured in these accidents, which is a testament to the ruggedness of the aircraft. 

One of the crew members was kind enough to let me photograph the flight-deck of this almost 75 year old bird. Even though it has a few modern instruments like the Garmin GPS on the glareshield, it is quite a contrast to the A380 I fly for living...

Image details:
Nikon D800 with 24-70 2.8 Nikkor lens
ISO 1600, 24mm, f4.5, 5 shot shutter speed bracketing (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2 EV)
Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6
Development of the 32 bit image in Lightroom 5
Nik ColorEfex for contrast and detail enhancement

Remember, "Life is like flying a plane; it only gets complicated when we interfere with it" - Mike Grogan


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 36: Sad plane from Russia

The previous post was all about my great visit to the Russian Air Force museum in Monino, near Moscow. Please refer to the post here if you haven't seen it! 

Because I knew it deserved this weeks Pic(k) of the week, the image that is my personal favourite was left out on purpose.

I was exactly 18 months old when the Sukhoi T-4 first took to the skies on 22 August 1972. The aircraft was designed as a high speed reconnaissance, anti-ship and nuclear bomber, a reaction to the US built North American XB-70 Valkyrie. The one on display in Monino, is one of the two prototypes that were built and the only one that ever flew. She only did a total of 10 flights, with just over 10 hours flying time. 

Just like Concorde, the aircraft has a drooping nose section, so the pilots can see the runway for take-off and landing. 

With a design speed of 3200 km/h, she is largely made out of titanium and stainless steel to allow for the high friction temperatures. Unfortunately the project was cancelled in 1974 before the full performance of the aircraft was reached.

Just having seen the trailer for the new movie "Planes" (same production as Cars), she reminds me of some of the cartoon characters. One can even say she looks sad. Sad that she's not allowed to fly again...

2013 Pic(k) of the week 36: Sad plane from Russia

Image details:
FujiFilm X-E1 (Sexy-1) with the 18-55 Fujinon
ISO200, 56mm (full frame equivalent), f8, 1/240s
RAW development in Lightroom 5
Nik SilverEfex for Black and White conversion

In a few days, I'm off to Hahnweide near Stuttgart Germany, for the biannual Oldtimer Fliegertreffen. Over 340 vintage aircraft are planned to fly into the little grass-strip in Southern Germany. With a great weather forecast, this should be a very promising event... 

Remember, " it only takes two things to fly, airspeed and money" 


Monday, September 2, 2013

Russian Federation Air Force Museum Monino (Moscow)

Last week I was able to tick off another item from my Aviation bucket list; the Russian Federation Air Force museum at Monino. 

Monino Air Force museum sign

Monino is a disused airport about 50km East of Moscow and was until a few years ago the home of the Gagarin Air Force academy. The museum which opened in 1958, is still the largest aviation museum in the former USSR. 

Mig-3 high altitude fighter

Two hangars hold quite a few memorable World War 2 (Mig-3 above) and experimental aircraft but the main attraction is clearly the more than 100 aircraft parked outside.

As one enters the "airpark", the first attraction is the worlds largest helicopter, the mighty record breaking Mil-V12 which could carry 196 passengers. This twin rotor monster still holds the 1969 record for carrying a load of 40.000 kg to an altitude of 7400 feet. Only two were built and the project was eventually cancelled in 1974.

Monster helicopter, Twin rotor Mil-V12

There is an impressive collection of most Cold War strategic bombers parked at Monino. Interesting NATO used to give all Russian military aircraft a NATO name, this because the official Russian name was often initially not known. You will find these names between parentheses in this post.

Examples are this early nuclear Tupolev TU-16  "Badger" bomber 

TU-16 Badger A, early nuclear bomber

and the Tupolev TU-24M "Backfire"

Tupolev TU-22M Backfire bomber

My personal favorite is the mighty Tupolev TU-95M "Bear". Standing just inside the gate it looks like this aircraft is a recent addition to the museum. I can still remember seeing pictures of "Bears" being intercepted by NATO aircraft in the 1980's, with the Russian crews waving at the "enemy" aircraft.

Tu-95MS Bear bomber

A interesting collection of transport and airline prop-liners can be found at the Western side of the static park. This includes the worlds largest turbo-prop aircraft, the Antonov AN-22 "Antheus",

Antonov An-22 Antei,

This particular sleek looking Tupolev TU-114 flew USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev non-stop from Moscow to New York in 1959 on a state visit.

Tupolev Tu-114 Rossiya

Moving on to fast jets, there is a nice collection of Soviet fighters, including some prime examples of the very beginning of the jet age such as the Lavochkin La-15 below, 

Lavochkin La-15

or this YAK-23 "Flora".

Yak-23 Flora, early jet

particularly like the vintage Mig collection (right to left) all the way from the Mig-15 "Fagot", Mig-17 "Fresco" to the Mig-19 "Farmer".

Mig collection, Mig-19, Mig-17 and Mig-15 (L to R)

There also is a fair amount of rare birds on display. The weirdest one is probably the Mig-105 Spiral, nicknamed the "Shoe". This lifting body was the forerunner for the "Buran" which in turn was the Russian version of the Space Shuttle which unfortunately only did one unmanned flight before the project was cancelled with the fall of the Soviet Union. 

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-105 Spiral

Another aircraft with a twist is this experimental version of the Sukhoi SU-7; the S-26 equipped with skis to operate from low density runways (snow, etc..). 

SU-7BM with a ski/skid landing gear

Used as an agricultural spray airplane, this Polish built PZL M-15 is the worlds only "pure jet powered" biplane.

Jet biplane  PZL-Mielec M-15-01 Belphegor

Because aircraft are parked very closely, I did focus on photographing some aircraft details such as the canopy of this Sukhoi SU-7.

SU-7BM cockpit

Or the nose section of the Sukhoi TU-4. More info on this one of a kind aircraft can be found on the next Pic(k) of the week 36 post, due Sep 4, 2013.

Sukhoi T-4 Project 100 prototype

Practical info

Even though I had the luxury of having a Russian guide (thanks Natalia) one can make his own way to Monino. 

We made our way to the Yaroslavsky railway station in central Moscow by metro and then caught a train to Monino. Even though the direct distance is only about 50km, the train ride does take about 1h 20'. We bought return tickets leaving Moscow for 150RUB per person. When travelling without a Russian speaker, I suggest you ask somebody ( hotel staff...) to write down what tickets you want in Russian. 

Once you arrive at the Monino railway station there is about a 15 to 20 min walk before you get to the museum. I recommend using a GPS application like CityMaps2Go to find your way since there are very little signs. Alternatively save a photo of the entrance sign on your phone so you can show it when asking for directions. 

Online information telling you to book the visit beforehand is outdated. The museum is open unrestricted on weekdays from 0930 to 1530 and on Saturdays from 0930 to 1400. Avoid getting there between 1300 and 1430 since the ticket desk will be on a lunch break. All is closed Wednesday and Sunday.

There seems to be an additional fee for a special "photography permit", but since were not questioned, we only paid the normal 150 RUB entrance fee. 

Lastly make sure you stop by the Yuri Gagarin monument about halfway the walk between the station and the museum. 

Yuri Gagarin statue

On 12 april 1961, Yuri was the first human to go into space. My Russian friend Natalia was clearly and very rightly so, proud on that achievement! 

Overall I'm very happy I made it to Monino and probably will go a second time at some stage. As I grew up I've always been fascinated by some of the Russian aircraft designs. At that stage I never thought that one day I would get to see these with my own eyes.