Pic(k) of the week 14: Tony II, the day before the tornado...

Those of you following me on Facebook and Twitter probably know that I had my first real life tornado experience last week... Just before lunchtime on March 31st, a tornado damaged and/or destroyed about 70 aircraft at the Lakeland airport during the annual Sun 'n Fun fly-inn in Florida.

Fortunately there were no life threatening injuries and the organizers managed to continue with the event for the remaining three days.

The whole experience of seeing multiple crippled aircraft was heartbreaking for a general aviation enthusiast as myself and I purposely decided not to take any images of the mayhem.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 14: Tony II, the day before the tornado...
One of the aircraft that was destroyed last Thursday, was Tony Spicer's homebuilt RV-3B. I photographed this beautiful single seat aircraft less than 24 hours before the tragic event and feel incredibly sorry for his loss. Tony spend thousands of hours over several years building Tony Boy II, named after Tony's dad P-51 Mustang " Tony Boy" which he flew during WWII.

He flew his Van's RV-3B as the crew chief of Team RV, the world's largest air show team! 

On a public announcement Tony said: " These things happen for a reason. I have unfortunately  not found what it is...".  A short video clip of Tony talking about his loss can be found here.

Those of you interested in a meteorological explanation of the tornado that struck Lakeland, click here.

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 2.8 24-70mm
ISO200, 24mm, f8, 1/400s
RAW development in LR3
Singe file HDR with Nik's HDR Efex Pro

Needless to say that there are many more sad stories about last weeks natural disaster at Sun' n Fun! My thoughts go out to each and all of you! 
On a positive note, expect more pre-tornado aviation photography from Sun 'n Fun in the coming days... 

Click that shutter,

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