The images below were taken at the Olympic Airshow between June 26 and June 28, 2015. The air show was held at the Olympia Regional Airport, Olympia, Washington.
This gallery is best viewed on a PC or laptop. The default image size is 1000 pixels—although you can view scaled-down images on small monitors, phones, and tablets.
I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed taking them.
On Friday, June 26, 2015, Dick Robb and I arrived at the Olympic Flight Museum at 07:30 AM. The museum is located at the Olympia Regional Airport. Nothing could be done on the apron until a Bell UH-1H helicopter departed. Other members from the Sanderson Field RC Flyers (SFRCF) and the Thurston County Miniature Aircraft Assn. (TCMAA) arrived at the museum while we waited.
Once the helicopter departed, museum staff moved their Corsair and Stearman onto the apron.
Dick consulted a layout of event exhibits to determine where to erect the tent. Club members then set up the tent and tables for the scale R/C display. As can be seen from some of the images, club members had a lot of fun while doing their work. They collected display aircraft and loaded them into a large and secure trailer hitched to Dick's van. Jody Diaz provided the trailer. The R/C setup was finished around noon and Dick parked the locked trailer in a secure area of the airport.
The next day, Saturday, June 27, the apron was crowded with aircraft and the museum was filled with vendor tables. Dick picked up the trailer and drove it to the display area. Volunteers from both SFRCF and TCMAA removed the scale aircraft and set many of them on the tables under the tent. Other aircraft were set on the grass next to the tent. The planes on the grass had to be crowded into the tent Sunday morning during a brief thunder shower. The R/C display attracted a large number of visitors. Visitors of all ages were thrilled with the aircraft and were especially attracted to Dave Robinson's uncovered Proctor Enterprises Neiuport 28 C-1. Club volunteers answered questions throughout the event. Volunteers included Dave Robinson, Jim Black, Travis Haferkamp, Mike Driver, Roy Snyder, Bob Beatty, Royce Tivel, Jody Diaz, Sharon Diaz, Sonny Lewis, Dick Robb, and Tom Gallagher.
The first large air show exhibit to arrive was the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron Traveling Exhibit, the "Rise Above Exhibit." The exhibit, except for a restored Mustang to fly in later, arrived in a huge 53-foot semi-trailer. The semi was driven by Terry and Jeanette Hollis. Terry and Jeanette quickly readied the exhibit for visitors. Contained within the trailer was a mind-boggling, 160-degree panoramic screen. The experience of watching and hearing a red-tail mustang fly across the screen was astounding—the sound system was superb.
The actual "Red Tail" Mustang for the exhibit was one of the first aircraft to fly into the airport. Museum staff parked the Mustang at the exhibit. For one of the TCMAA volunteers, the Red Tail turned out to be very special—Sonny Lewis got to sit in the cockpit and talk at length with the pilot, Bill Shepard.
The first concession to open next to our tent was High Country Espresso—I really needed that first-morning mocha. High Country Espresso is owned and operated by Leslie Warren. Hot Dogs D.E.L.U.X.E, owned and operated by Doug Merino and his wife, was soon in business within steps from our tent. We could not run them out of hot dogs during the air show—but we tried! Another vendor, Dennis King, was assembling his awesome mahogany model aircraft from Mahogany Importers.
Throughout the air show, I was impressed with the volunteer effort of the South Sound Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. In wandering around the apron, I saw cadets protecting the public from entering areas where aircraft were moving. In addition, cadets served as a color guard during the opening ceremonies each day.
Everywhere I looked during the air show, I saw one or more of the museum staff, crew, or volunteers. Moving aircraft, securing access gates, mowing grass, putting out cones and barriers to direct vehicles and spectators, answering questions—these were just a few of the jobs accomplished during the event. Thank you, Teri Thorning, Event Coordinator, and thanks to all of the other staff, crew, and volunteers for your huge contribution.
When I first arrived at the air show on Friday, the apron was practically empty. There wasn't much more on the apron when Dick and I left at noon. So, the surprise for me on Saturday was to look over an apron crowded with aircraft, exhibits, and vendors. The images below tell the story of what I saw.
One of the most surprising performances for me was the Smoke-N-Thunder Jet Car. The racer's sonic booms, flames, and smoke were impossible to ignore. To top off the excitement, the driver and pilots raced each other the length of the runway. One of the most memorable images I captured was of the museum's Corsair coming in low over the apron on its way to the start line. Crew chief and co-owner Steve Uhrich visited our R/C display. I also visited the exhibit area and enjoyed listening to Steve as he talked about the car. The car was driven by Bill Braack.
Team Valley View performed some amazing aerobatics with their large R/C aircraft.
The gallery images below will give you some idea of what I saw during the performances. Often, the aircraft were too far away and too small for the camera and lens I used—so, I just forgot my camera and watched the almost unbelievable aerobatics. I did, however, capture some images of the aircraft and pilots while they were on the runway.
There is not much to compare with the experience of watching two Ospreys run-up their engines, taxi to the runway, and take-off. An Osprey take-off involves most of the senses: there is the sound of the engines, the smell of the exhaust, the engine heat, and a rumble through the feet as the giant propellers begin to rotate. Visually, the heat of the engines blurr the background scenery and the Ospreys create a fog of dust as they move off the paved runway. The size of the Ospreys alone would have made them worth seeing; watching them take-off made the experience unforgettable.
Special thanks to Glacier Aviation for allowing us to park our R/C airplanes on their grass and to park our trailer overnight in their parking area. Glacier Aviation conducts professional flight training in commercial aviation, including helicopters.
The images were taken with a Canon Rebel T3i. I used Canon EF 100mm macro, EFS 60mm macro, and EFS 18-55mm lenses for the images. All images received simple processing in Photoshop and were saved as low-resolution JPEG images that were optimized for the Web. See "A New Photographic System for an Old Photographer" for more information about my (now somewhat dated) photographic system.