Air To Air Photography

Air-to-Air photography isn’t something that happens as a happy coincidence. By the time two airplanes hook up in formation, many hours of planning have gone into the planning of the whole process. Countless telephone calls, studying of maps, weather checks and precise flight formations meticulously researched and cross-checked to ensure that a safe mission results.

The planning starts when the client determines the need by specifying exactly what they need. Sometimes the whole airplane needs to be photographed to highlight a new color scheme, whereas the military will more than likely need a dynamic frontal image, possible in a tight turn at low level over dramatic terrain. And so the planning takes shape as I define the operating area, which has to be within the technical limits of both the subject and platform airplane. I prefer to use established photo platform aircraft, the OV-10 Bronco is my favorite, of course, because of the superb uninterrupted rear view, but it lacks a side on angle which is better covered by something like a Cessna Caravan or Beech Bonanza.

What About Speed Compatibility?

Modern military airplanes handle well at relatively low speeds of 150 knots, but older generation types such as the Hunter or F-5 need at least 185 to 200 knots to maintain a reasonable chance of staying in formation. Matching speeds and capabilities is essential in getting the mix right in the air. I remember my first ever photo flight, we had a Robin as platform to photograph an EKW C.3605, a real mis-match, but the pictures were OK.

Watch A Video Of Me Doing An Air To Air Shoot

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