Now for Something Completely Different

Friday, for the 70th anniversary of VE Day, there was an amazing flyover of the Washington Mall by aircraft that helped win WWII. The planes followed the river from airfields in Virginia, turned east at the Lincoln Memorial and flew down the Mall, eventually turning south and heading back. Their path was carefully set forth in the highly restricted airspace.

Stearmans--these are bi-planes, which I usually associate with the Great War.  This is their training formation.

Stearmans–these are bi-planes, which I usually associate with the Great War. This is their training formation.

There was quite a crowd of office workers and tourists out to see them, some taking video, but most snapping pictures with phones and cameras. There was a lot of camaraderie and at least one expert within my earshot. I am an avid admirer of vintage aircraft, and really could not pass this up. Most of these planes were 70 or more years old and were up in the air through the efforts of piston engines.

Curtis P-40 Warhawks.  I think these are the planes you usually see painted up with teeth as the Flying Tigers.

Curtis P-40 Warhawks. I think these are the planes you usually see painted up with teeth as the Flying Tigers.

By and large they were flying in particular formations used in various battles. Lucky for me, The Washington Post published the order and the formations, so I hope my identifications are correct.

These were very flashy and noisy and painted different colors.  I think they're Mustangs.

These were very flashy and noisy and painted different colors. I think they’re Mustangs.

B-25s in Doolittle Raid formation

B-25s in Doolittle Raid formation

The P-38 Lightning, which apparently flew over 400 mph.  The bombers, which looked as though they were trundling, flew something over 200, I think.

The P-38 Lightning, which apparently flew over 400 mph. The bombers, which looked as though they were trundling, flew something over 200, I think.

B-24 Liberator, escorted by Mustangs.

B-24 Liberator, escorted by Mustangs.

B-17s, known as the Flying Fortress

B-17s, known as the Flying Fortress

I think this is representing Leyte Gulf--two Grumman Avengers and one Curtiss Helldiver.  It's not a lost man formation--I think this is the plane that had to land at National Airport because of engine trouble.

I think this is representing Leyte Gulf–two Grumman Avengers and one Curtiss Helldiver. It’s not a lost man formation–I think this is the plane that had to land at National Airport because of engine trouble.

Vought F4U Corsairs representing the battle of Iwo Jima.

Vought F4U Corsairs representing the battle of Iwo Jima.

B-29 Superfortress.  This thing lumbered, but it got the job done.

B-29 Superfortress. This thing lumbered, but it got the job done.

Missing Man formation, still together, with (nearest to farthest) Mustang, Avenger, Corsair, Warhawk.

Missing Man formation, still together, with (nearest to farthest) Mustang, Avenger, Corsair, Warhawk.

All photos taken by my colleague John Burg, who had my camera, which ran out of memory. Luckily, he also had that outdated email implement, the Blackberry, with him and could keep photographing.  If I have misidentified any planes, please let me know.  This was almost as good as a day at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome!

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16 Responses to Now for Something Completely Different

  1. Once again you astound me with your enthusiasm and knowledge about – things! I loved looking at these photos, knowing where you were, imagining you standing there with your head thrown back conversing with your colleague. Were they noisy these old planes? And glad to see the one who had a bit of trouble made it even if out of formation! You live in a fabulous city!!

    Like

    • arlingwoman says:

      They were surprisingly quiet, except for the flashy little Mustangs, which are apparently the Formula One race cars of the air. But all of them were also flying slow…

      Like

  2. A great event Lisa. Given your avidity, I feel sure you would enjoy this: http://derrickjknight.com/2014/12/31/she-saw-the-r100/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KerryCan says:

    How cool to have been there to see this! I don’t know anything about these old planes but your excitement is contagious.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love airshows like these , it makes me excited like a little girl. But also, WWII played an important part in my family history and the liberation of The Netherlands by Canadian and American troops together with the Marshall plan after the War made the future for my parents ( and therefor myself) possible. I always salut the then so many brave young people! Thanks for sharing, xo Johanna

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  5. Robin says:

    How exciting! I saw this on the news and wished we had been able to take my father-in-law to see it. He’s a WWII veteran, and I know he would love to have seen this.

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  6. There is nothing quite so exciting and intoxicating as an American airshow. It’s a parade in the sky. It brings such wonderment to the folks below–truly awe-inspiring feats.
    Those are spectacular photos, Lisa. I can almost feel myself at the scene looking up at the sky and saying a million thank yous to those who worked with such effort on behalf of my
    future. Thanks for sharing something so important and worthy.
    Cheers!

    Like

  7. You live and work in such a cool place! It’s fun learning something else about you, too. I’m so glad your friend could capture these shots.

    Like

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