Arsenal of Democracy Flyover

May 14, 2015  •  1 Comment

A Pair of CorsairsA Pair of CorsairsA pair of Vought F4U Corsair fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the thirteenth formation of the flyover, the "Iwo Jima" formation. According to the Washington Post, "The gull-winged Corsair was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight. Late to enter carrier service because of landing gear problems, it became famous flying from island bases in the Pacific with such squadrons as the Black Sheep Squadron led by Marine Corps ace Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington. The Japanese called it 'Whistling Death,' and it served through World War II and the Korean War. It served in Central American air forces until the early 1970s.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 41 ft.
Length: 34 ft.

On May 8, 2015, the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, a diverse array of World War II aircraft flew over the skies of Washington, D.C., to honor the heroes who fought in World War II and those at home who produced the tanks, ships, and aircraft that enabled the United States and its Allies to achieve victory.

The flyover took place just after noon, so I was able to attend merely by running across the street to watch during my lunch break. I was able to get out on the west front terrace of the Capitol. There was quite a crowd.

Anticipating the FlyoverAnticipating the FlyoverCrowds gather on the National Mall and on the west terrace of the Capitol in anticipation of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, May 8, 2015.

The aircraft flew in 15 historically sequenced formations. Each formation represented a major battle of the War. Here are some of my favorites. (Click on the photos for more information.)

The following two photos are of North American AT-6/SNJs flying in the first formation, the "Trainer" formation. I've seen a lot of these in movies about World War II.

In FormationIn FormationA fleet of North American AT-6/SNJ fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the first formation of the flyover, the "Trainer" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Army, Navy and Marine pilots learned how to dogfight and shoot in this single-engine advanced trainer, which also saw 'action' in Hollywood movies about World War II, standing in for Japanese aircraft.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 42 ft.
Length: 29 ft.

World War II TrainersWorld War II TrainersA fleet of North American AT-6/SNJ fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the first formation of the flyover, the "Trainer" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Army, Navy and Marine pilots learned how to dogfight and shoot in this single-engine advanced trainer, which also saw 'action' in Hollywood movies about World War II, standing in for Japanese aircraft.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 42 ft.
Length: 29 ft.

The second formation, the "Pearl Harbor" formation, included Curtiss P-40 Warhawks. These are the "Flying Tigers"! As a kid, I loved the tiger mouths that were painted on the noses of the fighters.

Flying Tigers!Flying Tigers!A pair of Curtiss P–40 Warhawk fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the second formation of the flyover, the "Pearl Harbor" formation. According to the Washington Post, "Claire Lee Chennault’s American Volunteer Group – the Flying Tigers – made this single-engined fighter, outmoded at the start of the war, famous through their hit-and-run tactics against the Japanese in China. The British, the Russians and other allied air forces used it in all theaters.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 37 ft.
Length: 32 ft.
The B-17 Flying Fortress from the ninth formation, the "Big Week" formation, was really neat and I'm quite happy with the photo. If you look closely, you can see where all the gunners sat.

Flying FortressFlying FortressA Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress flies in the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. This plane flew as part of the ninth formation of the flyover, the "Big Week" formation. According to the Washington Post, the Boeing B–17 was "First used in combat in 1941 (though prototypes were flown before then), the B-17 is one of the most famous bombers ever built. This aircraft was pivotal in the destruction of Germany’s industrial fabric and the allied victory in Europe.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 104 ft.
Length: 74 ft.

I'm particularly fond of the following photo and the one at the start of this post. (These are from the thirteenth "Iwo Jima" formation). The Corsairs are very fast airplanes and I was afraid the photos wouldn't turn out. Clouds and CorsairsClouds and CorsairsA pair of Vought F4U Corsair fly in formation as part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. These planes flew as part of the thirteenth formation of the flyover, the "Iwo Jima" formation. According to the Washington Post, "The gull-winged Corsair was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight. Late to enter carrier service because of landing gear problems, it became famous flying from island bases in the Pacific with such squadrons as the Black Sheep Squadron led by Marine Corps ace Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington. The Japanese called it 'Whistling Death,' and it served through World War II and the Korean War. It served in Central American air forces until the early 1970s.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 41 ft.
Length: 34 ft.

The following airplane is enormous. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress (in the fourteenth "Final Air Offensive" formation) is the same kind of airplane that dropped the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Boeing B-29 SuperfortressBoeing B-29 SuperfortressA Boeing B–29 Superfortress flies in the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, which occurred over Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. This plane flew as part of the fourteenth formation of the flyover, the "Final Air Offensive" formation. According to the Washington Post, the Boeing B–29 was "A long-range heavy bomber that entered active service toward the end of World War II. One of the largest aircraft of its time, the B-29 was used in the nuclear attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.", May 7, 2015.

Wingspan: 141 ft.
Length: 99 ft.


Comments

1.Michelle Johnson-Weider(non-registered)
Your photos turned out so well! beautiful. thanks for sharing!
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