Saturday, May 09, 2015

Warbirds over Washington

Here they are, in all of their (mostly) radial-engined glory.

Some L-4 and O-1 observation birds led the way.
Then came a flight of Stearmans.
Then a pair of Fairchild PT-19 trainers. (Harrison Ford was not in evidence today.)
T-6 Texan time...and SNJs, for you Navy types.
A pair of P-40s put in an appearance, one dcked out in AVG colors.
And three B-25 Mitchells came over low enough to set off a couple of car alarms. Because RADIAL ENGINES!
Next came a beautiful PBY Catalina flying boat.
And a Grumman F4F Wildcat (lower left) escorts a Douglas Dauntless dive-bomber (upper right).
Another pair of Wildcats made a low pass.
Then a Lockheed P-38 Lightning flew past almost to fast to capture.
A B-24 came next, escorted by three little friends of the P-51 Mustang variety.
And four more very photogenic Mustangs followed.
They were clearing the way for two Boeing B-17 bombers.
Then it was a couple of Douglas DC-3s, better known in military parlance as C-47s.
Next, a Curtis SB2C Helldiver came over.
He was leading a flight and had a Grumman TBM Avenger on each wing.
Then came a Douglas A-26 Invader, my favorite attack bomber of all time.
Followed up by my favorite fighter in the form of a pair of Chance-Vought (of Goodyear) Corsairs.
Then Fifi the B-29 made a low pass over Arlington and came on across the river into the District.
Last, but certainly not least, the "Missing Man" flight, composed of (left to right) a P-40, a Corsair, a TBM Avenger and a P-51D.
I got these from the back side of the Lincoln Memorial, and it was well worth the effort to get down there to see this half-hour long parade of aircraft goodness. A special thanks is due to the men and women who made this event happen, because it could not have been easy to coordinate this event and make it come off as smoothly as it did. Out of all of the participating aircraft, only one, a TBM Avenger, had mechanical problems. That one made an emergency landing at Reagan International Airport just south of the District, and it'll be ok.


  1. Great pics, and those are some absolutely beautiful planes. Wish I had been there.

  2. The P-38 would be quiet. Not only being a liquid cooled engine but the super turbo-charger, pushing the blade on top of the engine, acted as a muffler.

    Bet that feature saved a few lives when low level strafing.

    Can you imagine seeing a thousand heavy bombers all in combat box formations flying over one's city? Many a German saw that, to their regret.

  3. Pure envy here. Thanks for the pictures.

  4. Great pics.. In the first P51 pic notice one is a B or C model. I have never seen an early one in person. Very cool to see that. And both Corsairs had 3 blade props, so earlier versions too. It was a great fly by... Would have been cool if one of the C47s dropped a load of airborne on the white house lawn...

    1. Yep. The Commemorative Air Force owns that C model. Collings Foundation has a two-seat B model, too.

      Lot of chatter in the crowds about redirecting the bombers half a mile north, too. ;-)

  5. Hey Murphy;

    Awesome pics....Thank You!

  6. Thanks for the pix.

    We had a very nice VE Day memorial on the Iowa.

  7. Thanks for the photos, it must have been awesome in person. I doubt we will see the like again.

  8. Great pics, and truly sorry I missed it!

  9. Would like to see at least the B-29 because my uncle was one of those that built the landing strips on Iwo that so many used in runs over Japan.

    1. I the same, PH, only it was my Dad that island hopped with the SeaBees building airstrips and Quonset Huts.

      He always joked they went in right after the Marines so everything would be ready for the Army!

  10. The damn podcast only showed one DC-3. Seemed strange that they couldn't get six or so.....

    Nice photos!

    1. I agree. I know that there's a flying C-46 somewhat local, and I'm surprised that it wasn't there.

      Glad you liked the pics.