built in 1943

7

   For the first time ever, the Tico Warbird Airshow hosted a night performance at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida.

      In these photos, we see the AeroShell Aerobatic Team flying North American AT-6 Texans in precise formation, with aircraft strobelights constantly blinding each other’s vision. Matt Younkin flies his Beechcraft Model 18 (built in 1943, never designed for a loop or a roll) through graceful maneuvers in the inky darkness. Mig driver, Randy Ball, lights up the surroundings with the afterburner of his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F. At the time of this writing, Ball is the only pilot in North America certified to fly unlimited jet fighter aerobatics at night.

     As if photographing an airshow isn’t hard enough, why not try it without the help of sunlight? This proved to be extremely challenging, but the product is rewarding. The same could be said for the performers, as night flying (let alone night low-level aerobatics) is considerably more harrowing. These aviators made it look easy.