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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Red Flag, Checkered Flag

NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, takes place this weekend. And in racing, nobody wants to see a red flag before the checkered flag. But in the realm of aviation, it’s a different story.

From late last month into February, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada has hosted one of several major exercises that take place every year under the name Red Flag. With thousands of miles of airspace on hand, Red Flag offers pilots, crews, and many other personnel the opportunity to hone their skills under realistic air combat conditions.

While there are Red Flag exercises restricted to United States military only, the iteration that has just concluded brought together international partners to team up with our aviators. Which means our skies hosted a number of aircraft rarely seen in the United States. Yesterday a flight of four Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft and a large Airbus Voyager KC tanker/transport plane took off from Las Vegas headed home on the long flight back to England.

Fortunately, these planes took a break after flying across the US, landing at Dover Air Force Base late yesterday. And with Dover located just down the road from Aerospace Perceptions headquarters, I made it a point to be on hand to welcome these special visitors to Delaware as the sun set. I hope you’ll enjoy the photos. 

Click each image to see larger sizes…

All photographs: Frank Moriarty/Aerospace Perceptions

For more on Red Flag visit:

For more on Eurofighter Typhoon visit:

For more on Voyager KC visit:

In a stroke of luck, in the moments between the Typhoon flight and the Voyager landing, a beautiful Boeing 747-400 on a freight mission for Atlas Air also arrived on the scene. I can’t let that majestic sight go undocumented!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Forget the halftime show – we want the flyover!

Traveling from Aerospace Perceptions headquarters to the practice facilities and stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles requires just a short jaunt up I-95. So, it’s easy to understand why Super Bowl fever has consumed my immediate area and – to be honest – this entire region. After the Eagles (finally) won their first Super Bowl on February 4, 2018, Philadelphia hosted a massive victory parade which included my participation and a chance to congratulate several of the players first-hand. Not surprisingly, I wouldn’t mind a repeat of that experience.

Regardless of your choice in football teams, though, one aspect of the Super Bowl that always attracts attention is the pre-game flyover. Super Bowl LVII is no exception.

Screen grab from U.S. Navy Video/Austin Rooney

Fortunately, the U.S. Navy understands how hard it is to wait until Sunday. So, they have kindly provided a tightly-produced sneak preview video of the aircraft that will be involved. I won’t list them here in case you want to maintain the element of surprise, but it’s an impressive array and I can guarantee you I’ll be ready and waiting for the flyover Sunday evening!

You can enjoy this brief promotional video at the following link:

One thing I will add is that the pilots at the controls of these aircraft are an all-female crew. Though that's news this weekend, hopefully in the days to come the skill and talents of female pilots will continue to be fully embraced and attract no more attention than the presence of male pilots.

Screen grab from ABC News/Good Morning America