August 2014's Cool Aerial Shots

July 24, 2014

Three World War II fighters fly in formation: Photographer Paul Bowen writes: “My favorite times to shoot are first and last light. This sunset shot was taken off the southern California coast over the marine layer. When you have four planes flying in close formation (three targets and the photo platform plane) it adds to the difficulty of the shot. Flying with great pilots ups the odds in the photographer’s favor.


Flying behind the open tail of the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, the Learjet leaves a trail of swirled clouds as it skims across the tops. Flying this close to another airplane takes special training and practice, photographer Paul Bowen says. Someone may think they’re a good driver, but they couldn’t get into a NASCAR car and expect to be successful or safe on the track because they don’t have the training or experience. The same thing goes with pilots and formation flying close to another plane. The Cessna CitationJet 3, or CJ3, was shot over the marine layer off the California coast from the open tail of a B-25 Mitchell Bomber. The swirling clouds reveal the wing-tip vortices effect from the air coming off the wing tips. This affect happens all the time, but it is only revealed when flying over clouds, fog or smoke. Photo by Paul Bowen.


The Tuskegee Airmen were famed African-American pilots who gained recognition for the excellent flying during World War II. This P-51 Mustang, painted in the Tuskegee Airmen’s Red Tail scheme was the best American fighter plane in World War II. Photo by Paul Bowen.The sleek lines of the Learjet are accentuated in this shot over Lake Powell in Utah after sunset. This was shot from the open-air tail gunner’s position of a World War II B-25 Mitchell Bomber. Photo by Paul Bowen.This dual-control TF-51 Mustang was captured at sunrise. To light up the front a strobe or flash was used on the camera. Radio communication between the pilots allows the photographer to position the planes for the best shots. Photo by Paul Bowen