If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you know I love planes.  I don’t post a ton of military planes, simply because I don’t get the chance to take pictures of them very often, but they’re some of the sleekest and fiercest-looking aircraft in the skies, and marvels of engineering and achievement.  This all brings us to the “DWH” hangar at DFW Airport, also known as American’s Maintenance Hangar 5 on the first weekend of October.

SkyBall is an annual event which benefits the Airpower Foundation, a great organization which supports military families.  American Airlines is a big-time sponsor and supporter of SkyBall, lending their enormous maintenance hangar for the event, and there are plenty of other businesses supporting the event as well.  A big part of SkyBall is the military presence, so each year there’s an aviation expo just outside the hangar.  This year, just like last year, the folks at the Airpower Foundation were nice enough to provide access to the ramp outside the hangar for me to grab some pictures on Friday morning at sunrise, before everything got too crowded.

I immediately made my way for the epic and legendary B-52 Stratofortress.  Or, the BUFF.  Whatever you want to call it.  There was some decent cloud movement and it was still pretty dark so I was able to grab a 4-minute exposure to add some great motion into the scene.  An American 737 took off in the background, which is the light trail you see in the sky.

a large airplane on a runway

The B-52 was incredible, not just the size of it but realizing that these airframes have been in the sky since the 1950s and will stay flying until 2040!  It absolutely dwarfed the American 737 in the background.

From more “obvious” or prominent airplanes like the B-52 I turned around and faced some “invisible” jets: the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning.  A C-130 and American 777-200 completed the scene.

a group of airplanes on a runway

Last year I got some great pics of the F-35 so I really wanted to get pics of the F-22 this time.

a fighter jet on a runway

a fighter jet on a runway

But I couldn’t just ignore the F-35 either.

a fighter jet on a runway

The sun was blocked by some thick cloud cover, which made for some really interesting light so early in the morning.  I decided to focus on group shots of the various jets, including the F-16 below.

a group of fighter jets on a runway

a group of fighter jets parked on a runway

I loved the juxtaposition of military aircraft against civilian aircraft, so I grabbed quite a few of those.  I really love this first one, an F-22 next to a 777.

a group of airplanes on a runway

two airplanes on a runway

As the sun rose higher in the sky (still not clearing the clouds), the light got a bit flat, so I went over to a plane the needs no introduction: the A-10 Warthog.

a military jet on the ground

And then swung my camera around for another shot of the B-52, because B-52.

a large airplane on a runway

I figured the F-16 was feeling a little lonely so I took another shot of it while the American 777 observed in the background.

a jet fighter on a runway

I saw a break in the clouds and knew the sun would be peeking through soon, so I tried to find a great plane to highlight.  I figured the A-26K named Special Kay, currently undergoing restoration, would be the perfect foreground, and indeed it was!

a plane on the runway

It was a great sunrise on a great SkyBall weekend.  The planes were epic and amazing, only overshadowed by the men and women who fly them and maintain them.  Happy SkyBall to all servicemembers and their families!


Which picture is your favorite?  Which jet is your favorite (whether I got a picture of it or not)?  Tell me in the comments below!

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