Friday, May 8, 2009

Raptor Launch

The Lockheed Martin F-22A is not a favorite airplane of mine (more on that later), but it is an excellent fighter and an impressive performer. I got this shot as the Raptor was taking off at the Edwards AFB open house in 2003. Panning shots are always a bit of a challenge, so I was quite happy with this image; especially with the afterburner flame as well lit as it was.

The YF-22 prototype beat the Northrop - McDonnell Douglas YF-23 prototype for the Advanced Tactical Aircraft program in 1991. While I understand intellectually why the YF-22 was picked, I still feel the YF-23 was the better - and better-looking - airplane. But technical attributes are not the only criteria for award selection and while the YF-23 is my favorite plane, there is no denying the outstanding qualities of the Raptor. It will just never replace the '23 in my heart.

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