WOW! What a year 2016 has been for the ASO team , the team that has grown now to nine and we have all made great inroads into capturing images and footage from here in Australia and across the world. Our fan base has grown on a scale we all could have only dreamed of. We now have over 75,000 people from around the world following the team on the website and the number is growing everyday.
We have covered Air Shows here in Australia like the Wings Over Illawarra, Mudgee Airshow, The ADF Townsville 150 Airshow, Evans Head Airshow, Brisbane Valley Airshow and the Tyabb Airshow. Overseas we covered the Royal International Air Tattoo in the UK, Planes of Fame Airshow and Fort Worth Air Power Expo in the US. Warbirds Over Wanaka, Osan Airshow and Aviation Nation are just a few more that we attended.
We covered Military Exercises here and overseas like Exercise Pitch Black, Exercise High Sierra and Red Flag 16/1 in the USA.We also covered rare aircraft that flew to Australia like Air Force 2 & Ed Force One.
We covered exclusively the 1st flights of restored aircraft like the Hurricane at Scone as well as some of Paul Bennet’s new toys.
There could be no better time for each team member to give a quick over view of the year they had and what they got to capture. Thank you so much for your support of ASO and to the many that gave the team access, we can’t thank you enough and we very much look forward to what the future has in store. 2017 will be an even bigger year and we can’t wait to ramp up our coverage as well as introduce a few new things, but more on that next year, so for now enjoy each of the team members highlights and again thank you all for following us.- Mark Jessop & Leigh Atkinson.
Leigh’s 2016 Highlights
It was great to watch the team collaborate and evolve this year … watching us cover events like the T150 Townsville ADF air show and Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin were highlights for me. I watched a bunch of dedicated individuals pull together and produce coverage that just isn’t possible by single freelancers. A personal thanks and well done to the team.
From a shooter’s perspective my highlights started with one of the country’s smallest shows … The Great Eastern Fly In at Evans Head NSW. This small but diverse little airshow (which is on again on the 7th and 8th of Jan 2017) shows what passionate aviation people around this country can achieve.
Here are a couple of glimpses of that show …
Mark and I visited Wanaka in the south island of New Zealand. For Warbirds Over Wanaka which is a biannual event over the Easter weekend.
Pitch Black in Darwin gave the team the opportunity to get up close and personal with a range of the worlds current military hardware including the RAAF’s F/A-18 Hornets.
Wings Over Illawarra was a great team exercise showing that the ASO team can deliver … and it was such a buzz watching the competition between the team to do better and better each day.
Slightly left of centre for most aviation spotters is the new arena of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The RAAF invited ASO along to RAAF Base Amberley to take a look at the Heron.
Again the smaller air shows produce some great shooting opportunities. Brisbane Valley Air Show at Watts Bridge is one of those.
2016 bought the team lots of opportunity and I’d like take a moment to thank everyone who has helped ASO along the way. From the individuals in the RAAF media team to the warbird aircraft owners … the aircraft maintainers and rebuilders … air show management to the spotters who have contributed to campaigns like “wheelbay Wednesday” and “Fan Friday” over on our facebook page … I’d like to extend a hearty ‘Thank YOU’.
Good luck and clear skies for 2017.
Motty’s 2016 Hightlights.
Looking back on 2016 it’s been another year of incredible opportunities, thanks to the generosity of others, right from day one (literally) when I was able to take part in a “Dawn Patrol” on New Year’s Day and capture the classic Tigermoth in some of the best light I’ve ever seen, thanks to the great team of people at Luskintyre.
April was a big month with the chance to capture Mike Worthington’s beautiful DH60 after its meticulous restoration by the team at Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations, the Wings Wheels and Wine show at Mudgee and, of course, the highlight for many enthusiasts this year, the Wings Over Illawarra show.
The Mudgee and Illawarra shows also brought opportunities to capture Fleet Warbird’s beautifully painted T-6 and Paul Bennet’s iconic Wirraway.
In July it was the chance to get some of Paul Bennet’s newest acquisitions before they were packed up and carted off to China for his airshow commitments over there.
In September I traveled to Osan in South Korea to see the first Air Power Display for a few years and had the chance to see my first B-1B. An incredible machine to see up close.
For October it was the privilege of witnessing the Centenary celebrations for the RAAF’s most historic squadrons, 1, 2, 3 & 4, at Williamtown.
And November of course was another highlight of the year for many when we witnessed the public debut of the only Hurricane in Australia, at the Flight Of the Hurricane show at Scone, thanks to the incredible efforts of the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations, Paul Bennet Airshows and many others.
And the most amazing experience of all? Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell you about that…… Yet. 😉
I think the best thing about all of these wonderful opportunities though has been being a part of the team that is ASO, which has given us all an outlet to share these experiences with you and to hopefully be able to repay, in some small way, all of those who have granted us the access, given us these opportunities and share in our passion by sharing the results of all their hard work and effort.
So thanks to everyone who has made this year as great as it was, thanks to you, our fans for following us throughout the year and thanks to the team at ASO for making it all possible and a lot of fun along the way.
Happy New Year everyone.
Mark Pourzenic’s 2016 Highlights.
Well with the year almost over for 2016, looking back I’d say I’ve had some very memorable moments.
Working night shift full time makes it hard to get out and about spotting at times, as I miss quite a few adventures due to being asleep , but I like to make up for it when I’m awake!
The Formula One Grand Prix in March was one of my first chance’s to start swinging the video camera about, with the RAAF providing assets such as the Roulettes, C-17 Globemaster and the solo F/A-18A Hornet display, which i love to see every year the big race is on here in Melbourne.
Next up would be the great local Airshow held down the Mornington Peninsula at Tyabb airfield, which always attracts a vast array of warbirds and current military aircraft, not to mention large crowds, always a good day out. With winter there’s not many Airshows or opportunities other than spotting at Melbourne Airport, or visiting the RAAF Museum at Point Cook, although the recent Iron Maiden tour attracted thousands of people to Melbourne Airport to witness the arrival of Ed Force One, the bands leased 747-400 flown by lead singer Bruce Dickinson.
Fast forward to August, and in need of some much needed vitamin D, I’m off to the largest war games held this side of the equator in Darwin, with the bi-annual Exercise Pitch Black being held by the RAAF, with many partner nations attending, making it one of the biggest draw cards of the year, as far as spotting is concerned.
One of the many highlights was travelling onboard an RAAF KC-30A during an air refuelling sortie over Darwin, truly spectacular.
After my feet finally touched down and I came back to reality, my next moment in aviation for 2016 was down Hastings way, at the Royal Australian Navy base, HMAS Cerberus. It was their turn to hold an open day, and was treated to a few RAN assets such as the Seahawk and MRH-90 Helicopters, local warbirds and a flyover of an RAAF F/A-18 on its way to perform for the crowds at the Phillip Island MotoGP.
2016 ended on a historic note, whilst down at Point Cook for the RAAF Museums interactive day, I was able to bear witness to the current teams last display, and also the ground crew’s role will no longer be performed by RAAF personnel, and as always the Roulettes didn’t disappoint with a great display in front of a very large crowd.
Not to be deterred the following Monday, I was back to Melbourne Airport for some spotting and filming from the impressive T4 car park, and to grab some vision of an arriving Antonov AN-124 Ruslan.
So all in all, even staying locally there’s always something aviation related one can do in Victoria, and Australia, which is what spotting is all about.
Dave Soderstrom’s 2016 Hightlights.
2016 what a year for the ASO team, airshows, travelling to see aircraft that will only be seen once in a life time , media events, Vice President of the United States, plenty of aeroplanes and helicopters and that was just the beginning. Fire Season 2015/16 was a busy one right around the country.
The start of the year I was fortunate enough to meet, work with, and spend quality time with many of the crews and their aircraft. There is too many to mention however the people at Coulson Aviation, FieldAir, Kestrel, Jayrow, AgAir, McDermott Aviation and 10Tanker are just some of the great companies who provide aircraft and their crews to assist in aerial fire protection. The crews are proud of what they do and appreciated the effort we at ASO went to tell their stories, their capabilities and the truth that gets left out of the mainstream media.
The Aerial Ambulance Services around the country provide an extremely valuable service to the people in Rural Australia. Again the wide variety of aircraft types turned this story into quite an enjoyable one. From Western Australia to South Australia and across into, Tasmania ,Victoria and New South Wales the RFDS and Air Ambulance services cover the wide bound land and save many lives. Its a service that the bush rely on and I’d encourage you all to donate any spare change as the whole operation is run on donations. https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au
The Australian Formula One Grand Prix brings a variety of aviation assets to the country during this time. This year was no exception the RAAF were out in force with the Classic F/A-18 Hornets and of course the Roulettes flying the PC-9 which is due to be replaced over the next couple of years.
Tullamarine Airport on Melbourne’s outskirts is the local airport to myself and I’m, often there to catch some of the new and interesting aircraft and airlines that visit. Some major highlights for me were the airside access to witness the arrival of Xiamen Air’s 787 first flight, Singapore Airlines first A350 service, flying in a piece of history TAA’s Hawdon a genuine DC-3 , and also being there to cover the arrival of the Vice President of the United States visit to Melbourne.
Later in the year a Trip to Thailand where I was able to see again some truely unbelievable aircraft. Time spent at the two major airports and a visit to the Royal Thai Air Force Museum where your able to see some very rare aircraft. A really big highlight included witnessing the arrival of the first Sukoi SSJ to the RTAF, and photographing huge numbers of airlines/airliners from around the world.
Then tracking back to Western Australia to watch in sheer amazement as the worlds only flying example of the Antonov AN-225, and what a fantastic beast it was. The 15,000 other spectators sure thought the same. This weekend we also said goodbye to Ed Force One, the Boeing 747-400 used by the band Iron Maiden.
I have to say I’ve met some fantastic people along the way this year. Many of whom including the ASO team are friends. Looking forward to bringing more from around Victoria and the world in 2017.
Peter Lawerance’s 2016 Hightlights.
Well I have to start by saying what a team we have built here at ASO. It’s amazing how we have evolved even in the 12 months I have been a part of it.
2016 has been a busy year for me traveling all over the world to catch a great mix of unique/rare/powerful performances from every spectrum of the industry.
From the final displays of the USAF QF-4 Phantom at Aviation Nation at Nellis Air Force Base, to the last display of the French Mirage display team RAMEX Delta. At the other end the first public display in the UK of the new F-35 was a treat for everyone.
And not forgetting my home town of Adelaide had a fair bit of variety over the year with the last flights of the ARDU Hornets, a nice mix of civilian traffic and of course the displays at the Clipsal 500.
Over all a great year with a great team…..I’m really looking forward to what 2017 has in store!
Again, thanks to everyone and happy new year to all!
Martin Porcelli 2016 Highlights
I was invited too join the team in the latter half of the year and this for me has been an absolute honour. I feel very privileged too be part of a great brand, working with a great team that shares the same passion and enthusiasm for this ‘hobby’. It has been an personal dream come true.
I was living in Darwin for the about 2 and a half years which is how I came too know Sid, but that also brought the opportunity too meet Mark during Talisman Sabre 2015. However due work meant a change in location and I am now residing in Adelaide.
Whilst the movements here aren’t as exciting as in Darwin, there are other opportunities, such as the winding down of P3 operations at Edinburgh and the introduction of the P8.
My first article for ASO was about the the first Spartan arrival into Adelaide.
I was then able too help cover the Airshow in Townsville, and able too meet other members of the team. This was also a great experience.
On a personal level 2016 has been a great year being part of this team, with 2017 looking too be even more exciting!
Thanks too everyone that enjoys our work, and looking forward too covering more events next year. And also too meeting our readers and followers.
Phil Munsel’s 2016 Hightlights.
Joining the team this year in late August for me has been an unbelievable achievement, to be invited to join an elite professional aviation photography team and be included in covering Aviation related events around the country has been a dream I thought would never happen.
Since moving into the area of Rockhampton, Central Qld, almost 10 years ago, my interest in aviation photography has increased due to the military aircraft visiting the Airport and surrounds for training or just passing through. Also working on the Airport has given me great opportunities to get closer and do things most others wouldn’t.
My first assignment was covering Exercise Wallaby 2016 here in my home town. As this is an annual event for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and myself being a local, I had an idea of what was involved with the SAF deployment. Seeing aircraft that would not usually come to other regional towns was really exciting for me. Having the Antonov AN-124 making multiple visits during the 3-month exercise along with participating aircraft like Super Puma’s, Apache’s, Chinooks, Hercules, and a first for Ex Wallaby here would be the RSAF F-15SG’s. Being able to get up close to the aircraft and talk with the visiting military forces was a highlight for me.
My other and also special event I helped cover for the team was the Townsville T150 Airshow. This was also exciting for me as I get to meet some of the team members and visit my old home town I grew up in.
It was a jamb packed few days capturing the lead up practice day, Airshow day and static open day event, amongst meeting team members and planning the said days, catching up with old friends and making/meeting new friends for life with the same passion! I also felt privileged to witness one of Mark Jessop’s dreams come true with a pax ride in the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes.
All in all, my first season with ASO has been incredible and I’m looking forward to next year and everything it will throw at me!
Chatting with the team lately, I know it will action packed and that there will be some exciting events that we will be able to bring you, so stay tuned for the sensational coverage from ASO 😉
Sid Mitchell’s 2016 Highlights.
I have to be honest and say that living in Darwin is mostly a relaxed lifestyle for an amateur photographer like me. In 2016 I have an amazing opportunity to catch a huge variety of both military and civilian aircraft passing through Darwin and the Northern Territory. Some are huge like the giant AN124-100 or B-52H and some as small as a Cirrus SR22.
But what a second half of the year it has been as a new member of the ASO team. Having heard a little of what Aviation Spotters Online was about before chatting with Mark, I felt privileged to accept the offer of become a contributor to the fast growing brand – ASO. I hope to add a Top End flavour to aviation coverage for ASO.
The one outstanding feature of the Top End is the regular military exercises that are conducted in the NT. The big highlight this year, by a long shot, was Exercise Pitch Black 2016 – a bi-annual military exercise involving a large number of foreign Air Forces in addition to the RAAF.
Being a local I was able to cover the early arrivals right through to the final departures of these visiting aircraft – not just the high profile fast jets, but the transports, surveillance and re-fuellers from the participating nations.
It was also a great chance to meet some of the team face to face. Mark, Leigh, Peter and Mark.P had made the huge effort to all get up north and cover the many angles of this great exercise. ASO was able to have unprecedented access to PB16, often being so close to the action, both on the ground and in the air.
Three seperate runway mass take-offs, a Darwin Tower visit, various Flight Line visits, an Air to Air shoot and the Sunset Hornet Handling Display were just some of the outstanding opportunities offered to us. All this is possible only through hard work behind the scenes building professional relationships and liaising with the various PR teams. Hard work repaid with some fantastic spots to capture the action.
Additional exercises in the Top End this year included the North Australia Exercise – Northern Shield and the mainly maritime Exercise – Kakadu 2016, both offering a list of unique aircraft from foreign shores.
I also knew that ASO doesn’t just cover military exercises and with that in mind I approached the RFDS to catch a glimpse of their Alice Springs facility. It was a great chance to see behind the scene operations with one of their line pilots.
So as the sun sets on 2016 it is a chance to thank all those that share my interest in aviation, members of the team, our sponsors, those that assist us with access and opportunities to capture some fantastic flying machines and especially, those that follow ASO and share our passion.
Looking forward to bring you more aviation action from the Top End in 2017…..Sid
Mark Jessop’s 2016 Highlights.
If anyone tried to tell me at the start of 2016 what was install for the team I think I would have just walked away thinking “yeah right” but WOW it has been so much more then any of us could have wished for. Since the team was gaining strength I could get back to focusing on the things that meant the most to me.
1st chance of the year to capture any action was working with 2OCU and the Australia Day display over Sydney Harbour. This was the best chance to showcase the power of the new 360 video technology over Australia’s most famous land mark the Sydney Harbour, Opera House & Harbour Bridge.
While the action was happening over the harbour I got ready for the Jet’s to come back past on of my favorite lookout’s.
Next up was being asked to photograph an USAF Exchange Pilots last RAAF flight , Major “REV” had chosen to have a dog fight as well as a final pass past his favorite lookout. To top the afternoon off Classic display pilot FLTLT ” Bung” timed his practice to be finished to the north and just has to come back past me.
Next up Leigh and I decided we both needed to see what all the Fuss was about how good New Zealand Air Shows are. As luck would have 79SQN would have 4 Hawk Jets over there so after some email’s and phone calls I decided that one day of the airshow I would miss and hike up a “hill” to try and get some “Mach Loop” action while the whole time we had a 360 video camera capturing the event. We have the whole “Nav” flight captured which goes for an hour and most of the time is low level around the South Island. It’s that good I don’t know what to leave out but New Zealand is awesome and we will be back 😉
Here is 10 minutes of just how awesome the Hawk Nav flight is. They have just come out of Milford Sound and are heading North up the coast before turning in to “spot the gap” back to Queenstown.
Next was Wings Over Illawarra Airshow which again was a big test to see how 360 video cameras go at big Airshows but also a great chance to work as a team and try and out do each other which isn’t easy !
By mid year our 3rd child Riley was born but some how my amazing wife Holly still let me go to Darwin for Exercise Pitch Black 16. This was the biggest Ex of the year and the biggest chance to really see what a team could capture. Since there was going to be 20 media of which ASO was 25% I knew I had to do something different as 20 photographers getting the same angle and shots for a week means everyone has the same photo or close to it. Having the Nikon D5 to play with and the Exercise is called “Pitch Black” my whole focus was to get something at night as all media access was all in day time. Each day we went to the end of the runway to see what we could get and the D5 didn’t let me down but over 3 nights the rest of the team got to see and help me figure out a idea I had in my head.
They say “let the photo do the talking”
Next up was the 3SQN 100th Anniversary scheme F/A-18A Hornet, well didn’t this scheme get the people talking ! Either way it’s gone now but for my 2 cents worth even if the colour was wrong I did like it.
The 1st Hurricane flight in Australia for 70 years and I’m the lucky person to be allowed to get the 1st Air to Air photo’s. I can’t thank enough the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations , Ross Pay and John Brooks for the opportunity.
Next up is one of my favorite weekends of the year when the Bathurst 1000 is on. This year after months of planning I was allowed to go up in a Helicopter for the Saturday display and was on top of Rydges Hotel for the Sunday display. Shooting with a Nikon D5 & 800mm 5.6f from a Helicopter of a F/A-18A Hornet display does it get any better ?
From Bathurst it was straight up to Townsville for the day with the Roulettes and the Townsville 150 Air show. Again it was great to have the team there to cover the show so I went up on Castle Hill and shot the show from 2km.
The goal of the pax ride was to try and get the “mirror” shot from above and after 3 attempts I think we nailed the shot. The whole flight went for 52 minutes and to say it was the best flight of my life is the biggest understatement ever. I just hope these photo’s give you a small idea of just how amazing this was.
From Townsville it was down to RAAF Point Cook for the final Roulette display of the year and SQNLDR Dan Kehoe last Roulette flight. A very special day.
The last Airshow for the year was at Scone for the Flight of the Hurricane. A great day out and the chance to see A Spitfire and a Hurricane in the air at once was a massive highlight but for me it was meeting some of the family of the pilot the Hurricane is painted for .
Last outing for me was to capture 2OCU returning from Exercise High Sierra in the “Tiger Bird” formation.
At the start of the year there was no way I would have even set goals that I ended getting. To meet so many people and capture history as it happens on the scale the team has done is really a humbling experience.
I would like to add that this year I shot a total of 74,565 frames. The break down this is I used Nikon D800-33,953 frames , D5 -26,575 frames , D4s- 6556 frames , D800E- 5881 frames and D4- 1600 frames.
Lens used the most – all Nikkor- 800mm f5.6 – 22720, 600mm f.4- 9273, 500mm f.4-407, 300mm f2.8-11,657, 200-500mm f5.6-10044, 70-200mm f2.8-4076, 24-120mm f.4- 4796, 24-85mm f2.8-8710.
My fav shutter speed was 1/2000th used 5043 times, fav ISO -400 used 19634 and the 2 top F stop’s F5.6- 20419 followed by F8 -12851 !!!!
Damn I love NIKON GEAR !
To everyone that helped me along the way from Nikon Australia NPS team, Sandisk Australia, Vintage Fighter Restorations, the Royal Australian Air Force and the many others thank you . To Holly my wife thank you for letting me chase the dream 😉
In 2017 ASO is ramping again with more coverage and also starting a few idea’s that will mean all you “spotters” will have a chance to get some on the access we get and to learn more about photography but for a MASSIVE thank you to the team for the belief in what ASO can produce and putting in the effort to make it happen.
Why do we do it ?
Happy New Year to everyone -Mark Jessop.