The Air Force's Thunderbirds demonstration team uses precision flying to display professionalism and excitement in front of crowds worldwide. (Photo submitted by Brian Maniglia)

Photos of the Week: Ode to Pilots

By now, you should know that we here at Blue Sky News celebrate aviation every day, in whatever way we can.

We also celebrate others who love aviation as much as we do, and it’s tough to say anyone loves it more than pilots.

Especially military pilots. Especially the very best military pilots.

The men and women who fly the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team are among the best pilots on Earth. You’d have to be if you regularly perform maneuvers that bring you within 18 inches—18 inches!—of another aircraft while cruising at 500 mph.

The Thunderbirds are the third-oldest aerial demonstration team in the world, but their routine never gets old. The Diamond Loop, calypso passes, the Bomb Burst… we could watch them all day, every day.

Brian Maniglia was fortunate enough to catch a Thunderbirds show at the Atlantic City Airshow a couple of weeks ago and was alert enough to snap this amazing shot of a sneak pass, when a solo pilot buzzes the crowd at extremely low altitude and very high speed as they’re focused on the rest of the team in the distance.

Of course, most pilots are not at the controls of world-class fighter jets doing mind-bending aerobatics, but they love flight just the same.

Tom Trautman, a pilot for a regional carrier, sent us this photo of an avgeek’s dream: the Connie Cocktail Lounge at the TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport in New York City.

Yes, the hotel turned a 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” airplane into a bar. And Tom, along with girlfriend Nina Polzin, was lucky enough to hang out there.

Thanks, Brian and Tom!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

Opened in May 2019, the TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport is one of the most popular places among avgeeks to visit. (Photo submitted by Tom Trautman)

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