A Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon arrives at the Lancaster County Air Show in September 2022. (Photo submitted by Connor Ochs)

Photos of the Week: Changing Seasons

Fall is here. That means colder weather, shorter days and colorful leaves.

But before we embrace all that, let’s recall hot summer weekends spent by avgeeks at airshows across the country. For them, there’s nothing like getting up close and personal with some of the coolest flying machines.

(Note we said “flying machines,” because they aren’t just about airplanes. They celebrate helicopters, as well.)

Today we’re showcasing perhaps the largest helicopter in the U.S. military: the Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Dragon.

Shot by Connor Ochs at the Lancaster Air Show in September 2022, the U.S. Navy’s Sea Dragon has the highest payload of any helicopter in the service. It can carry up to 16 tons of cargo and transport 37 troops or a 26,000-pound light armored vehicle in its cargo bay.

The Sea Dragon fulfills the Navy’s Carrier Onboard Delivery mission, bringing supplies and equipment to support aircraft carriers. It also carries out the Airborne Mine Counter Measure mission, searching and identifying sea mines that pose a threat to ships.

The notoriety of the Sea Dragon makes it one of the most popular helicopters at airshows. It’s not often you get to see one of the largest helicopters in the world on display.

Also rare: the chance to experience an amazing sunset from 30,000 feet, like Renee DeMichiei Farrow did while aboard a Southwest flight. Those clouds go very well with the vibe of fall colors that will soon explode on all the trees.

Thanks, Connor and Renee!

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.

A Southwest 737 MAX 8 flies through a sunset. (Photo submitted by Renee DeMichiei Farrow)

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