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There used to be a program on television called World of Speed & Beauty. It was about fast, beautiful and graceful machines on the land, water and air. It seems appropriate for these two videos.

These videos feature a P-38 Lightning and F4U Corsair. They are now owned by Red Bull, who is now responsible for their care, upkeep and displays.

This airshow display took place over La Ferte Alais, France 19 May 2013.

More over the orange turbulence.

The Lockheed P-38 was one of the great fighter aircraft to come from the fertile imagination of design genius Kelly Johnson. He also designed the U-2 spy/research plane and the SR-71 Blackbird, among other truly innovative aircraft. During WW2 in the skies over Europe, Luftwaffe pilots dubbed the P-38, "der Gabelschwanz-Teufel" or "fork-tailed devil." The Japanese who had to fly and fight against it, called it, "two planes, one pilot." It was a squadron of P-38s that shot down Admiral Yamamoto, dealing a body blow to the Japanese war effort.

The Chance-Vought F4U Corsair was a fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. It was capable of operating from both aircraft carriers and land bases. The famous Black Sheep Squadron led by Pappy Boyington flew Corsairs. Enemy pilots who flew against it and managed to survive regarded it as one of the most formidable fighter planes of WW2.

These machines built for war now fly only peaceful missions, demonstrating technologies of the past, a significant bit of history and not least, grace, speed and beauty in the skies. The P-38 is the same one owned by Lefty Gardner who bought it after WW2 for little more than scrap price. In 2001, Lefty's son, Ladd Gardner, crashed it near Greenwood, MS when one of the engines caught fire. Story and pictures of the crash at this link.  

The plane, now worth about two million dollars, was restored and sold to Red Bull. It is in as good condition now as it it was when it rolled off the Lockheed assembly line seventy years ago.

Both the videos are of the same subject, and both put together by Eric Goujon, whom you see piloting the F4F Corsair. Eric is a multi-talented man. He selected the music of E.S. Posthumus for the background soundtrack, which is an interesting choice to say the least. I like it, but some commenters on YouTube dislike it.

Both videos are the same, with the exception that the first (YouTube) includes engine start and preparation for takeoff. The second (Vimeo) video begins with the takeoff sequence.

For non-pilots, note that Eric flies in close low trail with the P-38, and never once takes his eyes off of it. Formation flying requires intense concentration and teamwork with no surprises. Although when they make their passes in front of the crowd they appear to be locked in position together, in the cockpit views you can see the turbulence of a warm day, and Eric must constantly adjust speed and position as the air bumps them around. Lead pilot Raimund "Ray" Riedmann has the responsibility of keeping them out of the trees, because if he flew into the ground, Eric would not see it coming.  That is why the entire flight of USAF Thunderbirds crashed in 1981.

Both these videos are best viewed full screen

Here is the shorter Vimeo version in HD:

Red Bull P38 & F4 Corsair display at La Ferte Alais, 19 May 2013 from eric goujon on Vimeo.

Originally posted to Otteray Scribe on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force, World War Two Aircraft, Aviation & Pilots, and Community Spotlight.

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