U.S. Jet Team Fouga Magisters at SAR 2006

When I learned the U.S. Jet Team, four French designed and built Fouga Magisters and American pilots would be featured at Springfield Air Rendezvous 2006, I was delighted because the Magister is probably the best looking air show jet flying, and imagined a formation of them would be great. I arranged with a magazine publisher to write a story about the type and looked forward to meeting team founder Scott Lesh. Unfortunately, Scott was recuperating from knee surgery and could not attend SAR 06. The team for our show were

   Left wing: Johnny Hutchison   --                                     -- Right Wing: Rob Hutchison
                                             
--    Lead: Todd Schaufenbue    --  

The Hutchisons are brothers and each flies for a major airline. Todd is a full-time air show pilot. When not with U.S. Jet Team, he flies as #3 with the Red Baron Pizza Stearman Team. You could not imagine a friendlier trio. They patiently answered my questions and allowed me to photograph their airplanes all I wanted.
   Historical note: the English airplane company Miles Aircraft made a two-seat propeller-driven trainer called the Magister (rhymes with "register.") which was used extensively in World War Two. The French Fouga company Magister (rhymes with ba gis tear - as in "Tear a strip of cloth from the bed sheet." In both languages, magister means teacher. Curiously, the word does not appear in the 10th Edition of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary.  Go figure.


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1. From head on and wingtip to wingtip the three Magisters are so slim, they almost disappear into the horizon.
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2. A little closer and one om one, it's still a trim machine.
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3. I was lying om my back when I took this picture. Though some of my friends may not believe it, I returned to standing position all by my own dang self!  :)
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4. A little 28mm lens wizardry. This picture was not retouched.
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5. Friday afternoon, after flying for the preview audience, the team parked in slight right echelon formation.  I was standing on a flat-bed golf cart bed when this picture was taken.
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6. The V-tails are a natural framing element for any letters one can find in the distance.
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7. Note Vlado Lenoch's P-51 in the distance.
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8.    N325FR
This and pictures 12 and 16 are civil registration numbers of the Magisters flown at SAR 06.
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9. From the AeroKnow collection, this pic of an operational Magister with the French Air Force was taken by Fournier Michel.
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10. Another operational Fench AF bird. Photo by Roberto Lima.

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11. This Magister was photographed at a Bloomington, Illinois air show on July 3, 2000.
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12. N908DM
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13.
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14.
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15. Team lead Todd Schaufenbue refuels his Magister.
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16.
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17. Rob Hutchison fills the tank from which smoke oil is pumped to create the white trailing plumes during the team's demos.
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18. This picture has been retouched.

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19. On the performer flight line Sunday afternoon, engines have been started. Pilots go through cockpit checks and confirm status with team lead.
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20. Departomg for the taxiway they will drive to the end or Runway 22 where they will confirm "ready for takeoff" with the control tower.
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21. Jets rolling . . .
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22. . . . just a few feet into the air.
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23.
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24.
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25.
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26.
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27.
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28. Opposing pass.
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29.
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30. Note the shadow created by team leader's smoke on the smoke from left wing.
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31.
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32. The final "sign off" maneuver as they fly west: banking aircraft fly into each others' track, with safe separation of course.
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33. I was privilged to ride in leader's aircraft on Thursday.
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34. Right wing pilot goes through check list before engine start.
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35. Passenger in right wing's Magister.
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36. View from lead before departing the apron.
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37. Left wing before engine start.
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38. Moments before brake release.
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39. Left wing just broke ground.
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40. Left wing slides into tighter formation for climbout.
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41. The formation flown kept wingmen below the Magister's large wing.
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42.
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43. Todd passed along my request for left wing to move up a few feet. I didn't have time or presence of mind to ask for a line abreast position.
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44. A little higher woulld have been perfect, but this is still a good view. I had no idea how long the flight would be, and I guessed (inaccurately) that if the planes were not in position one minute, they would be in the next minute.
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45. Close, but no cigar, and I was too worried about being rude or asking  for too much to  open my mouth and requesting better positioning.
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46. This picture has been retouched.
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47. The team separated and each aircraft performed a leisurely slow roll.
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48. Right wing was considerable distance from lead prior to the call for rejoining formation.
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49.
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50.
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51.
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52.
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53.
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54. Looking west toward the heart of Springfield.
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55. When I asked about an echelon formation picture, Todd explained there would be only one chance, about 20 seconds long, and this was it.
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56. The other birds were still on our right wing, but not evident in this view.
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57. During a pass over the airport, the formation has separated following pitch out, and speed brakes have been deployed
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58. Looking north down J. David Jones Parkway at the airport in the distance, we are on downwind leg of the traffic pattern.
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59. The spike in left center is the burial tomb of Abraham Lincoln.
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60. Another view of the tomb. Note the speedbrakes remain out.
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61. Rolling in from base leg to final.
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62. On final, runway directly ahead.
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63. Rolling out after touchdown, Capital tower in the distance.
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64. This picture has been retouched.
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65. Rob Hutchison poses with the easy rider, a major player in the SAR organization.
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66. Johnny Hutchison shakes the hand of the fellow who rode with him.
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67. Job Conger seems to have enjoyed the ride. Photo by Shannon Kirschner.
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68. Todd Schaufenbue, U.S. Jet Team lead, poses with Job Conger, freelance writher, after a memorable flight. Photo by Shannon Kirschner.
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69. Settling in for the summer night as sunset approaches.
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70.



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