Before the Air Show, each participant has to fly their standard display in front of an approval committee. On completion of their demonstration, the Red Arrows would fly directly to the coast, near the Hyatt Regency, turn left and head for the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The distance between the Beach Hotel and the new tower is more than 1000 feet, hence the Red Arrows were legally able to fly between the buildings by not being closer than the minimum 500 feet distance.
I had asked Simon Meade, the leader of the Red Arrows, to fly at exactly 500 feet and, by self positioning on the 13th floor of the tower, was able to look down and across to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. As I was hoping to put this shot on the cover of the book, I had asked 5 other photographers to join me on the tower, at various levels, to ensure that someone would get the right picture.
You can imagine that a jet formation flying at 400 kilometers passes by very quickly indeed, and as the appointed time drew near, a bucket came dangling down from the tower crane, right in the middle of the picture ! We were all obliged to move position in order to see round the cable and, of course, the Red Arrows arrived exactly on time, course speed and height.
One photographer was so amazed by the proximity and speed of the jets that he did not take any pictures at all !
However, I am relieved to tell you that my rusty geometry calculations of angles, distances and heights worked - with the classic picture being the result!
I am often asked if the picture is a computer enhanced montage. It is not. Two of the pilots wish it were! The two aircrafts at the bottom of the formation are slightly low and when I showed them the photograph later that day, there was a certain amount of leg-pulling!"
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