Vantage Point: The aviation photography of Jon Pece
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Vantage Point: The aviation photography of Jon Pece

Wick's Viper. An F-16c in contact with a KC-135R receiving fuel over mountainous terrain. D700, 24-70mm. Photo and caption by Jon Pece

(cont.) After graduating from the US Air Force Academy in 1991, I attended Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training in Wichita Falls, Texas. Although this training was focused on fighters, due to the cutbacks in the early 90's, many of us received large aircraft and I was assigned to a KC-135R Stratotanker at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. This type of aircraft is based on the Boeing 707 and delivers fuel inflight to receiver aircraft. Arguably less sexy than an F-16, this turned out to be the perfect platform for a flying photographer!

Frequently on our missions, we had more than the minimum number of pilots along on a flight for training purposes, which allowed me the chance to play photographer rather than pilot. I retired from the Air Force Reserves last year and now fly the 737 based in NY as a commercial pilot, but my home is in Spokane, Washington.