Home » Blue Impulse buzzes Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympics

Blue Impulse buzzes Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympics

August 24, 2021, was the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics.  And if you didn’t know, I’m not generally a big supporter of the Olympics.  But, as you probably do know, I like airplanes.  So, when my wife told me the Blue Impulse acrobatics team would soon fly over the city, I reached for my camera.  I was completely unprepared, but I photographed them.

Blue Impulse Kawasaki T-4 aircraft

What is Blue Impulse?

Blue Impulse is the aerobatic team of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).   They are from 11 Squadron of the 4th Air Wing.  Currently, they fly Kawasaki T-4 intermediate jet trainers.  Their home is Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi Prefecture.


6 Kawasaki T-4 aircraft from 11 Squadron of the 4th Air Wing

What did they do for the Paralympics?

The team flew over Tokyo trailing plumes of red, blue, and green from the Paralympics.  Over the city’s center, they laid the colors in the three “agitos.”  Agito means “I move” in Latin.  It symbolizes movement in the shape of an asymmetrical crescent.  

And the three colors?  Apparently, they are the most widely used in national flags worldwide.   They looked good!

JASDF aircraft making paralympic smoke trails

What problems did I have photographing the aircraft?

First, my apartment is quite far from the center of the city.  I wouldn’t be able to photograph the airplanes as they did their acrobatics over the city.  My plan, if you can call it that, was just to take any pictures of the planes I could get.

Blue Impulse leaves Olympic color smoke trails behind them

The weather?  It was pretty bad, to be honest.  There was no rain, but it was completely overcast.  Kawasaki T-4s are very small, making it hard to focus on them in the bad conditions.

JASDF Kawasaki T-4 aircraft creating Olympic smoke trails

Furthermore, I had no idea how long the planes would be overhead.  I didn’t even know from which direction they would approach.  And, of course, they were traveling at high speed.  

Jet aircraft making smoke for Paralympics

The aircraft only made two passes near my apartment.  The pictures I got weren’t great, but they were the best I could do under the circumstances.  Still, they are in focus with some detail.  So, I was happy with what I got.

11 Squadron of the 4th Air Wing creating Olympic-colored smoke

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  1. Pingback: Tokorozawa Aviation Museum - Japan's history of flight - Tokyo in Pics

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