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Military training flight, photo-shoot takes to the sky over Pittsburgh

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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, 12:54 p.m.

Two cargo planes with the Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift Wing in Moon flew over Pittsburgh and nearby communities Thursday morning in a training exercise that doubled as a photo shoot, a military spokesman said.

Capt. Shawn Walleck of the 911th said two of the base's eight C-130 planes flew over landmarks including the North Shore sports stadiums, bridges and rivers as a combat photographer in one plane shot photos of the other in flight.

The base updates photos of its planes periodically, typically in the fall, Walleck said.

“Everything is more picturesque,” Walleck said, referring to the changing color of the leaves.

The planes also flew over landmarks in Allegheny and Washington counties, including the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Cecil.

The flight also served as a training mission for pilots who practiced flying in formation and at low altitudes. Reservists practiced dropping items from the plane onto a target in Washington County. Such training missions cost about $4,000 an hour. The morning mission lasted about an hour, Walleck said.

The 911th also planned to perform training exercises overnight. The base does flight training locally three to five days a week, Walleck said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or

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