My son in law took these images a few days ago in Culver City California. We would like to know what the vintage (WWII ?) planes are, and in the last image, what would cause such a contrail. The last image is a composite of several shots. (Something landing at Edwards was my guess). His guess for the aircraft are that they are all the DB Dauntless.

Formation of six planes

Formation of six planes

Formation of six planes

Composite of images showing curved contrail

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ low altitude contrails are done by a smoke generator see sky writing $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2014 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ The wings apart to rectangular to be a dauntless imho. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2014 at 10:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is likely Tiger Squadron, perhaps flying for the Israel Independence Day Festival over Rancho Park in mid May, as detailed on their Facebook page. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jun 6, 2014 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


My (current) guess is that it may be a

Nanchang CJ-6

The Nanchang CJ-6 is an aircraft designed and built in China for use by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as a basic trainer.

  • Round nose.
  • Sufficient number airworthy.
  • Rectangular wing shape.
  • Main gear folds inwards and the nosegear backwards which seems to fit when I zoom in your pictures.


and they do airshows: airshow
(source: riversideca.gov)

Coincidentally, the upper-left aircraft #43 also appears in your pictures (first picture, rightmost aircraft). Another below of her below:


update: as Cardinal said above, "This is likely Tiger Squadron, perhaps flying for the Israel Independence Day Festival over Rancho Park in mid May, as detailed on their Facebook page."

  • $\begingroup$ The CJ-6 appears to have a fairly straight-across (perpendicular to the fuselage) leading edge, whereas the photos from the OP seem to indicate a leading edge that is more swept-back. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2014 at 17:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MrWonderful I think it's a visual thing from the angle reinforced by the aircraft banking. The aircraft above is the same as in the OP's photograph. The tail registration while difficult to make out appears to match. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2014 at 17:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DavidDelMonte if you have decided that MikeFoxtrot's answer is correct, please mark that his is the accepted answer. This will "close" this question, helping aviation.se keep a 98%+ answered question rate. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:20

That looks like the Red Stars Aerobatic Team - they fly Yak-52s


It is hard to tell from your picture, but the overall look of the team itself, the prominent red stars on one of them, and the rounded tail make me think that's who it is. I tried to find their schedule and see if they would have been in your area, but they apparently don't have a web site.

Here's a video I shot of them in 2009 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A5qYqcQsxw

OK yes... I found their site. Looks like they had an event in CA this weekend, but not very close to you, and the event was cancelled... so they might have been flying around for fun and practice.


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Definitely not. The aircraft in the photographs don't have rounded tail and do have the main gear mostly covered which Yak52 does not. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jun 5, 2014 at 21:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Had a look at the Yak52 but dismissed it as @JanHudec said for the landing gear. However, the Nanchang CJ-6 was based on the Nanchang CJ-5 which itself was a license built copy of the Yak 18, which also was the predecessor to the Yak52, so the connection is certainly close. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2014 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ The thing is, I wouldn't expect a team of those to be over Culver City at any time. When I see a formation like that, I think "what aerobatic teams" and I didn't really think beyond that. They are all very similar. It is very hard to identify planes from photos like these. The planes in the photo look a little long, but they could even be these... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F6F_Hellcat which is a heck of lot more likely than a bunch of Chinese planes. $\endgroup$
    – Jasmine
    Jun 5, 2014 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Jasmine they are not uncommon. if i read the from the FAA's databsase correctly there appear to be at least 25 in California alone. if you open the photos in a new tab the resolution is pretty good. $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2014 at 8:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .