Daredevil Photographer Sits on Cargo Door to Take Pictures of Jets Flying Directly Behind Him

Daredevil Photographer Sits on Cargo Door to Take Pictures of Jets Flying Directly Behind Him

The Royal Saudi Air Force has released incredible footage of a photographer positioned at the edge of the cargo door of a plane, photographing fighter planes flying directly behind and giving them direction as he takes photos.

It was as the rehearsal of an air show took place that the Royal Saudi Air Force arranged for popular aviation photographer Ahmed Hader to come on board, literally, and shoot the aircraft. The air show was part of the 90th National Day of Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

The footage was tweeted by Saudi journalist Enad al-Otaibi, who was stood a few meters behind Hader, capturing the action behind the scenes. Hader seem unphased by the height he was flying at or the speed he was traveling, as he casually signaled for the pilot of the jet behind him to edge camera-left for a better angle.

A second video shows each of the jets veering across the sky as Hader rapidly captures them one at a time. The jets are made up of two F-15s, a Typhoon, and a Tornado. Hader, meanwhile, was flying in a C-130.

Would you say yes to this job if given the chance?

You can follow Hader over on Twitter and Instagram.

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Keith Meinhold's picture

The photographer is strapped in.

El Dooderino's picture


Jack Alexander's picture

Congratulations on watching the video. Whoever said he wasn't?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You can't get upset, he really is nowhere close to the edge or in danger. You choose daredevil in the title, but we see firemen, roofers take more risks on a daily basis.

Keith Meinhold's picture

Just pointed out something the average viewer may not have noticed. Having performed similar procedures in US Navy aviation and as an aircrew instructor, it was the first thing I looked for.

Fristen Lasten's picture


Keith Meinhold's picture

Correct, thank you and connected to a harness. Launched rescue rafts (US Navy Aviation) out the Orion's main cabin door enough times that I should have used the correct term.

Kirk Darling's picture

(Un) common paratroopers stand on open C-130 cargo doors lots of times.

microteck's picture

Wonderful to see someone so dedicated to their craft. However he can't be considered a daredevil since he was strapped in.

Ben Coyte's picture

Not as glam, but I once got to hang out the side of a helicopter shooting another helicopter flying over Tokyo. Quite thrilling.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

This is the first air-to-air photography article I've seen here. So many photographers on IG that do this. There should be more articles.

Essentially my dream gig.

Stephanie Gratzer's picture

Wow, photographing Saudi jets on their way to Yemen to bomb the country to smithereens causing untold suffering, cholera outbreaks and mass starvation in the middle of a pandemic. Nice gig indeed!

El Dooderino's picture

"It was as the rehearsal of an air show took place that the Royal Saudi Air Force arranged for popular aviation photographer Ahmed Hader to come on board, literally, and shoot the aircraft. The air show was part of the 90th National Day of Saudi Arabia earlier this week"

It helps to read the article you're commenting on.

(On a side note, I'm sympathetic with what you're trying to say. I'm not a big fan of the Saudis)

Stephanie Gratzer's picture

Oh, I see! It was their day off from laying their neighboring country to waste. It's all good then, my mistake.

Kurt Hummel's picture

Great point, you should go over there and protest if you really care and want to make a difference.

El Dooderino's picture

I wish I had discovered/developed my interest in photography sooner.

I spent a lot of time on a ramp like that (and tethered like this guy), watching the Army's Golden Knights parachute out the back, practicing for shows when I was stationed at Ft Bragg many moons ago.

I probably could have gotten a lot of great shots! ;-/

Jack Alexander's picture

You've got the mental ones for sure!

El Dooderino's picture

Yes I do! Just wish I could share them now!

David Butterell's picture

Ha, it actually reminded me of this shot I took (with my iPhone) during a practice training camp near Chicago for a wingsuiting world record back in 2015. Love tailgate aircraft and multi-plane skydiving formations.

Christopher Boles's picture

I am a Vietnam photographer stationed with the 600th Photo Sqdn at Phan Rang AB in 1969. One of my assignments was to take photos of the C-123 Provider. I was strapped in, and walked out to the end of the ramp with my Grapflex XL and did that. This is the best way to get awesome photos. The same goes for aerial photos from a helicopter. Strap in and sit on the edge. Unobstructed view. I miss that!

Jack Alexander's picture

That's amazing. Experience of a lifetime!

D Man's picture

How did this photographer become a Daredevil Photographer? He didn't jump out of the plane, nor did he hang from the plane...Daily life job for Military Folk...! I was once hanging from a helo over the Indian Ocean and got the view of my life...

Dana Goldstein's picture

My father used to hang out of the side of helicopters to get shots when he was shooting tourism and hospitality ads in the 60’s and 70’s. (He wouldn’t tell my mom until after the jobs, of course.) Before drones, this is how things were done, more often than you’d imagine. It’s why Jay Maisel has that line, “If I had an unlimited budget, the first thing I would think of is how to get a helicopter.”

Marcin Ławrysz's picture

This is special..but not that much. My friend did such a session two years ago :)

Ken Hunt's picture

Very common way to shoot air to air. Nothing "daredevil" about it.

Max C's picture

I mean he is tethered so not really a big deal. Now if he were to jump out and land on the nose of the jet, to get an excellent in-focus portrait of the pilot with a Panasonic DFD contrast detect AF system at f1.4 I would be impressed.

Graham Taylor's picture

My old job (although during my time the ramped aircraft were often unavailable due to operations). I think anyone who is saying that the guy isn't a daredevil because he's strapped in has never stood tethered by a small strap in front of a jet aircraft. Those straps can fail and they're usually long enough to let you fall out first, even if you don't fall to your death. I very nearly ended up hanging down the side of a C47 after a sudden bump of turbulence but was pulled back down by the scruff of my neck thanks to a keen-eyed air loadmaster. It was more luck than skill that my D3 didn't end up splattered over the South Coast.

Ramp air/air generally isn't as dynamic to shoot though, air/air is always best (in my opinion) from the backseat of another jet.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

You know there are camera harness you can wear so your camera doesn't fly out fo the plane right?

Graham Taylor's picture

They're incredibly cumbersome when you're wearing them over the top of military uniform. Most military photographers tend to wrap the strap around their wrist.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

Most civilian photographers who shoot military out of a plane door use the harness from what I have seen on Instagram.

Graham Taylor's picture

Im telling you as someone who did this for a living for several years, not what I've seen on Instagram. I worked on the Combat Camera Team with hundreds of others.

Keith Meinhold's picture

If your tether was long enough that you could actually reach the end of the ramp, much less fall out of the aircraft - something was wrong with the setup. Once the door opens on any aircraft in flight it is without a doubt an exhilirating experience, I am not sure I would call it daredevil.

I'm jealous you had a D3, I was stuck hauling around an Agiflite. On the other hand, lucky for me it was always behind an optical port.

Graham Taylor's picture

Are you telling me that as someone with expertise in safety equipment, or your own experience with working on the ramp?

Keith Meinhold's picture

A bit of both, as I was an aircreman with many drops and later an aircrew instructor teaching students aircraft, sensor, emergency, and SAR operations. The aircraft I flew was not configured with a ramp. It has a main cabin door on the side of the aircraft that the crew would open in flight to eject SAR packages and other equipment. The harness was set up and tethered to a pad eye on the deck, long enough to reach the threshold but no further. Tethers to inflate rafts/activate equipment after it exited the aircraft obviously were longer.

In another circumstance, if an HF long wire broke, the tether was long enough to open and reach outside the over wing exit and pull it in, but not long enough to physically fall out of the aircraft. Having cross trained with C-130 crew, I was only an observer. I am quite sure I would have remembered a situation where crew could fall out of the aircraft during the drops I witnessed.

It sounds to me your training and experience was different from what I experienced in the US Navy. Different countries, different services, different missions, different training.

Graham Taylor's picture

As you say, different experiences rather than 'wrong' setups. My time was spent with the Royal Air Force onboard various operational airframes, C130 (granted most of which was being ferried around the Middle East), C17, Chinook (MK4), plus side-door stuff like Puma, Sea-King and Dakota. Much of my work was in support of the Safety Equipment guys also.

Nelson Natividad's picture

Flying in a HH60 sitting on the floor, doors open and unharnessed; they didn't have a harness for me to use to sit at the door so the pilot just have to bank the helicopter for me to get my shots.