I plan on going to Luke Days here in Glendale, AZ in a couple of weeks. I went for the first time several years ago and only had a Fuji S602z. While I was pleased with the shots I got from it at the time, they now look pretty bad overall.
This time, however, I plan on using a Rebel XT (I'd rather have a 30D or better but oh well), an EF 70-200 2.8 with 1.4x TCON which will give me approx 155-450mm, or 112-320 without the TCON. I also plan on using an EF-S 10-22 to get wide angle shots of static displays and will bring a monopod.
Is the reach of the 70-200 plus TCON, or 450mm, typically enough to fill the frame with planes in flight if I'm at the fence line? Can I get by without the TCON with a max reach of 320mm? Is the use of a monopod constricting? Do you find it necessary to attach/remove a monopod frequently? Can you use a monopod and easily pan as planes fly past? How do you feel about using circular polarizers? Do you find that it helps the sky (if clear) or would you rather have an extra stop or two of light? How do you shoot, full manual or shutter priority?
I know that is a lot of questions but any help would be appreciated. I will add that the above-mentioned Fuji had a 210mm 35mm equiv focal length and was really too short where the planes only sat in about a quarter frame or less so I feel 450mm would be a great improvment but really have no way to judge.