I think that ISO 1000 would be overkill. I think I would use 400 as the setting. If you are going to have control over the plane I would just use ISO 200 and maybe a tripod. This is a very good lens. I would not worry about it being slow. If you get a faster, non VR lens it would be much harder to handhold because of weight and lack of the VR. If you can afford it, buy it. Actually, buy two and give me one.
The VR will do a great job at your airshows and shooting your son and his rc plane. The lens gets knocked for being slow, because it is a f4.5-5.6 aperture. That is a little misleading, because of the VR. You can hand hold the lens about 2-3 stops slower than you can a non VR lens. The rule of thumb is to hand hold at a shutter speed at least the reciprocal of the focal length. Example: With a 200mm focal length, pick a shutter speed of at least 1/200 (or the closest step 1/250). Now, with the VR, you can usually shoot 2 to 3 stops slower and still get a good shot. So you can hand hold at 200mm at about 1/60, or even 1/30. Try that on your 80-200.
The other rap on the VR is the focus speed. That's a valid knock. The AF on the VR is good for focusing stationary or really slow subjects. Does a fat dog hate fast cars? Well the VR does. I've tried fumbling with the limit switch, but I find it very unhandy, and besides, AF is over rated. Put it in manual focus mode and fire away.
It doesn't have AF-S focusing and with the weaker camera focusing motors like the one in the D100, the AF will have a hard time keeping up with subjects moving quickly toward or away from you. Having the stronger AF motor like the one in the D1 series (or F5 and F100 bodies) helps. I also suggest using the AF limit switch, this will substantially reduce hunting when the camera doesn't lock focus. You have to pick your working range ahead of time, but it is well worth it in my experience.
If you limit your action photography to panning where the subject isn't rapidly coming directly toward or away from you, the AF can be used with success. AF isn't overrated for action photography, but if you want to use AF for fast action you need a fast, AF-S lens. The 80-400 isn't that lens.
I don't have 80-400VR lens. But reading the post I think you should think of AF-S 80-200 /2.8 ED. In D100 it become 120-300 /2.8 ED (with FOV factor). The question is are you need more than 300mm view? If yes, go for 80-400, for outdoor ISO 200-400 is enough to get safe speed.
Pinky Mirror Nikonians@Jakarta,Indonesia-- it's near Bali, if you don't know where it is
It's the lost focus thing that happens when shooting skyward thats tricky. The VR helps at the lower shutter speeds. Usually at shutter speeds at or faster than 1/400 th the VR doesn't help any. Turning VR off proves better results. VR overall for ground to air photos doesn't have much advantage. Regular telephotos do same even better cause they focus faster.