First of all, what does a screener look for to determine compliance for "distance"? Is there a strict requirement, or even a general rule of thumb for the amount of the frame that should filled by the aircraft (i.e., 800 pixels from a width of 1024), or is it a generally subjective matter? (I'm not implying that subjectivity is undesirable here. In fact, I think it would be necessary.)
Secondly, what consideration is given to showing an aircraft's activity rather than just the aircraft? I'll give some specific examples for this one. This (clickable) A-10 shot couldn't be much tighter and still show the bomb impacting alongside the target. It's similar in concept to the logging shot in that a wider view is necessary to see "the whole picture".
Photo © Markus Herzig
In this CF-18 shot, I felt that the rocket's trail imparted the same sense of path and motion that vortices, contrails, and airshow smoke do and is an integral part of the image.
Photo © Willem Honders
Finally, I'll add that I can see a clear difference in "distance" criteria between this C-141 shot and Mike's and Juan's sunset images: Additional zoom would have only detracted from their spectacular results, whereas my shot would have benefited from more.
Photo © Mike "Rotor" Nowak
Photo © Juan Carlos Guerra Aviation Photography of Mexico
(And I'll note that I'm not claiming aesthetic parity with any of the other photographers' shots here.) Screeners, I hope that any input you provide will save contributors and yourselves time and effort in the future. Thanks for reading this far!