The first air show that I ever attended was in 2011. Jay and I were newly dating and he took me with him to the air show that he attends every Labor Day weekend. This picture is from that first trip. We were sitting in the cockpit of the P-3 Orion; I was in the co-pilot’s seat and Jay was in the Flight Engineer’s seat (which he had occupied at the end of his Navy career).
Every year we attend the air show and are always blessed with beautiful weather. This was the first year, though, that the box seats were sold out when we arrived. Luckily I had thought to put our folding chairs in the car, so after retrieving those we set up to watch from this lovely spot.
The air show opens with the singing of the National Anthem while a Golden Knight parachutes into the show with the American Flag waving behind him. We had two RV-8’s (more on them later) making smoke circles around the jumper. The Golden Knight is the one trailing red smoke.
After the National Anthem was sung and the Golden Knight safely on the ground he quickly got out of his gear and started talking about the Golden Knights (Army) and what they do. Jay, being a Navy guy, wished that the Leap Frogs were there to show the Army boys a thing or two.
Since Jay used to jump he was able to tell me some interesting things about what was happening. I don’t remember most of it, but I do remember that the little parachute on the right is called a ‘stiletto’. I guess that it’s quite a fast little chute. I can’t recall what he called the bigger canopies, but he was very unimpressed and thought that the Army could equip these guys with better chutes. My guess would be that they are mostly used for dropping into air shows so it’s not that big of a deal.
Suddenly Jay starts saying, “Down plane! Down plane!” This concerned me at first because I thought a plane was crashing. Then he jabbed me and pointed up. Apparently that’s what this move is called… down plane. Per Jay it is a very fun move, though a bit tricky. It requires a lot of strength, too. These guys and chutes are literally parallel to the ground and they are dropping fast. When they finally let go the chutes will upright them and give them back complete control. I am happy to report that all Knights landed where they were supposed to, and unlike 2011, none of them ended up in the lake.
After the Knights were picked up and hauled out we heard the sound of a jet engine… then you could hear the concussive sounds that could only mean one thing… the Shockwave Jet Truck! Due to our seats we couldn’t actually see him, but he’s been there the past couple of years so I knew what he was doing without having to look.
Here’s a picture from 2014. This guy has a jet engine mounted to the back of his Peterbuilt. He runs around making giant clouds of smoke and fire. Then he sets up at the end of the air strip and usually races whichever acrobatic pilot is there that year. It’s a pretty neat show that this guy puts on and for only $3000 you can ride along with him on one of the performances!
Here’s another picture of the smoke that was created by this truck. We ended up being completely engulfed in it! Ladies, if you want to get your pilot’s engine firing… don’t put on flowery even sweet-smelling perfumes. Just dab a little bit of jet fuel exhaust-smelling stuff on your neck and watch out! I call it Eau de Jet….
The Shockwave Jet Truck even managed to engulf the city in smoke! I wonder what out-of-town drivers were thinking as they traveled the Interstate and suddenly found themselves engulfed in a cloud of smoke?!
The RV-8’s were the next to take to the sky. Jay informed me that these are home-built aircraft and that he could build one, too. These are acrobatic planes that do loops, rolls, tail slides and other somewhat risky maneuvers. It’s not that I don’t trust Jay to be careful in one of these… but that’s like handing the keys to a Ferrari to just about any guy and telling him to take it easy. Not going to happen…
Yep, the Batcopter was at the show, too! This is one of the originals that they used on the 60’s TV series with Adam West. I think that they were yapping about this when they said that somebody had actually paid $4.2 million for one of these to put in their museum.
Not only was the Batcopter there, but so was the Batmobile! I never realized that the Batmobile was a Ford Galaxy. When it comes to fighting crime, nothing says it quite like a Ford! I think that Ford should use that as one of their slogans.
After the show I managed to get more pictures of the Batcopter. It took me a while to find where they were hiding it, but I managed to find it! I was highly disappointed when I found out that Batman wasn’t the one actually piloting the copter today. How can it be the Batcopter if it’s not Batman flying it?
Apparently the flight panel is signed by Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar. I can’t recall if they said anybody else had signed it, but those four signatures alone make this quite special.
I must confess that I’m not a huge fan of the show so I didn’t know what to really look for when I was taking pictures. As I was looking at them today, though, I noticed something…
Jay and I watched a couple episodes of the show on Netflix last week just so that he could show me the Batcopter before we saw it at the airshow.
I have thoughts regarding a sidecar on a motorcycle for a crime-fighting hero, but I’ll keep those to myself.
We were treated with a bit of a demo by the new F-35 fighter jet. Due to the coverage that I’ve read about the failures of this jet, I really wasn’t too impressed to see it. To be fair, I was impressed that it was actually flying. I figured they would have to get the F-22 Raptor to tow it and the Shockwave Jet Truck to push from behind!
After watching the F-35 for a few minutes a real jet finally came flying in. Jay was disappointed that they didn’t have the Raptor on the grounds because he wanted to watch it take off, but at least we were able to see some impressive maneuvers with it.
I must confess one disappointment with the F-22 demo. The president of the Air Show had been yammering on at the beginning and had told us that the “F-22 Rapture” would be flying. I thought that the Rapture was a hoax! After the ‘Rapture’s’ flight we all were still here, so I guess that none of us were good enough to be taken during the Rapture. I should have known that just based on the idiocy of our current Presidential campaigns!
At every air show they do a heritage flight to honor all of the men and women who have served in the armed forces. They usually use a WW2 era plane, whatever older fighter jet is in the air show that day, and then one of the newer jets. This year they flew the P-51 Mustang, the F-22 Raptor (not the Rapture) and the F-35 Failure.
There was also another acrobatic pilot there, Matt Chapman, but I didn’t get any pictures of his plane. Close your eyes and imagine Cuban 8’s, barrel rolls, loops, and even a flip. There! Now you’ve seen Matt Chapman!
The Blue Angels
I managed to get the start of the Dirty Roll on Take-off that Jay loves. I don’t have a fancy camera, so I just had to hope that I was taking some decent pictures.
Those are the #5 and #6 jets doing a pass in front of the crowd.
What a slick-looking jet!
We had barely begun to walk around when Jay said, “Hey, watch this!” You can see him talking to one of the pilots of the C-12 King Air. This was one of the planes that Jay flew when he was in the Navy. In fact, I think he was the flight instructor for this plane. So he knows what kind of prep goes into making sure that the plane is air show ready.
He told the pilot that he had one of the fire extinguisher fuses that had been left in place. The pilot was very concerned and looked at him. That’s when Jay laughed and said he was just messing around. The pilot laughed and told him not to do that. Apparently during shows the fuses are removed so that kids can’t accidentally set off the fire extinguishers when they are messing around in the cockpit. Jay talked to the guy for a few seconds more and then we were on our way… to harass more pilots.
I didn’t see any gnaw marks on this one, so perhaps the ‘Oceanic Repellant Bat Spray’ was used on it.
Have I mentioned that the A-10 Warthog is my favorite jet?
It’s ugly… it’s not meant for speed… and it really only has one purpose, but it is a butt-kicking kind of jet! This is a tank-busting jet. It’s only job is to blow stuff up! And it is GOOD at it’s job. Due to the mechanics and physics of the thing when the Warthog fires off the gun you don’t hear it until after stuff is destroyed. Some refer to this as the ‘Fart of God’ and it’s a sound that our ground troops love to hear. Do yourself a favor and pull up some videos of Warthogs in action on YouTube.
The jet was designed as a flying gun. It shoots 30 caliber shells in spurts of 60-70 armor-piercing shells per second. Not only can it give a beating, but it can take a pretty good beating in return. There are instances where it has taken such extensive damage that most any other jet would have been downed, but not the Hog. It was designed to fly with one engine, one half of the tail, one elevator and half of a wing missing. Can you imagine?? I think that the F-35 Failure would crash if you just looked at it wrong. They just don’t build things like they used to, you know?
Overall we had a great day at the air show! Today I am suffering a sinus headache due to the allergens being blown all around me, and we are both sun burned, but it was a good time. The only bad thing about the air show is it means Fall is around the corner. *sigh*