June 02, 2007

AirFest Saturday

Just like last year, I'm woken up by the hammering yowl of an 12-cylinder Merlin engine screaming by The Pond. There's nothing on earth that sounds like a P-51, in this case named Moonbeam McSwine... Al Capp would be proud.

After breakfast, I realize I'm out of duck chow and rye bread (it's like crack cocaine to us ducks), so I have to go to the grocery store... and, gee, there just happens to be one even CLOSER to the airport than The Pond. Of course, I never go there, but what the heck? I suppose just this once it'll be okay. Oh, and I'll take the camera, too... just, y'know, because...

Glad I did... as I get out of my car, these just happened by:
I'm STILL not sure who they are...

Given the number of photos still to come, click below to continue... I promise, they get better! KC-135 *REALLY* Over Pond

See? This KC-135 flew almost directly over The Pond as it turned in on approach, and boy was it loud. I ruined a nice head-on shot by coughing, though.

The Lima-Lima flight team made an appearance, but I didn't get any usable pictures. Quite the impressive sight, though, those six T-34s... I'm going to make a special effort to get them on Sunday. Anyway, from then on, other than an F-15, everything was pretty much below the trees from my balcony.

Around 330pm, I headed out to the field behind The Pond... and as I took my spot, it began. A shriek of abused air, and:
Lucky shot.
The Angels were on the stage.

A little loose on that diamond, though...
The F/A-18 is louder than a F-15, and immensely louder than the F-16s the Thunderbirds flew last year. The engines have a higher pitch to them, too. With the F-15, you can feel the bass note in your bones... even from a mile away. The F/A-18 sounds like it's powered by shrieking souls.

...hot turn...
#5 pulled a high-speed turn that made my teeth rattle. It's a little blurry, but it's the best I could do as I rotated in place as he went around me. It was a particularly humid day; those are contrails off the wingtips, not the usual airshow smoke.

For a couple of minutes, things were quiet... then all hell broke loose:
F/A-18s are NOT stealthy.
Remember how I said that the F/A-18 is loud? I was wrong.
Six of them.
At high speed.
In a very tight formation.
Going directly over your head... that's loud.

It's also incredibly cool. There are those who think that military flight teams are a waste of taxpayer's money. Those people have never seen the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds (or the Snowbirds, the Frecci Tricolori, or Blue Impulse, for that matter).

Alas, all good things must come to an end:
#3, take a bow...
...until Sunday, of course.

Now that I know what their routine is like, I should be able to predict their movements a little better. See ya Sunday evening!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 They don't do them often (if at all) anymore, but the loudest airshow demonstration I've ever heard was a takeoff and high-speed pass by a B1B. It was on the ragged edge of painful.

I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but I think the F-15 and F-16 use engines with a higher bypass ratio than the F-18. That would give them a lower quiter rumble. Older planes with zero-bypass turbojets, like the F-4, have a very high=pitched shreak to the exhaust note.

Posted by: Will at June 03, 2007 04:49 AM (olS40)

2 Makes sense, Will. There was a B-1 here last year, but it didn't do a high-speed pass. It was still plenty loud.

This year, a B-52 is sitting at the Airport. They had to modify one of the runways so it could land here... the radio said something about 'removing the runway lights' because the wings droop so much they'd've destroyed them all.

As you can guess, Jumbos don't fly out of Duckford.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 03, 2007 04:59 AM (2nDll)

3 When I lived in Nebraska, my house was only a few miles away from Offutt AFB, which just so happened to be where these suckers were based. I got used to being "buzzed" by them on a daily basis... and I put that in quotes, because, in reality, they'd be lumbering along so slowly that you'd think they were a second away from falling out of the sky and crushing you right then and there.

Unfortunately, the one time Air Force One visited with POTUS on board, it landed from a different direction. I had been looking forward to giving it the one finger salute from the comfort of my back porch.

And a funny story with regard to the B-52... I grew up in Fort Worth, about 8 miles away from Carswell AFB, which was (at the time) home to the 7th Bomb Wing. Quite often, in the dead of night, I'd hear a low rumble off in the distance. Since we lived near a major rail line, I always figured I was hearing passing diesel locomotives. One day, however, I decided to ask my Dad, who happened to be working on the F-16 program at General Dynamics at the time. He informed me that I was hearing the B-52s with their engines running on the flight line at Carswell... from 8 miles away!

Posted by: Jeff Lawson at June 03, 2007 07:17 AM (VgF1Y)

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