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Picture(s) A Day – Aviation Nation 2010 – Sunday At Nellis AFB

Sorry for the delay everyone, but I was just flat worn out Sunday night and yesterday wasn’t the greatest day, either.  I managed to get the pictures for this post edited and the panoramas stitched together, and uploaded, but getting them built into the post and captioned took a bit too much time.  I finally got that finished tonight and I hope you enjoy the results :D  Let’s get to the pics :thumb:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Sunday started much earlier - 0753 and no line for the bus!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Sunday started much earlier - 0753 and no line for the bus!

Aviation Nation 2010 – 0802 and I was already on the bus

Aviation Nation 2010 – 0802 and I was already on the bus

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I got into the parking lot a bit later than I’d normally like to and I paid the price in a very long wait to get on the bus and therefore to the flight line.  Not so on Sunday!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Base Ops at Nellis AFB

Aviation Nation 2010 – Base Ops at Nellis AFB

Something about the Base Ops building just seems right to me.  The low profile, southwest architecture and the palm trees are just cool :cool:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Air Combat Command seal on the helipad at Base Ops

Aviation Nation 2010 – Air Combat Command seal on the helipad at Base Ops

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF Air Warfare Center seal on the helipad at Base Ops

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF Warfare Center seal on the helipad at Base Ops

Most people walk right by both the base ops building without noticing the details.  I try to find all the neat stuff I can and I thought these seals in the helipad were interesting.

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nellis AFB is named in honor of William H. Nellis, a WWII P-47 pilot

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nellis AFB is named in honor of William H. Nellis, a WWII P-47 pilot

It hadn’t occurred to me in previous years to wonder who Nellis Air Force Base was named for and why, but that changed this year.  The question popped into my head on Thursday or Friday and I found the answer on Sunday.  This plaque is at the entrance to the base ops building.  William H. Nellis was a hero in WWII and it is surely fitting to have named this base in his honor.

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USAF C-5 Galaxy on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USAF C-5 Galaxy on static display

I use my panorama software quite a lot because I just can’t afford a camera or lens that goes to the wide angle I need it to.  The C-5 Galaxy takes up a whole lot of real estate in front of a camera as well as on the ground!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USAF F-15 Eagle on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USAF F-15 Eagle on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-16 Viper on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-16 Viper on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-16 Viper on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-16 Viper on static display

Both the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Viper have been around nearly as long as I have, but they’re still going strong and are the backbone of the US Air force.  The Eagle is an unbelievably capable air superiority fighter while the Viper can go air to air or air to ground.

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-22 Raptor on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-22 Raptor on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-22 Raptor on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-22 Raptor on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the F-22 Raptor

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the F-22 Raptor

If the F-15 Eagle is a 10 on the scale of  air superiority fighters, the F-22 Raptor is off the chart.  The Raptor has a lower radar signature than an F-117 Nighthawk, more maneuverability than anything larger than a hummingbird, and more power and speed than an F-15.  When the Raptors are in the air, opposing jets have a habit of falling out of the sky with zero warning.  I’ve heard stories from credible sources of four Raptors starting a dogfight at a disadvantage against twelve F/A-18 Hornets only to have beaten all of their opponents in under two minutes with zero losses.  This aircraft is a true marvel of aviation technology and a tribute to American excellence as are the men and women who fly and maintain them.

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF A-10 Warthog on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF A-10 Warthog on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF A-10 Warthog on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF A-10 Warthog on static display

Dominating the air war is a necessary mission, but you need boots on the ground to take and control territory.  Enemy troops and armor are of course very real threats to US and friendly ground forces and that’s where the A-10 Warthog comes into the picture.  With eleven hard points capable of carrying nearly any precision or free fall weapons in the inventory, the A-10 can bring a world of hurt to anyone on the other side of the conflict.  Add in the incredible seven barrel, 30mm GAU-8 rotary cannon that fires over 4,000 rounds a minute that can destroy any armored vehicle or tank in the world and you’ve got a winner when the grunts need close air support!

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-15E Strike Eagle on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF F-15E Strike Eagle on static display

Aviation Nation 2010 – F-15E Strike Eagle information

Aviation Nation 2010 – F-15E Strike Eagle information

What do you get when you add air to ground capability and a weapons system operator in a second seat to an F-15 Eagle?  You get the F-15E Strike Eagle.  The Strike Eagle retains all the great speed and maneuverability of the air to air F-15, but it can take the fight to the enemy’s ground forces as well.  The bulges you see on the sides of the fuselage are conformal fuel tanks allowing the Strike Eagle to go farther than it otherwise would be able to without carrying drag inducing external tanks or taking up time and space in the operational environment while refueling from a KC-10 or KC-135 tanker.

Aviation Nation 2010 – My good friend Joe is a crew chief on F-22 Raptors :D

Aviation Nation 2010 – My good friend Joe is a crew chief on F-22 Raptors :D

I met Joe a few months ago at New Frontier Armory / Infinite Arms.  He doesn’t work there – he was just another customer along with me.  We both love guns and shooting in the desert even if we have different tastes when it comes to rifles and pistols.  Joe just happens to be a crew chief working on the F-22 Raptors at Nellis and though we hadn’t planned to meet up, he recognized me and gave me a very special, up-close and personal tour of the jet :mrgreen:  I’d have loved to get pictures of all the stuff I got to see, but that’s not possible without prior clearance and we didn’t have that.  I’m also a supporter of secrecy when it comes to technology like the F-22 and while it may be just fine for me to see it, I don’t know what I should and should not publish so until all those conditions are met, you’ll only see pics from a distance and in a very public setting :wink:  Joe, thanks again for a freaking awesome time at the airshow with the Raptor :thumb:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nevada DPS/NHP satellite communications vehicle

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nevada DPS/NHP satellite communications vehicle

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nevada Highway Patrol Cessna 172 RG

Aviation Nation 2010 – Nevada Highway Patrol Cessna 172 RG

The Nevada Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety are always at Aviation Nation.  It’s a great place for them to meet the public in a positive situation and it works well for recruiting, too.

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

Aviation Nation 2010 – This is one very nice WWII Jeep!

The First Composite Group also shows up every year at Aviation Nation and they’re a great group of guys :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – Beech C-45 Expediter

Aviation Nation 2010 – Beech C-45 Expediter

Aviation Nation 2010 – Life is good when it's a Beech!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Life is good when it's a Beech!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the Beech C-45 Expediter

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the Beech C-45 Expediter

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the Beech C-45 Expediter

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the Beech C-45 Expediter

The twin Beech is one of the aircraft that comes to my mind when I think of an airplane with style and class :cool:  This C-45 Expediter just really captured my eye with its gleaming polished aluminum.  I can’t imagine trying to keep that finish in that condition :shock:

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF Fighter Weapons School F-16 in adversary camouflage

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF Fighter Weapons School F-16 in adversary camouflage

Some of the pilots at Nellis are there to play the bad guys in training.  The adversary aircraft are painted to represent the look of enemy aircraft and the pilots fly enemy tactics to help train our combat pilots.  This F-16 is one of those adversary jets and I can’t help but think it looks really cool!

Aviation Nation 2010 – The mighty B-52 Stratofortress - AKA the BUFF

Aviation Nation 2010 – The mighty B-52 Stratofortress - AKA the BUFF

First flown in 1952, the B-52 Stratofortress continues to serve as the backbone of the USAF’s heavy bomber force.  Also known as the “BUFF” which stands for Big Ugly Fat F**ker, this aircraft can carry almost any air to ground weapon in the inventory and it can carry a whole lot of them!  Be it precision or free fall, laser or GPS guided, conventional or nuclear, the B-52 will carry its load of ordinance to the target anywhere on the globe and will lay wast to the target.  I talked to the pilot of this B-52 and he says the earliest date that’s being considered right now for retirement of the B-52 force is 2044.  Yes, some of these airplanes will be 90 years old when they’re finally retired!!!

Aviation Nation 2010 – PT-17 Stearman and PT-22 Recruit taxiing back

Aviation Nation 2010 – PT-17 Stearman and PT-22 Recruit taxiing back

Aviation Nation 2010 – PT-17 Stearman with T-33 'Ace Maker' flying by

Aviation Nation 2010 – PT-17 Stearman with T-33 'Ace Maker' flying by

Aviation Nation 2010 featured a flight demonstration by a variety of trainer aircraft which isn’t something you see at the average airshow.

Aviation Nation 2010 – T-33 Shooting Star 'Ace Maker' after a demo flight

Aviation Nation 2010 – T-33 Shooting Star 'Ace Maker' after a demo flight

Aviation Nation 2010 – T-33 Shooting Star 'Ace Maker' after a demo flight

Aviation Nation 2010 – T-33 Shooting Star 'Ace Maker' after a demo flight

Gregory Colyer is the pilot of the T-33 that’s known as “Ace Maker” and he does a wonderful job of showing it off!  The T-33 was introduced around the time of the Korean War and served for several decades as a jet trainer.  I’d hoped to meet Gregory this year, but I didn’t get the chance for a number of reasons, most of which are my fault.  Thanks for bringing Ace Maker down to Vegas again, Greg!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – C-17 Globemaster III - AKA the Moose

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – C-17 Globemaster III - AKA the Moose

Although the C-17 didn’t fly for the crowds this year, there were two of them on static display and I think they’re one of the best cargo aircraft flying.  The C-17 can carry a huge load of cargo a very long way and is not limited to paved runways which means the goods can get to the grunts quicker and more reliably.

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking out from under the left wing of the B-52

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking out from under the left wing of the B-52

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking out from under the right wing of the B-52

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking out from under the right wing of the B-52

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking into the bomb bay of the B-52

Aviation Nation 2010 – Looking into the bomb bay of the B-52

I’ll be honest – I drive a desk and a phone for a living and I’m not used to being on my feet and walking all day long.  I figured a good place to have a seat for a little while out of the sun and to get off my feet was just behind the starboard forward landing gear of the BUFF.  I also thought you’d like a little bit different view of the airplane than what you might have seen before :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – C-17 Globemaster III - AKA the Moose

Aviation Nation 2010 – C-17 Globemaster III - AKA the Moose

Yep, it’s the C-17 again :P  I really wouldn’t mind having one of these jets if I could afford it along with the gas and maintenance.  There’s a ton of remote dry lakes in Nevada and Utah that would be perfect to visit in such a plane :wink:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Ed Hamill's 'Dream Machine' and Tim Weber's GEICO Extra 300

Aviation Nation 2010 – Ed Hamill's 'Dream Machine' and Tim Weber's GEICO Extra 300

Aviation Nation doesn’t feature just military aircraft.  Every year Nellis AFB plays host to some spectacular civilian aerobatic performers.  Here we see a couple of the airplanes of those aerobatic artists over in the hot pits.

Aviation Nation 2010 –  'Spam Can' and 'Wee Willy II' in from Planes of Fame

Aviation Nation 2010 – 'Spam Can' and 'Wee Willy II' in from Planes of Fame

Aviation Nation 2010 –  P-40 Warhawk in from Planes of Fame

Aviation Nation 2010 – P-40 Warhawk in from Planes of Fame

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – Warbirds and Raptors in the hot pits

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – Warbirds and Raptors in the hot pits

The “hot pits” are areas where aircraft are parked that will be flying at some time during the day.  Sometimes the hot pits (or part of them) are open to the public and sometimes they’re not.  This year saw both open and closed hot pits, but we still got a good look at the warbirds brought over for flying demonstrations by the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA :)

Aviation Nation 2010 –  You've gotta love the BUFF!

Aviation Nation 2010 – You've gotta love the BUFF!

Here’s another view of the BUFF from the viewing area for the hot pits.  This one’s based out of Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

Aviation Nation 2010 –  A-1 Skyraiders and an O-2 Skymaster prepare for takeoff

Aviation Nation 2010 – A-1 Skyraiders and an O-2 Skymaster prepare for takeoff

Aviation Nation 2010 –  UH-1 Huey preparing for the vintage CSAR demoAviation Nation 2010 –  UH-1 Huey preparing for the vintage CSAR demo

Aviation Nation 2010 – UH-1 Huey preparing for the vintage CSAR demo

Aviation Nation 2010 – Vintage aircraft ready for takeoff

Aviation Nation 2010 – Vintage aircraft ready for takeoff

Aviation Nation 2010 – UH-1 heading out for the demo

Aviation Nation 2010 – UH-1 heading out for the demo

Despite the best efforts of our pilots, sometimes an aircraft is shot down in combat and the pilot has to be rescued.  This year we were treated to a vintage Combat Search and Rescue demonstration with aircraft from the Vietnam era.  The only participating aircraft you don’t see here is the F-4 Phantom which I didn’t get any good digital pictures of.  You’ll have to wait for me to get the film developed for Phantom pics :wink:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Aviation Nation 2010 – Home built aircraft taxiing back from flying

Not all airplanes are produced in a factory by people whose only job is building airplanes.  Quite a few aircraft air built every year by average people in hangars and garages across the land.  Aviation Nation paid tribute to the home builders with a nice overflight by a large formation of some really impressive airplanes flown by the people who built them :cool:

Aviation Nation 2010 – Yes, I'm a big fan of the F-22 :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – Yes, I'm a big fan of the F-22 :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – F-22 Raptors in the hot pits

Aviation Nation 2010 – F-22 Raptors in the hot pits

If you don’t like F-22 Raptors, this ain’t the blog for you!  These two were on hand to fly the demonstration for the crowd along with participating in the Heritage Flight.  I like seeing them with the canopies open and the horizontal stabilizers not perfectly centered as they usually are.  Click on the bottom pic and look at the guy by the Raptor on the left for a better idea of the size of these jets :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – People come from all over for this airshow!

Aviation Nation 2010 – People come from all over for this airshow!

I’ve met people at Nellis who’ve come from as far away as New York and Great Britain just to attend Aviation Nation.  This guy came from southern California for some good airshow pics and I think he got some good ones :wink:

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Navy F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-94

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Navy F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-94

LTCDR Dustin “2Pac” Lee brought this F/A-18C Hornet down to Aviation Nation 2o10.  VFA-94 is known as the Shrikes and many of my readers no doubt are familiar with a blog run by someone with more than a passing familiarity with that squadron :D  Big thanks go out to LTCDR Lee for bringing a bit of the Navy out to Las Vegas so this expatriate from San Diego could feel a bit more at home :thumb:

Aviation Nation 2010 – I thought this was funny - It looks like the E-2's radome is on the Hornet!

Aviation Nation 2010 – I thought this was funny - It looks like the E-2's radome is on the Hornet!

While this pic may be more than a bit funny, I’m definitely not trying to give the Navy any ideas :wink:  With all they’ve got Hornets doing on the carriers these days, I’m sure AWACS isn’t an inconceivable role in someone’s eyes up in the Pentagon!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – C-17 Globemaster III

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – C-17 Globemaster III

Here’s another time when I had to use my panorama software to make up for the lack of a very wide angle lens.  The C-17 sure ain’t small!

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – US Navy E-2 Hawkeye

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – US Navy E-2 Hawkeye

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – Eight bladed propeller on the E-2 Hawkeye

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – Eight bladed propeller on the E-2 Hawkeye

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Navy E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Navy E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft

It’s difficult to believe, but the E-2 Hawkeye has been around the Navy for 50 years!  Able to see and control over three million cubic miles of airspace, Hawkeyes are the eyes of the fleet.  With an E-2 up in the sky, ships can receive data linked radar information and can keep their own radars turned off thus preserving the secrecy of their location.  The latest generation of Hawkeyes has some really neat gear and these eight bladed propellers are pretty cool looking, too.  I wonder if those de-icing patches on the props are heated or inflated?

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USMC EA-6B Prowler

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama – USMC EA-6B Prowler

Aviation Nation 2010 – USMC EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare jet

Aviation Nation 2010 – USMC EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare jet

I’d have taken these pictures anyway, but I made sure to post a couple of the good ones for Glenn as he’s got a personal history with the Prowler :)  The EA-6B is based on the old Grumman A-6 Intruder and it’s specialty is blinding the enemy via massive watts of radio frequency energy that can jam their systems and turn radar screens to snow.

Aviation Nation 2010 – Thunderbird performing a high alpha pass

Aviation Nation 2010 – Thunderbird performing a high alpha pass

My digital camera has a bit of a problem when it’s zoomed at all.  There’s a speck of dirt or something between the lens elements that shows up anytime I try to use the zoom.  This pic would’ve shown that, but I was able to crop it out in editing.  You haven’t seen many pics of airplanes actually in the air for just that reason.  Those pics will be along before too much longer :wink:

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin

Aviation Nation 2010 – US Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama - USCG HH-60 Jayhawk

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama - USCG HH-60 Jayhawk

Never one to miss out on some good publicity, the US Coast Guard brought a couple of their search and rescue (SAR) helicopters to Nellis for the airshow.  That big thing you see on the HH-60 are external fuel tanks which are needed for long range SAR missions.

Aviation Nation 2010 – The sun forming a rainbow in the ice crystals of high altitude clouds

Aviation Nation 2010 – The sun forming a rainbow in the ice crystals of high altitude clouds

OK, it’s not strictly aviation or airshow related, but I thought this picture was cool enough to include anyway :)

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF MH-60 Pavehawk

Aviation Nation 2010 – USAF MH-60 Pavehawk

The USAF’s go-to helicopter for CSAR is the MH-60 Pavehawk.  The long tube you see sticking out from the nose is a probe for in-flight refueling and if you look at the back door you’ll see an M-2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun.  With the firepower to protect itself in hostile areas, the Pavehawk is also used for special forces missions.

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama - E-6B Mercury

Aviation Nation 2010 – Panorama - E-6B Mercury

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the E-6B Mercury

Aviation Nation 2010 – Information about the E-6B Mercury

Believe me when I say that I never want this aircraft to have to do its job.  The E-6B Mercury was built to relay commands to strategic forces during wartime.  By strategic forces I mean nuclear armed ICBMs and SLBMs.  This is a no kidding doomsday airplane.

Aviation Nation 2010 – On the bus to leave on Sunday

Aviation Nation 2010 – On the bus to leave on Sunday

I could’ve stayed around the flight line for a couple of hours more, but I decided to leave while the lines for the buses were short.  Yes, I know I missed out on what had to have been a gorgeous sunset and I might have seen some of the static display airplanes take off and head for home.  I know this, but there comes a time when you’ve just about run out of steam and you know you have to save some energy for the drive home.  Sunday at Aviation Nation was like that.  I was a bit sunburned, very tired, and somewhat dehydrated due to the cost of a bottle of water, Gatorade, or soda having been set at $4.00 each.  You don’t want to know the price for the pizza and funnel cake.  I figured I’d get out while the gettin’ was good and you can see in this pic just how many people were all trying to leave at once.  I had a great time and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year :)

Thanks again for stopping by!  Stay tuned and you’ll get to see some of the film pics in the near future :mrgreen:

Have a great Wednesday, everyone :mrgreen:

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5 comments to Picture(s) A Day – Aviation Nation 2010 – Sunday At Nellis AFB

  • Great photos of our annual air show, Jeff. Enjoyed the time spent with you and the other photographers along the flight-line. Thanks for sharing your photos with the rest of us who leave the photography chores up to you and the rest. Also thanks to Mike and all the rest at the Indy Transponder for your coverage of the Nellis Air Show. Your’s is an indispensable service to the aviation communities of the world.
    T.D. BARNES
    Director Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame
    President Roadrunners Internationale

  • Great pics and supporting narrative, Jeff. BZ, as the Squids say.

  • Them canopies on a Prowler are lined with real gold. It keeps the radiation out.
    That Marine Prowler still belongs to VAQ-129, The Vikings out of NAS Whidbey Island, WA. Home sweet home for eleven of my twenty years in NavAir.
    Bitchin’ pics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kath

    You know how much I love those huge planes — the C-17 and the C-5 — but to see under the wings of that B-52, that is toooooo much! That’s not something you see every day!! I love it.
    Great pictures.

    $4.00 for a bottle of water? Shame on them for that, but you’re paying for the convenience of it being there, too. And after the line you stood in to get ON a bus on Sat., yeah, I think you picked the perfect time to leave on Sun.!!

  • ORPO1 Glenn

    Homebuilts:
    A lot of Vans RV frames. They are among the best in the kit plane world. Everything from an LSA to a four seat full on cross country ship.
    And it is the Mighty Shrikes. Or was when they flew real airplanes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)
    And us maintainers here in the 912 still call it a Falcon, not a Viper.

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