Aviation Nation 2011 – Saturday
I know I’m more than just a little late in getting this posted, but that’s how life goes sometimes. Between a trip to Utah for Thanksgiving and working overtime, it’s been more than a little busy and my mind just hasn’t been all that creative. I’ve been much more interested in watching a few movies or YouTube. With the early darkness and late departures from work, I haven’t been able to get out on the bike as much as I’d like.
Oh well, whatchagonnado ? I think I’ll get some pictures posted
One difference in 2011 from past years was taking my V-Star to the airshow. I knew this might limit my shopping options, but I’d much rather be on the bike than in the car 99.9% of the time. Funny thing – motorcycle riding is one of the closest experiences that I’ve found to flying that I can actually afford. Leaning in the corners is very similar and addictive
The first sight that greeted us as we left the bus was this C-5 Galaxy – gotta love those big planes
I’ve often seen the doors open for tours on these E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) jets, but there’s always been too long of a line for my interest to override my dislike of standing in line. Thankfully, there was no line during the Saturday airshow so I jumped at the chance Sorry there are no pictures of the inside, but they don’t usually want you to take pics in the airplanes and I didn’t want to ask. Just watch the first Transformers movie – they’ve got part of the movie filmed in this type of jet
Long time readers will remember that I’ve actually sat in a helicopter like this a few years ago. That one was at the Nellis AFB Threat Training Facility and is not in flying condition, but it was rather cool to see something from the Cold War and all so close.
This Mi-24 Hind attack and transport helicopter is a flying example and it’s in private hands The Cold War Air Museum is also working on making another one of these fine machines airworthy as well as a MiG-23 and some other cool stuff Be sure to go check out their website – click here
Something I wanted to point out about this aircraft were these blue sticks under the tail boom. Those are flare launchers used to decoy heat seeking missiles – especially the shoulder fired variety. They were fitted in a rather hasty fashion right about the time the U.S. started sending Stinger missiles to the rebels in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. The guys at the CWAM call them the Charlie Wilson Memorial Flare Launchers
One of the things I love about Aviation Nation at Nellis AFB is that they make every effort to have as many planes available for close inspection as possible. One of the ways they do this is by having the “hot pits” with most of the airplanes which will be flying open to the public while they aren’t actually being flown or run. Here we have the B-25 Mitchell bomber “Heavenly Body” firing up the engines and the T-33 Shooting Star “Ace Maker.” I think the pic of Heavenly Body shows nicely how good the vantage points are even when you’re not in the enclosure with the aircraft
The National Anthem was performed by the cast of the Las Vegas show “Jersey Boys” and was a spectacular performance as well! Having this skydiver bring in the Colors was a great sight as well
Now, there’s something you don’t see every day – A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on the ground and the Thunderbirds all in one picture
The weather was beautiful and the backdrop wonderful as well as the first of the demonstrations got underway with the WWII aircraft taking turns “attacking” the runway for our enjoyment.
The two best known rivals from the Korean War were in attendance as well. Once again, the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA sent over a communist MiG-15 (this time in North Korean markings!) and a gorgeous F-86 Sabre. Both are superb examples in lovely condition and they flew beautifully as well
At least one of my readers is a big fan of the C-17 Globemaster III so I made sure to take some pictures of that aircraft during its demonstration. Hope you like these, Kath
I’ve known about the A-37 Dragonfly for quite a few years and talked with a few who’ve flown them in combat. They’re great jets in many ways and it’s a shame there’s not more of them in private hands.
The Commemorative Air Force has a very nice P-51 all done up in the colors of the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. As most people know, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first black pilots to fly into combat in the United States Army Air Corps and they had a stellar record. White bomber crews initially shunned these pilots, but their aerial combat feats eventually led to their being requested. That’s how this particular airplane got it’s name – it’s known as “By Request”
I managed to meet up with my good friends Connie May, T.D. Barnes, and his lovely wife Doris a bit later in the day. It was good to see them all again and we enjoyed the afternoon immensely I wasn’t in the perfect place to take pics all the time, but I think this one came out pretty nice
I didn’t get too many pics of the Thunderbirds, but I did get a few that I’m happy to post
Another thing I love about Nellis AFB is the backdrop afforded by Sunrise Mountain. It works rather well with jets like this F-16, don’t you think?
Who wouldn’t be happy to have their picture taken with a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber
I’ve seen many rare aircraft at Aviation Nation over the years and this Zero has been a repeated visitor. It’s the real deal, but has an American engine. The only one flying with the correct Japanese engine is at the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA and they don’t fly it very often due to wear and tear. Even with an “incorrect” engine, I’m glad to see this one out flying for the crowd
These tail guns on the B-25 Mitchell “Heavenly Body” aren’t real, but something tells me that installing the right ones wouldn’t take much time and would provide some very fun times
NASA jets have visited Aviation Nation several times in past years, but this one had the canopy open and a seriously über-cool NASA helmet on the rail and I couldn’t pass up taking a pic
I wanted to get this picture right and I did! I just love the way the canopy bends the light and shows both Sunrise Mountain and the sky
Wagering that this particular jet has put warheads on foreheads in repayment for the events of September 11, 2001 would likely be a very safe bet.
You always get the best lighting on the static displays when the sun gets down toward the horizon.
Y’all didn’t think I’d leave the Navy out of this post, did ya
Just look at the light on the mountains in the distance and those wonderful airplanes
Gotta love the way this T-38 looked in the encroaching darkness
And now it’s on to the panoramas I decided to keep them separate for convenience sake – it’s easier than trying to get them to fit into the order of the rest of the pictures.
I know I keep gushing over the B-2, but it’s just so rare to have one on static display and it is so very photogenic The artsy pic was the result of having a truly horrific picture that I thought provided an opportunity to play around with. What do you think?
The Patriots jet demonstration team is a civilian endeavour which is sponsored by Fry’s electronics and they really are very good. They normally perform with six jets but for some reason only five made it to Aviation Nation this year. I’m just glad I got to see them fly
The evening light proved great as always back down at the hot pits I had a great day all around with very few exceptions and was happy I took the time to go as always
That’s all for this post, but this is only the pics from Saturday – there’s more from Sunday that I’m working on posting as well Have a great day and I’ll see y’all again soon
2 comments to Aviation Nation 2011 – Saturday
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