Thursday, April 17, 2014

Davis-Monthan Open House

The Davis-Monthan AFB open house was held on Saturday and Sunday 12-13 April.  It was convenient for us to go as we are already staying on base.  We rode the free shuttle bus to the displays on Saturday.
 Surprisingly there were some sport cars and motorcycles on display along with all the aircraft.
 We thought this one looked a lot like my son Daniel's motorcycle. Of course us old folks were totally  wrong mistaking a Suzuki for a Kawasaki.
 There were many dozens of aircraft on static display many modern ones like this F-15 and quite few old ones - early jet age planes like the Mig-15 as well as World War II vintage aircraft like the P51 Mustang and B25 Mitchell bomber.

The A-10 Thunderbolt (aka the Warthog) is based at Davis-Monthan where student pilots are trained to fly  the A-10.  This aircraft is one of my favorites as it was designed economically at the close of the Vietnam era using a lot off-the-shelf existing parts.   Pilots love to fly the Warthog.  It is not a fast aircraft but carries and amazing amount of weaponry.  It's under wing pylons carry a larger bomb load than a World War II B-17.  It's internal 50mm Gatling gun can destroy the almost any tank or armored vehicle.  It is also an extremely battle hardened aircraft with self-sealing fuel cells; a cockpit surrounded by armor;  multiple redundant light control systems; and enough engine power to continue flying with only one of its two engines working. What's not to like? Hard to kill with lots of firepower.

 The C-5 Galaxy's size is always impressive.  I've been a passenger on these several times.  They have relatively comfortable airline style seat on an upper passenger deck while the cargo ramp can carry dozens of cargo pallets or several heavy tanks.

 Here's the flying tenor.  He performed aerobatics while singing over the PA system.

 The JellyBelly trick flyer did wild and crazy stunts. Notice he did barrel rolls and other maneuvers after dropping one of his ailerons.
 The beautifully restored Mitchell B-25 bomber flew several low level passes .  This is the same model that General Jimmy  Doolittle flew on his famous carrier-based raid on Tokyo.

 The Kent Pietsch flying show included aerobatics by Chinese-built trainer aircraft.
There was a combat rescue demonstration which included  simulated refueling of the rescue helicopters; simulated bomb runs by A-10s; and recovery of a downed pilot.  

 The JellyBelly returned later in the show landing on top of this truck. 

 Here the Jacquie B stunt flyer races the Smoke-n-Thunder jet car.  Although Jacquie B's plane passed over the jet car at  about 180mph, the jet car accelerated to over 300mph passing the aircraft as the car popped its drag chute.

 There was even an aerobatic helicopter.
 Although we were disappointed that the Thunderbirds were forced to cancel their Saturday show due to strong cross winds; we returned on on Sunday and enjoyed a good show.

Political Soapbox mode on:
Many of the low-level passes triggered car alarms on the parked cars.  A supersonic pass at low level would have broken windows for miles around.  Two of these aircraft making high-speed passes over Benghazi, Libya would have been pretty scary to terrorists, especially if it included several strafing runs.  Note that the F-16s in based in northern Italy (with a stop in Sicily for refueling) could have arrived in Libya within 3-4 hours after takeoff.  Why weren't they ordered aloft?  We'll probably never know.  Executive privilege??? :(
Political Soapbox mode  off.

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