August 26, 2006
Since I love old war birds just about as much as I love the Indy 500, I loaded up the boys and we headed out to the airport early this morning. We were second in line at one of the general admission gates. This is what we saw there.
We got there kinda early because I have issues, so we just sat in the car for an hour and a half, trying to hold our pee and stuff. My youngest was thirsty, so I gave him an orange soda, which he promptly poured down the front of his white T-shirt. I'll address that problem later.
They finally opened the gates and we rushed to park. Since I'm a cheap-skate, I went general admission and brought three lawn chairs and a big cooler of beer and sodas. Well, they parked us at one end of the airport, and the area for the great unwashed general admission folks (us) was at the other end. So we humped our gear for what seemed like two miles in Bataan DeathMarch-like conditions....passing all kinds of roped-off, reserved-for-the fat-cat-corporate-types areas...and finally staked our claim.
Then, it was time to go check out some airplanes!
One of the first things I saw was this.
This is an A-10 WartHog Thunderbolt II. Modern planes have too many names.
Anyway... this monstrosity is used for low level ground attack stuff....it runs low and slow and lingers around. You probably don't want to be in any kind of enemy vehicle when this thing is snooping about. It spits out depleted uranium anti-everything rounds which will definitely ruin your day.
Our British cousins say some of our A-10 pilots have a bad reputation for friendly fire incidents against them in recent conflicts, and I have seen some recently released video on the intardnets which would suggest this is true.
I don't know too much more about that, because I wasn't there, but I know some of our guys were accidentally perforated by miscreant A-10's and their pilots during Gulf War 1, so maybe the Brits have a valid point. Who's to say for sure?
Certainly not me.
So then I needed to see something really cool, so I followed my nose to the P-51 Mustangs, and I posed my boys in front of one.
If you look closely, you can see the orange pop all down the front of the youngest son's shirt. (He also has a solar powered hat, and you don't) Soon after I took this picture, I rinsed the skanky T-shirt with water and all was right with the world. The kid didn't like wearing a wet shirt, but at least he didn't look like a total dork anymore...
Now...back to P-51s....
Everybody knows that P-51s are just about the coolest and most beautifullest things ever built by human hands. If anybody disagrees I know they are wrong too.
Everytime I see a Mustang I yell, "P-51...Cadillac of the skies!!"...just like that little kid does in the movie Empire of the Sun.
That was good cinema, I think, if for no other reason than for the scenes with the P-51s.
Some people claim that observing a P-51 in flight is as good as or better than a sexual experience with a beautiful woman.
I would have to agree with those people sorta, probably, maybe, really....
I would now like to tell you how I would run an air show, or, at least, tell you what I would not do.
I would not play disco versions of AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long.
I would not play rap or dance music.
I would not play heavy metal or death/thrash music.
In fact, I would not play any music at all during my air show, because air shows do not need a musical sound track blaring over loudspeakers.
Actually, air shows provide their own soundtrack. I think aircraft engines are music to my ears. That is all I want to hear. I bet most people at air shows feel like I do.
For instance, look at the picture below.
Look closely. There is a lot going on in this picture...this moment in time...that I would like to hear.
Thank you very much.
Here's another shot of a B-17.
I enjoy seeing this piece of history, but for some reason the B-17 makes me very sad sometimes. I think it's because this plane makes me think of all the brave young men who flew in them and sacrificed themselves while flying them.
God bless every one of them!
This is a P-47 ThunderBolt.
This is the real and original and best ThunderBolt. I bet it didn't have a bad rep in WW2 like the modern Thunderbolt does.
I think the modern Thunderbolt might be evil or possessed or something.
The old ThunderBolts like the one pictured, were kinder, gentler....a more caring and loving and angelic machine of death!
That's how I see them anyway.
It wasn't all war birds at the air show. Oh no. They had all kinds of stunt and acrobatic stuff going on too. I never saw so many mouth breathers in one place, at the same time, in my life.
I was one of them too, pretty much.
It was amazing, bordering on spectacular. I saw planes doing stuff planes aren't supposed to be able to do without crashing into heinous fireballs.
Thankfully, there were no heinous fireballs.
The white plane below is piloted by Jurgis Kairys. For a sample of his work, click the link below...
There were many Russian/Chinese/former Soviet bloc airplanes, and this is somewhat troubling for me.
Now, I understand that these aircraft are supposed to be all great and king-of-the-stunts type deal, but I'm not so sure we should be buying up all the Soviet's junk. I mean, look what it can lead to.....
They put a Rolls-Royce/Merlin engine into a Yak-9!!
Let me be the first to say, right here and now, that improper aircraft modifications are being conducted if a Rolls-Royce/Merlin engine is being installed into a Yak-9!!!
So, the next thing we did was go over to see US Marine legend R. Lee Ermey.
Like I said, Ermey was in the Corps. At one time, I also dabbled in all things Marine Corps-ish.
With those two thoughts in my head, I figured I'd run into Gunny and we'd have one of those Band of Brothers, once-a-Marine always-a-Marine, backslapping, handshaking, swear-word-sharing moments.
I don't think Gunny got the memo.
Seeing as I'm afraid of no man, Hollywood legend or not, I walked right up to Gunny and said, "Hey Gunny! How about a cold beer? You look like you need one."
He looked up from autographing one of his $25 DVDs and said, "No thanks. I don't drink beer. I graduated from that a long time ago."
This could mean one of two things:
1-Beer is for wussies. I drink hard liquor...like Zima, so disappear, scumbag!
2-I don't drink at all (which is fine). Alcohol is for losers, and you are a loser, Zoomie. Get away from me, you sorry piece of amphibian feces!
Then he took a sip of coffee.
I think Gunny is probably too worried about making a buck from selling autographed bobble heads of himself to share an intimate, esprit de corps time out with a fellow Marine.
That's what I think.
Semper Fi, Effer!!!
This is something only a money hungry college student should do at an air show.
Normally, I would say it is not a good idea to wear a mascot type outfit which looks like a bloated Piper Cub afflicted with elephantiasis.
Maybe it's just me. I guess you could call it one of Zoomie's Rules To Live By, or something.
This is a Fokker tri-plane replica. It is cool, too.
It is the same type of plane the Red Barron used to massacre many helpless allied pilots and Snoopy during WW1. He got his, though. He got killed by lowly Brit ground-pounder rifle fire. At least, that's what PBS said last week on TV. Serves him right, the big Hun dope!
They are using this plane to promote a new movie coming out in September called Flyboys.
I'll probably go see it, but I bet it will be bad cinema, because Hollywood pretty much doesn't know how to make a decent war picture anymore. I bet the movie will be lots of computer generated BS with huge, napalm-like explosions and stuff.
I figure Flyboys won't be as good as The Great Waldo Pepper, or The Blue Max. Now that's good cinema!
This is an F4U Corsair.
It really doesn't get any better than this. If you don't agree, you probably need a shovel upside your head.
These planes are the coolest ever. My beloved Corps drove them. The Japanese called them Whistling Death. That's a cool name for a fighter plane, I think.
I bet the Nippon planes would have been better if they'd given them tougher names. I mean, naming your fighter plane Tumbling Flaming Chrysanthemum can't be good...especially if you are strapped in to one!
I guess it's fortunate for our guys that the Japanese deemed it necessary to give their fighter planes flowery and poetic names.
What are your thoughts?
This is the P-38 Lightning.
It is a bad motor scooter. It was named Fork Tailed Devil by its enemies. You know if your enemies name you something like Fork Tailed Devil, you have their attention.
This is a Stearman trainer.
Just about anybody who flew anything during WW2 started out in one of these.
Old biplanes give people a warm and fuzzy feeling. That's why a pizza company uses them to sell more pizzas. Something bothers me about all that, but I guess if it keeps these old crates flying, it's OK in my book.
Enjoy a slice, won't you?
This is an SNJ advanced trainer from WW2.
You could also call it a Texan and still be pretty much right on. That's what I always call them anyway....Texan.
These rigs were also flown by just about everybody who wanted to advance to fighters or bombers. That doesn't leave too many people out, does it?
These planes are often disguised as Japanese Zero fighters and Kate torpedo bombers in the movies. I would never do that to my Texan.
This is the AF-18 SuperDuperHornet.
It is much more better than the regular old boring Hornet. Any fool can see that!
This plane is probably my favorite modern jet fighter plane, simply because my beloved Marines drive them. We let the Navy drive them sometimes too if we gotta work late or we're sick or something.
I'm no expert, as you probably have been able to deduce by now, but I'd say this baby is just as nimble as the evil A-10. I was amazed at how tight the F-18 can turn!
I say...get rid of the demon possessed A-10 and replace it with the SuperDuperHornet.
I bet the Air Force would love it if I was the Secretary of Defense, or something.
This is wrong on so many levels. This is a DC-3 GooneyBird with turbo-prop engines.
Turbo-prop is a cool word real aviators use. It means a jet engine with propellers, kinda.
Vintage WW2 era transport planes should not have turbo-prop engines hanging off their wings that sound like ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ or HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
Vintage WW2 era transport planes should look a little something like this and have huge radial engines hanging off the wings that sound like this... wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump!!
Apparently, Ted Turner agrees with me.
This is an example of a proper vintage WW2 era transport plane with an improper paint job.
The engines are correct, but the paint is all wrong. You should never allow your children to have free-reign with earth toned pastel chalk on your vintage WW2 era transport plane.
It wouldn't be prudent, as evidenced by these two photos.
This is a Skyraider.
It was used in Vietnam and was driven by Marines too. The Skyraider is living proof that with enough horsepower, a brick will fly.
Here is a gratuitous shot of another P-51 Mustang.
I have been told that this is most likely a replica of a real Mustang by somebody who knows these kinds of things.
Who am I to argue?
This replica is a replica of an earlier variant of the Mustang. If you look closely, you will see that it does not have the bubble canopy of the later models.
Notice how the floor of the hangar gleams. That floor is so clean you could eat off it if you wanted to. Mustang owners are fussy like that. They pay attention to details, and they love their airplanes, probably as much, if not more, than their wives and/or girlfriends.
I expect P-51s are easier to maintain than a wife/girlfriend.
That's what I think.
Here is a more modern Navy trainer.
It is a North American T-28C Trojan.
I have been told by somebody who knows better than me that this plane is only just a little bit more modern than a Texan....like only by a few years or something.
This plane was used in the later years of WW2 apparently.
Who am I to argue?
I you look closely, you'll see a whirley-bird in the background shadowing this airplane.
I bet that helicopter is Jack Bauer and CTU making sure everything goes OK at the air show.
That's what I think.
Here is a sorta surreal photo I took.
It would look good on an album cover, or something.
I bet all you old hippies like this kinda picture.
This is an Avenger torpedo bomber.
It is large enough to house a family of five and their pets!
President George H.W. Bush drove one of these and was blown from the sky by Japanese ack-ack fire. He parachuted and was rescued by an American submarine, and it is all captured on film! (I bet you could find it and watch it on the intardnets if you really wanted to.)
How convenient! I bet his daddy, Prescott Bush, set it all up so he could be shot down and filmed and be made a hero so he could later be President and ruin all our lives, and stuff!
That's probably how it all played out. I think.
Here is another gratuitous shot...this time of a radial engine.
This particular radial engine sits in the airframe of a P-47 ThunderBolt.
Think... wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump wummpitty wump....
Sometimes, they do silly stuff at air shows. Kinda like WWF, or something.
This is an example of something that is silly. This is a jet powered straight truck.
They said this truck is powered by a jet engine out of an F-104 StarFighter.
I'd rather see the StarFighter going down the runway. Probably.
Here are some more airplane pictures for your enjoyment.
Some kinda Commie surplus jet thing...
More surplus Rooskie stuff...
Finally, the Thunderbirds showed up, but all they did was circle the field a couple of times because visibility was bad, or so they said. I bet they were nervous and too scared to perform for a critical Hoosier audience, so they bugged out and blamed it on the weather!
Way to go, Air Force!!
Maybe next year a real, precision, flight demonstration team will be on display for IndyAirShow 2007.
I bet the Blue Angels wouldn't wuss out if they were here.
The sun sets on Indy AirShow 2006.
The roar is over.
Now I will have some semi-related aviation type stuff for you.
I went to this air show a long time ago.
In those days, I used my dad's antique Brownie camera. We only had black and white film back then. We were poor sharecroppers and stuff.
Fifi didn't fly that day due to engine trouble, so we had to look at it sitting there on the tarmac leaking oil and looking forlorn and junk.
Later on they started a couple of the engines and taxied it around the runway. Kinda cool, but not near as cool as seeing it fly and do simulated firebombing missions on helpless Japanese cities.
This is a Hawker SeaFury. It was built by the British. Here you see it dressed up for Canada's use. Canada always has to buy their really cool stuff from us or the British.
Canada makes pretty good beer, but not much else.
Here's a couple of Texans all decked out and pretending to be Japanese planes. This is wrong on so many levels. This is another example of improper aircraft modifications....
I would never do this to my Texan, but I guess if you want to make movies about WW2 in the Pacific, you have to do something.
There aren't too many flying examples of real WW2 Japanese planes anymore, because we pretty much blew all of them up.
I guess that's why we won, or something.
Remember when I said this way back at the beginning of all this foolishness?
|…I have issues…|
Well, I figure it’s about time I tell you why I have those issues and how I came by them honestly.
Way back a long time ago, before computers and George W. Bush, I went to an air show with my mom and dad. The Blue Angels, the world’s best flight demonstration team, performed there for us in their A4 Skyhawks. They were amazing AND spectacular, as always.
Seems that Mom was quite taken with the Blue Angels. In fact, she said of the pilots, “They are the cream of humanity!”
At the time, I found it hard to disagree with my mother. Besides, if I had, she would have gone upside my head with a shovel or some other heavy implement.
Anyways, after the show, we went over to the static display area. I guess Mom was feeling frisky from the Blue Angels, or had been hitting the sauce, or something. She went over to a beautiful F6F Hellcat, the one pictured, and LICKED IT!!
You heard me. She LICKED IT! Right there on the tail, behind the rudder, in front of God and everybody! She laid her tongue on a vintage WW2 fighter plane. I forgot to ask her what it tasted like.
I bet my dad shoulda put his woman on a shorter leash. That’s what I think.
Now, I know some of you filthy perverts have unsavory thoughts coursing through your heads right about now. But let me give you a little tip. That’s my MOM your thinking of, and I won’t hesitate to come over there and give you a thump on the noggin with my headache stick.
The saga of Grammy licking an airplane is a family legend. I bet if our fleet of warplanes had been licked right after Pearl Harbor, WW2 would have lasted only 90 days. Maybe.
Flash forward to today's air show….
We were walking amongst the static display and my youngest son says to me, “Dad. I wanna lick an airplane like Grammy did!”
I say, “Oh, you do, do you?”
Boy says, “Yeah. Which one do you think I should lick?”
I say, “Well, if it was me, and I was hankerin’ to lick a plane, it’d be the F4U Corsair.”
Boy says, “I don’t wanna lick the Corsair. I wanna lick that little brown and green jet over there.”
I say, “OK, but let’s try to do it when nobody’s watching. I don’t wanna get thrown outta here for lettin’ you lick a plane. Hold on a second…let me get the Instamatic out!”
So now maybe you understand where I’m coming from and where I get it.
My family is eccentric, and junk. We are kinda fun to be around sometimes.
Keep ‘em flying! Lick a plane today!
Right about now I've pretty much run outta flying-stuff-type pictures, but I figured I'd go ahead and show you one I took a long time ago with my dad's Brownie camera.
Sometimes we saved up enough money to use color film.
This is the lighter-than-air dirigible of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
It used to come around Indy during May for the 500. We would get all excited when it first showed up. At night it would be all lit up with words or little race cars gliding across it and stuff.
The Goodyear lighter-than-air dirigible doesn't come around Indy anymore during the month of May. I guess they have better things to do now, or something. Maybe they are patrolling our oceans for Al-Queda submarines.
You can sometimes see it at Indy in August, but it's really not the same and nobody really cares anymore.
The Firestone Firehawk mascot who shoots free cheap T-shirts to race fans with a compressed-air-powered bazooka isn't nearly as cool as a lighter-than-air dirigible.
That's what I think.
This may or may not be my last aviation-related post here.
Here’s another aviation picture I took a long time ago I forgot to tell you about.
These are F-4 Phantoms. I took this picture from the window of an Airforce KC-135 tanker as we refueled them somewhere out west.
We were on our way from Grissom AFB, Indiana to March AFB out in California.
I was a snot-nosed college student AFROTC maggot at the time, and this was my first flying experience of any kind ever! Quite a thrill….
The following is a pic I took (with a cheap disposable camera) in Kuwait after the nasty business of war (Desert Shield/Storm) was pretty much over. I and my fellow communications Marines were sitting and rotting in the desert...waiting for our freedom bird tickets home.
One day, we were asked if we'd like to take a little helicopter ride...sorta like a glorified government subsidized carnival attraction, but without the toothless inbreds at the controls...kinda.
Being an adventurous type, I readily agreed. I grabbed my rifle and my Kevlar headgear and headed out to the launch site.
This is what I saw there.
A couple of Vietnam-era CH46 Sea Knights. Even though several of these crates had plummeted from the sky on their own accord during my visit to the Middle East, I climbed aboard and eagerly anticipated my little air tour of my surroundings.
I'm not too smart, sometimes...kinda like Steve Irwin, or something.
We flew over part of the Highway of Death, where our planes bombed and strafed the retreating Iraqi forces...causing an international uproar over how unkind and not-very-tidy war can be.
I really didn't have a problem with the Highway of Death. More of the same woulda been OK with me...even all the way to Baghdad. Maybe if we had done that then, we wouldn't have to be there now.
That's what I think.
The helicopter ride was fun.