August 17, 2008

A day at the air show: Offutt AFB

US Air Force Thunderbirds
The old feeder decided to part with some gas money and spend the day at Offutt Air Force Base yesterday. The base was holding its annual Defenders of Freedom Open House & Air Show, and I had a great time. Here is a video I shot of the Thunderbirds. The pictures that follow are all clickable.

Nice crowd of decent, patriotic folks
I was able to park on the base, then caught a shuttle bus to the area where the static displays and some open are afforded an excellent view of the flying performances. There were the usual aerobatic flyers with little hot-rod planes doing stunts that seem to break the laws of physics. I tried to snap some photos, but most of them came out like this. I'm not used to the 'lag' between pressing the button and the shutter function on my digital camera.

AC-47 gunship - Spooky
Some old cats were there displaying an AC-47 gunship. These gents looked like they might have been with this machine since Viet-Nam. I gave them $2 bucks to look inside and they actually had a couple of nasty little chain guns mounted. I suppose its OK to have these since the Supreme Court's Heller decision. Below is a picture of the 30 mm business end of an A-10 Warthog. Now that is a big Gatling gun!

Business end of an A-10 Warthog
The A-10 demonstration must have been heartening to all the old grunts in the audience. This ugly death machine seems to be the perfect close air support device; its a flying full auto cannon that can carry bombs and rockets stuck to every available spot on its wings. Click the A-10 gun picture to see how the The AN/GAU-8a 30mm Avenger weapon just about fills the fuselage. I took a picture of the big magazine.

F-22 with pyro display background
There were aircraft of every sort, old and new. The F-22 was exotic looking, but the big transports and antiques were perhaps more fascinating to an old duffer like myself. All in all, I had a wonderful day. It was nice to see the young troops who were so polite and helpful. It is almost enough to restore one's faith in the future of America. I got a big kick out of watching the recruiters work the kids. This one asked the recruiter why he had a life raft set up on the runway. Sarge's answer: "So boys like you will ask about it."

Farm field salute at the Offutt runway - click
This last picture came from Google Earth. (You can click it to see the street names, etc.) It shows the respect the folks of Nebraska, especially those in the Bellevue area, have for the US military in general and the Air Force in particular. God bless 'em.

The day trip was a tonic for the old feeder. The Open House and Air Show is on again today. If you live anywhere near, go see it. Take the kids.

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