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Posted on 09/30/2007 10:59:53 AM PDT by pickrell
My sunburn glows. The muscles in my legs throb. The pain brings a smile to my face.
Yesterday at Rickenbacker Air Base in Columbus, Ohio, an Air Show that will live forever in 100,000 or more memories literally thrilled a crowd, though that word is often overused, and wholly inadequate.
For those of us who walked, (and often ran), up and down the apron countless times, from one end of the runways to the other, to get those perfect pictures, nothing quite like it will probably ever happen again.
Stand there, watching a WW2 British Lancaster bomber proudly running up each of it's 4 engines, preparatory to moving up to the launch line. Look behind it at the B-24, which patiently waits ahead of the B-29, seeming to smirk behind itself. Feel the hairs on your neck rise, as the unmistakeable whine and roar of numerous P-51 Mustangs, covorting in sheer joy overhead, reaches down into that place you had forgotten since you've grown up.
Try and keep the smile from tearing your face off- go ahead, just try.
At the side of the apron a Bell Airecobra smoothes out it's warming engine, demanding the same respect that the Lockheed Lightning and the crowd-drawing P-47's are getting. Veterans are arguing that it is actually a King Cobra. I can only smile, remembering fuzzily the old story that over Guadalcanal, the P-400 was so outmatched by the Japanese fighters that it was often referred to as "a P-40... with a zero on it's tail...". That big old cannon muzzle poking though it's prop testifies that it was designed, and served brilliantly, as the ground attack machine it was designed to be. I'd say "Mission Accomplished!", except some idiot reporters would point out that it didn't sink a single German submarine- apparently lack of adequate planning by the Administration, then.
We'd all worn our hats to prevent the sunburn, and utterly wasted that effort, as we repeatedly stared up into the sun, watching F-16's, F-15's and finally an F-22 raptor tearing upwards in 90 degree climbs, as if to say, 'All the old rules are gone, boys...'.
The 9 year old boy, a little ways down the fence, audible in the sudden hush worries, "I think it's broke," as the airplane seems to suddenly stop flying! It's doing things that those of us who only flew Cessnas and Dehavilland Beavers, know for certain that airplanes simply cannot do.
"It can't DO that," I repeat stupidly, as it does that. "It can't DO that."
But it's when the pilot of the Raptor decides to show his teeth, and the plane makes a low high speed buzz over the crowd, that the thunder of it's engines finally grabs your throat and announces, "No better friend, no worse enemy," to upstage another outfit.
No sooner has the adrenalin cleared your system then an impossible image rides over the horizon. It's a B-2 in all of it's majesty, so quiet that if a few sharp-eyed old pilots hadn't pointed, we would never have noticed it. Once overhead- I can guarantee you- EVERYONE noticed it.
Finally the old bombers have gotten clearance and they walk towards the launch point. One by one, they roar down the runway, and climb again into the skies, one more time. There are so few working models still flying, and we all consider ourselves blessed to see what our fathers watched often. But this time without live ordnance, and this time all the crews would come back alive. This was to honor all of those who came back, and those who didn't, so long ago. It was to show a nation- which seems to have forgotten, somehow- that these machines and others were what made it possible for us to build such a life for ourselves.
The sunburn will heal.
Excellent article! Thanks for writing and posting it.
The good ol' day's when I flew into airshows and was on the secure side of the flight line ropes.
Nothing like a good airshow to make one's day!
About two years ago we got a ride in the B-17 "Fuddy Duddy". It cost, but So What. If the Devil had appeared and offered me the right seat, I would not have read the fine print.
Thinking of the people who flew missions in them made one feel ...small...
Thanks. Great review.
Takes me back to the days of being an Air Force brat.
I guess this is the event site:
Has pics from previous shows, and a lot of other great info.
Great airshow site, pics, videos, news, forums...........
Thanks for the link, that is so great.
Beautiful, thank you for sharing the experience.....
Great site. Thanks.
Couldn’t stop watchin this one: http://www.airshowbuzz.com/videos/view.php?v=0b5586c2
yw, xJones. Hopefully they’ll post some pics of this year’s event soon (soon as it’s over :)!
I'd post some, but all I have is four, cheap, one-time cameras all full of old paper shots. Can't get them developed for a few days. My good camera's broke. My tears flow...
I was sure that we have some Freepers among those tens of thousands who had electronic cameras.
Hopefully, they can post some of the shots, once they recuperate.
I think "CD-ROM" is one of the options now, at places like Walgreens....
Have them scanned at Walgreens or Walmart and have them put on a cd. You can then upload them to a free photo hosting site and post the pics here. We’d love to see them.