(April 2016) For the first time since moving to Tucson thirteen years ago, I attended the air show at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. And what a wonderful show it was. I had my media pass, so I got some special treatment, but the show was free to anyone, and the flight demonstrations were easily viewed by all. Although, had I been general public, the Beer Garden would have been the best place to spend the day. Almost everyone was busy taking photographs and I was no exception.
There was patriotism aplenty. And the Air Force personnel seemed grateful for the support they get from the community that surrounds them: Tucson, AZ.
This huge C-5 Galaxy was a real hit with the public. Soon after I took this shot, they opened the front and back so people could go inside and witness the enormous carrying capacity of this military transport.
This is Kent Pietsch in his airplane named Jelly Belly heading for the ground and certain destruction. Kent is quite the aerial clown. At one point he landed Jelly Belly on a truck moving at 55 mph.
Thunder and Lightning Over Arizona had several thrilling barnstormers throughout the day.
One of the most popular flight demonstrations was the “AF Heritage Flight”. Here the magnificent F-22 Raptor flies in formation with a WW II era P-51 Mustang, thus honoring USAF personnel that have served throughout its history. When WW II started, the Japanese Zeros dominated the skies over the Pacific. German Luftwaffe’s fighters dominated the air space over Europe and North Africa. Then, in 1942, the U.S. deployed these Mustangs by the thousands. By war’s end, P-51’s had racked up 4,950 confirmed kills.
At one point in the show, we watched as this Jet Car raced an airplane over a quarter mile distance. It’s engine produces 12,000 hp; travels 0 to 400 mph in 9 seconds. WOW!
Three seconds after this F-22 Raptor’s pilot hit the afterburners, this war bird was outa sight. The USAF tells me that its F-22 Raptor’s performance and lethality cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft in the world.
Of course the stars of any AF Air Show is the Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron. As awesome as all these aircraft are, I reminded myself that they are “war birds”. Ultimately, their only purpose is to break things and kill people. But at least we are capable of doing it better than anyone else. May it always be in defense of Universal Human Rights.