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Monday, July 23, 2007

Got to the air show.

[Warning: This post contains unexplained military history and technology references. Proceed at your own risk.]

Thank God for the invention of infant sunscreen (SPF 50), a/k/a "the liquid burka." Even so, the sun took it out of us, and there wasn't a Price fully conscious after 10:10pm yesterday.

Alas, we weren't able to go on Saturday, which means I missed my shot at the Sabre. Feeling my pain, one of the USAF security guys said it flew Saturday and the pilot/owner then left abruptly.

Serious bummer. On the bright side, we certainly weren't lacking for aircraft. The Boy™ was able to see the A-10 Thunderbolt II (b/k/a the "Warthog") ; and touch the 20mm gatling mounted in the nose. We also were able to get up close and personal with an inoperative AMRAAM, which The Boy™ and his father found "cool." The girls were less impressed.

Everybody liked walking through the C-5A Galaxy cargolifter, which became extremely cool for the kids when one of the airmen helpfully explained that it could carry "two tanks or six schoolbuses." Another cargo plane, a C-130 Hercules ("Her-ka-lees! Her-ka-lees!") became a favorite, especially when it was revealed that paratroopers could drop from it. The Michigan ANG guys helped the older two kids get into flight helmets and parachutes. I'll post the snaps when we get the film developed. Yes, we still use film--quaint, eh?

The Hercules was also the ideal spot for a picnic, as we took advantage of the shadow of its massive tail to shelter from the relentless sun.

Overhead, we saw a F-15 Strike Eagle put through the paces. There was also a moving tandem flight involving a retired American military pilot in a P-51 Mustang flying alongside the same Strike Eagle with an active-duty pilot. It struck me as a nod to a noble tradition and a passing of the torch, all in one.

We thumped along the tarmac to the WW2-era bombers. The B-24 was gone (another, if lesser "grrrr"), but there was the Yankee Lady B-17 and the Yankee Warrior B-25, both from the Yankee Air Museum. I made sure to get nose art shots for both for Mark Sullivan.

I then spent $4 for the tour of the Mitchell (the kids were free). My grandfather (Mom's dad) was a bomber mechanic during the Big One, and he told me that he mostly worked on Mitchells and Marauders. If it was good enough for Papa and Jimmy Doolittle, it was good enough for me.

All four kids climbed over the plane, and each of us had a blast. Mom stayed down to shoot pictures of us gazing out from the cockpit. After that, we went over to the glowering mass of the B-52H, a veritable Spruce Goose next to the World War II bombers. After that, it was pack up and go. The good news is that it's an annual event. Better news for parents with children who don't tolerate loud noise well: it's not that bad. We only put the ear plugs in once, and ended up removing them shortly after.

Best news: it's free--event and parking.

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