Monday, July 4, 2011

American Cultural Observation 501: Wings over Tyler Airshow

It is the 4th of July weekend and I was fortunate enough to hang with some friends and attend Tyler's first airshow. It was fun, HOT, but fun, even with weather in the triple digits. According to local media over 20,000 people Tylerites were in attendance.

For me the most exciting part were the Pearl Harbor re-enactment, TORA TORA TORA. It is a re-creation of the December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. It involved six Japanese fighters and bombers simulating the Pearl Harbor attack. In addition, TORA provides breathtaking smoke, fire and explosions from the pyrotechnics team. 

There sure were some hooting and hollering from the crowd when a lone American Curtiss P40 started chasing them off!

Also quite intriguing was a Twin Beech 18 flown by Matt Younkin. The Beech 18 Matt performs (serial number 4383) in was built in 1943 by the Beechcraft Corporation at Wichita, KS.
A big pressence at the air show was the CAF or the Commemorative Air Force. Collecting aircraft for nearly a half a century, the CAF now ranks as one of the largest (and private) air forces in the world. Today the CAF has approximately 9,000 members and a fleet of almost 160 airplanes representing more than 60 different types—including planes from several foreign countries and other military conflicts since World War II.

Some of the other planes flying were the CAF's B-25 named the Devil Dog.  The Devil Dog represents a PBJ, the Marine Corps version of a B-25.
The MIG-17F, made famous by the Vietnam War, the MiG-17F wa s the primary enemy aircraft engaged in the skies over Vietnam by U.S. planes. During that war and up until the F-16 entered service, it was the tightest-turning fighter in the world.When production started in the 1950s, its VK-1F engine made it one of the first production jet fighters in the world with an afterburner.

A BD-5 Microjet, which is a high performance, aerobatic, single seat, low-wing, all metal, jet-powered aircraft built from an amateur homebuilder kit. The design was originally developed in the 1970's by Jim Bede of Bede Aircraft, Inc. and designated as the BD-5. It was dubbed "The World's Smallest Jet" and quickly earned a reputation as James Bond's jet when it was featured in the movie "Octopussy." Through the years, a few airshow teams have captivated fans all over the world but today, very few flying BD-5's still exist.

Another favorite was some Smoke-Ring Aerobatics by Herb & Ditto (yep, the plane is named Ditto). Ditto, a former NAVY aircraft carrier trainer debuted in the air show business in 1998 after Herb and his crew completed a detailed 4-year restoration that won the Best T-28 Award at Oshkosh in 1996. Taking a “basket case” T-28 and making her better than new was the challenge Herb and his crew took on to make her one of the five best T-28 restorations in the country. That challenge included disassembling every nut and bolt, cleaning, inspecting, repairing and overhauling every component, fabricating and installing completely new wiring and electronics harness, new hydraulic lines, incorporating modern solid-state electronics and other improvements; all the while keeping the original look! The custom wing-tip smoke system that Herb designed and installed in 2004 to enhance his performance has created much more fan excitement than he ever anticipated.

All in all, even though sunburned... there were some jet fuel pumping through my veins and I LOVED it!

Some more photos I took on the day...

Japanese Zero


F-16's (I think)


Mig 17F

Remember the good old time when people used cameras...

Sources: facts and photo varied

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