Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the Rain - Fly Navy

Every year I take my son to the Rhode Island National Guard Air Show at Quonset Point, RI. Each year we get to stroll through the static displays of aircraft, eat greasy carnival style food and watch aerobatic and demonstration flights. The climax of the air show is either the Navy's Blue Angles or the Air Force Thunderbirds in alternate years. The Air Show was ths past weekend and this year it was the Thunderbirds turn.

Weather is a big factor for the success of the Air Show, light winds and clear skies being ideal. Not so this year though, we had fog, a constant light rain and a low cloud ceiling. At most I expected to see only the small diehard aerobatic planes flying and no jets.

By the time my son and I got there the crowd was mostly aircraft enthusiasts in ponchos hoping for the skies to clear, which didn't happen.

The RI National Guard put on a great show with their C-130Js, Blackhawks and Special Forces demonstrating short takeoffs, landing with combat team insertions.

U.S. Air Force Photo of a Navy F-18

At the end of the day the only thing left was the jets, lot of nice Air Force hardware A-10s, F-16s, etc. but no, weather was too marginal and the ceiling to low at a few hundred feet.

The only jet to venture out and into the heavy soup air was a single U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet and he did a killer low level show. The entire time the F-18 did it low level passes down the runway it was bleeding vapor the air was that thick with water. A good 30% of the time the aircraft was barely visible in the clouds. Twice he came close to if not breaking the sound barrier with the classic sphere of vapor around the leading edge of the wings accompanied by a small BOOM!, way cool!

Where was the Air Force? Back in the hanger.



Vigilis said...

Ouch! But true.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and did the Air Farce say the Navy lands on pitching and rolling boats. too?

Even Navy truck drivers (cargo and ASW aircraft) are excellent all weather and night time pilots.

Navy League of the United States
Santa Clara Valley Council